My Sonoma weekend getaway for 12 people from around the country was almost ruined by the owners of Black Sterling Vineyards.
I booked our stay in early January, after confirming multiple times that the property was available. At 2:19am the morning we were scheduled to check in, I received an email that the owner happened to notice someone else checking into the place the day before. Apparently, they had booked the place the previous July, so she felt the only fair thing to do would be to cancel our booking. She then proceeded to ask me if I could reschedule our trip for another time. (This was impossible since most of our group had flown in from out of state.)
While the owner did offer to call a few comparable properties, when I called her that morning after waking up, and again 2 hours later, and sent her 2 emails, her only response was to send me an email from someone else saying that their place was also booked.
When I finally reached her after my third call, to tell her we had found our own place, she claimed to have spent four hours looking, and to have found 4 comparable places at the same price. Hard to believe when I couldn't get hold of her all day.
I may have forgiven the entire event if she had started by first calling me immediately upon noticing the double booking (rather than emailing in the middle of the night), had already been prepared to offer me a few other places when we spoke, and offered some type of compensation. (Her only offer was an extra night if I booked with her again - no thank you.) In her defense, she did refund me that afternoon once we finally spoke.
My advice: if you do book here. Make sure you double, triple, and quadruple check that the property is not already booked before sending in your payment and getting your hopes up.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
As owner of the Black Sterling Villa, we take great care to never double book this luxury home, as we don't own a chain or string of franchise hotels which we may offer a guest accommodations in, should we be double booked--as this guest suggests she should have been offered.
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The facts, in this guests reservation:
The home was previously booked MONTHS prior to her LAST MINUTE weekend attempt to reserve the home. Within hours of receiving this guests rental agreement and check, we IMMEDIATELY returned her rental agreement AND check AND emailed her, and phoned her within 24 hours to notify her the home was already booked.
The review posted on tripadvisor makes it sound as if a group of girls purchased plane tickets and had their trip gone awry because black sterling was double booked, and nothing further could be from the truth. The fact of the matter is, this guest attempted to do a last minute reservation and the home was already booked. Further, even the review states, the home had been reserved since JULY for a January reservation, and our current rental calendar is updated daily and can be found at sonomawinecountryvacationhomes.com
Our rental agreement states:
Bookings are made on a first come, first serve basis so if the days/week(s) that you intend to book has been taken at the time Black Sterling Villa receives your deposit, your check will be promptly returned.
I personally returned this guests check and incomplete rental agreement, AND notified her via phone AND email with hours of receiving her check--- a quicker turnaround would not have been humanly possible.
The stunning Black Sterling Villa is frequently rented months in advance ( ie: January weekend was rented by someone in july).
I would encourage last minute renters to not mail checks and buy plane tickets last minute without checking our availability calendar online at
additionally, we do not accept credit cards, so we need to receive a check far enough in advance so that it has time to clear before a rental
We have never had two guests check in to the vineyard estate for the same week or weekend for a reason, ---we are very careful to NOT double book, something we frequently get overflow from--when other homes in napa and sonoma ARE double booked!
i am certain our guests appreciate our track record if never being double booked.
And while this reviewer is disappointed that she was not able stay at the vineyard estate, the fact is, her check was returned within 24 hours of our receipt---this guest had no reservation at the black sterling vineyard estate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.