Dinner and Breakfast at the Inn 4*; Accommodations 3.5*; Service Experience 1* = Overall 3*
We got a gift certificate for Lambert’s Cove Inn and decided to make use of it for our 1 year wedding anniversary, during labor day weekend. This would also be our first time to Martha’s Vineyard. Excited about the trip, we booked our hotel 5.5 months in advance, made ferry reservations, etc. Five months later (i.e. 2 weeks before our trip), we called the Inn to make dinner reservations at the restaurant for that weekend. The person we spoke to couldn’t find our hotel reservation and said she’d look into it and call us back. In the meantime, I forwarded her the confirmation email we received. Shortly thereafter, we received a call from the owner, Scott. This was at 12:37pm, and what occurred over the next hour and a half over the course of four phone conversations was one of the most ridiculous customer service experiences of my life.
12:37pm – Scott calls and is perfectly nice, apologizing and explaining that our reservation was not in the system, did we send in the gift certificate? I said we weren’t asked to, and then he said there was some issue and our reservation got partially processed (some envelope got printed or something), but it wasn’t put into the system for some reason, and someone else had now booked the room. And the employee who handled it was no longer there. He offered to upgrade us to the honeymoon suite (Hamptons) but it wasn’t available the first night so we’d have to stay in Sanibel and then move to Hamptons for two nights. The room we originally booked was the Winchester room, but again was now booked by someone else. This sounded like a reasonable alternative, but we needed to check the rooms on the website first (we were also getting ready for a friend’s wedding that afternoon). So we said we’d call him back.
12:43pm – We did call back, but just to check what rooms were available for the entire three night period, since we didn’t feel like changing rooms. We were told Sanibel and Chesapeake.
1:54pm – (now en route to our friend’s wedding, which is a 2-hour drive away) We called to say we don’t like the room options they gave us. We chose the Winchester because of the tub and the deck, and none of the options they gave us have both. Since we booked the room first, we asked them to contact the other guest and move them instead. At this point Scott started to sound annoyed with us, and informed us that the jets in the Winchester room were not functional, and that we should be aware of that. I put him on hold and was discussing with my husband, but we were being indecisive and then asked Scott if we could call him back (so we didn’t keep him on hold while we discussed). Scott then went from annoyed to irritated, stating he couldn’t keep holding all these rooms for us while we decided, and that if someone else called to book the rooms he’d have to sell them. I then replied saying that we hadn’t asked him to hold ANY rooms for us, and that we would call back once we made a decision. Mind you, this is an hour and 20 mins since the issue was discovered, and we’re in the midst of going to a wedding. It’s not like we’d been talking about the issue for over an hour and couldn’t decide. Also, even if we had, if we’re spending $300+/night on a room and it’s our anniversary, I think we have a right to be a bit indecisive.
2:14pm – After discussing for about 15 mins and looking up photos of the rooms online from the car, we were about ready to call the Inn back with our decision, but they beat us to it. Scott called to say that the best option was for them to refund our money and the gift certificate amount, because we obviously were not happy with any of the options. Ordinarily this would have been a welcome option, given that we don’t want to patronize businesses with this kind of service attitude. However, that would require us to find another B&B on the vineyard with less than 2 weeks notice, and ultimately would cause more work for us. When we said this, Scott went from irritated to pissy, and that’s putting it nicely. He said he was doing everything he could, and couldn’t move the other guests because they had a longer stay (i.e. were spending more money), and he clearly couldn’t make us happy (forgetting the fact that this was THEIR mistake and he should be trying to rectify it rather than yell at us). He even said I was upset about not being able to bring a bottle of wine to the restaurant (during my first call I asked if they allowed us to bring wine for a corkage fee and the answer was no due to liquor license laws, which is perfectly understandable). I have no idea how in 90 minutes we went from having a pleasant conversation to him basically saying they don’t want us at the Inn. My husband stepped in and asked him to calm down, explained that we were on our way to a wedding and this was an unexpected stress for us. Incredibly, Scott replied with “Well this has been stressful for us too.” Seriously? You run an inn. You should be able to handle these types of issues in a calm, professional manner. Anyway, in the end we ended up agreeing to take the Sanibel room (had tub with jets, but no deck). After we hung up the phone, both of us said out loud, “Wow, that guy is such an (@#$@)!”
I fully expect a defensive response from the owners about how we were such difficult guests, they couldn’t please us, and some people you just can’t win with, blah blah blah. That’s how they seem to respond to other guests’ negative reviews on Tripadvisor. I’m not sure where Scott learned his customer service skills, but I’m pretty sure the solution to an unhappy customer is not yelling at them and trying to kick them out of your establishment.
Anyway our stay there was uneventful. We had a wonderful time at dinner - service at dinner was much better than we expected, though I found most of the meats a bit too tough (I ordered medium rare). Breakfast was much nicer than the usual B&B fare and the staff were nice if not a bit forgetful about some of the things we asked for. Our room was fine, though we found it to be a bit too dark even during the day. And the bathroom had the closet inside it, which was strange, especially since extra blankets and pillows were stored there. Overall, we wouldn’t stay there again, primarily because of the rudeness of the Inn owner.