First, the good part: nice (but not exceptional) rooms with large beds. The pool was much bigger than expected and looked very nice, although we didn't have a chance to use it. The lobby was lovely.
Now, the not-so-good: their management needs some serious lessons in customer service and in managing a hotel.
We arrived at 11 AM on a Sunday morning after flying into DC on a red-eye from the west coast. I knew the check-in time was 3 PM, but we'd had breakfast, driven around a bit, and were too tired to do anything else. So my 2 teenagers and I walked into the lobby and I told the front desk that we had a reservation and were hoping to check-in early. Turned out I was speaking to the manager and he wouldn't even look to see if they had a room--just told me to come back at 3 PM. At that point, I explained that I wasn't safe to be on the road anymore and asked if we could just sit--and perhaps doze a bit--in the lobby. This suggestion horrified him ("we have some wedding parties coming in!"), so he actually became motivated to check and --lo and behold--they DID have a room we could check into immediately!
Now for part 2. I'm a huge college hoops fan and a University of Kansas alum, and the next night was the NCAA championship. So after a nap and freshening up, I started cruising the channels. They had a bunch of choices, but none of the majors (CBS, ABC, or NBC). This was a serious problem: no CBS=no championship game. I went back to the front desk (by this time the manager has left) and spoke to the lady there. She was extremely nice and told me that yes, some people had complained about not getting the basketball games last weekend. Maybe it was a cable problem? She wasn't really sure, but said I should talk to the manager Monday morning.
Back in my room, I made a couple of phone calls to nearby hotels. No CBS problem anywhere else.
On Monday morning I went back to talk to the manager who "helped" me check in the day before. He agreed to send a technician to my room to look at the TV right away. An hour later, my teenagers and I are sitting in our room twiddling our thumbs. Not having really planned to spend my time in Charlottesville sitting in a hotel room, I went back to the front desk and asked (nicely!) if we could expect a technician soon. The manager said the technician was busy, but would try to get there later. His tone suggested that this was an iffy proposition at best. At that point I explained that we really wanted to do some sightseeing, which meant I kind of needed to know if I should check out of their hotel and go to a CBS-equipped alternative before I missed their check-out time . The manager just looked at me and agreed I should probably check out. We did, went to the Doubletree down the road (it was a huge improvement for only $10 a night more!), and enjoyed the heart-stopping KU victory that night.
Needless to say, that was my first and last stay at an English Inn. While I was there I visited a good friend who lives in Charlottesville, and she said that she didn't know anyone who had ever stayed there. I guess now I know why!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 106 well-appointed rooms and suites. Enjoy all the pleasures of a fine Charlottesville hotel blended with the charm of a country inn. You’ll find the heart of the English Inn is our dedication to uncompromising quality and exemplary personal service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The English Hotel Charlottesville
- English Hotel Charlottesville