*Note that this review is from July 2009, but I am only submitting it now, because my parents did not want me to because they are from the area, and while, they completely agree with what I've written, they're not be on publicly criticizing people.... Here is the review:
We promised ourselves that we would write this letter, not out of spite, but out of a desire to prevent other couples from having to experience the same thing that we did at the Cabot Shores (though, I admit that I feel angry about the experience, as I write this). My partner and I recently got married at the Cabot Shores and because so many of our guests were traveling from far to attend the wedding, we also invited our guests to attend a barbeque the night before the wedding.
I will start with the barbeque - only one person was hired to prepare food for this event, to which approximately 85 guests had been invited – the same lone cook who had been hired left a few hours prior to the start of the barbeque. Paul had not assembled the barbeque and friends of mine who had arrived early from Newfoundland, noticed the complete lack of preparedness and realized that Paul was seriously understaffed and needed help and so pitched in. The cooks -two guests who had arrived at the Cabot Shores the previous day, (who were not part of the wedding) were invited by Paul to cook in exchange for their lodging. As they scrambled to prepare the salads and other food for the barbeque, my friends kindly volunteered (out of necessity, they later told me, not desire) to help in order to make the event happen. One friend made a potato salad (the same that was served the following night at our wedding meal as the main course to the vegetarians after the veggie option had run out), assembled the barbeque, chopped vegetables and prepared other salads, received a mop from Paul to mop up the vomit of my small niece who hit her head, washed sheets, as they were unclean, upon arrival.
Our guests who stayed at the farmhouse said it was very damp (so damp that their clothing would get wet upon sitting on any of the furniture) and the sheets had not been cleaned (hence the cleaning of sheets by my guests). When one of the guests staying at the farmhouse went to investigate the cause of the dampness, he discovered that the basement had flooded and was filled with 3 feet of water. My friend reported this to Paul, who did not offer any kind of compensation for the dampness/mold in any of the rooms. In general, Paul was stressed, appeared frazzled all of the time and was very unpleasant to deal with. I had actually been looking forward to meeting him, but when i arrived (the bride) he was very cold and unhelpful. We were told afterwards was even rude to some (like abruptly closing the screen door to the main lodge in the face of one of my friends when he requested a cork screw to help uncork wine bottles at our wedding meal).
All of this is unacceptable, but the thing that is most unforgiveable is that Paul was dishonest about the costs, telling our guests, when they questioned the cost of camping ($45/person/day which was supposed to include brunch) that the cost of their stay included the cost of the barbeque, which was a blatant lie, as he was actually charging us, $20/head. When some of our guests, who knew that we were paying for this, challenged him about this, he admitted that the cost only included the cost of brunch. Paul also advised other guests who had travelled 7 hours by car to attend both the barbeque and wedding, when they refused to spend $250/person for the weekend to share a chalet with strangers, that the cost was so high because it included all of their meals: brunch, barbeque and wedding meal, and in so doing, made these guests feel unwelcome to attend. Four of our guests did not attend the barbeque or wedding meal, as a result, and two of these four actually turned around and returned home on the same day that they arrived. My husband and I, upon learning about this after the wedding, phoned these guests to apologize and offered to reimburse them for their expenses and we still feel extremely upset and embarrassed about this. After this, we learned that Paul had similarly misled all of our camping guests about costs. We felt embarrassed that our guests were led to believe that we had invited them to a barbeque, and that they were expected to pay for this. Paul also lied to us about the reason for needing to charge such a high price for the barbecue was because we had requested organic hamburger meat. When we asked him directly afterwards about this, he admitted that he never did use organic meat, and did not offer to compensate us.
The wedding meal was not at all what we had agreed upon in advance and food supplies were inadequate, despite 12 less guests than we had indicated. The meal arrived 1.5 hours late, and as a result the liquor bill was much higher than we had intended and senior guests, who were diabetic, expressed concerns about the lack of food and their resulting low blood sugar levels, which caused my partner to become very stressed (he sheltered me from this info until after the wedding). The last four tables had no vegetarian option other than the potato salad that had been prepared by my friend the previous night for the barbeque and for which we were paying $20/head. We had agreed to fresh Atlantic haddock and we saw them taking frozen Highliner filets out for our meal. We had agreed to lamb shanks, which turned into some kind of lamb stew that ran out much before the majority of guests were served and the dessert never materialized. Besides inadequate and erroneous food served 1.5 hours late, there was inadequate lighting, no water served, not enough glasses, cutlery, chairs, wine glasses, etc.
The brunch the following day was a fish chowder, which we had not asked for. We had requested a hearty brunch of eggs, french toast, fruit salad, etc. And following the brunch (and the day after our wedding), my husband was lectured by Paul about how we had not fulfilled our responsibility of informing guests about room arrangements, and that he intended to try to charge us for guests who had cancelled their reservations at the last minute (some of whom simply cancelled upon seeing their accommodations and others did not appreciate the idea of sharing a chalet with complete strangers, especially at the rate of $250/person for the weekend). My husband tried to explain to Paul that we were unaware of his cancellation policy and that it was up to him to inform guests about his cancellation policy and room arrangements when they booked with him. Following my husband’s over-an-hour long lecture from Paul, he informed me that Paul asked him to return the piano, which had been rented in Sydney for the wedding weekend (and that failing to do so would likely result in him losing it). I reminded my husband that we had gotten married the previous day; that we were on our honeymoon and that we were NOT heading to Sydney. I told my husband that I would alert Paul to our inability to return the piano. When I told Paul that none of my friends had room in their vehicles for the piano and that my husband and I were also unable to take it, as we were heading north around the Cabot Trail to begin our honeymoon, Paul put his hand to his head and let out an exasperated sigh and quite honestly made a big deal about having to return the piano himself that day.
All in all, we were completely dissatisfied with the level of service, the food - the quality, the amount/inadequacy and that the choices we requested were not served, Paul’s organization (or complete lack thereof). But the biggest disappointment was Paul’s attitude and dishonesty/unethicalness in his dealings with us.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cabot Shores is a 4 season adventure wilderness resort and retreat centre on 55 acres along Indian Brook and the Atlantic and on the Cabot Trail of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Lodging includes: for 4 seasons-a Bistro restaurant in a 4 star lodge and chalets; a cedar yurt for all seasons; 3 Mongolian yurts; a unique cedar yurt, Japanese cedar ofuro soaking tubs, as well as a 4 bedroom farmhouse, a western yurt, Pacific dome, and wilderness camping. Activities include live music, guided hikes; canoe and kayak and yolo board rentals; boat tours; special events and conference locations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cabot Shores Retreat Hotel
- Cabot Shores Retreat Resort
- Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia