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“The ducks are in the dark and cant sleep”
Review of The Red Maple Inn

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The Red Maple Inn
Ranked #1 of 2 Spencer B&B and Inns
Pennsauken NJ
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“The ducks are in the dark and cant sleep”
Reviewed July 26, 2011

We visited the Red Maple Inn in September of last year. I delayed writing a review because we had no prior B & B experience and I did not think it fair to judge it without any comparison of other Inns.
Since that time we have stayed at two other Inns in the area with which we were quite pleased.

I would like to qualify this review by noting that I grew up in an early 1700s farmhouse -probably the only one in New Jersey where General ,George did not sleep - so old houses even historic ones do not hold a lot of magic for me.

My wife is not a fan of old houses period.

But limited space when we visit our son and his family require that we find lodging and it turns out that B&Bs are all that are in the area.

So we approached this stay at a well advertised B$B in a positive manner as an adventure.

The history, structure and background of this house is very interesting. I also am sure that most find the two living rooms tastefully decorated with their many antiques and curios.
The owners are very proud of their accomplishments in converting this property to a B&B as rightfully they should be.

The information that they shared on the history of the house was interesting and quite. fascinating.

THE ROOM

We stayed in the Duck Room and I am sure there were a lot of great duck curios there if you could see them. Those poor ducks condemened to the dark forever. It was so dark my wife joked that it should be called the Bat Room.
It was dark- dark in many parts even when the two small lamps were on.

The Inn is located on a major highway that has traffic 24/7 . The ear plugs displayed prominently on the sink in the bathroom should of been a tip off. We spent two nights listening to the music of motorcycles, tractor trailers and a lot of other noisy vehicles .
There is a red light just down the hill from the Inn and it was a real treat hearing the big engines of the trucks going through the gears as they started off. They completely drowned out the noisy window air conditioner.

The bathroom was small but well laid out and the lighting in it was good. We liked the unique soap dispenser in the shower and bought one when we got home.


FOOD

Breakfast was very nice with a number of selections that you picked from a menu the night before. We liked the touch of having some New England products. We did not have an opportunity to have dinner but we understand that the hostess is a well known chef and runs a cooking school.

FINANCE

In our opinion the emphasis on what we define as nickle and diming it is somewhat distasteful.

When I made the reservation after the price quote a tax and service charge of 14.7% popped up. Wow I thought the hotel taxes must be as high as in Philadelphia. Then I discovered that the taxes at that time were 4.7% so we were paying 10% for service.

When we registered I asked our host what the service charge was for. He did not reply to my first two questions but after the third he said "its for the girl in the dining room."

Well there wasn't any girl in the dining room -we were served by our host the first morning with the addition of the hostess on the second. Maybe the girl was hiding in " hidden room " that we were told is in the house.

One could conjecture that the "service charge " is just a means to increase the room rate in a somewhat clandestine manner by lumping it in with the taxes.

Then there was an envelope in the room soliciting tips for the maid. But wait we already gave 10%.

And a couple of honor stations where one could purchase snacks for a 300% markup.

WHY NOT SET A RATE THAT INCLUDES THE SERVICE CHARGE AND A FEW SNACKS AND THEN ADD JUST THE TAX ? -this has been what we experience at other locations.

BAD ADVICE

We think it is fair to say that the owners of a B&B should have considerable expertise in the features and happenings in local areas

On the second day when we finished breakfast we remarked to our hostess that we were going to visit the local fair in Spencer on our way home.

" That fair is terrible" said our hostess and the added wit great distaste "they have GOATS there. ''

Instead she urged us to attend an antique flea market that is so famous that people come from all over the world to attend it. It sounded interesting even though it was a good deal off the route home.

Another couple in the dining room that had come just for the purpose of attending the antique show spoke up and said it was not open until the next day. Well ,said the hostess there will be plenty of places open for the "early birds".

So we went and the place was closed up tight as a drum with signs indicating that you could not even park there until the next day.

And we went 30 miles out of our way!

Almost forgot>>>>>>>>>>>

The Inn has a large selection of excellent DVDs -surprize no charge.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ROOSTERFISH61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
redtree, Owner at The Red Maple Inn, responded to this review, July 27, 2011
While we appreciate the time obviously expended in writing this review, we do wish the writer had not waited nearly a full year to do so. Even the best of memories fade in that amount of time, which we hope is the only reason for the inaccuracies, exaggerations and misinformation contained therein.

Re: THE ROOM. The writer recalls that his room had two lamps; in fact it has four. It does have dark wallpaper, which is readily observed in the photos on our website, and can appear to make the room seem dark in spite of the ample lighting. As to traffic, we are not located on a major highway as the writer asserts, but the Duck Room does face the street. When the guest made his reservation this was pointed out in our conversation, and we suggested that if he was sensitive to street noise he could choose a different room. He declined. We do provide earplugs and a noise canceling machines, just as many fine hotels do, even those located in remote island getaways. The writer’s memory also fails him when he says there is a red light “just down the road.” It is in fact ½ mile away. Even so, the comfort of our guests is paramount and had the guest told us that he had a problem with noise we would have addressed his concerns immediately and given him a room away from the street.

Re: FINANCE. As is the case with most upscale lodging establishments we add a service charge to the room rate. The service charge covers wait staff, cocktail setups, silver ice buckets and Riedel crystal delivered to the guests room on request, restaurant reservations, printing of directions to area restaurants and attractions, messages delivered, use of the internet, printing of airline boarding passes, and on and on: a myriad of concierge services that we make available to all our guests. The service charge is posted on our website on the Rates page and on the description page of each guest room. When we quote rates on the telephone we invariably mention the service charge and it is reiterated on every confirmation sent. The service charge is prepaid with the reservation. It is therefore not true that the service charge “popped up.” It is also untrue that the service charge is 10%; the reviewer understates the local tax rate.

We particularly object to the charge of “nickle (sic) and diming.” Located throughout the Inn are dishes of candies, chocolates, nuts, and often cookies and/or brownies. All complimentary. Each guest is welcomed with a carafe of complimentary premium Port in their room. In the hallways are “Guest Stations” which offers coffee, decaf, tea, and hot chocolate 24/7, all complimentary. The stations also contain snacks, granola bars, cold soda, and bottled water sold on the honor system, not however at 300% markup as the guest asserts. For example, we charge $1 for a ½ liter bottle of refrigerated Poland Spring Water, the same price as the vending machine at our local grocery. If a guest feels these items are overpriced, there is no requirement to buy them. We thank the writer for suggesting that we raise our prices for all guests to cover the cost of snacks, rather than charge by consumption, but this is not a business plan of which we approve.

We sincerely apologize if we gave incorrect information on the operating hours of the Brimfield Antique Fair, and for any inconvenience this may have caused. However the guest again mis-remembers, in this case the distance from his Massachusetts Turnpike entrance (to return to his home in New Jersey) to Brimfield. It is 7 miles, not 30. But again we apologize for the inconvenience.

We appreciate all of those guests who have taken the time to review their stay, and we are especially gratified by the overwhelmingly positive comments on this site and others. If I may be allowed an observation and a recommendation – there seems to be a universal problem that runs through the reviews of those few who have given us poor scores. Invariably the guest failed to raise their concerns at the time, thereby depriving us of the opportunity to address their issue and attempt to solve it. In this case, it seems to us a shame (for the guest) and unfair to us, that rather than allow us the opportunity to give him a better inn experience, the guest chose to stay silent, stew about it for nearly a year, and then to write this review. I know of no innkeeper who wants a guest to leave with a less than wonderful experience, but a word to the wise: A concern unmentioned is a concern unaddressed.

John Bills, Innkeeper
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92 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Concord, New Hampshire
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2011

Generally, I'm not a B&B type of traveler. I prefer to be on my own when I want, without feeling the need to be social. The Red Maple Inn somehow sidesteps the awkward encounters I've run into at (the very few) other B&Bs I've stayed in. This B&B is a break from the norm, and well worth trying.

You'll be greeted at the door by name, which is a nice touch. To your left is a lounge/library, where you can help yourself (via an honor system) to glasses of red or white wine. I haven't used this amenity, so can't relay the price per glass, but I suspect it's quite reasonable. I've stayed in the "Rose Room" twice in the past year, which is on the ground floor and (for health reasons) is perfect for me. Just near the door to the room is a "food station" (also on the honor system) offering coffee, tea, hot cocoa, chips, and other snacks.

The room itself is decorated in rose designed patterns which were carefully chosen not to collide with one another. Despite the different pieces, nothing clashes. The bathroom is small (actually it's tiny), but it's well appointed. The sink is in the bedroom itself, which (surprisingly) works out just fine.

The focal point of the room is the four-poster bed with a mattress so high I needed to use the step stool that's provided to get onto it. The mattress is so comfortable I asked for the brand name and type and within a few weeks time, my husband and I bought a duplicate. If you have back problems, this is an Inn you can count on to give you a comfy night's sleep and a "no-pain" awakening.

There's a small TV, a large DVD collection you can borrow from, a couple dressers, and many nice touches which (to me, anyway) resemble what might be a theatrical set. I understand each room is decorated differently, so I can't comment on the feel of the other bedrooms. I CAN say that each of the public rooms has a theatrical flair, including 1940s soul and jazz music playing in the background.

Breakfast is ordered the night before which, for me, is a little tricky, since I never know if, or when, I'll be hungry. Still, the food is fabulous so if you happen to know you'll be hungry, or just don't want to miss the opportunity for an unforgettable breakfast, go for it. The breakfast area is filled with 8 to 10 tables, separated enough to eat on your own, but close enough to join in with others if that strikes your fancy.

Wifi, although available, is iffy in the bedrooms. It's sometimes available in the "parlour" (a room across the hall from the library/lounge, and near the dining room). I was unable to get online at all during my last stay. This is evidently because the building is old and the walls are thick.

The price is perfect given the amenities, the non-invasive quality of the stay, and the gentle friendliness of both John and Shari who, I assume, own the place.

They've got a website: http://www.theredmapleinn.com, where you can see some of what you'll find. If you get a chance to try it, do!

Room Tip: The Rose Room is lovely (and near the lounge).
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank robinstamm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spencer, Massachusetts
1 review
Reviewed November 1, 2010

My wife and I attended "Dinner and a Movie" recently at the Red Maple Inn and experienced a delightful evening of fun, hospitality, delicious food, and an enjoyable movie. Defineitly 5 stars...

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NJC3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
florida
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2010

We stayed four nights at The Red Maple and it was beyond our expectations.
It is a beautiful inn and Shari and John have thought of everything to make
your stay comfortable and memorable. The rooms are delightful; breakfast
delicious and hearty; public rooms very inviting; and a darling movie
theater in the lower level. The surrounding area is accessible to
daily driving trips.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank foodlover14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
redtree, Owner at The Red Maple Inn, responded to this review, October 27, 2010
The nicest compliment we can receive is that we exceeded your expectations in terms of comfort of our rooms and hospitality: Thank You! We're so happy you enjoyed your stay with us, and very glad you were here for our Saturday night "Dinner and a Movie," as well as your day-trips to Stockbridge, the Edith Wharton House and the Norman Rockwell Museum, and your tour of Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, CT. Please think of us whenever your travels bring you back to New England!
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St. Petersburg, Florida
1 review
Reviewed October 26, 2010

We traveled with several couples and had a wonderful stay at The Red Maple Inn. The owners, Shari and John and their staff could not have been more accommodating or delightful! The Inn is as comfortable as it is charming and the food is outstanding and beautifully served. The rooms are all so lovely with a warm and inviting feeling throughout. We enjoyed exploring the surrounding towns and always looked forward to returning to the Inn. We were fortunate to experience 'Dinner and a Movie'... it was delicious and great fun!! David and Jane

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank saintpetes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
redtree, Owner at The Red Maple Inn, responded to this review, October 27, 2010
Thank you so much for this wonderful review. We so enjoyed meeting you and your friends and we are gratified that you enjoyed your stay. Yes, "Dinner and a Movie" is a wonderful event and you were here for one of our most popular features, CASABLANCA, preceded by our Moroccan-inspired menu. We hope to see you back in New England soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maynard, Massachusetts
1 review
Reviewed August 29, 2010

Spent a night away to relax without kids. Inn is designed to make guests feel at home. The inn's history is fascinating and everything has been decorated with the keen eye of the artist owner who takes great pride in the inn. While the decorating is impeccable, the rooms are inviting and are meant to be used, especially the living room and parlor/lounge room. We easily made ourselves feel at home. We had a great conversation with Sherri the owner at breakfast. The breakfast was delicious, the blueberry stuffed French toast was fabulous. Really liked the luxurious sheets and the nice, sturdy pillows. My wife thought the bathrobes were the nicest she has worn.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank vvmid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
redtree, Owner at The Red Maple Inn, responded to this review, September 8, 2010
Thank you, folks, for your kind words. We're happy you were able to relax and enjoy your weekend getaway. Come see us again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2010

Owners John Bills (former Met opera tenor) and Shari Alexander (gourmet chef) have created an oasis of luxury and charm in central Massachuetts. We enjoyed two wonderful days/nights of pampering at their mini chateau. Our cottage room was extremely quiet, very comfortable and filled with every amenity one could want. The most difficult thing was deciding whether to have the scrumptious French toast or Croque Monsieur for breakfast...both incredibly delicious. Bills, Alexander, and their staff make you feel right at home the minute you walk in the door. As California Gov. Ah-nold would say, "We'll be baaack!"

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank PianistNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
redtree, Owner at The Red Maple Inn, responded to this review, September 22, 2010
"Mini-chateau", I like that! Thank you for this lovely review. We are always so gratified when our guests appreciate the care and effort we take in making them comfortable, and we are always finding new ways to make our breakfast menu unique, interesting and delicious. So glad you enjoyed your stay, and do come back!.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Red Maple Inn

Property: The Red Maple Inn
Address: 217 Main St, Spencer, MA 01562-1739
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Massachusetts > Spencer
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Spencer
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
2007 Yankee Magazine "Editors' Choice", 2006 Boston Globe "Each time you enter a room you're dazzled anew by the charmingly over-the-top decor." The Red Maple Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built circa 1780, features six deluxe guest accommodations, decorator touches, luxurious bedding, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, color cable television with DVD players, 1000+ title DVD Library and complimentary Wi-Fi. Gourmet breakfast, Wine Cellar and Fine Dining. Cooking classes and Classic Film classes. ... more   less 

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