We’ve debated about how best to reply to this and have opted to go the lengthy route; partly out of a need to make facts and context known, but mostly to make sure that other potential guests understand the underlying nature of the review and help those potential future guests make a more informed decision about us as people and about what our small business does does not offer as a result of that information. First, I know the grooms family personally. We provided a significant discount to the cost of this event because of a personal relationship between the groom’s family and myself, the owner of Whitney Mountain Lodge. There were others within the bridal party who were unhappy with the choice of venue as was evidenced early on in the meetings with our event contact, Linda. While we ultimately allowed this couple’s event to continue as a personal favor to the groom’s family, we knew weeks before their event date that some within this particular group would most likely be unappeasable. As professionals in this business for over two decades, you always do your best to appease even the unappeasable, though. That is just the nature of the business. We always do all that we can to make a couple’s most special of days the best that it can possibly be. In this case, for a fuller context, some of the guests are banned from returning to our property. Retaliatory “reviews” without a full context and dotted with normal sounding complaints are always a possible outcome from these terribly unfortunate situations. I readily accept that our venue is not for everyone, but context does matter. Our longstanding and well documented record of happy guests stands in stark contrast to the bias, fabrications, and willful omissions made here as a retaliatory “review.” A negative review like this is always useful as a way for us to inform and promote what we DO offer and to clarify what we DON’T offer. It was indeed possible that a small number of the stated concerns had merit, and we have taken the time to review every stated concern and made some minor operational corrections where they were actually warranted. We walk completely through the entire property several times with every potential wedding customer at various increments prior to their event. Concerns of cleanliness are rarely a point anyone brings up, and cleanliness was unsurprisingly not an issue mentioned by this guest at any point of their walkthroughs. That’s because we are in fact diligent about cleaning. For one example of valid concern, we do persistently have challenges with ladybugs and/or Japanese beetles being attracted to the building. I assure you we are diligent about cleaning them up. They sometimes come in a quantity that is surprising to people not accustomed to them. It is a common issue out in this area. We are diligent about cleaning, as is evidenced with our other reviews. Staff is very attentive regarding the food that gets provided by the Lodge and the cleanliness of the food areas, as well. I have looked into any possible issues that might have occurred in that regard with intense scrutiny. Note that the claims of “expired butter and bagels” is not factually accurate. We do occasionally freeze things like bagels, but we don’t serve any food beyond an expiration date. It is sometimes the case that if we have frozen an item that it might be served beyond its “best before” date, which is not the same thing as being served after an “expiration” date. The butter we serve has no date stamp of either kind and is of course properly stored and served. The assertion that the breakfast area “smells like a barn” is baseless, unless one thinks of barns when smelling freshly cooked real bacon, sausage, and eggs, I suppose. Any guest who does not know how to properly use/lock a balcony french door can ask the front desk for assistance. If you have opened it and don’t properly latch it, it will potentially blow open. When guests leave exterior doors open in the lake area, insects (like wasps which we regularly treat against) can indeed get inside. It is the nature of choosing a location whose setting is out in a natural area largely surrounded by forest. We do regularly spray to discourage the presence of insects. Some guests are simply not well suited to having events in a more natural / less urban setting. Most of our guests love the setting and chose it for that reason. They tend to open and leave open their double balcony doors. Nature happens. On a more lighthearted note, I am shocked that guests were unhappy about having the “ear worm” from Rick Astley playing on the stairs! “Never Gonna Give You Up” is a treasure! Seriously, though, yes, a worm can crawl into the exterior airlock of a building like ours and it can die. It does happen. Especially when guests choose not close exterior doors behind themselves as they ingress and egress. We’ve considered putting an auto-closer on the doors, but guests frequently propped the old one open and it is easier for us to see that it is open if it isn’t mostly shut looking. We do try our best to keep up with nature as it might enter into the periphery of the property, such as the exterior airlocks. Being in a location surrounded with nature does create a different experience in regard to nature’s ability to enter into the building. With twenty years of ownership, we are aware of and undertake regular steps to mitigate insects as much as possible. There will of course be guests who are upset about this. We actively encourage people who are not comfortable with our Lodge location to stay elsewhere. Maybe a place that is surrounded by concrete and has a lovely view of the Interstate. Our beautiful natural setting is certainly not appealing to everyone and we are happy to suggest alternatives for guests with different needs. There is some road and utility work present on the city street, off-site, en-route to our property. We don’t control what work others do or do not do with utility and road construction. There are not orange painted potholes on (or even in sight of) our property. We, of course, diligently clean our rooms and linens, as is evidenced by how happy just about every other guest has been in mentioning their cleanliness. We do require a list of room occupancy thirty days in advance for events so that our deep cleaning team can coordinate to make sure that any rooms that may not have been occupied in the last few weeks are ready for our event guests. This particular event’s hosts did not follow those contractual requirements, and they also changed the rooms chosen shortly before the event date. So, it might be the case that the two rooms that were not initially blocked did not get a deep cleaning, but they absolutely received a normal between guests cleaning. If their cleanliness was actually not suitable, we apologize for that. I have already spoken to our staff about a system of double checks in the event a deep cleaning has not occurred. Linda has worked with us for twenty years, I assure you she has never represented herself as the owner, nor would it ever be in her benefit to claim to be. Anyone who knows anything about this business would know better than to lie about something like that. The same can be said regarding the review’s comment about littering. Linda cleans up after the event. There is no reason she would litter, nor is it in her nature to do so. The structure’s lighting that we have is apparent to the bridal party and they have the choice to hire any vendors they choose, including having the dj or other vendor add any specialty or dynamic lighting they wish. The facility is wired to make a wide array of lighting options that suit the bridal party available. Anyone who contracts for an event does many walkthroughs. The lighting you experienced at this event was entirely of their choosing. The primary issue here was with the bridal party being belligerent and disrespectful to each other and in their interactions with our venue coordinator (Linda) in the weeks leading up to the event. Their making of disrespectful and entitled comments about other staff, etc…. This of course lead us to expect this sort of “review” was eventually coming. Our staff are not beneath anyone and consistently treating them as such is not the type of thing we are tolerant of. The responsible parties were notified that cancellation of their event (with full refund, again as consideration of the personal relationship with the groom’s family) was on the table a few weeks before the event because of their absurdly rude interactions in front of and with the staff. In twenty years of working with Linda I can count on one hand the number of times she has said she does not believe she can work with a customer due to the customer’s negative attitude and behavior. In every other case we have cancelled the event. In this case, because of the relationship between the owner and the groom’s family, the owner spoke to two of the contractually responsible members of the bridal party. It was agreed to move forward. Trust me when I say these steps are never undertaken lightly. I have reviewed three days of security camera footage and the claims that Linda was not present for the times she was contracted to be there are proven to be nonsensical and retaliatory nonsense. In fact, Linda was there for several hours being helpful in decorating and providing other assistance above and beyond her obligations to this group. To be very clear for others, Linda is our VENUE side event coordinator for handling our events. While she will assist a couple, like on this occasion, in the event they cannot afford an event coordinator for handling their vendors and other needs of the bridal party, treating Linda or other staff with entitled and denigrating expectations of servitude is utterly reprehensible. The bridal party should not treat their own event coordinator like that, but they certainly shall not treat our venue side coordinator or staff poorly. This was the topic of the “unnecessary drama” the reviewer is referring to. The review mentions the “owner not fixing issues.” There were no issues presented to the owner at all. Given that the contracted responsible party has the owner’s personal cell phone number, this is just another falsehood like so many of the others. The bride and her family and the groom’s family’s poor interaction sometimes pits the venue in the middle. Especially so when one side is the financially responsible party and does not coordinate well with the needs of one or the other involved in the wedding. We are a family owned property with staff who have been providing exceptional service to guests for twenty years. As you can see from our replies to past negative reviews we do take negative reviews very seriously and when the negative “anonymous social media” dynamic of leaving a bad review occurs we do personalize our responses to give a full and proper context for other guests to see. I can obviously see how a person who created a new account just to attempt to leave a more anonymous retaliatory review might want to frame that as “intimidation,” but from our position this is just the most accurate way to handle what for us is a very personal business experience where the facts and context very much matter. The “anonymous social media” need to seek an impersonal and retaliatory way to make non-contextual or misleading statements, against something that is in fact something we work very diligently to get right, warrants us making it clear that the facts really do matter, even if they don’t matter to folks who wants to try their best to be anonymous without any accountability for the facts or for their own actions. At Whitney Mountain Lodge our paramount concern is that the wedding party have the best possible experience. Sadly, this attempt at a retaliatory “review” is just the sad ending to a customer interaction that in this case was always going to be nothing but regrettable. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out when you try to help a friend’s sibling via your business. We accept that, and we wish them the best marriage possible. As always, we would encourage all potential customers to reach out to us if you have any concerns or questions which this (or any other negative review) may have prompted.