The Goldmoor Inn: A Relaxing Escape into Nature

The Goldmoor Inn encourages a peaceful retreat into spacious accommodations – most of which overlook the Mississippi River. Discover the stunning views, fine dining and other luxuries that await.

The Goldmoor Inn resides on a spacious property at 9001 W. Sand Hill Road, Galena. Most guests who visit come for a relaxing getaway. (Samantha Behling photo)

A leisurely drive through the Galena countryside yields what appears at first glance to be a magnificent castle. Perched atop hills that feel mountainous amidst the Midwest’s typical geography, the Goldmoor Inn welcomingly awaits those who wish to relax in style.

“When you come here, your blood pressure stabilizes,” says Slobo Radin, who co-owns The Goldmoor with his wife, Birgit. Maybe it’s the sprawling green grass, the babbling fountain, or the reflection of the treeline in the Mississippi River. Somehow, stress has no place here.

Immersed in Luxury

Originally from Germany, Birgit and Slobo searched the country to find the perfect location for an inn. With more than 50 years of combined experience in the hospitality industry, the couple wanted to “retire” by opening their own place. But most locations they looked at weren’t up to their standards.

“When you look for a smaller inn, most of them are old mansions that have been transformed into a bed a breakfast, so the infrastructure isn’t as good as you would like,” Birgit explains. “It looks great on top, but underneath, not so good. We saw a lot of that.”

The Goldmoor was enticing for it’s novelty. The main structure – containing 13 suites, a spa and restaurant – was built around an original A-frame house. In addition, three cottages overlooking the Mississippi River and two log cabins on the property add to the cozy, relaxing atmosphere.

“It was built to be what it is, and that’s a good scenario,” Birgit says. “The rooms are designed to be spacious so you can relax. It’s not simply a place where you drop off your luggage and go.”

During their extensive search, Birgit and Slobo finally found The Goldmoor Inn and purchased it in 2015. Their goal is to provide a world-class experience to all guests.

The decor is slightly different in each suite, but all are 750 to 850-square feet and contain the same amenities. A Jacuzzi tub, fireplace and king-size bed make the room an easy place to spend an entire day. Guests can take their breakfast in the main dining room or in their suite, where a table for two is appointed near a kitchenette area complete with a coffee maker, fridge and microwave. Granite countertops sparkle in the bathroom, where lavender-scented soaps, lotions and bubble bath await.

Comfy robes, elegant furniture, and soft music playing through a large-screen TV add to the luxury. Internet is accessible for those who wish to use it.

“The majority of our guests want to relax and do something romantic, or just get away from everything,” Birgit says. “It’s really quiet here; there are no street lights; you hear birds. It’s just very soothing. All of your city stress falls off. That’s the idea.”

With that in mind, corporate events are becoming more popular at The Goldmoor. “You’re at your most creative when you’re relaxed,” Slobo explains.

Intimate weddings and elopements are also welcome at The Goldmoor. The pavilion on the grounds can accommodate up to 175 guests, and protective siding can be added in case of rain. A spacious patio behind the Inn overlooks a wooded area and the Mississippi River – an ideal setting for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. A gazebo fitting up to 10 guests is popular for elopements. During any season, The Goldmoor can accommodate up to 50 guests for an indoor wedding.

“What’s nice about this venue is that when there’s a wedding, it’s the only wedding and there’s nobody else,” Birgit says. “Lots of places do two or three weddings on the same day, but here, all of the attention is on you. You are the one.”

Dinner and a Show

The Goldmoor Inn is also known for its upscale restaurant that’s open to the public. Dinner is served Thursday through Monday starting at 5 p.m.

“The beef Wellington is our signature item,” Birgit says. “It’s very difficult to find, since hardly anybody makes it anymore. People specifically come here for it.”

It was a challenge for Birgit and Slobo to find a competent chef who could produce an elevated level of cuisine. A dish like beef Wellington is difficult to make, since the meat has to be wrapped in a puff pastry just the right way.

“A lot of people don’t know how to cook it, but they pretend like they do,” Birgit says.

In the four years since the Radins have owned The Goldmoor, two chefs have come and gone. Contracted chefs have helped out in between.

But last year, Birgit and Slobo made a permanent choice when they hired Joshua Roberts to be the executive chef.

“It’s difficult to find somebody with talent and passion for the countryside,” Birgit explains. “Usually, somebody eager who wants to grow goes to the city.”

Indeed, Roberts developed his culinary craft in larger cities, including Chicago. But when an opportunity with The Goldmoor came up, the Galena countryside was more appealing to him.

“When my wife and I were in Chicago, I actually set up a trip out here for her birthday,” Roberts says. “We loved the area and joked about retiring out here one day.”

He thought about the expense of living in Chicago, the time required of him to be at his previous restaurant, and how he just didn’t feel safe raising kids in the city.

“My wife and I tried to talk about every possible con of moving here, but after staying at The Goldmoor for a night, I was pretty much committed,” Roberts says.

Even for him, the tranquility and calmness of The Goldmoor were apparent.

In addition to beef Wellington, Roberts serves up premium seafood dishes, steaks, and vegetarian and vegan dishes. He can accommodate for any food allergies or intolerances.

Everything is made fresh from the ground up and nothing comes from a can.

“We try to change the menu seasonally,” Roberts says. “When things become available, we’ll use them.”

For a special treat, up to 10 guests can request to dine at the chef’s table, located right in the kitchen. The idea is to have a front row seat while Roberts and his team create culinary marvels.

“European guests have especially been in awe of the chef’s table,” Slobo says. “The kitchen is a place of teamwork – it’s like watching a show.”

Outside the kitchen, nature puts on a show for those who opt to dine at a booth or table in the restaurant, or in a private dining room that can seat up to 10 people. In the summertime, a glorious hour-long sunset makes the world seem more and more exotic outside The Goldmoor’s large dining room windows. The hills, trees and flowers slowly look darker, and nearly 20 species of birds flock to enjoy the remaining seed at two tall feeders.

“You can learn a lot from nature,” Slobo says. “It’s amazing how majestic it is. It’s beautiful when the weather is nice, but it’s also beautiful when it rains.”

Paradise in Galena

It’s easy to retreat to The Goldmoor and never want to leave. However, there’s much for adventurous guests to do in Galena.

“Golfing, ziplining, canoeing – the town has a lot to attract customers,” Birgit says. “You can ski at Chestnut Mountain in the winter or go down their slide in the summer.”

“There are six wineries around here to visit; there’s the Mines of Spain on the other side of the river, in Iowa, maybe 20 miles away; you can ride your bicycle, or go horseback riding at Shenadoah Riding Center; there are lots of things to do.”

History lovers can visit the former home of President Ulysses S. Grant or wander through multiple museums in the area. They can even just chat with Birgit and Slobo about Galena’s history.

“The whole geological situation here – this is the Driftless Area – we usually have to explain it to customers. And that’s fun for us!,” Birgit says.

Ultimately, Birgit and Slobo hope their guests experience what they call “genuine hospitality.”

“When you’re here, you’re comfortable and being pampered,” Slobo says. “Good food, good wine and beautiful surroundings. We have a winning hand.”