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“Let down.”

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Thornewood Castle Inn and Gardens
Ranked #1 of 11 Tacoma B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Salem, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Let down.”
Reviewed September 4, 2012

My husband and I were VERY excited to visit Thornewood for our honeymoon. When we arrived we were reminded that there was a wedding happening by the fact that we couldn't find somewhere to park. At $300 a night you would think we would have somewhere to park our car..The grounds and the inn were very beautiful on the outside. Once inside we had to ask a staff member from the catering company for help, she lead us to the event coordinator. The event coordinator was a lovely woman, she helped us check in and find our room. Our room was cute, but probably not worth the money. When we were told that there would be weddings the weekend of our stay we were reminded that we were free to roam the grounds and do whatever we want. That's a nice thought, but walking around through someones wedding is a lot more awkward than one would think. Every single guest stared at us and it felt very uncomfortable to come down from our room to find the couple having their first dance at the bottom of the stairs.....BOTH nights we stayed there were weddings. Basically we either had to be gone or stay in our room during the evenings. Not once did we meet the owners or even see them. (I know that their policy is to give you privacy) but the only time I spoke to them was when we wanted to check out. Our check out time was 11, but we just wanted to go home around 7am. I called the extension and explained that we wanted to leave, I was told to leave the keys by the door...That was it! No "Thanks for staying", or "I hope you had a lovely time" or anything. I was pleased with the room and the exterior of the inn was very beautiful. I don't even really care that we never saw the owners, that doesn't bother me. I am only let down by the fact that we felt so uncomfortable the whole time with the weddings happening AND we didn't even recieve a thank you or anything when we finally did talk to them. I'm sure had we stayed at the castle during the day we may have met them or had a better experience, but instead we just decided to travel to Seattle during the day. I think that we had really high expectations because we feel like $300 a night is kind of a lot, and we were let down by the fact that it didn't FEEL like it was worth $300 a night. I really wish we could have stayed when there were no weddings, they make weddings the priority (I understand it is a special day) but we paid a lot of money and were the LAST people to have a good time.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Aa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thornewood-Castle, Manager at Thornewood Castle Inn and Gardens, responded to this review, October 8, 2012
Thank you for your review and for your feedback. Thornewood Castle provides a beautiful and unique experience for all of our guests. The castle is also an ideal and popular setting for weddings and events. Every guest’s stay and comfort is important to us at Thornewood Castle and we do everything we can to cater to each guest and to make sure that every experience is ideal. It is part of our policy to notify all overnight guests of any weddings before their stay. Each guest’s happiness is our ultimate reward and objective.
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185 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Tacoma, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2012

My husband and I fell in love with Thornewood as we were searching for wedding and reception venues! Our wedding was beautiful and everyone that came to the wedding thought the venue was simply stunning. The staff at Thornewood are great, very friendly and helpful. There are just a couple suggestions I would recommend to Thornewood. We felt that the 6 hour time limit to include set up and take down was a bit tight. Here was what our schedule was, AND this was with us paying an extra $820.00 for an extra hour, so we had 7 hours altogether including set up and take down:
3pm - Set up for wedding and reception (Thornewood does not help set up, tables and chairs are the only things set out)
4:30pm - 5pm - Wedding ceremony
5pm - 6:30pm - cocktail hour/yard games
6:30pm - 7:15pm - Dinner
7:15pm - 7:30pm - Toasting
7:30pm - 7:45pm - Cake cutting
7:45pm - 9:30pm - Dancing
9:30pm - 10pm - Take down
Mind you, if we had not spent the extra $820, we would have needed to end at 9pm instead of 10pm. I feel that Thornewood should give 8 hours for the ceremony and reception to allow for less stress and the feeling of cramming everything in and sticking to such a tight schedule. When we ended dancing at 9:30pm, guests were still wanting to dance, so that was a little disappointing, but the party has to always stop at some point :) 6 hours is surely too little of time when it includes set up and take down, it makes it feel much too hurried, so I truly hope they take this into consideration. Also, we paid an extra $820 for 20 extra people over the 100 person limit on the contract, $820 FOR AN EXTRA 20 PEOPLE!! And, of course there are always people that do not end up coming to weddings, so really we ended up having less than 10 extra people....I feel that Thornewood should charge you a set extra amount per person over the 100 person limit instead of one lump sum extra for up to 25 people over the 100 person limit. So really, we paid $820 for an extra 10 people over the limit, which seems outrageous, they really should just charge like $30 per extra person and therefore we would have only paid $300 for the extra 10 people instead of $820! At times, we felt somewhat nickeled and dimed for things. We spent an extra $1,640 for the extra guests and extra hour on top of the $4,300 we already spent on the venue and simple things were not even done by Thornewood such as handling the post wedding garbage, we had to take our garbage with us afterwards!!! That seems a bit much after spending over $6,000 on a venue and we didn't do catering or anything else through them except renting the place out for the 6 hours. We stayed the night of the wedding at the castle and the room we stayed in was wonderful! Overall, the staff was great at the castle and our wedding was beautiful! Hopefully some of these points will be taken into consideration to help make this place a bit less stressful of a venue for couples.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
5 Thank Brittany M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2012

This must have been a beautiful estate (hardly a "castle") when it was built 105 years ago, but it's tatterworn and delapidated now. Carpeting is threadbare, brick is broken, doors are split, loose and showing multiple repair efforts, paint is peeling, air-conditioning doesn't work. All that would be tolerable if there were warm and friendly redeeming features, but there aren't. The home is difficult to acess due to nearby crime problems. It's in a gated community and all doors to the outside must remain locked. Access is via intercom at exterior gate and then another intercom at the front door. Owners are MIA, so a nice young woman showed us the building and policies. Only access to outside is the front door due to security concerns. It's not espcially nice, not especially friendly and definitely NOT upscale. That's the biggest dissappointment. This is the most expensive B&B we stayed in over the last five days, and it's the second worst. It's not even in the same league as the similarly priced competition. Not even close. We felt caged in a collapsing estate right out of a Stephen King novel (literally -- the house, err, castle, was used in a King movie!) Ugh. The AC unit is a portable that can only be installed in the bathroom. It's been running since 3:00 this afternoon and it's 10:00PM now. Our room is down to about 75 degrees, finally. Oddly, it wasn't even very hot today -- maybe 80? Not sure why the house is so hot. We'd open the windows, but there are no screens on most of them, so the skeeters would invade (house in on the lake). The location is pretty and peaceful, and we'd stay here again if 1) It wasn't a hot day, 2) We had to be near Lakewood, 3) the rate was cut in half, and 4) there were no other options. My guess is the place is almost empty (one other couple) because there are no repeat customers.... we talked to the other couple, locals, and they felt the same way.

Room Tip: Drive a couple hours north to "B&B row" between Sequim and Port Angeles. The George Wa...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Alex G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thornewood-Castle, Manager at Thornewood Castle Inn and Gardens, responded to this review, July 28, 2012
I am one of the managers here at Thornewood Castle. I want to personally say I'm sorry to hear about your issue with Thornewood Castle. Our first priority is to ensure our client’s safety and to provide a memorable stay for every guest. To protect our guests, we always take every extra precaution to make sure we have tightened security around Thornewood Castle. Normally, we find that our guests appreciate security. As Thornewood is also our personal home, we take an enormous amount of pride in keeping it in excellent condition. Since the style of the Thornewood Castle is that of a historic English Tudor Gothic Manor, the materials are not meant to look new. The brick goes back several courses and is not just a mere layer of exterior brick. Although some areas appear aged cosmetically, that look matches the style and period of a century-old English Tudor Gothic Manor , which is part of the castle's charm for visitors. As a testament to these statements, we have brought in experts who have worked on these types of houses all over the world and these experts have said that this house is in good condition. Any cosmetic wear clearly abides by the style of the manor. Due to the unique nature of Thornewood, in which floors and ceilings are composed of 10-inch thick concrete and steel, central air conditioning cannot be installed without dramatically changing the character of this historic place. If, at any time, there are issues with our appliances and our guests report the issues to us, we will immediately take steps to correct or replace them. We take great pride in our home and in the service we provide to our guests. If you would like to further discuss Thornewood Castle, please contact us at 253-584-4393.
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California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 26, 2012

June 12 2012: Our family reserved three castle rooms and the two bedroom apartment. With a early 70 year range in years, each of us took away a unique memory from Thornewood. All were impressed with the cleanliness, the artifacts, the ambience of a calm and peaceful retreat. We asked for a few items and they were immediately brought to us - no detail forgotten. We were treated very well. We all loved listening to the owners share times past and their gracious mannerisms.
It was great playing chess in the garden, ping pong and pool in the game room, and celebrating the family overlooking a beautiful lake. Thank you so much from all of us!!!

Room Tip: Grandview and Presidential - our favorites!!
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank xg4man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utica, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 13, 2012

This place has endless potential. I had my wedding here and fell in love with the garden and house immediately. I booked it but was disappointed when a few months later, I found out about some "additions". The owner had added VERY tacky sculptures all over the garden and ruined the best part, the tiny reflection pond with an ugly Vegas style fountain that is far too big for the tiny space. It totally detracts from the old English style of the manor. She also added a huge ugly ramp over the old stairs for her lawn mower. Good grief. I wish she would stop over cluttering this otherwise, gorgeous space with dolls, oversized chairs, stuffed animals, Vegas statues etc. and give the home back its intended dignity. So much potential, then again it is her house and she can do what she wants and I can keep dreaming about fixing up my own manor. :) Regardless I am glad I had my wedding there and will just crop out the tacky stuff from my photos. All in all, it still holds up as a gorgeous setting even if it is getting way too cluttered.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Traveltrotter1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mesa, Arizona
1 review
Reviewed January 5, 2012

Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and delicious breakfast. This has been a beautiful start to a lifelong honeymoon. We watched a gorgeous sunset and ate breakfast on the patio overlooking the secret garden. Dreamy! We’ll be back next year for our 1-year anniversary. Thank you again.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank glassonion003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bend, Oregon
1 review
Reviewed January 5, 2012

Two days ago, we entered Thornewood and it’s enchantment. As I slept, I had magnificent dreams of years gone past. Thornewood has a great history and unending warmth, romance and charm. These two days were a respite for both Doug and I. As we leave today we go back to the real world, now we have a place to hide and enjoy romantic times together.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kelly P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thornewood Castle Inn and Gardens

Property: Thornewood Castle Inn and Gardens
Address: 8601 N. Thorne Lane S.W., Tacoma, WA 98498
Location: United States > Washington > Tacoma
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Tacoma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Thornewood Castle Inn and Gardens 3*
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Thornewood Castle Inn And Gardens Hotel Tacoma

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