I believe the management at the Marriott Ranch genuinely wants to make the property into a place where all guests would enjoy the stay. The manager phoned me after I had expressed unhappiness to the staff upon checkout regarding the services provided at the B&B, which was a much appreciated gesture since I didn't request be contacted nor did I expect it.
First, the positives. The Marriott Ranch is located on a huge working ranch of beautiful rolling hills, surrounded by wineries and abundant natural charm. The historical house that the B&B is located in is very nice. The bedrooms are big, airy, with high ceilings and plenty of colonial style. It has all the promise of a great property for relaxing weekend stays, weddings, and a base for tours of the Virginian wineries.
It has promise, but it falls short in many ways. The Marriott name seems just that, a name. The corporation has not instilled in the running of the property its hotel management expertise. The service provided at the B&B is therefore wanting in that there is minimal staff--one person was on property when we arrived. There was no greeting, no one to ask directions when we drove onto the property, no one to open the door to the neglected looking front porch, and no one was in the foyer when we walked in. When the lone staff finally emerged after a while, it was only to tell us that our rooms were not ready and we'll need to wander for a few hours on our own.
If the property will not have the Marriott-style hotel service, then it also falls short in the unique attentions associated with B&B properties. While the room I had was beautiful, the bathroom was so small that I had to sit sideways on the toilet or my shoulder would bump up against the wash basin. The shower curtain smelled of mildew and the tiles inside the shower stall were lined with brown stains that I hesitated stepping in. Despite a pretty dining room, the Marriott Ranch is not making full use of it as only breakfast is served on the property. Breakfast is chef's choice, which is really a lazy way of saying that the chef only knows how to cook a small set of things, consisting of hard biscuits, overly salty grits, and so so bacon and fried egg. I requested that grits be on the side rather than poured over my biscuit, but the staff served it poured over the biscuit anyway, saying that the chef forgot her request. I really had to bite my tongue and not say "how about you remind him and ask him to serve it on the side?" In any case, I felt bad wasting the food, as it was so salty that it was inedible to me.
For lunch and dinner, we were completely on our own, and since there is no grocery store nearby, you really need a car to driver to the nearby towns. We went out to dinner in pouring rain, driving through 20 minutes of dark, unfamiliar country roads with almost zero visibility it was raining so hard. Obviously, the weather is not the B&B's fault, but coming back to the house, not having a single staff on the property was problematic (no staff is on property after 6 pm, apparently, and for emergencies, we were given a list of phone numbers. The first person on the list was away at the beach that weekend). We were completely soaked through by the time we ran from the parking lot into the house. No one was there to lend an umbrella. There was no way to request extra towels to dry off. I couldn't find any place to adjust the air conditioning, so had no choice but to dive under the comforter shivering. It was a pretty miserable evening.
The next morning, when we checked out, I discovered that since I had called to make the reservation for two rooms for my friend and me, I was charged for both rooms. I made what I thought would be a routine request to separate the bills, but the staff person said she didn't know how to do that. Since she was the only person working that morning, we had little choice. I paid for both rooms on my credit card. It is not a big deal of course between my friend and me, but it really underscored how we spent an entire weekend at an isolated property with little service and not much comfort, while paying over $200 a night.
I was disappointed in the stay and will probably not return again. However, I do think the place has promise, if the management would only step up to utilize its potential.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 4200 Acre Working Cattle Ranch nestled in the foothills of The Blue Ridge Mountains. Located in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Guests can enjoy horseback riding, wine tasting at local and vineyards, antique shopping and nearby Shenandoah National Park. Marriott Ranch hosts Corporate Retreats, Weddings, Company Picnics and Social Events. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Marriott Ranch b&b
- The Marriott Ranch Hotel Hume
- Marriott Hume
- Hume Marriott