I had high hopes for this vacation, I first heard of The Beaufort Inn through SniqueAway and missed getting the deal price twice due to my ability to confirm dates that far out. When I could finally make firm plans the inn still had a June online special price and the Luxury King was available so we were excited, 5 nights, June 30- July 5, half way between the two cities we wanted to visit and a town with lots to do on the days we wanted to laze on the beach. Plus an onsite restaurant run by an award winning chief.
So was it all that was expected from the website and reviews we read, not really.
I wanted to eat at Southern Graces for a couple of meals to see what the chief could do, so I made sure we would arrive on Sunday to try the brunch and then we would have the daily breakfast and snacks as well as a day for lunch or dinner.
We arrived at 1:00 for the brunch and only 4 people were there eating. Yes, we were late for a brunch, but with the limited choices I was sorry we spent so much effort to arrive early. We were offered only 1 Bloody Mary or Mimosa each since the restaurant does not have a liquor license. We each tried one, the Bloody Mary was pretty good. I ordered the Eggs Benedict to go with the fried chicken and roast that were offered. I hate runny eggs and ask for the egg to be very hard. When it arrived I was finishing the chicken and waited to check the egg when I did it was a runny egg. I gave it to my husband and ask again for a hard egg. It took quite a while so I had hopes, but when she started to bring it from the kitchen this time I saw her check the egg and go back so when I finally got the egg it was a hard egg. There was also a mixed greens salad [very good], an artichoke dish [original and good] with pita chips, and sides that were so normal that I don't remember what they were, the desserts were mini cupcakes, dipped fruit, and puddings [nothing amazing].
The brunch was not what is advertised on the Southern Graces website. No salmon, no biscuits, no chicken hash, and none of the omelet offerings listed.
So we finished brunch pretty quickly for our usual brunch experience. I was hoping that the dinner made to order would be much better.
It was raining when we finished eating and the woman at the lobby desk said that our room was ready and we could check in early if we wanted. Great!
We were in room 13 a cottage that was not attached to any of the other buildings, good it would be quite, when we stepped into the room it looked great, we were surprised that there was not a soaking tub or frig, but were so tired from the 900 mile drive that we didn't look really close at everything right then, the woman did show us how if the dimmer switch on the bathroom light was move just a little then the light would not work.
After she left us in the room I noticed that the wall behind the bathroom door had a hole in it from the hook on the back of the door, I was surprised that it was there considering there was a floor stop and hinge stop and when the door was shut to clean behind it should have been very visible to the cleaning staff. There was also no soap in the bathroom. It was a VERY large bathroom and lots of unused floor space. The shower was a small single size when a larger size could have fit easily, as well as a standard tub from the 1950's. We were hoping for a claw footed soaking tub like in all of the photos we had seen on the website or at least a modern soaking or jet tub especially since this was a stand alone building.
Okay, so the bathroom wasn't great, just normal, but the hole in the wall really bugged me as it showed attention to detail.
The next thing I tried was to log on to the wi-fi so I could work on a class I was taking online, I could not get the connection to work so we decided to go to the lobby and see about the connection as well as soap and the frig that we thought would be in the room.
At first the woman that was now at the desk didn't seem to believe that we didn't have any soap, but went and got some for us, when we ask about the frig we were told that it could be moved from another room, but it would require her or someone else to bring it over, it never appeared. I was finally able to get logged on to the wi-fi in the lobby using IE, but I could never get a connection in the room.
The suitcase rack was at the end of the bed and we moved it to the close,t since there was no drawers to place our clothes in we needed to have the suitcase open the whole time and this kept it out of the walk way.
The bed was nice, high and a great sleep the only problem with it was the fact that the 4 poster frame kept spreading out on the left side, we had to slide the end and headboard together each time we got out of bed. Again details.
The front door was hard to lock when you left and when we spent the first night it was evident as to why, the door wasn't square so there was a crack along the jam side that you could see light through and mosquitoes came in through it, I got bit while sleeping several times. I don't expect old historic building to be square, but I do expect them to be secure.
So we went back to the lobby at 5 to check out the snacks, while walking in we saw a sign sitting on a table in the hall stating that the Southern Graces restaurant would be closed for the week. No one in the inn had mentioned this and it was not on the restaurant or inn website when I was booking the vacation. Would have been nice to have it mentioned when we checked in.
The woman had said the snack would be these great scones when we were in about the soap and frig issue, so I was looking forward to them, when we got there the snack was leftovers from the brunch dessert trays. The scones showed up as drop scones later in the week and one time as small scones, again not what I figured.
So the first day ended and we took showers only to find that the drain was slow and you ended up standing in water almost up to the door, no long leisurely showers.
The next morning we were going to make coffee in the provided coffee machine and found that in order to use the machine it needed to be placed on the floor to be able to plug it into the outlet. Really? Needless to say we did not make coffee in our room.
The daily breakfast started out great, but went down hill as the week progressed. Knox the cook is a talker and I enjoyed the banter, but he was over whelmed on some morning with only one omelet pan to cook in and he only had 2 cup containers of spinach, cheese, onions, and tomatoes, you could add bacon or sausage from the bar. For me an omelet is just a scrambled egg unless you add a good amount of ingredients and so I always ask for 4 times the amount of spinach, and then a little cheese and tomato. I have a feeling that the staff was left with a limited amount of ingredients for the week's breakfasts as they ran out of sausages the first day and they never reappeared, cheddar cheese was all gone on the 5th when we left and the french toast the first day was great, but the rest of the week it wasn't quite cooked all the way.
Things the Beaufort could do better: quality check each room closer, frig in each room, coffee maker that plugs in from where they have it placed, doors that lock easily and tightly, make sure wi-fi works in all rooms, maybe a checklist of things that need attention, a history of each building would also be nice as well as a map of where it was moved from.
Individually all of these items were small problems, we could have complained rather then trying to be polite and if it was a one night stay no problem, but when the inn is competing against the Holiday Inn Express Suites they need to be at a higher level, adding more buildings is great, but they need to take care of what they have also, unfortunately we left the Beaufort Inn feeling like customers not guests.