My wife and I stayed here in August of 2012 for 6 nights. Having traveled to over 15 Bed & Breakfasts around the country in the last 10 years, Ancient Oaks' claim of being a luxury Inn was enticing. The pictures and descriptions on their website led to great expectations about what we would encounter there.
If you looking for the bottom line here it is: Ancient Oaks is not a Luxury Inn. It is a $2.2 million dollar private home with rooms for rent. What's the difference? Let me state a few for you. (1) A Luxury Inn has more than one on-site employee to handle everything from check-in to housekeeping to chef duties. (2) A Luxury Inn has enough hot water to actually fill and use the Jacuzzi in your room and/or for a couple to take showers without wondering if other guests are showering tonight. (3) A Luxury Inn doesn't provide a shower with multiple shower heads, body jets, and rain head and then disconnect all but one because that was the only way to ensure hot water for the other rooms. (4) In a Luxury Inn you don't have to request to have your room refreshed (bed made, general cleaning, vacuuming the carpets). (5) In a Luxury Inn you don't have to clean the Jacuzzi yourself each night before using it. Ancient Oaks is not a Luxury Inn.
Our experience began as we arrived early. We called because we were in town early and were told by Ida that our early arrival would actually help her as she had an errand to run before 5pm. As we arrived, we were shown directly to our room. We assumed that the brevity of our check-in was due to her impending errand and that we would get more information when she returned (Where to park, where and when breakfast was, other amenities of the inn, etc.).
It is important for me to say at this point that Ida is not totally at fault. She is the ONLY staff member at the inn. 24 hours. 7 day a week. She is it. How can you run a 5-room "Luxury Inn" with one employee? Ida is a nice lady, but honestly she seemed tired and burnt out.
We stayed in the Renaissance Suite, the Master Bedroom of the house. The suite is huge. The pictures don't lie, they just don't tell a complete story. After getting over our impression of the room, reality set in. As my wife loves to soak in a good jacuzzi, we inspected the Jacuzzi for cleanliness. It was not clean. The cups around the jets were dirty, so we went to ask Ida about it. She said that she had some spray that would take it all away. She grabbed the spray, squirted in the jets a few times and left (leaving a dirty footprint in the tub). She never returned. We really felt like we were disturbing her, so I grabbed a spare toothbrush that I had in the car and cleaned the tub myself. This was not the end of our Jacuzzi adventures during our stay. Turning the jets on yielded black flakes that we were told were probably old rose petals from a couple who stayed there a few weeks earlier. Apparently no one had cleaned or used the tub since then. These flakes appeared almost every time we turned on the jets.
The tub may have been a clue about the cleaning patterns of the inn but we still had "Luxury Inn" in our minds. So we were surprised when our room was not freshened in any way when we returned after a day of sightseeing. Bed not made. Towels not changed. Tub not cleaned. Sinks not wiped down. Floor not vacuumed. Nothing. When we asked Ida, she said that the room could be cleaned any time we desired -- all we had to do was ask. The long blonde hairs (my wife's hair is not blonde) that my wife kept finding in her toes from walking on the carpet in our room made us think that it had been a while since anyone asked for that service.
The shower was a tease that just left us frustrated. Imagine a 6x8 foot shower room with a seat and as their website describes: "a dual rain shower head and massage system." Sounds amazing right? Not when all but one shower head has been deactivated (so that the other rooms on the floor could have hot water)and the remaining one has minimal water pressure and lukewarm water. The lack of sufficient hot water also meant that it took 1 hour or more every night to fill the jacuzzi (Fill until water ran cold. Wait for hot water to recover. Repeat)
Oh. And there is no WIFI at this inn. No internet connection at all. They advertise a business center but have no internet connection. When we asked about an internet connection, it was suggested that we go down the street to the local McDonald’s (a 20 minute drive). This might be fine but there is also no information about the area around either. No menus for local restaurants. No information on local hikes. No direction to the things to do in the area. Nothing. I don’t mind being cut off from my email but provide other resources so that I can plan my days and enjoy the area.
I could go on but you get the point... simply disappointing. We honestly felt like borders in someone's home rather than guests in a luxury inn. This beautiful property is being squandered by owners who appear to be too cheap to put in place the staff and resources necessary to make this a truly luxury experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ancient Oaks Bed and Breakfast offers exclusivity, sophistication and personalized service combined with an unrivaled relaxing atmosphere. The discriminating traveler looking for a five-star Smoky Mountain Lodging experience combined with a low key ambiance will find this unique Smoky Mountain lodging experience place to come back to time and time again. ... more less