My wife and I received a very thoughtful gift from our son: a weekend stay at a bed and breakfast in beautiful Auburn, California My wife and I have stayed at several B&B’s in Northern California and the visits have always left us with fond memories of warm, welcoming facilities, innkeepers with an obvious passion for hospitality, and locales which were deserving of picture postcards, so we were excited about the trip. Then we visited Power’s Mansion Inn in Auburn.
We pulled in around 6pm on a Friday evening and parked in the lot next to the Inn. We proceeded through the gates and were surprised to find the entire historic inn surrounded by plastic artificial lawn with numerous artificial plants. Hmm, Astroturf at a B&B . . . odd. Okay, we thought. Maybe grass or groundcover doesn’t grow in Auburn. Yeh, that’s it. Next, we attempted to find where to check in. There were no visible signs, or paths to an entrance. And there wasn’t a soul to be found. So we started trying doors: first door was locked. The next door was locked; however there was a sign on the door which instructed guests to call a number if no one was around. Hmm, odd welcome for a B&B, but we called the number. We were connected to a voice mailbox which proclaimed the message: “mailbox is full.” Hmm, really odd. I try calling again, and someone answers – I presume the innkeeper, although he didn’t identify himself as such. He tells me he is over at “the pub” setting up for an event and will send someone over. Shortly, a couple of individuals arrive and let us in. One of the individuals – a nice young lady – checks us in and explains a few things. She shows us the kitchen and informs us that we may use the refrigerator for personal items since the rooms don’t have fridges, and she mentioned we can use the ice from the freezer. She then takes us to room number nine.
We enter the room and were utterly underwhelmed. It was a very small, very dark room with very cheap looking furnishings. The end tables were 3-legged particle board tables you get at Bed Bath & Beyond for $6 with wrinkled plain tablecloths, the bed was low to the floor because the mattress was thin and hard and low quality. The carpet was spongy (It later felt wet when we walked upon it without shoes). The attached bathroom was equally underwhelming. The floor was old dirty, stained, and torn linoleum. The clawfoot tub had been painted (poorly), the one small shelf over the sink was glass and was cracked and was hanging precariously from the wall. The bathroom door squeeked horrible – not great for your spouse when you get up in the middle of the night and don’t want to disturb them. The doorknob didn’t work properly. The tub/shower controls pounded every time we used them, and adjusting the water temp to avoid scalding and/or freezing was a chore. The Inn provided no bar soap, nor any place to put soap or shampoo while in the tub/shower. I tried using the soft soap dispenser that was provided for showering, but it became slippery and I dropped it the tub. It was ceramic and shattered into jagged shards. Nothing like picking up pieces of broken ceramic while you’re showering. We later went to the store to buy some bar soap and get a replacement soft soap dispenser (plastic, not ceramic). Note: plastic is a good choice for use in a shower. Plastic is not a good choice for landscaping. The one window in the room had a cheap room-darkening roll-up blind covering the whole window. It didn’t roll up. It just stayed down, permanently darkening the room rendering the room more a musty dungeon than a bright, cheerful room like you would expect in a B&B. The room was filthy. The tops of baseboards were dirty. Our socks got dirty from the floor. The entire room needed a paint job. Even something as trivial as the door peep hole was unsatisfactory. It was mounted so high that anyone under 5’9” would need a stool to look out. There was an obvious and utter lack of attention to detail.
I understand that the Inn is historic, i.e., old, so some features aren’t going to be up-to-date and new, but what we encountered had nothing to do with age. The innumerable shortcomings we encountered were more a reflection of an emphasis on cost control and not on guest satisfaction. It was beyond disappointing how badly this “B&B” compared to all the others we have stayed at. This Inn wasn’t a work of love by the owners (like we’ve seen at other B&B’s). It was a way for someone to make money.
After spending Saturday hiking in the area, we returned to the Inn to freshen up. We find the place being used as the venue for a wedding. In theory it would seem like a good place: cute gazebo and a grassy enclosed outdoor area for guests in Auburn, California. Unfortunately, the walkway around the gazebo was in disrepair with numerous tripping hazards (hope the bride doesn’t fall), and grass was plastic. Nice, it you’re looking for that kind of thing, I guess. As paying guests of the inn, what we got out of the wedding was a bunch of noisy wedding guests immediately outside our room (our room door lead outside and faced the gazebo), and empty beers can on our walk. It was gross.
But wait, it gets better. We entered our room to find that the bed was unmade. The towels were changed, but nothing else was done. Pretty odd for a B&B, but given what we had seen, not wholly unexpected. We needed to get some ice for a water bottle we used on the hike – maybe two cups of ice would be fine, not a cooler full. So, remembering what we were told at check-in, we headed over to the kitchen. There we found a woman preparing something on the counter. I asked the woman if I could get some ice. She gruffly responds that it’s not for guests! She needs it. I tell her about the instructions I received upon check-in, and she huffs something to the effect that the staff shouldn’t be telling guests that! Then she instructs be to hike across the parking lot to the pub next door to get ice from their ice machine. I persist and she grudgingly parts with 2 cups of ice. Unbelievable.
Another highlight (facetious) of our visit was the breakfast experience. All the guests are herded into the bar/restaurant across the parking lot at the same time: 9:00am – don’t sleep in and miss it (facetious). What you are served is anything but a B&B breakfast experience. You sit in a bar with TV’s blaring at 9 in the morning and are served greasy hash browns, greasy sausage, greasy bacon, greasy French toast, reconstituted orange juice, and stone cold quiche. No fruit, nothing fresh. It was as if I was eating at a truck stop in the 1950’s. And just to add to the ambiance, the window I’m sitting next to was caked with black mold. Yummy. It was disgusting. We got breakfast elsewhere the next day.
Upon completing our stay, feeling extremely shortchanged, I checked out. I informed the woman who assisted us – the only person present at check-out – that we were utterly dissatisfied with the experience, and that many serious shortcomings needed to be corrected (like black mold, no soap, wet spongy carpets, non-working window blinds, etc.) as they were safety and sanitation issues. The woman listened, and I checked out. I thought this crummy weekend experience was over. I was wrong.
Within about 15 minutes of driving away from the inn, my cell phone rings. My wife answers because I’m driving. He says he is the owner of Powers Inn. He immediately starts berating me and my wife for informing his employee of all the problems we had. He actually starts yelling at my wife! He says I should have talked to him about the problems. Well, I would have, if he was there. He wasn’t. I never met the guy. Not at check-in, not during the stay, and not at check-out. For a bed and breakfast, that is unheard of! Unbelievable.
This experience was awful. Everything about it. I strongly urge anyone considering staying at this place to find something else. The problems I encountered were clearly not flukes so your experience is likely to fall way short of the standards set by other properties. Don't be deceived by suspiciously high ratings.
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- Also Known As:
- Power`s Mansion Hotel Auburn