Let me start by saying we stayed at Big Meadows a few years back and knew what to expect as far as things being dated and a bit worn. None of that matters to us and we feel it's part of the charm of the area. That being said, our stay at Big Meadows was the exact opposite of our stay this year at Skyland Resort.
We ordered a Cabin through their reservation site for 4 adults and two children. I was told it would have two double beds in each room and, if needed, we could have a cot brought up. The fee for all of us would be $275 per night.
We arrived on a wet Friday night and checked in. Check in was SLOW but seemed fine and off we went to our cabin. We walked in and were pleasantly surprised at the living room as it was in good order and nicer than the room we stayed in while at Big Meadows (we were in the Vollmer cabin), but then things took a down turn. The two bedrooms each only had one double bed a piece. In addition, as we checked out the accommodations, we noticed that there were four mice traps with dead mice still in them.
I immediately called the front desk and explained the situation with the beds and also about the dead mice. They were definitely a bit overwhelmed and said they needed to talk to a manager and would get back to me. By this time it was coming close to when the dining room would close for the night, so we decided to head back up to the main lodge and get something to eat (i would join the family after figuring out the sleeping situation). LOOOOOONG story short, they ended up giving us a second room a good 5 minute walk from our cabin and we just had to split up. They did give us the room for free, but it really wasn't a great solution as we came up for a family get together and now we were split. I did remind the front desk woman about the mice and she said someone was already on the way up to take care of them.
I joined my family for dinner. While at Big Meadows (under Aramark) we had fantastic meals and service. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Skyland and the new food service. Our server may have been the slowest person on earth. The kids Cheese Quesadilla included onions and scallions so we had to send it back and get plain cheese, the flat breads were cold and, while they had good ingredients, clearly were not cooked right and they were out of ceasar dressing. LIttle things like bringing over a bread basket with not enough bread for everyone to stopping to chat with people while carrying out a missing meal (when they delivered our food, my mother's meal didn't come out ... it was a good 5 minutes later that it appeared) and so on. We laughed it off and just decided it was a rough night for everyone.
We went back to the cabin and ..... the mice were still there (very nasty ... oh, and we had kids, so we needed them OUT). I called again and they apologized and said they would send someone straight up. 40 minutes later security arrived. They told us they had JUST been notified and asked if we had mentioned it earlier in the evening. We explained we had and the guy bent over backward to say how sorry he was.
The next day we went down for breakfast. Upon arrival our WONDERFUL wait staff person explained that the buffet was truly a better deal than the a la carte offerings we were ordering (and she was right) so we all got the buffet. We walked up and they were out of everything ... from pancakes, to plates, to bowls, to blueberries, to bagels to eggs. There was NO one around in charge and just lots of very busy servers. I stopped one and asked if they could refill the items and was told that it was close to the end of the buffet and they would not be refilling anything. Of course, we then had to pull in some other servers and about 20 minutes later they were able to get things under control and refill most of it.
Fast forward to that evening. We ate dinner in the pub and it was delightful. The service was great and the chairs were SO much more comfortable. I would not suggest any of the pub faire, but anything ordered off the main menu was quiet good (the burgers were uniformly cooked well done, although we ordered medium rare, and were clearly a frozen commodity).
That night, of course, with heavy rain, our roof leaked substantially. We put a trash bucket down and called it a night.
On Sunday, Mother's Day, we opted, again, for the breakfast buffet and, again, it was out of EVERYTHING. There was quite a scene going on with no managers in sight and many unhappy customers. Eventually a manager did come out and they got everything filled up again, but, again, it was a good 30 minute wait for the basics. We were told that someone in the kitchen walked out that morning, so I suspect there was complete disarray. On both occasions, I did see a man come in that was clearly a manager, but I have no idea where he was for most of the morning as he was not on the floor nor in the kitchen (I asked for him at one point) and just seemed to show up at the end of the buffet. My suggestion would be to have a manager on the floor as a buffet "watch person" most of the morning. It would have alleviated all the issues and taken some of the pressure off the wait staff that was clearly working VERY hard.
We were given a discount, but it seemed a shame to start Mother's Day off on that note.
Finally, check out. When I went to check out I was asked how my visit was and I explained our issues. I also told them about the leak in our roof. I just got a blank stare. Then, I was told how much it was per night and it was more than the number quoted to me. I explained that and we went back and forth until she took the extra off.
There was no real customer service, no feeling of ownership or of management having a clue. It felt like there were a lot of new staff and no sign of direction or guidance. At Big Meadows, there were managers around all over the place asking how things were and taking care of issues, this time around it was just young clearly over worked employees who needed better training and some help.
I surely hope these are just wrinkles as the new company feels it's way through the process, but it was quite a disappointment.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.