I had really looked forward to four nights in this historic building up in the back country of West Virginia. My high hopes weren't met..
On the positive, the location is lovely and the building has been renovated in the most important areas. Our host Noel was warm and hospitable and the source of several interesting conversations. The rugged scenery along Highway 52 is great for photography and out of doors enjoyment. The sound of the adjacent train track is minimal, and trains are not that frequent at night - the sound did not impair my sleep (I do use earplugs when travelling). The rooms have been decorated creatively and the owners' artwork collection is interesting (alhough likely not to everyone's taste). There is a nice outdoor patio upstairs, and a common room equipped with a computer that shows when a train is approaching.
There were significant con's, however. The biggest was that the property, while renovated in the right areas, has been allowed to run down. Inside, there were many cobwebs and dead insects. The place needed a good dusting and walls needed scrubbing. Outside, unfinished gardening projects, tools, and hoses lay everywhere. Painting and window repair can't wait much longer. The cleaning person appeared to accomplish very little other than enjoying her iPod. A peek in a back room while looking for some help with something left little confidence in the management's sense of tidiness or cleanliness. It would be nice to have a peaceful common area on the back of the building, away from the busy road and the train tracks.
Also, the rooms have not been set up with a thought to the guest experience. On arrival, there was a lovely assortment of fluffy towels on the bed….but no place to hang them. Similarly, the bed had an attractive assortment of decorative pillows…but no shelf or floor space for them when it was time to pull down the covers. There is nowhere to sit in the rooms if one doesn't enjoy the common areas. The bathrooms (across the hall in our case) had old style tubs with "200 Days of Summer" style shower curtains….pretty, but as the movie demonstrated, it's hard to keep one's balance when showering. The owners have friendly dogs and a cat, who were eager to be part of the hospitality….but if you have allergies or don't enjoy pet smells, be forewarned.
Breakfasts were continental, just cold items. Noel kept the coffee flowing but the muffins and croissants were grocery store quality.
For the first time ever, the side-of-the-interstate chain motel that we stayed in after leaving the Elkhorn Inn actually looked great.
Bottom line - the Elkhorn Inn has enormous potential but needs to do better. In its current condition, it's fine for a guy's week(end) away, be it train watching, hunting, or ATV'ing. But it is not up to a romantic B+B experience. I am certain my spouse would not enjoy it.
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