The 5-star reviews are all accurate: cleanliness, beautiful buildings and grounds, idyllic setting. The innkeeper, Dale, and the housekeeping staff were terrific. If my husband and I had been given the room actually booked, there is no doubt this review would have been yet another glowing one. I am posting this review under both the Aurora Inn and E.B. Morgan House, because I reserved a room at the former and ended up in the latter. Their employee couldn’t keep them straight, and we paid the price for his mistake. Before the details, here is the bottom line: If you decide to stay at one of these properties, and if you have an interest in a particular room, read your entire confirmation letter carefully; and be aware that should the actions of the inn’s employees result in an unwelcome change of travel plans for you, management is there for themselves, not you. In Feb. 2011, I bought a seemingly great deal through LivingSocial, but here’s the real deal. Before the purchase, I visited the website to see the accommodations. There was a luxurious king suite. Once I made the purchase, I spoke with Aurora Inn’s employee, Steven, and told him that was the room I wanted. He told me it was a very popular room and everyone wanted it. Because of that, he said we would have to book into the following year. That was okay with me; it looked well worth the 13-month wait, and we agreed upon the dates of March 29 & 30 of 2012. I printed the confirmation sent to me from the address “reservations@Aurora-Inn.com” and the subject line, bold print, “Aurora Inn Confirmation.” Flash forward 13 months, and the anticipated time arrives. When I called the innkeeper with our arrival time, she made an offhanded reference to “over there.” When I asked what she meant, she referenced E.B. Morgan House. I told her, no, we are staying at the Aurora Inn, room 7. She told me we were booked in room 7 at E.B. Morgan. She then went on to tell me that someone was already in room 7 at the Aurora Inn. She didn’t know what to do for us and so would have the general manager call us. Instead, we received the following email: “I’ve looked up the confirmation Steven sent you and it was for the E.B. Morgan room 7, not the Aurora Inn king suite room 7. The Aurora Inn room 7 was actually booked a week prior to you booking this reservation with Steven so it wouldn’t have been possible to have put you in the king suite. I am so sorry that you thought you were coming into that room but I promise we’ll do all we can to make you enjoy your stay with us,” etc . . . So right away, the inn’s offensive position put us in a defensive position. I can’t begin to speculate what/how/why their ex-employee Steven did what he did, but he and I never even discussed the possibility of the E.B. Morgan House, period. If you check out the websites of these properties and compare the two different number 7’s, you can see there is no comparison. Since I was dealing with a fairly small property and I had called with a room already selected, I did not read the fine print in the middle of the above-referenced confirmation letter where I discovered it did indeed say E.B. Morgan Room 07. My mistake for not reading beyond the Aurora Inn Confirmation subject line, but I had sought out and discussed only one particular room, and it never occurred to me that things could go so wrong. In light of the efforts my husband and I had both made to make this trip happen, we decided to go anyway. We hoped that the general manager would address the situation. That was not the case. She did eventually call that evening and left a voice message while we were at dinner. The whole fiasco was so disappointing and frustrating that we decided to concentrate on our time together and to deal with the unpleasant circumstance with the accommodations once we were back home. When my husband did speak with the GM, her position was adversarial. She kept asking what we wanted, as though we were in negotiations. She suggested that had we called her back, she would have bought us dinner. She certainly could have made arrangements for that before our check-in. For a service industry operation, there was a lack of knowledge of how to handle a mistake like this. They put the responsibility on us. Luckily, in our years of travel and stays at many inns, b&b’s, and hotels, nothing like this has ever happened; in other words, we have never been switched, downgraded, and/or treated this way. The question is, why would we wait 13 months for a room that was likely available close to the time of the original purchase and during fairer times of the year? Why would we go to the expense (pet sitter, time off from work, etc) and effort of visiting a tiny town on a lake in March if there wasn’t something very special about the destination? Why would I book a room I didn’t want in the first place; what would I possibly gain by that? The inn’s GM would only deflect these inquiries by saying the inn was completely booked for that March weekend (silly us to think that winter is just as grand lakeside as spring or summer!) and that the E.B. Morgan room was very nice (we should be grateful for the substitution?). She even said they’d made an exception in booking the room for us on a Friday night since the LivingSocial deal was supposed to be for weeknights. I believe we must have let them down with our lack of gratitude for these favors. What really would have been appropriate is acknowledgement of the mistake and acceptance of responsibility on the part of their former employee, expressing regret for the inconvenience and disappointing turn of events, and then setting it straight. It should be no mystery to anyone in the service industry as to how to do that. It’s likely anyone reading this would understand the care and energy that goes into planning a trip. There is an expectation that the professionals involved in these plans hold up their end of the bargain, and hopefully they value your business. This inn is only an hour from my house. It could have become a special destination for my husband and me, a place where we could come for a quick getaway, a place to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary, a place that we could confidently recommend to friends, family, and colleagues. Our experience has insured that none of this will happen.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.