My wife and I recently returned to Henderson Castle for our Anniversary celebration. I say returned as we spent our first Christmas there many years ago when it was a private residence. This was our first experience with the location as a B&B. I had high expectations due to my memories of our first experience there. The building is still fantastic. The room we had was beautiful with a painted ceiling and a gas fireplace. However, the overall atmosphere misses the mark. It seemed like there was just too much going on for the staff levels. Instead of a normal familiarization tour we were told we could wander on our own. We took advantage of this and were able to go to the roof top to check out the view which is fantastic. However, we never got the feel of the history of the building. That is an important part of a B&B experience for me.
Another part of the experience is feeling at home. For example, I like a B&B that has drinks and snacks available for the guests to access on their own. At this B&B there were offers but you had to find someone and ask for assistance from the kitchen. It wasn't just available on demand. It would have been nice for them just to have a coffee/drink service in the dining room. The Henderson Castle is also a restaurant and a spa which seemed to make the B&B aspect an afterthought. When we checked out I could not even get someone to print us a bill. The person I did corner just said to turn in the keys. I asked for a bill to be sent to me but I haven't received one yet. I was planning to add a tip to the payment but wasn't given a chance to do so.
We had a few technical problems with the room - insufficient hot water for a morning shower, a TV remote that stopped working so we had to disconnect the TV to turn it off, and no directions for proper lighting and turning off the gas fireplace. These are small things but again with the general activity level in the house I didn't feel that I should bring them up.
A strong negative in our visit was the noise. Our room was on the main floor and there was a large gap at the bottom of the door so we heard everything going on in the check-in area and the restaurant. There was a wedding party in the lobby on day 1 which was very loud. The following morning there was a women's group in the restaurant having a good time but again with loud voices. If I ever returned I would definitely select another room on an upper floor.
The real disappointment was the food. With all the buildup of having a French chef as the owner I expected fantastic food. I have had some great French meals here and in France. However, the food was pretty basic. We had the 4 course dinner and we could have had a similar meal at any local restaurant. The salad had a dressing with little to no flavor. The Tomato Bisque was very good but it was my wife's so I didn't get very much. The rolls were hot but pretty ordinary. The main course (fish and pork) was good. My pork had BBQ sauce that could have come from a bottle. BBQ sauce isn't what I would expect from a French chef. Finally the fantastic desert was a carrot cake which was as plain as could be. It could easily have been store bought. It was the same carrot cake we were then served for breakfast. It looked like the 11 course meal was more French but I shouldn't have to go to that extreme for a memorable dinner. The breakfast was also pretty plain. I had an omelet which was well done but not extraordinary. One small glass of juice was all we received as the server was very busy and never came back to refill our glasses or really check on us. I had to ask for butter for the toast and then jelly for the same. Service was slow. We actually left the table and wandered around the hotel for a while as we waited.
My conclusion was that I was a low priority to them and I can understand that. There was so much going on it pushed the staff to the limit and they could not provide the service they probably would want to. I hope that they find the right mix to make the inn profitable. It is a beautiful place which looks as it is still in need of some repairs (roof). They will need the cash to keep things going.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to The Henderson Castle, the most popular bed and breakfast in Kalamazoo. Whether you're local or coming from Grand Rapids, Detroit, Lansing, South Bend or Chicago, you'll find us to be the best destination for your anniversary, birthday, wedding, graduation or romantic getaway. Situated in the historic West Main Hill neighborhood, you're minutes away from the theatres, shopping and vibrant night life of downtown Kalamazoo, but secluded enough to enjoy a quiet night free from the noise of the city. When you're with us, you'll have a royal experience. Wake up to an incredible breakfast prepared by our French chef Francois Moyet. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, Orbitz, TripOnline SA, Hotwire and Cheap Tickets so you can book your Henderson Castle Inn reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Henderson Castle Hotel Kalamazoo
- Henderson Castle Inn Bed And Breakfast