I will begin by saying I really like this place. It is old-school, and I hope they keep it this way, but they need to put effort into training staff who are nice, but misinformed about many of the hotel policies and gives the place a feeling like no one knows what 's going on. Solage is mentioned in several reviews in contrast a few times, and it is entirely different, so hard to compare. This was my family's first stay with our young daughter.
It feels a bit like there is no one at the helm, and there are a few reasons for this:
The problems from #1 merely annoying, to #2 which was significant enough to make me not want to return:
1. All of the staff seem to have a different idea of what the hotel policies are. Can you have one guest join you at the pool, or is there a guest charge? On the website, it says one guest may join. On the information sheet the check-in agent gives you, it says there is a charge for that one person, but it's not stated elsewhere. I will say that one staff member allowed us 3 passes since they were not busy. That's a common-sense approach to rules that I wish more establishments would take note of.
2. Booking. Indian Springs is a popular place to stay. When you try to book, one can only put in exact dates to see if there is anything available. I easily spent 45 minutes inputting various dates to see if I could find anything since our travel dates were flexible. Considering the small size of the resort, they should switch to a calendar-style of booking so that you can see at-a-glance what combination of days is available, or at-a-glance what stretches of time are booked so that you don't waste time checking every combination of days that might work. Of course one could call, and I did, and that, too took forever. Even large NYC hotels use the calendar method of booking.
3. Most importantly, and the reason for the title of my review, is that none of the staff seem to be able to agree what the property-wide policy is for smoking. We had cottage 11, and in cottage 10, which is attached with only a lattice screen between the porches of the two, there was a man who constantly was smoking a cigar. Considering the heat, we left our doors and windows open for a draft and our cottage ended up smelling of cigar. I asked the front desk what the policy was for smokers, and was told it was a smoke-free resort, and there was one area that people could smoke in away from the accommodations and that they would immediately talk to the guy in 10. Great. Next day, the guy was smoking away again. With us on our "porch", we were 2 feet away from him. I called the front desk and was told that the previous person I spoke with was wrong, and that smoking IS permitted on porches. No one called to tell me this change; thank god I didn't say something directly to the man. I was told the laws were different in Calistoga from the Bay Area, and that you can smoke anywhere. On check-out, Rosa asked if everything with our stay was good. I said Yes, except for their backwards policy on smoking. Rosa said "Oh, we have a resort-wide no-smoking policy - 30-40 feet from any hotel room or cottage". I'm not sure what 30-40 meant, is it one or the other?
The nightly cigar smoke was so frankly disgusting, and the lack of any kind of pro-active leadership lacking really turned me off. I want like this place!
To sum, it's run a bit like a family campground, with a lot of rules, some great (like the quiet-time mentioned on the information), some not so great at all (#3, smoking policy). The pool, it's raison d'être, is great, and is the main reason to go, especially since they now don't allow anyone but hotel guests to use it.
I really hope management fixes some of these problems. The place deserves it.
If you have a choice and it fits your budget, choose one of the cottages. Know that you will share a...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.