My wife and I stayed at the Black Swan Inn August 21 through 24, 2008. Overall, our stay was disappointing.
We had just driven 3 hours to attend a weekend conference in the area, and upon our arrival, we were greeted by the Innkeeper who had been cleaning the basement. She then proceeded to tell us all about a recent lighting hit, which flooded her basement, blew out all her TV sets and computers, and that she wasn't sure about what reservations she had booked for us since all her data was destroyed. This went on for quite a while, and included a discussion about her Ukrainian exchange students/housekeepers, and the fact that one of them was leaving soon, due to her visa expiring unexpectedly, but we'll get back to the help later.
After this seemingly unending discussion, we were then invited (forced) to take a tour of the house. When we entered the main sitting room, we immediately noticed an antique side couch with a note placed on it that read, please don't sit here. We were then told that an antique piece of furniture which was picked up an a yard sale, was appraised at thousands of dollars. We then noticed all the water damage and peeling paint on the ceilings from recent water leaks, and renovation projects underway in every room like stripped wallpaper revealing some very old stenciling, and how laborious it is removing the paint chips one chip at a time. We endured about 15 minutes of detailed explanations, until we were finally saved by the bell, literally, when someone called to inquire about a room. The hostess then simply took the call in the middle of our tour, and left us standing there in amazement at her decision to attend to a potential new guest rather than devote her undivided attention to an existing guest. In any case, we took advantage of the diversion and immediately began unpacking our car in hopes she would finally show us our room and we'd get to relax. She finally returned and proceeded to show us the rooms in the main house. Much to our disappointment, none of the available rooms in the main house met our agreed upon requirements of either having air conditioning in the bedroom or en-suite baths for the agreed upon price. One room she showed us required us to share the hall bath with her, which we declined, and the other room had an air conditioner in the bathroom, which would have to be relied upon to cool the bedroom as well, which we also declined. Once we expressed our concerns, the Innkeeper proceeded to show us the "suites" in the separate carriage house, which she felt would meet our needs, although at an additional cost.
Both rooms in the carriage house were quite dark due to the dark stained wood paneling but the one we chose was the least dark of the two, and had a living room with a small sink, a couch and a tiny TV, separated by a door from the bedroom which was without television but had the window AC. Shortly after we moved in, my wife noticed the coffee maker in the shared hallway, hadn't been cleaned since who knows when, and there was mold floating on the surface of the left over coffee. She also noticed a dirty bath towel was hanging on the hinge of the door which closed off the living room from the bedroom. Since the door was typically left open, you wouldn't know there was a towel there unless you closed the door while sitting in the living room. The window air conditioner in the bedroom had an on/off switch, but no temperature control. It must have been from the early days of air conditioner invention. I decided to inspect the air filter, and sure enough, it hadn't been cleaned in quite some time, so I decided to clean it myself, to save our lungs from breathing polluted air should the need arise to use the unit.
We were looking forward to watching the Beijing Olympics during our stay, but the TV set was a 1970s vintage 13 inch model, connected to cable, so it was painful to watch from across the room on the couch which smelled musty. We did have good wi-fi access, so that was a plus, but it was not a secure router, so forget about online banking.
My wife was awakened in the middle of the night by the upstairs tenants that apparently live above the suites, but we were never told of their existence.
Breakfast was served promptly at 7:15 AM at our request, and although we felt they did go above and beyond to meet our early breakfast needs, and the food was good, we were given no choice of breakfast. Each morning had a different breakfast entree, and we didn't have any issues with the quality or quantity, just the lack of options.
On the second day of our visit, I arrived at the room around 2:30 PM after a day of sight-seeing, only to find my room hadn't been cleaned, and the coffee pot was still a science project, even though my wife had specifically asked it be cleaned while we were at breakfast. I immediately proceeded to the main house, and met with one of the Ukrainian housekeepers, and inquired why my room hadn't been cleaned. Her reply, "I thought the other girl did it!". They did come by about 10 minutes later and finally cleaned both rooms, so our neighbors in the other suite benefited as well.
On the last afternoon of our stay, the inn owner asked one of her Ukrainian housekeepers to escort a potential guest to our room, and ask us if she could show our room to the guest. I reluctantly agreed, to the shock of my wife, but found this practice to be extremely tacky and invasive.
In summary, we won't ever be returning to the Black Swan Inn, and will be looking for accommodations elsewhere in the future. Our overall impression is that not enough attention to detail is given to the guest rooms, or the guests for that matter, and too much attention is being given to restoring the main rooms of the house and furnishing it with antiques that might please the innkeepers, but intimidate the guests.
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