We took advantage of a special deal with Travelzoo and finally got to take advantage of our reservation during a gloriously sunny weekend in September. The Inn is quite a building, a faux tudor construction dating back to the early 1900's with history and gardens to enjoy.
I understand from locals that this property has gone through some rough times recently and is now under newer ownership. I really want them to succeed as this place is very quirky and has loads of character. It was blindingly obvious though, that the hotel isn't utilising the restaurant for daily meals and that the hotel is running at a low occupancy with very few staff present. There also seems to be a level of repair and renovation going on around the property, which is positive I guess, although it did give the impression of a building being 'fixed'.
First of all, the good points. Our room was in the main building (and I now find that this is an 'upgrade' from the Garden Suites, although I knew nothing about this at the time and for which I was thankful given the size of the spider webs and spiders adorning the exteriors of the garden buildings). Our room was up in the attic and was an unusual but acceptable configuration. The bed was a double (not a queen size) but was firm and very comfortable; the room was spotless, a very nice flat screen TV and lots of towels. The water was very hot, and a very decent pressure (beware though, the temperature can fluctuate).
Now the issues - housekeeping. We arrived at about 1.00 pm to find our room wasn't ready. No problems, we came back at about 3.45 pm to discover housekeeping hadn't authorised room occupancy. Hmm, starting to sound like a shortage of staff here. We wandered around reception and the dining room (breakfast is served here) to find the room littered with debris from the (I am assuming) previous day's special event - a wedding? floral debris, styrofoam peanut packing materials scattered liberally and dead bugs on window ledges. OK, deep breath and ignore. We return the next morning for the continental breakfast to find the place still unkempt, dirty and untouched. An unfortunate visit to the washroom attached to the dining annex revealed overflowing waste baskets, discarded toilet rolls and muddy footprints everywhere. Around the corner, the tablecloths from the event had been stuffed not very tidily behind a curtain. I am no clean freak but 24 hours without a broom or a mop is a bit much. Given that the receptionist is spending her day telling guests to return at 4.00 pm for check-in, she might have cast an eye over the filthy state of the dining room and either picked up a broom or asked housekeeping to pop by and maybe empty bins and break out the sweeping brush.
Without laying it on too thick, you sense this place is trying to make ends meet with the minimum staffing possible; the breakfast person could have passed by for instance, and on replacing the coffee urn, maybe cleared the nearest table and given it a wipe down for the next guest? Or do housekeeping union rules dictate that this task must be assigned to cleaner-upper rather than a picker-upper?
This hotel is quirky, different and interesting. With attention to detail it could succeed, but right now it gives off an air of slight desperation. I imagine the butter pat on the landing table will still be there if we return this time next year.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Formerly a set of residences set on 4.5 acres of beautiful gardens, every room at the English Inn is unique. Each offers its own special character amidst the beautiful garden setting and historical architecture of the property. Three types of standard rooms are available from the quaint garden rooms to the deluxe crown suites as well as "The Crown Jewel" the luxurious heart of the English Inn and the 2 bedroom townhouse, great for large families or parties traveling together. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- English Hotel Victoria