Thought we'd scored when we got a room here on our most recent trip to the East Coast.
And this place isn't cheap.
Arrived after 7pm. Couldn't figure out where to go. No cars in the parking lot, place looked deserted. Thought we'd drive around the back but encountered "Staff Parking" sign so turned around. Finally just walked in, found the door unlocked, found the pub ... long story short, turns out that if you arrive after 7 the gift shop is closed (where you usually check in, apparently) you go to the pub and check in there. Now, saw the next morning that there's a sign that actually doesn't tell you that but might help you figure it out ... but it's half covered with a bush anyway.
Ends up that you DO drive past the "Staff Parking" sign ... and park around back.
Inn-style so we got to lug all our stuff up a flight of stairs. Should have asked for ground floor I guess.
Room was big, clean, but average. Nothing special at all. Lighting was poor. Comfie enough bed. But my personal favourite was the card in the bathroom with the 'rules' from the Housekeeping Staff.
Yes the Housekeeping Staff.
The usual 'no clean sheets', but fresh towels, etc.
Then "Please leave your personal belongings organized."
Management allows this?
"Kitchen closes at 9" we were told. Really.
So, in a rush for dinner.
Pub or Dining Room. Well, they have menus in the rooms. Checked them out, nothing in the Dining Room was appealing at all. Couple of things on the pub menu might do. So went to the pub.
Let me say here that they promote award-quality food.
First time in all my years of travelling that I've gone to a pub - a PUB! - and been seated, handed a menu.
And the server walked away.
No "Can I start you with a couple of drinks?"
It's a PUB!
Had to call her back with "Do you have a wine list?"
She dropped that off and left again.
To be clear, the place was NOT busy. There was one other table.
A while later came back to take our food order.
We had to say "We'll start with a couple of drinks ... "
She pointed to the two chalkboard specials. One was a carbonara pasta. She said "We're out of the pasta."
Should have clued us in. How can any kitchen be "out" of a pasta. Especially something as basic as a carbonara.
And the menu was different from the one in the room. The item she was looking forward to, the one that made the decision between pub and dining room, wasn't there.
Now, I get that in a 100 room hotel it can be a challenge to keep the menus in room current. Which is, of course, why hotels don't put them in the room unless there's room service. And I get that they have a disclaimer in the Glenora room menus saying they can change.
I get that.
So, don't put the menus in the rooms. OR, it's only a 9 room property ... get housekeeping to keep them current day-to-day.
Oh, can't do that ... housekeeping is busy making and enforcing their 'rules'.
We may have chosen the Dining Room given that the Dining Room menu in the room was most likely out of date as well.
The deconstructed caesar was ridiculous. Most of a head of romaine that appeared to have been dropped on the grill and flipped quickly. Some very good croutons. Dressing on the side. Slice of pancetta. Difficult to eat.
And how do you clean a head of romaine without separating the individual leaves?
The ribs were tasteless except for the sauce.
Garlic mashed ... where's the garlic?
So ... go back to the "out of the pasta" comment. Suspicion arises that meals are pre-prepared and 'held' ... sure tasted like that was the case!
Before we leave our bad pub experience, they advertise entertainment. Now, to be fair, we had loved our night before in the Red Shoe Pub just down the road in Mabou. Fabulous celtic music -fiddler and guitar. Very, very good pub food.
Our entertainment at Glenora was a Rankin. She sang without accompaniment which is very difficult, and before I go further, she is a wonderful, wonderful singer. But almost all the songs were, by her admission, sad. We applauded politely ... then on the way back up to our room I commented "It's a pub. I came for a party not a WAKE!".
Not her fault.
So that, in the end, is the point.
This place makes terrific malt whisky. Only single malt in North America but they can't call it 'scotch' because they're not in Scotland.
Problem is they can't manage food and accommodations.
If you're in the area take a pass on this place. Take the distillery tour, enjoy the tasting, but stay at the Mabou River Inn down the road - quirky but really, really nice.
And take the few minutes walk from that inn to the Red Shoe Pub and enjoy some great, lively Celtic entertainment.
- Also Known As:
- Glenora Inn & Distillery Hotel Cape Breton Island
- Glenora Inn And Distillery
- Glenora Inn & Distillery Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia