Romantic Getaway (Pocatello, Idaho) – Discover how I created an exotic romantic getaway for less in Pocatello, Idaho. No plane tickets or expensive itinerary, just loads of fun and love. Includes reviews of the Museum of Clean, Buddy’s Italian Restaurant, Olivers Restaurant, and the Black Swan Inn.
Do you have an upcoming special occasion, birthday, anniversary or just want to reconnect with your significant other without spending a small fortune or buying a plane ticket? If you live in Idaho or the surrounding areas and are looking for an inexpensive romantic getaway alternative, you NEED to read this! I’m sharing my ideas on making a fabulous weekend for you and your significant other without breaking the bank.
Let me just start this post by saying, here at Kitchen Cents, I focus on inexpensive delicious, easy recipes your family will love. Where is this travel post coming from? To be frank, it’s coming from out of the blue. I’m toying with the idea of branching out into Food & Travels. I’m hoping this will be the first of many to come. Or maybe we’ll just start a sister blog… travelercents.com! It does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
I thought today would be a perfect day to share my experiences of this awesome weekend because… it’s my 9th wedding anniversary! Yay us! 9 years! PHEW!!! 9 years, 4 kids, 3 companies, 5 moves, great laughs, hard tears, and a whole bunch of love later and here we are. A lot has happened in the past 9 years, and getaways like this romantic one I’m sharing with you help us rejuvenate and reconnect.
Shout out to my amazing husband, Ryan.
Happy Anniversary, Babe! Here’s to us and our quirks, craziness, joys, and love. We’re in this together, for the long haul and I’m excited to see what this next decade brings our way. You make me a better woman, wife, and mother. You’ve shown me how to love stronger, love deeper, and love always. You are my person and my love! My heart is yours forever and always! Love you! <3
Recently, Ryan and I decided we
wanted needed a kid-free weekend. I began scouring the internet for the best romantic destinations within a few hours drive of where we currently live (Provo, UT). Several came up including places in Heber, Park City, Salt Lake City but nothing was sparking my interest. After talking to Ryan, we decided to head toward Lava Hot Springs, a memorable hot spring for both of us. There’s nothing like a late-night soak at a steamy hot spring to bring on the reconnection and romantic sparks. 😉 Right?
I began researching accommodations around and near Lava. Most hotels were $100 to $200 dollars with some being $250 to $350 a night. That was for a regular hotel room. I wanted this weekend to be special. Not just a weekend at a rinky-dink average place—something special. It would be the first weekend in a LONG time we had together just the two of us, no kids, no agenda, just us.
HAVE YOU EVER STAYED AT A HOTEL/INN WITH THEMED ROOMS?
Until that weekend, I’d never stayed at an Inn with romantic themed rooms. We found a room at the Black Swan Inn in Pocatello, ID. Check them out for yourself here! They also have a 2nd sister property in Idaho Falls called Destinations Inn where the rooms are themed from famous popular destinations all over the world. I hope Ryan and I get a chance to check out that property sometime soon. It looks just as beautiful as the Black Swan Inn.
NOTE: The pictures online DO NOT do these rooms justice.
From the pictures online, I was skeptical and wondered if I would regret staying here over a regular hotel that might be a little cheaper (might not). Boy, was I surprised! Let me be the first to say, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality, craftsmanship, and atmosphere in the rooms at the Black Swan Inn.
From the moment we walked into our very fresh, clean smelling room, to the AMAZING artwork covering the ENTIRE room, to the sculpture work, to the chocolates and a personalized welcome card waiting atop the bed, this place is phenomenal. We stayed in their Mayan room where a canopy of trees and artificial branches with leaves covered our bed, and a two-person tub awaited in an elegant tree loft above.
We also had a conveniently located shower in our room built into the trunk of a tree. The attention to detail in this place was insane!
The lighting was the biggest surprise. With the pictures of their rooms I’d browsed online the lighting appeared to be bright (so the detail of the room stands out) but when we walked into our room, and others we were able to tour, the mood was instantly set by the lighting and romantic music playing on the very large television. It was truly amazing, romantic, and something I think every couple, newlywed or married-for-decades, should experience every once in a while.
We enjoyed their later-than-normal (12 noon) checkout time as we lazed about, enjoying breakfast and watching a movie in the jetted tub designed for two.
The Black Swan Inn also offered a complimentary breakfast basket or the option to upgrade to a room service hot breakfast. We chose to upgrade. It was an extra $15 or so but so worth it. Olivers Restaurant delivered our hot, hearty breakfast right to our room. More about Olivers below.
Another reason why I loved the idea of staying at a place like the Black Swan Inn or another luxury romantic themed suites is for the convenience of travel time. If we were okay to spend oodles of money on an exotic romantic getaway, we would have to spend hours at the airport, fly to our destination, find transportation, etc. Finding a diamond in the rough like this place lessens travel time and increases the time we have for each other. I love that! It’s like a stay-cation vs vacation. When you only have a couple of days to get away, don’t waste half the time and cost of your getaway by traveling far to your destination.
We were able to meet the owner, Larry, who gave us a brief history of the Black Swan Inn. He and his wife acquired the property in 1996 as an apartment building. Over the first year of owning the property, they began renovations to create their first wing of themed rooms. They officially opened in 1997. Over the next few years, they continued to move from room to room, completing one every 6 weeks or so. They now have 15 theme rooms completed at the Black Swan Inn with room to expand to 19 rooms if they so wish in the future. I was able to tour over half the rooms and all have been meticulously detailed to perfection.
Larry’s wife, Debbie, has completed over 80% of the paintings and murals in the rooms at Black Swan Inn. Her work is fantastic!
You might be curious about the price of staying in one of these amazing rooms, right?
Prices for a room at the Black Swan Inn range from $99 to $239 a night depending on what days you stay. That’s about what you’ll pay for a regular rinky-dink hotel room, no special features, amazing artwork, romantic lighting or mood added. Here’s the kicker… The Black Swan Inn has been offering an offset weekend special. You can check out their current specials here. If you stay in the same suite both, Saturday AND Sunday night, Sunday night’s stay is discounted 50%. Woot, WOOT! Now, we’re talking luxury romantic theme rooms for rinky-dink hotel room prices!
If you’re still skeptical about staying at a place like the Black Swan Inn and are in the neighborhood, give them a call. I’m sure they’d be happy to show you around and I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed—we absolutely weren’t!
WHAT TO DO IN POCATELLO, ID?
Surprisingly, Pocatello has more to offer than meets the eye. It has at least a romantic weekend’s worth of things to enjoy as a couple. Here are some things we found and other’s locals recommended:
Palace Playhouse (also known as Mystique Theater) – this is a theater that offers dinner and a quality show. You can check out the current or upcoming shows here. Tickets range from $10-18 per person for the show only or $30-42 depending on what dinner choice you choose. There wasn’t a show playing during our trip but we received high recommendations from several locals to check this place out.
Church Chapels – there are a couple of chapels in the area that have exquisite structural and architectural details. These are the St. Joseph’s Chapel and Trinity Episcopal Church.
Museums – if you’re a museum-goer there are several museums right in or around Pocatello. These include the Museum of Clean ($6 per person), Idaho Museum of Natural History (Closed Mondays, $7 per person), Fort Hall Replica ($5-6 per person depending on the time of year), and the Shoshone-Banncock Tribe Museum (small admission fee).
Lava Hot Springs – Lava is about a 40-minute drive from Pocatello. It’s a natural hot spring with water temperatures ranging from 102°-110° year around. This is a fantastic place to go soak your cares away and relax together. Admission into the hot soaker pools ranges from $6-10 depending on the time of year and day you go. In the summer months, floating the little local river is a blast or simply enjoy large swimming pools at the outdoor aquatic center.
MUSEUM OF CLEAN:
When we arrived in Pocatello, we were earlier than expected. We had a couple of hours to kill before checking into our room at the Black Swan Inn. We decided to do a quick google search for things to do in the area. The Museum of Clean was at the top of the list with fairly high reviews. Without the chaos of our little girls (4 of them, 6 years old and under) we chose to heed the opportunity and check out the Museum of Clean.
When we arrived at the building it is located in, we were surprised. It is one of the tallest, newest buildings in the area.
They have a nice monumental sign at the front of the parking lot. Of course, I had to get a picture.
We took the option to have a short tour by one of their tour guides, Brad. He was hilarious and so informational with all the items and ideas this museum had to offer. I thought it would be a museum full of vacuums (don’t get me wrong, there were lots of vacuums. Old ones and REALLY old ones) but they also presented the concept of being clean: clean humor, clean earth, clean thoughts, clean house, organization and more. They had it all. Floors and floors filled with cool items, thoughts and even art that represented the philosophy of clean. It was worth a visit, and probably another few visits in our lives, the admission fee, and I’d even go again with the kids (there are plenty of kid-focused exhibits).
They even had vintage household cleaning items like this knife cleaner… it looks crazy and dangerous!
I’m glad we have modern dishwashers now!
Buddy’s Italian Restaurant
If you frequent Kitchen Cents you already know, food is my life and one of my loves! No exception when I’m enjoying a romantic getaway with my husband. We enjoyed an evening out at Buddy’s Italian Restaurant. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall mom and pop shop. It was recommended by Larry, the owner of Black Swan Inn. He stated they have amazing salad and pizza.
When we walked in the atmosphere was quaint. If I had been to Italy to a little family-run restaurant I would guess it looked and felt like this place. It was a nice, low-lit place (not great for food photography so bear with me). We found a table in the corner and our waitress came right over. She was awesome. With this being a “special occasion weekend” we splurged and started off with a couple of Italian cream sodas. They were yummy and much bigger than expected.
Buddy’s salad dressing is AMAZING! They actually sell it by the pint and quart. It’s a little pricey but so yummy. The salad was one of my favorite items we ordered. Ryan won’t eat any kind of cheese (the salad has blue cheese in the dressing) and I’m usually not a fan of blue cheese, but it was delicious. We also tried their garlic and garlic cheese bread. Of course, I thought the garlic cheese bread was better but I’m also a cheese lover through and through.
I ordered the 1/2 and 1/2 with spaghetti and meatballs and ravioli. We were told the sausage, ravioli, meatballs, etc are made fresh in house. I was really excited to try my dish but was surprised to find it wasn’t my favorite. The meatballs and ravioli seemed a touch firm and dry. The marinara sauce was great though. Ryan ordered the sausage sandwich with everything (minus the cheese on his half). It was delicious, especially when dipped in their homemade red marinara sauce.
For dessert, we chose their homemade Carmello which came topped with whipped cream and slivered almonds. It was the perfect ending to our meal.
I wish we had ordered a pizza—which was recommended to us by multiple people. A pizza may have been more enjoyable for me rather than the meatballs and homemade ravioli. I was underwhelmed by them especially because they were made in house and fresh. The Carmello was surprisingly excellent and left the meal on a high note.
As for the cost. Buddy’s is a little on the pricey side. I don’t know if I’d take my family (us and the kids) there but for a romantic dinner for two, it was good. My meal came with a small antipasto platter, full salad with Buddy’s homemade house dressing, garlic bread, 1/2 spaghetti and meatballs 1/2 homemade ravioli, and the Carmello for dessert. The cost was about $20. If Ryan liked cheese, my meal alone would have been plenty for both of us. If we went that route and split one of Buddy’s 4-course meals, the price would be very reasonable.
We enjoyed the upgraded option of a hot breakfast delivered to our room at the Black Swan Inn. Olivers was the restaurant that provided this breakfast. We chose Buiscuts and gravy with thick cut ham for one meal and a classic breakfast with hashbrowns, bacon, eggs, and toast for the other. We also added an order of short stack pancakes just for kicks. If you go for the pancakes, note they are massive. When I say large, I mean bigger than Ryan’s head, and that’s pretty big. 😉
Even though our breakfast was delivered to our room a block away, the food was still hot and fresh. Everything was cooked well to our request. The biscuits were fluffy and fresh, eggs were cooked to perfection, and the pancakes were giant and delicious.
Olivers is an old-fashioned diner with hearty portions and delicious food. I can’t vouch for their lunch or dinner menu but their breakfast is phenomenal. I’d highly recommend it if you’re in the area.
Even though we originally went north to enjoy the romantic atmosphere at Lava Hot Springs, it wasn’t the highlight of our romantic getaway. For Ryan and I, the highlight came when we closed the door of our Mayan themed romantic suite. Even though we were in Pocatello Idaho, when that door shut, we were in a beautiful, secluded Mayan rainforest with sounds of a waterfall next to our bed, romantic lighting, and time for just us! The Black Swan Inn is truly a diamond in the rough that can transport you to beautiful places. For the busy mom with lots of kids to the empty-nesters wanting to reconnect with each other, take the time to check out the Black Swan Inn luxury theme suites, you won’t be disappointed!
PRICE CHECK ($):
Is this Exotic Romantic Getaway worth it? Is it really less than other getaways? Here’s the thing. You can book a hotel anywhere but staying in a luxury-themed suite offers more than just a bed, coffee machine, and bathroom. It offers an opportunity to be in a new exotic, fun place that’s designed for couples. A hotel suite that has been meticulously laid out with intimacy and romance in mind. There really is no comparison between a regular hotel and a romantic themed suite. For the heck of it here’s a little price comparison for an exotic romantic getaway.
Exotic Romantic Getaway for Less (offset weekend Saturday & Sunday):
You can do this getaway for even less by ditching the extras like the dinner theatre and additional activities and staying in the Black Swan Inn’s Western Themed room during the week (only costs $99 a night Monday-Thursday).
- All prices are an estimate. Please contact the vendor for official pricing and discounts.
- Mayan themed suite at the Black Swan Inn (one of the most expensive rooms they have to offer, Saturday & Sunday night) – $358
- Dinner Theatre (Saturday)- $80
- Dinner (Sunday) – $30
- Lunch (Sunday) – $25
- Breakfast (included or upgrade to hot breakfast for $15-30) – $0
- Additional activities (Lava Hot Springs, Museum) – $30
Total cost estimate: $523
Exotic Romantic Getaway:
- Flight to an exotic destination – $800
- Transportation while there – $75
- Hotel room (nothing special or romantic, just a traditional room) – $300
- Dinner with entertainment – $80
- Dinner (Sunday) – $30
- Lunch (Sunday)- $25
- Breakfast (Sunday & Monday) – $30
- Additional activities (the beach, museum, sites) – $30
Total cost estimate: $1,370
My point is, there are great alternatives for a romantic getaway that will transport you to a whole new world without getting on a plane or spending a small fortune. Finding a diamond in the rough like the Black Swan Inn is what it’s about. I hope you can find a diamond in the rough for your next romantic getaway!
I’d love to hear about your travels for le$$ and any diamonds in the rough you’ve found?
Feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email.
I hope you enjoyed this post and the reviews found within it. A huge thanks to Larry & Debbie at the Black Swan Inn for hosting me! Opinions are of course my own and based on my own personal experience at their Inn.