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“Disappointed, not worth the money”

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Inn by the Bandstand
Ranked #1 of 3 Exeter B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 9, 2012

We recently stayed at the inn over Easter (with a groupon). Our decision to buy the groupon was based on the great reviews and the package it included (wine-tasting tour, 4 hour bike rental, in-room breakfast). We arrived about half an hour earlier than the actual check-in time and were greeted a little 'grumpy' by the innkeeper. Nevertheless, we were pleased by the cute little room (Kensington) we entered shortly after (even though we later noticed huge spiderwebs on the ceiling, hairs in the sink and bathtub, mildew on the shower curtain, wall paper coming off the walls). The next morning we went down for breakfast as we wouldn't get it "delivered" to our room as advertised in the groupon, however, we didn't really mind as the room is too small to eat in there anyways, no table etc. But what we then got for breakfast was really disappointing... a tiny portion of regular scrambled eggs, accompanied by one (!!) slice of lukewarm bacon and 1 little biscuit! On a separate table, they had a bowl of fruit salad (almost empty by the time we got there which was 15min past 9am!!) and orange juice. We have been to many different B&Bs in the past and always thought that breakfast was excellent in those places and different to what you get in regular chain hotels. There is a bakery around the corner where you can get a great warm sandwich of your choice with a coffee for only $5!! In the afternoon, we went to 2 vineyards out of the three on the list they gave us for the 'tour', only to find out that the tasting was actually complimentary to the public anyways, so nothing that the inn actually planned or even paid for! We were not treated any differently than the other people at the vineyard. The second morning we wouldn't get breakfast served in our room either and didn't bother to go down to ask for it, as we knew we wouldn't get much anyways. However, we did mention our disappointment regarding the wine tour during check out but the inn keepers would really care. The overall atmosphere in the inn was very strange... It even felt as we were not welcome there and for the price we paid, even with the groupon, it is just not worth the money. Actually for this price you are better off in a nice 3 or 4 star chain hotel! You could tell that the house used to be nice in the past but now it's kind of moldy and not inviting at all, at least not to us! Oh, and the complimentary port wine they advertised turned out to be a left over drop in a huge (empty) bottle, we didn't even care to try! The location however is excellent (right in the center of Exeter) and they do have complimentary coffee and tea during the day.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Nancy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim and Kate L, Owner at Inn by the Bandstand, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2012

Thank you for taking time to post a review.
Trip Advisor is very important not only to travelers as a way to help them make decisions as to how to spend their hard earned money, but also to businesses to hear feedback from guests and to have the opportunity to respond to the feedback, both positive and negative.
I would like to take this opportunity to respond.
I will respond in order:
Our check in time is 4:00pm, this timing is set so that we have time to clean rooms and do errands for the inn between 11am (checkout) and 4pm (checkin). When you arrived early, I advised that I would check to see if the room was ready, while you moved your vehicle from the from the front of the building to our back parking lot. I did a complete check of the room. I can assure you that Jim and I personally clean every room. We clean every bathroom from top to bottom and dust, vacuum and clean the bedrooms. Jim and I are frequent travelers ourselves and know how we view rooms when we enter them at other establishments and we take pride that our rooms are spotless. Not only did we clean that room that morning, but as I state, I personally re-checked that room upon your arrival to make sure nothing was overlooked.
Per the Groupon offer, breakfast is included both morning, and one morning of choice, guests can have breakfast delivered to their room (normally a $35 charge). Since most guests prefer to eat both meals in our dining room, we leave it up to the guests to mention which morning they would like breakfast delivered to their room, you did not request this service. We also at check-in take our guests for a tour of the inn while taking them to their room and advise that breakfast is served at 8:30am on weekdays and 9:00am on weekends. We explain that we do not have a commercial kitchen where we can keep dishes hot, so we do serve promptly at the times stated. When we notice that we have guests that have not arrived down to breakfast we do place their meals in a heated oven to keep them as fresh and warm as possible and serve them when they arrive in the dining room. As you state you arrived to the dining room 15 minutes past our serving time. We do have fresh fruit and 3 different fruit juice choices available for guests to self-serve, as well as coffee and tea available and we replenish as quantities decrease.
The Groupon offer did include tours, tastings and gifts or discounts at 3 local vineyards. Yes, tastings at each vineyard is complimentary but tours, gifts and discounts are not and that is the value that is included in the Groupon pricing. It is up to our guests to let each vineyard know that they are guests of the Inn by the Bandstand so that they are treated to the 'extras' that are included in the offer. If our guests do not mention the Inn to the vineyard, then the vineyard won't be able to make the accommodations.
Each room has a decantor with a small amount of port and two small port glasses. The complimentary port is enough for each guest to have a 'nightcap'. It is not our intention to supply enough port for anyone to over-indulge.
This is a 200 year old building which is listed on the national historic registry. While this is attractive to many folks who appreciate the charm and historic value, we can understand that some people perfer more mordern facilities.
Thank you for your compiments on your complimentary coffee/tea bar, we offer this service for our guest to have 24 hour access to these accommodations.
Yes, we are blessed to be very centrally located in the center of Exeter and close to not only the vineyards but to Hampton Beach (8 miles), Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME (20 mins) but antique shopping, local breweries, whale watches, kayaking, golfing etc...
Again, thank you for taking time out of your day to write a review. I hope you find our responses answer your comments and/or concerns.
Sincerely, Kate Lane, Innkeeper

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185 - 191 of 247 reviews

Reviewed March 27, 2012

My wife and I recently stayed at the Inn and were impressed by the thoughtful and thorough innkeepers Kate and Jim... the room was well appointed with nice extras like a bottle of wine and crackers, plenty of linens and drinks and snacks available if needed...we had a wonderful time in the town of Exeter, touring the quaint shops and eating at two of the local restaurants..if youre in the area 11 Water Street was truly a feast, ask for Jason...the wonderful breakfasts made by Kate and Jim were a cut above...we highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a quiet, peaceful weekend away!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Scott L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim and Kate L, Owner at Inn by the Bandstand, responded to this reviewResponded March 29, 2012

We thank you for such kind words and we also thank you for taking time out of your very busy life to write a review. We are pleased you had a great stay here at the Inn by the Bandstand. You purchased one of the "Southern NH Vineyard Tour" packages that we offered, which included a bottle of wine and snacks, I am glad you enjoyed.
We know we are doing a good job at what we do when great guests like you share the experiences you had here at the inn with us. Guests like YOU are why we do what we do!
We are very fortunate that our inn is located in downtown Exeter. This town does offer so much...as you mentioned... quaint shops & great restaurants (which at many we were able to negotiate discounts for our guests)... but we are also just 8 miles from the ocean.... 20 minutes to Portsmouth and the Kittery outlet malls... and only minutes away are several vineyards, breweries and antique stores... yes, our location couldn't be better. We hope you have the opportunity to come back and visit us again soon! ~Sincerely, Kate

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Reviewed January 24, 2012

My daughter and I just adore this inn. The rooms are spacious, well decorated, comfortable, and extremely clean. There are nice little touches like a carafe of water, a linen closet with plenty of extra towels and a hair dryer, and plush robes. The owners, jim and Kate, are so thoughtful. I mentioned to them that we were visiting Exeter because my daughter was going to interview at Phillips Exeter Academy. When we arrived my daughter discovered Exeter gifts for her in our room to wish her good luck. They made us feel like we were visiting family. From the home baked cookies upon arrival to the full hot breakfast in the morning the food was delicious. In addition, they have an arrangement with many of the restaurants and shops in town that if you show your room key you receive a discount. We had an excellent dinner at Pimentos on their recommendation and received a 15% discount. The Inn by the Bandstand is a real gem!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank HollyElPaso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim and Kate L, Owner at Inn by the Bandstand, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2012

Thank you! We are very pleased that your trip to Exeter was a pleasant one. We enjoy meeting the young folks that apply at the Academy. Your daughter is a charming lovely girl. We have teamed up with the other small business owners here in downtown Exeter. This networking gives our guests the opportunity to dine and shop and get a little extra off their purchases. We hope to see you back for 're-visit' if your daughter chooses to attend Phillips Exeter Academy. ~ Kate

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Reviewed January 5, 2012

Visited over Thanksgiving weekend -Great Place!!! Plan on going back next weekend after Thanksgiving! Room was very nice, very private, very clean. Hosts were the best! Shopping area right out of the 1960'S - Christmas shopped local and loved it. Thank you for such a relaxing time Innkeepers!!!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank helwhells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim and Kate L, Owner at Inn by the Bandstand, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2012

You are MOST WELCOME! Exeter, NH is right out of a Norman Rockwell picture... with its very quaint New England charm. Yes, the shops here in town are great. I hope you were able to take advantage of our 'Show Your Room Key' discounts at many of the local shops and restaurants. We definitely support all small business owners and our towns 'shop local' campaign. We would love to have you come visit us again. ~ Sincerely, Jim & Kate

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Reviewed November 20, 2011

We recently spent 2 days for my birthday early this month after purchasing a package from Gilt City...Innkeepers Kate & Jim were professional, informative and very gracious and down to earth. Our room was rustic, large, with a working fireplace, big easy chairs with afghans, a desk, tv and mini refrigerator and a sink... the bathroom was ample size as well. We were treated to Port wine in our room and fresh baked cookies in the afternoon and endless coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the common area. Jim arranged for a local winery tour/tasting of 3 vineyards and we spent several hours trying many types of wines including my first ever Pumpkin wine- we even saw the staff chopping, roasting and preparing next year's batch for the presses! We took a short ride to Portsmouth and had a great time exploring the downtown riverfront and made our dinner from several half priced appetizers at Rudi's in the bar during Happy Hour! If it wasn't sooo far away, we would definitely return to the Inn by the Bandstand!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GigiLYMack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim and Kate L, Owner at Inn by the Bandstand, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2012

We are so glad you enjoyed your visit to our Inn. We love to hear what our guests loved most about their stay. The Lakeheath room is definitely one of our most popular rooms. It is a great room to snuggle in front of the fire in the winter months. We have had many positive comments from our guests with regards to their visits to the local vineyards. Each vineyard is distinct in their own way and the wine is surprisingly very good. We are blessed to be so close to Portsmouth. We do recommend to our guests that are staying at least two nights to make the short trip up there. The variety of shopping and restaurants is just phenomenal. Also close by are the Kittery outlet malls and even closer, several NH beaches. We hope that you do get a chance to come visit us again in the summer months. It is beautiful here then too!! ~ Thank you, Jim & Kate

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Reviewed October 29, 2011

My husband and I stayed at The Inn by the Bandstand and found the experience very pleasing. Our room was the smallest of the bunch (it was a Living Social deal), but it was clean with a comfy bed, nice sheets and a fireplace. I am not a fan of B&B's because a lot of times there is a lot of face-to-face time with strangers and for me, it is a bit much when you are on vacation. The innkeepers Jim and Kate strike a really nice balance -- they are there when you need them or want to chat in a fire-placed living room and they let you have you privacy when you need it. Plus the breakfast is served in a dining room at individual tables seating 2-4 people, so you don't need to chat with strangers unless you want to. Breakfast was your basic hot eggs/bacon/pancakes, but the coffee was nice and strong and the service was great. Lots of little great restaurants in walking distance and most of them give you 15-20% discount if you show them your room key. Nice walking trails all over as well. And don't forget the local vineyards, all within 20-40 min drive. Listen to Kate -- she gave us the best food advise as far as the restaurants go! We will definitely go back!!!!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Polina S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim and Kate L, Owner at Inn by the Bandstand, responded to this reviewResponded November 10, 2011

Thank you SO much. We are so glad you enjoyed your stay here at the Inn and got to explore the local area. Your comments regarding b&b's are comments that we hear often. Some folks are more reserved and have a notion that you have to be very social when you stay at a small inn, but as you experienced, that is not always the case. We do try to give both a very intimate experience and a social experience depending on the needs of our individual guests. For the folks that want a even more privacy, we do offer breakfast delivered to your room (for an additional cost). That works well also for folks that do not want to be rushed getting dressed in the AM. We have had GREAT success teaming up with our local vineyards. Each vineyard is small & quaint with distinct wines and atmosphere. We are glad you got to visit some of them. And YES we have GREAT RESTAURANT here in Exeter. I am very lucky to be able to eat well and share my dining experiences with our guests. We look forward to your return visit. ~ Kate

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Reviewed October 29, 2011

We recently stayed at this place. It is situated very nicely and is well appointed. Has most of the charm of a New England Bed and Breakfast but little annoyances took away from the "best" experience. For example, breakfast is served at the "exact" time and if you are not there on time (8:30am), you would get served "warmed over" breakfast. Since we were on vacation, the first night we didn't set alarm clock and had to be rushed. It would be nice, if they can ask the guest for their preference for the breakfast time and plan accordingly. Although, hosts were knowledgeable and helpful about the area, it would be nice to have some printed material including local maps available.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JDinAvonCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim and Kate L, Owner at Inn by the Bandstand, responded to this reviewResponded November 10, 2011

Thank you for sharing your comments. We explain to our guests at check-in, when we do a tour of our inn and show them our dining room, that we are a 200 year old residential building. Unfortunately, we do not have a commercial kitchen and do not have the facilities to keep items hot. Due to this we indicate that breakfast can only be served hot at one seating. We could put out a cold buffet, but our guest seem to prefer a hot, fresh from the oven breakfast.
Oh gosh, I wish you had asked for information and/or maps of the area and of your interests. We have many pamphlets, guide books and maps available right in our entry area. There are a lot of great things to do in Exeter and in the surrounding area. From the Independence Museum and Philips Exeter Academy right here in Exeter, or antique shops & small local vineyards, the ocean and coastal route or the shopping outlets in nearby Maine and quaint shops & restaurants in Portsmouth, NH, there is PLENTY for EVERYONE! We hope you visit us again if your travels bring you back to Southern NH.

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Additional Information about Inn by the Bandstand

Address: 6 Front St, Exeter, NH 03833-2737
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New Hampshire > Exeter
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Exeter
Price Range: $255 - $467 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Inn by the Bandstand 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The award-winning Inn by the Bandstand is the premier lodging establishment in Exeter, New Hampshire. This wonderful inn is an 1809 historic home located in the heart of downtown Exeter. Only two blocks from the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, eight miles to the seacoast and beaches, and 20 minutes from Portsmouth, this charming inn offers nine antique furnished guest rooms, all with private baths and a delicious full breakfast. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Inn By The Bandstand Hotel Exeter

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