Last weekend, a large group of friends went houseboating on Lake Shasta. Because there were so many of us, we rented two boats - one from Jones Valley Resort, and one from Silverthorn Resort. Jones Valley was a professional, courteous, and well-run organization.
Our experience with Silverthorn, however, was an absolute nightmare.
It began on the first day of our rental. Once our crew arrived at Silverthorn and loaded our gear onto the boat, we asked for the orientation and check-in, and were told that we should go wait on the boat and someone would be by in about 10 minutes. Two hours later, someone finally came by to help us get off the dock.
On the second day of our 3-day adventure, the boat simply wouldn't start. Again, we were forced to wait before a mechanic was able to come out and fix the engine - the exhaust pipe had come unattached.
However, the worst experience came when we returned the boat. With half of our group wanting to leave a day early, the Silverthorn houseboat was brought back to dock the day before it was due. Our crew scrambled to find hoses to wash mud from the floors (as instructed in our rental agreement). These could not be found on the boat, and numerous requests from the Silverthorn staff for assistance were ignored. After waiting over an hour for the hose to wash the floors, the crew asked how much we could expect to be charged if we simply left the floors muddy. They were told that we'd be charged $50, or perhaps up to $75, which seemed like a steep price, but rather than continue to wait, they chose to accept the charge instead.
When I returned the next day to finish the check-out, again it took nearly an hour to simply ring me up. When this was finally done, I was told that we would be assessed $450 for the muddy floors! I offered to clean the floors and was told no, that I was too late (although the floors has not yet been cleaned, the manager insisted that she needed her crew to do the job properly). We offered to pay even $150, but the manager would not budge on this issue. So I'll be disputing the charge on my card.
On the way out, I had a conversation with the staff who had made the $50-75 estimate the day before. I asked her to please write up a quick statement acknowledging the estimate she had made, and she said, "no problem, I write these up all the time." I thanked her for her help, and said that I hoped this episode didn't impact her adversely, she commented, "whatever, they only pay us $8 / hour, so we don't really care about this stuff." That attitude, from the Silverthorn in general, seemed to be prevailing.
I recommend houseboating on Lake Shasta for a wonderful, relaxing experience. But if you choose Silverthorn, be prepared for headaches.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Silverthorn Resort is the destination for your Shasta Lake Houseboat adventure. With four houseboat models available, from the luxuriously appointed Queen I houseboat to the more quaint atmosphere of our Executive Houseboat we have options for just about every crowd. For the less nautically inclined, nestled in the pines, Silverthorn Resort cabins are ideal for those planning the perfect getaway or Family Reunion. There are eight cabins ranging from studios that sleep 4 up to two bedrooms that sleep up to 8. We also have a handicapped-accessible unit—please ask for details. Each cabin offers a cozy, rustic atmosphere with convenient kitchens, patios, gas barbecues, and more. Our cabins are a short stroll from the Silverthorn Marina and the Pizza and Pub. During your stay, plan on a lake adventure aboard one of our Patio Boats or Ski Boats. One boat slip is provided with each cabin rental. Additional slips can be provided based on availability. ... more less