If you are looking to feel confident about your stay at Captains Landing on Ocracoke, READ THIS!
On July 12th I contacted Captain's Landing, inquiring about the Penthouse for a 2 night stay. I spoke to a very nice woman named Ann (Anne?) who, after a brief conversation made an offer to give we 2 couples the Penthouse for 3 nights, during the week of September 7- September 15, 2013, not the 2 nights we originally sought. She said they normally hold out to rent rooms and cottages by the week, but knew her clientele and felt filling up the prior 4 nights leading to our stay would not be particularly difficult. And, as a special nicety, she offered to take $20 dollars off the normal rate per night since we were agreeing to stay 1 more night than initially desired. It was a win/win situation, and her offer was the hallmark of a savvy business woman: guarantee income for her business while making a genuine and heartfelt effort to please her customers, thereby encouraging them to speak positively about the business, refer folks to it, and return again themselves. I thanked her for her kindness and told her I had to discuss this with the other couple, but would get back to her.
On July 16th I called back to book the room at the agreed upon length and rate, only this time instead of Ann, I got "George" who, unlike Ann, flat-out refused to honor the offer, and went so far as to contend...absurdly...that Ann had never MADE such an offer! Having it inferred that I, a guy trying to give George my money was liar was a bit stupifying, but I made plain in no uncertain terms that I spoke the truth and went into some detail to prove it. Having done so successfully, (I sensed George knew from the start I was telling the truth, and was merely coasting through a well-worn list of reasons to deny us), George moved to citing "rules and procedures" as the excuse for his refusal to honor the offer; presumably the "Rules and Procedures" George himself set up (for all I know during the phone call)!! Then in what I interpreted as an attempt to placate me, he twice offered a cottage we had no desire to stay in! George displayed no interest in satisfying this customer, or merely honoring the deal his own rep negotiated! Nor did he appear to care a whit about negative press or making potential customers unhappy. Didn't matter at all. This what you are looking for in hotel management? Figure if they don't need your business because they are one of a modest few in a given area and they'll get people no matter WHAT level of service they provide, your stay will be qualitative? I suggest you think some more.
Instead it felt as if this was singularly about lining George's pocket, guaranteeing him money from the cottage, while he held out for booking more folks perhaps/perhaps not for longer stays in the Penthouse...the room we had already determined was the single one that fit our particular needs that trip. Did he have ANY reservation for the Penthouse that week? No, he admitted he didn't. Yet rather than follow the basic ethical business practices of any qualitative business by honoring offers made by their official representatives, George decided too bad for us, and refused us the room his associate Ann had guaranteed. I acknowledged a business owner (if that is what George is) can indeed pull the rug out from under customers and potential customers as he wishes, unflattering a picture though that paints. But George seemed sufficiently comfortable with that picture to offer no reply beyond a hollow "Would you like me to put you on a wait list?" The fella won't honor his rep's word, but I'm supposed to trust him to place me on a wait list, let alone call if there's a vacancy? Based on what evidence?
I highly recommend folks consider not merely if this is the nicest physical place to stay on Ocracoke from a GOOD NUMBER OF CHOICES AVAILABLE, but as if not more importantly, what they will do if George, as a previous reviewer succinctly pointed out, becomes nasty or rude, or perhaps tells you "I don't care if you had a reservation or not, take a hike!" In other words, it is my opinion that a man like George who refuses to honor the word of his own representative undermines all qualities a given place may have, and on a whim, can seriously mess up one's vacation and relaxation plans--just like he did ours, willfully and after being given several opportunities to do the right thing. No, none of us will be forgetting George and Captain's Landing...for all the wrong reasons. Performances like George's make the watchwords of any trip to Ocracoke and Captain's Landing: "BUYER BEWARE!" Almost forgot. NO CANCELLATION POLICY per se. They want half up front when you book, and the balance 30 days before you ever arrive, as if you were renting a home on a beach, or a room at a massive resort filled with amenities! Ann told me if we had to cancel, "We'll try to work with you." She told me the reservation went through a local real estate office, and the only sure-fire cancellation protection was gleaned solely by PURCHASING INSURANCE FROM THEM. Needless to say, had my dealings been strictly with Ann in the case of a cancellation, I would have felt much more comfortable that she truly would try to find folks to fill the vacancy, and return the majority if not all of my prepaid money. But with a fella like George on the scene...?
Thankfully we ended up at Anchorage Inn on Okracoke, which was indeed, quite nice. Look for my review of Anchorage Inn. As for George? If you are like us, he doesn't appear to need you. And if his performance is standard, you probably do not need him! Captain's Landing is far from the only game in town. If you say, "Well look at all the positive reviews Captain's Landing has," my response is simply that sure, apparently George can behave like a reasonable person, maybe even be nice sometimes. Or, maybe Ann is around a lot, and she IS a reasonable AND nice person! But Ocracoke isn't 2 feet away. You will go through some pretty long driving plus ferry travel to get there. If you cannot trust a hotelier to honor the deal you had, or not to go deep end with nasty and rude behavior as another reviewer mentioned, you have to determine if you are going to roll the dice and hope George is in a good mood, or George is feeling reasonable, or George will honor your agreed-upon deal. Ocracoke is a long way to go only to discover you came on a "Bad George Day." No authentically classy or just plain ethical business runs based on wishy washy reservations or room offers that for no reason beyond "I don't want to honor that" may not be awaiting you after such long travel. Or short travel for that matter. Then again, this is purely your decision to make and your dice to roll. Last word: setting George's behavior aside, the cancellation policy alone is VERY REVEALING. It tells me customers are the enemy. Pay in full and in advance? If a problem arises "we'll TRY to work with you...??" The key here in my opinion is, this place wants the money first, second, third and always. You being happy? Maybe that's not the actual top priority here, eh? Well, except perhaps the days George feels like it...
Believe me. I was just on Ocracoke. There are a good many places to stay, and Anchorage Inn was quite satisfactory.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Eight waterfront suites, a spacious two-bedroom penthouse and a charming cottage overlook Ocracoke Island's scenic Silver Lake and provide panoramic views of the lighthouse and harbor life. Sea air and soft breezes enhance your stay at Captain's Landing; along with spectacular sunsets and views from your own private deck, so close to the water you may feel as though you are on a boat. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Captain`s Landing Waterfront Hotel Ocracoke
- Captains Landing Waterfront Hotel
- Captains Landing Waterfront Ocracoke