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“Would never return - not worth the money”

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Doll House Bed and Breakfast at Sandbanks
Ranked #29 of 41 Picton B&B and Inns
Reviewed August 14, 2011

My mother and I had read the reviews of the Doll House B & B and it sounded wonderful, as well as seeing the pictures that have been posted - it looked perfect.

I have only written one other review before and that was because I was absolutely delighted with the place we had stayed at and felt people should know. That is why I feel that I should do the same with this experience so that people know what to expect.

This was one of the more lower end b and b's we have ever stayed at - and we have stayed at many through the years.

The positive:

Yes- the home is located on West Lake and the view is lovely. Yes, there was a small patio off the room which we were able to utilize and we did enjoy the view of the lake.

The not so positive:

The home is full to the brim with "stuff" - the kitchen counters are covered with dishes and assorted knick knacks. It's claustrophobic. Our first experience was the hostess insisting we pay immediately for our two night stay, which we have always paid at the end of our visit. There were signs on cupboards advising guests were not to open the doors, there were signs posted in many areas with strict instructions to keep out, not very welcoming or friendly feeling. There are two bedrooms and one bunk house - and one, yes one, bathroom for everyone. And, to make things more uncomfortable, there is only a bathtub to use in the carpeted bathroom - if you were desperate, you could go into the hostess's bedroom and use their shower - again, so terribly uncomfortable - we did not feel that it was appropriate to be in her bedroom using her shower, which was in the corner of the bedroom - not even a separate bathroom.

To get to the bathroom from the side room we were in, you had to walk through a store room and the kitchen/dining area and we both felt uncomfortable having to cover up our pyjama's to go traipsing through the house.

Breakfast was very meager and to be honest, for $120.00 per night, you would expect more than a frozen waffle and some fruit. We have stayed in many, many b & b's and this is the first time we have every felt hungry leaving the table - no toast, no muffins, nothing extra besides the frozen waffle. We also felt that we shouldn't spend much time relaxing over our breakfast as our hosts had already complained about people not leaving early and the work they had to do to get ready for the next people.

We stayed in the larger room - there was no radio, no tv, it was again, just full of stuff and furniture and not appealing at all. But again, in all fairness, the view from the window of the lake was stunning and we did truly appreciate that.

One thing that would have been nice, was if they had offered to all their guests to have a fire that people could sit around outside and enjoy. That would really have been appreciated.

The last issue that totally put us off this place was the overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke. The host smokes not only outside and the smell blows into the house, but they also smoke in their bedroom and open their door. The couple staying in the room adjacent to their bedroom said they could hardly stand the smoke and almost left in the middle of the night.

This could be a lovely place but it made us feel unwelcomed and after reading all the signs on the cupboards, the lack of appropriate bathing facilities - up to 6 guests using one washroom, the cigarette smell, the meager breakfast, the cost - we will never return.

We had been very excited about staying there but within ten minutes of arrival we knew we were going to be disappointed and we definitely were.

Room Tip: We do not feel there is a best room at this place.
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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7  Thank LuvsTravelin2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Donna A, Owner at Doll House Bed and Breakfast at Sandbanks, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2011

Constructive criticism is helpful in any business. Feedback is especially important in regard to bed and breakfast since it is above all else, a 'people' business.

It is unfortunate that this customer was so unhappy. I will attemt to address her concerns.

I acknowledge that the Doll House Bed and Breakfast is a country bed abd breakfast with a working kitchen visible from the dining area. I do tend to have a busy-looking kitchen. The signs have proven necessary due to customers using the kitchen against my wishes. I am unable to offer kitchen privileges, but the open concept of my kitchen has given rise to some confusion.

There is a walk from the Beachfront Room to the bathroom through the living room . If this is too far for you I suggest the Floral Room which is closer to the bathroom.

I have changed my breakfast advertisement to indicate 'light' or 'continental' to remove any expectation of a full course meal. I normally serve sausage or bacon when I offer waffles and have found a generous fresh fruit salad to be popular.

I have been in the bed and breakfast business for many years and sometimes people will ask me about the work involved. It is a misconception with some that the owners are simply on holiday. I usually enjoy the chat I have with folks in the morning. I find guests bring a fountain of knowledge to the table. I have met people from all over the world and it has been a pleasure to have had them in my home. Sometimes guests seem to be just enjoying their own company and I leave them on their own. I try to be sesitive to the needs of my customers.

The Beachfront Room now has a radio, but a TV is not feasible at this time.

Re smoking: I am a non-smoker myself. My partner does smoke in our bedroom which is not part of the bed and breakfast. Customers are welcome to smoke outside since the bed and breakfast bedrooms are strictly non-smoking.

The shower in my bedroom is no longer available. A new, $4000 shower-tub combo is being installed in the bathroom.

This year all of the beds were replaced. Two double beds were replaced with queens and the two doubles do not have foot boards.

All rooms now have keyed locks. My Doll House store is closed and I have changed the window treaments on the Beachfront Room to accommdate guest suggestions.

We offer you what we have. There are many bed and breakfasts in the county who offer private bathrooms and gourmet breakfasts. I have always tried to be clear about what I offer. I encourage future customers to read carefully and decide who can offer what you need to give you the best holiday.

re cash on arrival: This policy is always agreed upon at the time of booking. Paying at breakfast time interferes with prepartion and serving. In the past some guests have been inconvenienced in the morning when they remembered too late that their payment was required in cash. I hope you will appreciate the advantages of having the bill out of the way, leaving you free to enjoy your day.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope your stay will be a pleasant one.

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Reviews (13)
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8 - 13 of 13 reviews

Reviewed August 3, 2010

We have been regular customers of the dollhouse for about 4 years. We have stayed in gnome cottage which is seperate from the main cottage as well as the beachfront room. The gnome cottage is very cute and comfortable for two people, it has a double bed with a small little seating area. It is great for the people who like the budget of a bed and breakfast however want a little bit of privacy away from the house. The only downside is the washroom is in the house about 10 steps away. This may a be a bit inconvenient for some if you have to go in the middle of the night. But it wasn't an issue with us. There's plenty of light to be able to see and a flashlight is provided as well as umbrellas, should it be raining. There's even a ceiling fan to help keep you cool on warm nights.
The beachfront room is great as well and can also accommodate up to 5 people. It has its own private little deck and right on the lake. From the cottage as well as the beachfront room the views of the stars at night are beautiful. There's a small stretch of beach behind the cottage if you wish to relax there while looking out to the lake. There are some muskoka chairs to sit back on and enjoy the view.
The dollhouse is about a 5 minute drive to Sandbanks provincial park and about a 10 minute walk to Sandbanks Dunes beach. Both beaches are great and you have a great view of the Dunes beach when having breakfast in the morning.
Donna is a great hostess. She's as accomodatin as she possiblely can be. And she makes a delicious breakfast.
For those that want water fun, there's seadoo rentals as well as a water park onthe same road within walking distance. Also within walking distance is a Restaurant on the Knoll. Good food and a bar that has a good selection of beer as well as wine. Donna provides a 20% off coupon if you choose to eat there. The beautiful town of Picton is only a 20 minute drive and has more dining options. There are also a number of winieries in the region that you can visit. Donna provides info on tours if needed.
We always enjoy our stay at the dollhouse and cannot wait till next year.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ForzaJuventus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2009

I hesitate to write this review, because my partner and I would like to keep this place a secret, but we had a really nice time at this b&b and thought it only fair to tell about it.

Firstly, Donna is an experienced hostess who made us feel very welcome - she made arrangements for us to arrive at an hour outside of the normal arrival time, and as well made us a delicious homemade breakfast for our early start. She provided us with travel details to her place, knew a lot about the area, assisted us with getting to the park (sandbanks are gorgeous!) and as well we could use her private beach ( big plus!).
Definitely above what I was expecting, especially because it was a very busy time for business.

Initially I was perplexed as to why she charges so little for her rooms, but they are everything the website claims - a good size, clean, easy access to the beach, and all 3 options had private entrances, so I didn't mind about there being no bathroom attached to the room - it was nice to get out and see the other guests and their children. It was generally a friendly atmosphere and we felt we got a very good price, considering the location. We stayed in the 'beach front' room, and next year I hope to stay in the 'gnome cottage'. I'm totally sold on b and b's now!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank ChloeLIster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2009

My partner and I have stayed at the Doll House twice, in the "Gnome Cottage". That is a cute little cottage on the grounds of the Doll House. It is just big enough for a bed and a couch. The washroom is inside the house. Donna is a very hospitable host. She makes a wonderful breakfast with good coffee. The house itself is located on the lake, and very close to the Sandbanks provincial park. There are a couple of restaurants nearby and many more in Picton, which is a short drive away.

Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
6  Thank Giselle74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2008

We were 2 adults and our 7 yr old son in the group. Firstly, to stay in a B&B is a mind set. I've always stayed in private rooms, so this was a first for me. The location was great, right on West Lake, and we stayed in the double room known as the 'beachfront' room. It has it's own deck and chairs and was 20 feet from a private beach. When you look across the lake you can see the Sandbanks!

Unfortunately the room lacked the privacy I would like. You enter either through a small doll/miniature shop the lady runs OR through a lockable door at the lakefront of the home. Now that might seem OK to you, but the store entry had French doors with glass panes and curtains to be drawn from the store side only! I would have liked the curtains to be on my side of the door to prevent snooping people from looking into the room. No locks on those doors either, so a bit nervous leaving valuables behind. A bit unsettling for us. Thankfully for us, bad bad for her, there were no customers to worry about.

The room was a decent size with 2 double beds, a table with 2 chairs and a small sofa. [Note to tall people, beds are short and have foot boards, so a bit of a tight sleep for 2 people] Another drawback is that the washroom facilities were at the other end of the house and the shower was located in her bedroom. Not very private or sensible to this city slicker!

She made a wonderful breakfast for us and she was a pleasant lady. Too bad that the room wasn't in a better position within the house. She has other, smaller rooms to let, which might be better for you. Please inquire with her.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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6  Thank CdnBlossom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2015
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  • Stayed: July 2015, traveled with family
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Thank marie claire a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Donna A, Owner at Doll House Bed and Breakfast at Sandbanks, responded to this reviewResponded July 22, 2015

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Doll House Bed and Breakfast at Sandbanks

Address: 183 Winns Dr | at West Lake, Picton, Ontario K0K 2T0, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Prince Edward County > Picton
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #29 of 41 B&Bs / Inns in Picton
Price Range: $95 - $145 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are located on a small stretch of sandy beach on the shores of West Lake with a lovely view of the world famous Sand Dunes at Sandbanks Prov. Park. We welcome both foreign and Canadian visitors. We attempt to make all feel welcomed and comfortable in our home. We hope your stay with us will be memorable. ***We now offer breakfast from Labour Day on, only. Before Labour Day rates: $100/n, double occupancy; plus $25/n for ea. add. per.*** ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Doll House Bed And Breakfast At Sandbanks Picton, Ontario

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