Took my husband, who is from a seacoast town on another continent, to Block Island so he could be by the water for his birthday. Block Island is a lovely, lovely escape, but unfortunately our inn did not live up to expectations. I would not recommend staying here, for several reasons, primarily safety, decor, and comfort/service.
Safety: there is no front desk at the Inn (it is associated with another inn next door, where you check in) and thus no one monitoring entrance from the outside. You enter through a side door on a side street. This door has a lock but the lock sticks in the open position - this may be intentional because our room key did not turn the lock. So, a good tug and you're in. Ditto the interior doors to the hotel rooms - very rickety and a good shake would pull one open. Because this hotel is on the main drag and lots of late night merriment goes on, there is the potential for compromised safety.
Decor: most Block Island inns look great from the outside with lovely grey shingled siding. You tend to expect charming older interiors. You come to Block Island for a relaxing, charming get-away. However, the Water Street Inn was not charming, just dingy and depressing on the inside, just like I'd imagine a bare-light-bulb $29 motel in the middle of nowhere, rather than a $200+/night Inn. Starting at the utilitarian side door, you enter to grimy steps that take you to a crooked landing that has a square of cheap (very cheap) faux-wood laminate flooring. Next is a dreary, sticky indoor-outdoor type carpeting in a dark green. Floorboards beneath the carpet feel spongy, and in the main hall of the 2nd floor, there's a big section of the carpet that's been poorly patched.
The door to our room, # 1, was dinged and fit poorly into the facings, with a damaged rubber strip at the lock where someone has tried to open the door . . . . without a key. Cheap paneling with ill-fitting chair-rail (splintered where an amateur used a saw) continues from the hall, along with the tired carpet, into the hotel room. Floor molding is used in the corners to conceal bad cuts, I guess. I notice because I own an old house and know what goes into a renovation.
Once in the room, the first thing I saw was a triangular burn mark in the carpet, obviously from an iron, on the floor next to an outlet. My sweet husband took one look around and patted my shoulder and said, "Don't feel bad -- we're not here to spend time in the room -- we want to be out and about. It's not that bad."
There's an open cubbyhole near the front door for hanging clothes, but the rod wasn't sturdy enough to hold all our clothes. Extra pillows are actually balanced on the rod itself. There's an old ironing board but no iron. There's no shelf so there's no place to lay anything down - we opened our suitcases and spread them out on the floor.
The main feature of the room is an unattractive white metal fridge topped with a microwave and on top of that is a coffee maker. A white pyramid of appliances. A basket with some coffee & filters balances there.
These are not housed in a cupboard or armoire as would befit an historic Inn, but out in the room, crowded up against a nice dresser. Just like in your basement rec room.
The mirror on the dresser has been shoved into the corner to make room for an oversized TV that only gets a few static-filled channels. Towels are stacked on the rest of the dresser because there's no place for towels in the bathroom -- remember this when you go in, or you'll find yourself staggering around groping for nonexistent towels. More on the towels later.
Faded posters in metal frames are the only decor -- most are off center -- the one above the bed was oddly crammed next to the window rather than centered over the bed. A grim green couch takes one corner, with a shaky coffee table made of rustic wrought iron and distressed boards in the center. Limp dark green curtains are the only thing that match -- they are the same color as the velour couch. The bed's headboard, meanwhile, looks like an "unfinished furniture" special, and between the bed and the couch is a cheap Queen Anne style side table. A ceramic lamp with a dented and grimy lampshade and an opened and partly used box of tisses are on the side table along with an ugly black plastic fan that I happen to know costs $8 at WalMart. There is no clock. We bought a clock. I don't remember a phone but we of course used our cell phones. The wireless internet access advertised comes with a daily fee that was not advertised.
The bathroom is closed by a louvered door with a rusty screen-door handle. The fittings are cheap, but the toilet works well and the water pressure is okay. Our bathroom had dark stains above the shower stall, obviously from a leak in the bathroom above as the ceilings are too high to get damp from the shower. The shower/bath stall is flimsy plastic and ours was chipped in several places on the sides and bottom -- didn't know that was possible with plastic. Broken tiles poorly repaired, odd mismatched wooden panels with wierd combinations of towel bars and hooks, broken plaster, and a cheap unframed mirror that was corroded in spots along the bottom complete the bathroom decor.
The carpet felt sticky so we bought new flipflops for wearing inside. Worst, several of the rough towels, while clean, were GREY. Others were bright white - we used those. Yuck. Likewise, the duvet was clean but the comforter inside was wierdly lumpy. We didn't use it. The sheets seemed clean. The bed was springy so that when one of us moved, the other was bounced awake.
The overall look is exactly like a basement room where cast-off and mismatched furniture have been pushed into place to make an emergency guest room for teenagers. I wouldn't bother to go into such detail, nor would I care if it were charming old, worn decor -- but this is cheap, tacky, and unprofessionally done.
A/C is hard to come by in Block Island and I thought that it would cool down at night -- it did. Outside. Strolling around was wonderful in the evening. Our room, with three windows, could not raise a cross draft and remained an oven. We made use of the ceiling fan. Other rooms do have a/c, but you don't get a/c AND a view! One or the other, and we came to be by the water, so we lived with being hot. Our choice. And we stayed out of our room as much as possible -- between the decor, the stuffiness, the uncomfortable couch, and the sticky floor, we made the most of the long evening hours and came in only to sleep.
As for service: checkout is 10 am, which is a bit early. We accepted that because the hotel touts its "storing your luggage" capability that we planned to use on the day we checked out. Guess what: the luggage room is a few shelves outside the hotel laundry room. The desk staff do not lock it in a bell room nor do they monitor it. Now, I don't expect a hotel to be liable for the contents, but if they advertise that they can store your luggage after you check out, they need to put it in a safe place like a bell room. Anyone could have walked out with our bags. Luckily, I had noticed lockers in the dock area at the visitor center operated by the Chamber of Commerce. The ladies there are incredibly sweet and helpful with the lockers. Use them for your smaller bags. Another family chose to load their car up rather than leave their luggage in the laundry room.
Be aware that the Inn is above a restaurant and is right on the main street. It's loud late at night if you face the water. There's no view if you don't.
We had been booked at the main hotel, the Harborside Inn, but were called and told our room had been double-booked and that we'd been moved to the Water Street Inn for a room at the same cost. The continental breakfast, though, does not come with rooms at the Water Street Inn. The bonus was, they said, that the Water Street Inn "has nicer rooms than the main hotel, so you've lucked out!"
Finally . . . I wanted to mail a postcard. I took it to the desk in the main lobby and asked if they had a mail slot in the building. . The woman at the desk looked up from her paperback and said "NO." Now, every hotel I have ever stayed at has taken my mail and offered to post it for me. But, okay, this is an older hotel, maybe they can't take mail. But when I asked if there was a post box nearby, she shrugged and said, "I don't know. I guess you'll have to walk up to the Post Office." I was clearly bothering her. A couple of guests who overheard gave meaningful looks to one another. I left the lobby and walked up to the Post Office. It was nice to leave the hotel behind. Two nights and $457 dollars for a room we couldn't stand to be in.
But being on Block Island was worth it. It's a wonderful, wonderful place to be.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Water Street Inn is located on Water Street, the main street of town in Old Harbor and the historic district. Each of the recently renovated rooms includes a private bath, ceiling fan, TV and small refrigerator. Rooms offer either ocean view or air-conditioning. This centrally located inn is across the street from the Old Harbor ferry landing, a two minute walk to sandy beaches, shops and restaurants. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Water Street Hotel Block Island