My husband and I booked a room here with a shared bathroom months ago - we did our research in advanced based on this innkeepers response to a previous bad review, and the room we booked was the only room in our price range for a week-long stay that we thought would be great for us. After calling TWICE to confirm our reservation (because we still didn't receive a confirmation email two weeks after booking), imagine our surprise to arrive and learn that we'd somehow been booted from our room and booked in another that was really not our cup of tea. Apparently a computer glitch - we're STILL waiting for an apology.
Rather than give us the room we reserved (the other people had not yet checked in, and our confirmation emails from early July - we had two because we were charged the wrong rate initially) we were told we booked the other room (which clearly we did not), and finally were offered an upgrade to the Hideaway Suite for two nights. We would have to move to the room we did not like for the rest of our week long vacation. The innkeepers were not onsite and the staff, while very friendly and nice, were not empowered to help us and played middleman on the phone the entire time. That first day we'd asked about possibilities of moving into different rooms (something I think we should have been offered at the get go) but didn't hear anything back on this until it was time to check out of our "upgrade" and we asked again (The comped upgrade room was really big but, not so nice - the B&B's storage area was out in the open, there was sawdust in the bed, and no shower curtain on the bathtub - which was lovely).
The innkeeper was still not onsite, so we basically spent half a day of our vacation haggling through a middleman (in the public breakfast space), packing, moving and unpacking. During this time we were basically lied to about the price of the "upgrade" for the other room; we were told the room was going to be another $100 per night, when the price listed on the site (while we spoke with her) listed it at $40/night more than we paid on weeknights and $89 more on weekends. Still no apology, and we were pressured to make decisions right away. We expressed our discontent even further with the staff onsite, and she was able to get us an additional $50 discount. woop-de-do. but we took the room because we didn't want to be in the room we hated and knew we wouldn't get any refund based on discussion other guests were having with the middleman in public. i even told the staff person that at this point i was so upset about the situation that i wanted to check out and get a refund.
The more expensive room we moved to was fine, though the private bath was not so private (there were closet doors separating the room from the bathroom, so you could hear everything going on in there... ) and i get the sense that there was a cat in there (or so my allergies and black pants covered in animal hair suggest). Word to the wise, The Heritage Room gets a little noisy in the mornings with breakfast, despite the fan in the room; I suspect is attempted noise cancelling. My husband and I concur that this room - to us, at least - was not worth the price we'd paid. We didn't complain because we felt we'd already caused enough trouble and seemed to get nothing but excuses when we expressed discontent in general. They did come to service the room regularly; though we returned twice to find our door unlocked with all of our valuables inside (it was a bit tricky and needed to be pulled to click shut, which is understandable, it happens with older homes).
It also made me uncomfortable that the inn charged our credit card the new balance we had to pay for the upgrade without our authorization. We planned to pay this in cash. We returned home to discover that the balance that we paid in cash in person when we arrived onsite was also charged to our credit card. We had difficulty reaching the innkeeper via phone or email for a while. Eventually and thankfully this was resolved within 24 hours, but we wish that errors like this weren’t made in the first place.
All in all, this is not a great experience for us. We any not typically hard to please - I’ve never written a poor review in my life - and we understand how tricky it must be for a small business B&B on LBI right now - we do, and that's why we decided to vacation in NJ this year despite it being much more expensive than an all inclusive resort in Mexico. But this level of incompetence is just unacceptable. We won't be coming back to the Island Guest House ever. Good customer service and customer care goes way beyond being friendly and nice. When you make a mistake - whatever the reason - you need to fix it right away - the onus is on the person providing service.
To end on a positive note: Breakfasts and tea were OK - nothing gourmet, and a lot of Betty Crocker going on, but the egg dishes were very nice and there was variety every morning; again the staff was friendly; they include wifi, beach passes and have chairs and bikes on site that you can use. Loved the front porch area and there's a nice outdoor seating area where we were able to sit with some visitors in the evening. Very close to the beach and all the good stuff in Beach Haven.
Nonetheless we wouldn't recommend this place. We didn't let it ruin our time in LBI - we ate our weight in fresh scallops and peanut butter ice cream, visited the lighthouse and state park, hung out on the beach, and we even saw dolphins while we were there. :) Come to LBI, but think twice about this B&B.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Island Guest House has been Voted the Best Bed & Breakfast on Long Beach Island. It is a turn-of-the-century historic Inn, located oceanside in the heart of Beach Haven, New Jersey. You can walk to everything. The owners, Mark and Joanne, work hard to make you comfortable, and provide the lovely setting, ambience, and character that a 100 year old plus Inn affords, updated with modern amenities like WIFI, flat screen TV, A/C, etc. Some rooms have private decks, his/hers double size shower. Our bicycle-for-two is fun and lightweight beach chairs, boogie boards and outside enclosed shower to rinse off are convenient. Taste homemade breakfast and afternoon refreshments like cakes and cookies from family recipies, and iced tea or lemonade to quench your thirst after the beach. Enjoy coffee 24 hours, and chat with the Innkeepers about things to do in the area. Come and experience the restfulness of our Bed and Breakfast Inn! Couples can get away, and there is an area for well behaved children. We also have a cottage with gas fireplace and bathtub with jacuzzi jets that sleeps 4, and accepts dogs of a not-too-large, well behaved nature. Families and friends can find accommodations for up to 10 in their party. Our Sea Glass room is new, holds 36, and has a large flat screen TV for movie night or a special game or event. Our garden has 10 umbrella tables and over 300 blooms, has a lighted patio and candles in the evening. With lights shinging through the many stained glass windows in the Inn, it is a perfect place to gather and chat, or be secluded together any time. Our cafe kitchen with its large island is a favorite place for guests to feel welcome to come and perch and chat with the Innkeeper over a cup of coffee or treat, or watch us prepare goodies. You can even get a recipe or help! We try to provide assistance without hovering, being sensitive to your needs to relax, and get information when you need it by always being available. We carry our phone with us always even at night when we retire. Throughout our stay, we only ask that if you have any questions or needs, to let us know, because we cannot help you if you wait untill checkout. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Island Guest House Bed And Breakfast Inn Long Beach Island, NJ - Beach Haven