Just getting around to writing this review. We rented this property for a long term rental while scouting the area for a business last year. It has Beautiful views from the house and packed with amenities to include a indoor & outdoor conference table, indoor movie theater, outdoor screen for presentations, hot tub, great kitchen, TVs literally everywhere, spectacular game room and dozens of other amenities our team enjoyed. It was pet friendly and ideal for us.
I’ll say the positives first. The house was well furnished and our wedding party went smoothly. Had the story ended at the moment we walked out the door for the last time, we would have had nothing bad to say about the place.
That being said, EVERYTHING that happened afterwards ruined our image of Celebration Retreat and led us to writing this. The experience was so bad that it overshadowed any positives.
A few days after our event, “Scott” from Celebration Retreat emailed us saying that there were no damages that would deduct from our security deposit. However, he required that we pay a gratuity for “Landscapers, grounds personnel, maintenance, events team, logistics, bar staff, payroll, Human Resources and office personnel.”
This was news to us as we never met most of these people and had already tipped all the on-site personnel. Scott told us that we weren’t supposed to do this (despite a document he sent us prior explicitly stating that we should tip in cash onsite) and that the expectation was to tip 15% of the full price. He then sent us our “original” cost list where he sneakily inserted that 15% number. He then started badgering us to give him this money despite it being clear that there was no basis for this payment.
When it became clear that we weren’t budging, Scott suddenly said that there was a 20% “service fee” despite us already having paid “taxes/service fees.” At this, we requested a full breakdown of the fees we had already paid, to which Scott had no response other than saying that we owed them a 20% fee. He then gave us the offer of waiving either the 15% gratuity or the 20% fee, saying that it was a “good deal for us.” Keep in mind, BOTH OF THESE FEES WERE MADE UP. He then took the liberty of keeping $1,000 of our security deposit and then tried to shift blame to other employees.
We recognize in hindsight we could have been more thorough up front, but we believed we were dealing with people that could be trusted. That clearly wasn’t the case as this was the first time someone tried to retroactively mark up a price that was already agreed upon.
To avoid falling into the same trap that we did, before you sign any contract or provide any deposit to these folks, PLEASE do the following:
1. Ask for full names and phone numbers of the administrative personnel.
2. Confirm all the exact fees that you’ll pay before you pay ANYTHING, including an exact breakdown of what the fees are. The cost spreadsheet that they gave us in Excel form had no formulas. In addition, despite us confirming beforehand that damages would be the only deduction from our security deposit, we got hit with over 15% of the total price.
If there’s any message that we hope you take out of this, it’s that these people cannot be reasoned with. We asked many legitimate questions and provided counterpoints to all of their fees, but they ignored them in favor of making more things up. If you don’t want to be conned out of a lot of money, we highly recommend avoiding this place AT ALL COST!
We drove to the lovely little town of Front Royal, knowing nothing of the area. This house was on our destination list the past couple of years. We drove up the long and winding road to the house, and were amazed at what we saw. a stunning view, and a beautiful house. We were warmly welcomed, and showed the entire house. Our friends joined us a couple of hours later, and we made dinner in the delightful kitchen. We ate on a patio overlooking beautiful sculptures, listening to the sounds of the forest. after dark, we enjoyed the stars from the hot tub, and had some wine. we made use of the theater inside the house but we all fell asleep in the reclining chairs. ( we also managed to get in a few games of foosball and pinball, too!) This was such an interesting stay. The master suite was delightful and comfortable. the kitchen was available for cooking/dining in. jazz played in the kitchen, and even on the deck while we dined. it was perfect! the wine and conversation was interesting. I've never had an experience quite like this with a home rental. Thank you so much to our host for helping us start our Virginia vacation...we will never forget this......! Looking forward to future visits to wine country! Virginia is delightful! Thank you Celebration Retreat for making it perfect!
The house and property are gorgeous. location is amazing near all the wineries. We did a afternoon wine tour and came back and had a personal chef prepare a dinner for our group. Thank goodness we did as we were way to tired and a little tipsy to try to cook. We enjoyed the outdoor hot tub and fire pit. One of the girls loved it so much now wants to get married at the property next year! :) We will for sure be coming back! Thank you for the great getaway.
Our family enjoyed the quiet seclusion of the retreat with all of it's great amenities. Shopping and convenience are not far away and the location is easy to get to. Tammy was suburb and very helpful with check in and making our stay enjoyable.
There are plenty of activities and the trails we fun to walk.
Overall this was a positive experience, but I do have some mixed feelings. I would rate 3.5 if I could.
-The house is beautiful, especially the views and outdoors.
-Pet friendly, but you have to pay for it.
-The staff was welcoming.
-Lots of games- really good if you have kids.
-The movie theater was awesome!
-There are MANY signs throughout the house that direct guests to leave any additional money for pets or additional guests in the envelope upon check out. Since booking, I added one person and found we needed to bring our dogs. I fully expected to add the cost of three guests by writing a check and leave it as directed. I was immediately emailed asking how I planned to pay for the extra guest and dogs. They have several cameras so obviously know how many guests are present. They made me feel like I was trying to hide something and demanded payment that day to ensure the money would clear. Someone showed up unannounced to collect the additional money. OK- then why does it say to leave the money upon checkout? I did not like that someone showed up unannounced. We felt as if someone was always watching. They were polite about it though.
-ALL FOUR of us got some kind of rash and painful bumps under our arms the day after we left. We can only assume this is from a dirty hot tub? I do not know another reason for this but we still have the red bumps and they hurt.
-The shower heads were terrible. For the amount charged, you would think they could have a decent shower.
-The pictures make the inside look bigger than it is. Although spacious, I think more than 8-10 people would be cramped.
I probably would not return to this property because the pricing per person/pet seems high. I would, however, recommend this to a small family for a quiet getaway.
This was a long term stay and we also had a superb birthday party at Celebration Retreat. This is our 2nd stay and the place keeps getting better. They have added a beautiful gate entrance which is nice for extra privacy. Inside, so many new amenities. Our family loved everything from the pinball machines to the home theater and the adventurous trails in the back yard. This was the best birthday party with our family and friends and we highly recommend the Celebration Retreat.