This review is written with full awareness, based on other critical postings, that management and ownership will dispute every issue and attack the comments and the author. They clearly operate in an environment of “the customer is always wrong”. While ownership has attempted to discredit the numerous other critical postings by citing declined requests for refunds or other types of compensation, please know that despite the issues to follow, at no time did anyone in my party request monetary compensation nor is that the intent here. It is purely to make those considering the 1871 House fully aware of the experience ahead.
First, some background on the credentials that help inform my professional opinion and critique. I have spent 30 years building a career as a senior level executive in the hotel, resort and hospitality industry. Additionally, I have traveled the world extensively staying in a wide variety of accommodations including many bed and breakfast style properties. Regardless of the type of facility, those that are successful share a common trait in that they strive for excellent hospitality. Ownership and staff delivering hospitality exists regardless of whether the property is a country inn, a small bed and breakfast, or a full service destination resort. Hospitality is even more important for those properties that might not otherwise provide the amenities of larger full service establishments. Hospitality means that the traveler is made to feel welcome, as he or she has entrusted the innkeeper with their most valuable assets- money and time, often for a once-in-a-lifetime special occasion. As explained in more detail below, any notion of hospitality is completely absent in all material respects at the 1871 House. In fact, the opposite atmosphere prevails.
First, I’ll start with the only positive of our stay. The 1871 house does have a very good location on the eastside, in a nice neighborhood within walking distance of the upper eastside amenities. That, however, is where the benefit of staying here ends.
My family and I stayed for 6 days occupying the 3rd and fourth floors of the building and the bill was approximately $9400. Management’s comparison of their pricing and value to other hotels such as the Plaza Athenee (see Trip Advisor response of August 12, 2013) is incredulous. From beds, to bathrooms, to televisions to service, this is the worst accommodations experience I have ever had. Ownership would be better to compare themselves with a youth hostel or boarding house but even there they would fail in service comparison.
To begin, while I am not sure what “A New York Style Bed and Breakfast” means as headlined on their website, I would consider it false advertising. Forget about the clever fine print and understand there is NO BREAKFAST, NO COFFEE, NOTHING OFFERED that one might come to expect at a Bed and Breakfast. One also comes to expect a level of warmth and hospitality, especially from a Bed and Breakfast, that is non-existent. The only service that exists is rude and nasty.
The following is a list of just some of the issues we encountered:
-Beds-our 3 “rooms/suites” had a total of 6 beds, half of which were in desperate need of replacement. The double mattress in the Madison room sags no less than 5 inches across the entire middle of the mattress. The single beds are in awful condition. Historical building is fine, ancient beds are not.
- We reserved an extra bed for one of the rooms prior to our arrival. The bed was never set up. After several attempts to secure the bed, the attendants woke us up, three days later at 11pm to assist. The mattress was in such poor condition that you could feel the underlying slats. The attendant could not find sheets to fit so we improvised and slept on duvet covers as sheets. We had to wait another day until housekeeping provided appropriate sized sheets and made the bed.
-Baths-Do not expect a hot shower in the Madison suite at least 50% of the time. Management will tell you it is a historic building issue, but that is only part of the problem. The fixtures on that shower are old and do not function well with low pressure. So in order to take a hot shower, the pressure lowers and releases the tub/shower pull redirecting the water to the bath.
-The “flat screen televisions in every room” technically is correct, however, a suite such as the Madison with 3 rooms only has one extremely undersized television serviced with standard non-HD service and the service intermittent at best.
-There is no common space as one comes to expect at a Bed and Breakfast. No place to gather. Should one try to access what appears to be a common room off the lobby area, be prepared to be rudely escorted out and told “this is the owner’s space”.
-In 6 nights and 7 days, except for one room, beds were only made ONE TIME and linens never changed. The bathroom in The Madison Suite was NEVER cleaned nor even refreshed. The bath towels are old, rough and nasty and provided in small quantities. Some of the bed sheets were tattered and excessively worn.
-The main bedroom of the “Madison Suite” did not even have a door on it but rather ugly sheet like curtains and the “single bedroom” is barely large enough to house the bed. All that for only $650+ per night!
-An important FedEx package that was sent to me sat in the office for over 24 hours (and the office was not accessible as it was not staffed as indicated). After dialoguing with FedEx and wasting a day searching, when David finally was found and asked, his response was “oh yes it is here in the office but I was too busy to notify you of it”. Incredible-no time to notify a guest of a FedEx? This establishment has no issues notifying the guest of every little thing they do wrong (see below) but no time to notify a guest about an important package.
-In most rooms there is a blue binder with pages of rules and regulations that management and ownership will quote to you when you break the rules. Never in my 30 years of hospitality have I seen nor expected a guest to read nor obey such onerous rules. No red wine drinking, no talking 9pm-9am, $35 charge if fireplace used (plus $10 per log), $35 charge if you stay 1-1/2 hours longer than the 10:30 am check out, and it goes on and on. We received 3 type written letters during our stay and were summoned to the office for rules violations (drinking red wine. Full disclosure, a tiny bit was spilled and we cleaned after management made a big issue out of). Never once did management or ownership attempt to converse with us nor welcome us. Nasty, rude typed notes emailed and left in rooms and taped to the banister are their preferred means of hospitable communication. Upon return home, we received an email which stated that the small red wine spill had seeped thru the bed spread and stained the sheets and that we would be charged for a new set of queen sheets. No wine saturation had occurred as we inspected carefully when cleaning the bedspread. The nickel and dime nature of the 1871 House borders on a consumer scam.
The 1871 House is a lovely and charming place if you are two
people who like to go to bed by 9:00 pm but are ok with climbing steep creaky stairs and reserve one of the rooms with an acceptable mattress and decent fixtures, enjoy reading a manual of rules before and during
your stay, and don't need any type of service, particularly friendly
service. For everyone else however ...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 1871 House offers seven apartment-style suites in an historic five-story English Rowhouse, circa-1871 within the Upper East Side Historic District neighborhood. The house offers lovely views of other historic homes, is flooded with sunlight, has an incredible garden, and grand-scale details. 1871 House is surrounded by the Upper East Side's finest restaurants, stylish cafes, galleries, Madison Avenue's chic boutiques as well as world-renowned museums such the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Whitney Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frick Collection. Centrally located and just a short walk to Central Park & Fifth Avenue 1871 House is perfect for culture seeking visitors to the Big Apple. However, for business-oriented visitors, 1871 House is also ideally located near Midtown Manhattan. Easy access to public transportation makes 1871 House also convenient to Wall Street and the Financial District. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- 1871 House Hotel New York City