I love Deetjens. I've loved it for as long as I can remember, and I've stayed many many times. I've tried to come back at least once a year, even after I moved to the East Coast. But after my last experience, I'm not sure we'll be back. My last visit to Deetjens was in June 2007. I brought my boyfriend, and left with my fiance, now my husband. In the interest of privacy and magic, we had booked the tiny Castro Cabin. We had booked 4 months in advance just to get 3 consecutive days in the cabin, and we had changed our travel dates to match our booking of the cabin. We arrived in the late afternoon, and were told by the desk clerk that we'd be in Franklin room. No, we said, we booked the Castro. We were told that we didn't, and we said, no we changed our plans just to get the cabin. Then we stood there for 20 minute while they looked for any record of our reserving the cabin. We were then told that the cabin was not ready. There had been a plumbing issue in the cabin, and cabin had been out of commission for several days - it might be fixed and ready, but the maintenance guy had already left for the day and there was no way to tell if the job was done or not. We walked over and took a look - the cabin showed no signs of maintenance work, and appeared ready for our stay. However, the desk clerk, who emphasized several times that she "doesn't really work here, is just filling in", refused to let us move into the cabin, instead insisting that we move into the other room. And she's really smug about it, doens't care a bit that we've been planning on the cabin for 4 months.
Now I don't know about you, but I HATE poor service and rudeness, and I also hate moving rooms. I really hate it. I hate it even more when this is all going on on a night that I'm probably going to get engaged! Well, this person that does not work there insists that we go to the other room, and we'll move to the cabin tomorrow if we can. Oh, and can we make sure to get up really early and come back and talk to the manager, to make sure that they don't accidently give the Castro to someone else when it's ready?? We were aghast at this.
Incredibly disheartened, and very upset over the rude rude welcome, we move into the other room. By this time, we've missed our reservation time at the Deetjens restaurant, so we cancel and head up to Nepente for drinks. On returning to Deetjens much later that night, we find a note on our door - Castro is ready. There is no apology, nothing else. Just Castro is ready. I go to the desk clerk, and ask about this note. She says that we should really move in now, so that they can give the other room to someone else if they show up. I told her that it was really a good thing that she "doesn't really work here", and that she should try and find another job.
We move into our now tainted cabin. It's lovely and private and oh so romantic. In the morning, we are trying to move past all this and enjoy Deetjens, when the manager comes and starts yelling at me and saying that I had no right to talk to his employees that way. I told him that she made it clear that she was not an employee, did not care, and was clearly trying to sabotage our special trip that we had arranged 4 months in advance. When I cried, he offered to comp us a night - I think this may be a Deetjens first. I have never before cried at Deetjens.
Later that day, we were engaged!! It was awesome, and so special. We went to Ventana to celebrate, and this too was awesome, and so special. The next night, we went to dinner at Deetjens. The food, as always, was magnificent, I've never had a bad meal at Deetjens. With coffee and dessert, and happy conversation, we sat next to the fireplace and were warm and cozy. As I always have at Deetjens, occassionally I would add a log to the fire. When we were the last table remaining, and still enjoying coffee, I went to add one last log. The manager approached, stood behind me, and in low, gutteral tones said "oh.... please..... DON'T." I could not believe it! Are you kidding me??
I grew up in Ca. Deetjens has always been a hideaway, a magic place, a home away from home. I love that the walls are thin, and the bathrooms with their odd configurations. I love the beds, I love the creek, I don't mind the Highway 1 traffic. But I am not a tourist, I am not just passing through, and if you expect to see me again, I expect a little respect and the ability to make myself at home. I have given my love and time and money to this place time and time again, and no, it's not cheap. But I will not stand to be treated this way, and that may mean that I will take my good memories with me and never return. If Deetjens has always been a part of me, I will keep the good parts and not allow any more of the bad in. And if that means I never go back - so be it. That said, I can't think of a better place to stay in Big Sur - I have a moral block against spending $400 a night at Ventana, and the snob appeal of Post Ranch does nothing for me. I guess I'll just have to rent houses from here on out - if that's the only way to try and feel at home. If you've never been to Deetjens, at least check it out, there's nothing else like it. But don't expect much - even those that return again and again can't expect that anymore.
- Also Known As:
- Deetjen`s Big Sur Hotel Big Sur
- Deetjens Big Sur Hotel
- Deetjens Big Sur Inn