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“Questionable business practices”

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At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast
Ranked #13 of 19 Hilo B&B and Inns
Reviewed February 14, 2008

This B&B has questionable business practices. I don't ever plan to stay here.

I canceled my reservation and followed the B&B's cancellation policy in their contract. According to the contract I had a year to use my B&B credit because I had cancelled at the last minute. When I tried to use the credit the B&B wouldn't return my phone calls and claimed they don't understand voice messages left on their answering machine.

I have phone records of the phone calls I made to them.

They said they can't understand phone messages left on their answering machine - Claudia, from the B&B said "Even if you called me on my home phone...I cannot always understand the messages... if they speak too fast. I always try to call back the numbers on my caller ID anyway. If there was a mistake made there is nothing I can do about that now." Funny thing -- Claudia didn't have a problem understanding the voice message I initially left to book a reservation. She only had a problem understanding the phone message asking to honor my credit.

After not hearing from the B&B for 6 weeks I contacted my credit card company, explained the situation and they credited me back for the amount that this B&B wouldn't honor. Claudia tried to 'make up' only after my credit card company refunded me. Then Claudia began sending me email after email (6-8 emails) even after I told her the situation is closed and I won't be staying at her B&B. She wouldn't stop badgering me, she replied by email saying "It is up to the credit card company and not you. C." Well, in the end I got my money back and this situation is closed. phew.

There are a LOT of B&Bs and hotels in Hilo that are honorable and do not play games with your money, the phone or answering machine. Based on my experience, I do not recommend this B&B.

NOTE: Regarding the date stayed at this hotel and how I booked my stay - I did not stay at this B&B - the date of "Feb 2008" was provided only because a date was required to submit this review. But I attempted to use my credit to stay at this B&B for Feb 2008, which did not happen. I initially booked my room from the owner's website but in the end I did not stay at this B&B for the reasons stated above.

  • Stayed: February 2008
    • Value
9  Thank bennytillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
An_Innkeeper_in_Hilo, owner at At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2008

I disagree. After a review of the dispute, the credit card company upheld our credit policy and reversed the unearned credit Feb. 7, ending this dispute in our favor. We are a small operation and every guest acknowledges our policies in writing before they are extended a reservation. The intent of the policy is to provide a reasonable amount of relief under terms we can afford to give. Anyone who has legitimate reason to cancel their reservation at the last minute will most likely have to rebook their entire vacation, therefore they will be coming back. We would like to keep their business so we extend an "in house" credit (rather then total forfeiture of the deposit) as an incentive to come back. Any re-booking can be made anytime using our standard on-line booking form at a guest's discretion.

Policy: If you cancel your reservation after the cancellation deadline you will not receive a refund. You will be allowed to apply the deposit towards another stay booked within a year. Re-booking to be made on-line according to availability calendar. This is a non-transferable "in house" credit and can it be applied one time within one year of the original booking date.

The email this person sent us had the wrong email address on it. It was close but not accurate enough for us to have received it. I accept her explanation at face value that she left a message on my AT&T voice mail. I probably didn't understand it. I wrote and extended the deadline for another six months to offset any mishaps or misunderstandings and explained on-line booking is available and to use it in the future.

The credit card company will first reverse disputed charges and then hold a review. In this case the credit card company upheld our policies and reversed the unearned credit. This incident will not impact our policies, which we believe are generous and mutually beneficial. We have a beautiful, unique property in a fantastic location and like taking good care of our guests. Persons contemplating taking unfair advantage of our reservation policies are forewarned they should plan to stay else where. Our B&B is not a high end boutique hotel catering to eccentric personalities, but a reasonably priced personal and friendly way to travel. It's a little like going to camp in that everyone gets to know each other and teams up to have a good time. Life is about making the best of every situation. People who understand this will ignore this complaint.

Owner


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57 - 63 of 81 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2008

It’s a little like staying “at the beach with friends” as in the name. But while on vacation, I’d rather stay with a host. Friends may or may not make my bed, change towels or do a load of laundry they promised. If they do any of these, it’s at their convenience, not yours and not on a schedule.

But friends don’t have so many rules.

There was alarm in her voice when I spoke to her on the phone the first time because we were going to be late (seven, not six PM)
Don’t be late, but don’t be fifteen minutes early, either, I saw a couple asked to sit outside while she got their room ready… that room having had no guests for days and it was mid afternoon.
It’s only good manners to remove shoes at the door, but don’t take them back to your room.
Don’t knock on the breakfast room door to ask about coffee, knock on the one ten feet away leading to the same area.
Don’t bring the coffee and muffin back to your room to enjoy while reading the paper in your robe.
Get dressed and go sit in the dining room by yourself.
Don’t rehang the towels. Toss them onto the floor, so she’ll know to replace them. (But if you return late in the afternoon, ready for a shower, you might have that same moist lump for towels)
Be ready for a really long explanation of any rule if you question or inadvertently break it or if something promised is not done.
Don’t let any of this change your mind about the length of your stay. Even with four days’ notice, there’ll be no refund, just a credit for the next time you “pop over to the islands” and are dieing to return to this B&B.
But, if you make an observation that upsets her, be prepared to be told to leave without notice, without reservations anywhere else and without a refund for all the missed days.
Our reservations were for nine (9) days. We stayed seven (7.)
It was a fiasco.
It is an amazingly beautiful place that is, in the end, not very friendly.

Stayed: January 2008
8  Thank clynnd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
An_Innkeeper_in_Hilo, owners at At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded February 21, 2008

We run a friendly three bedroom, moderately priced, bed and breakfast in a portion of our large custom designed home on a unique property on Hilo Bay. We give equal consideration to all our guests and do not allow one guest to demand the lion's share of our attention or disrupt our general routines and other guests. Most people thrive on the personal service we do provide, relax, enjoy themselves, and fit in easily.

We have a coffee pot set up ready to go in the common room and encourage any guest who rises early to help themselves by pushing the start button. All of our guests tend to take their coffee to their room. We also provide small refrigerators in each room. We don't object to beverages in the rooms. We do ask guests to eat in the common room to avoid attracting ants and other critters in the bedrooms. People break the rules and eat light snacks and we won't say anything unless it turns into a definite problem. There are three glass tables in a well equipped common room which can be used for take out meals and we are always glad to provide table wear and clean up in return for keeping the mess confined to the common room. As for breakfast we set the tables and provide a buffet. We generally do not provide trays for guests to eat breakfast in their rooms although if someone is sick we will fix them a special tray. This was a conscious business decision.

We do the best we can to get beds fluffed, towels changed, and trash taken out daily. Sometimes for various reasons and demands we do not service the rooms and change the towels until the afternoon. We keep towels and trash bags in plain sight so people can help themselves in between. We generally don't provide laundry facilities or services.

We have two doors leading into the private portion of our home. They are marked "private" and one of them is preferred as it has a doorbell. We have a sign at the main outside door thanking people for removing their shoes when entering the house (a Hawaiian tradition)and provide a bench and place to leave them (but it not required). We make exceptions for older people or those with flat (no ridges) clean shoes, and explain the sign is there to make people think about what's on their shoes when entering.

This is not a high end boutique hotel with a full staff that caters to eccentric, mercurial, or demanding personalities. So if you are a high maintenance type, keep shopping.

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Reviewed January 31, 2008

Aft'er reading disappointing reviews for hotels on the Hilo side of the Big Island, I began to look at B & B's. My husband would be working so I would be alone part of the time and needed to feel safe and comfortable. At The Beach with Friends is just the place. The grounds are green and spectacular. We had the Bamboo room which had the most beautiful view and entrance.
Claudia does everything she can to make you comfortable from giving you space to amazing conversations. She is a very intelligent women with lots of interests to share. The frogs and birds add a truely wonderful touch. They provide earplugs but why miss out on the fun! We will definetly return someday!

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled on business
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1  Thank mickip13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2008

We arrived on a Sunday at 5:30pm and were looking forward to relaxing in our quiet room. Our B&B host Claudia looked surprised to see us and bit confused as to what day it was. It's not like we arrived to early. She said our room was not ready for us to use and asked if we could come back in two hours. I thought she was joking! No Joke. We left and came back at 7:30pm, and the room was ready. She never offered any compensation so my husband asked for $50.00 off our first night stay. After that all friendliness stopped. We felt so unwelcome and uncomfortable in her home. At night the intense noise of the frogs and the occasional airplanes landing was hard to ignore. From then on we wore the ear plug that were by our night stand. I have never written a bad review on any of the places we stayed until now. There is no friend at the beach here.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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9  Thank gen52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
An_Innkeeper_in_Hilo, owner at At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded February 14, 2008

Mistakes happen, and we try to make the best of it. This guest booked on-line then changed the date of their arrival by email and I forgot to correct it on my webervations program. So I was caught by surprised when they appeared to me to arrive a day early. I suggested that they go grab dinner while I got their room ready and I would be happy to pay for it. They agreed and I credited their bill $50 for the inconvenience. It should have been the end of it.

Owner




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Reviewed November 9, 2007

This was our first B & B experience. Being our first experience we didn't know what to expect. We have stayed all across the board at simple hotels to 5 star resorts; have had great accomodations to the OMGosh I can't stay here and now our first B & B with Claudia & Scott at their At the Beach with Friends B & B in Hilo, HI.

Accomodations "Bed":
We stayed for 8 nights, from Oct 30 thru Nov 6, 2007 which I think may not be the usual but my husband and I don't like to move around. We like to settle in and stay put. We arrived in the evening, Claudia was there to greet us at the door, show us to our room and give us the lay of the land. Our room was lovely, a nice size with a king size bed, TV, private phone, private bath with full size tub. Actually the bathroom was a nice size, compared to some hotels we've stayed at. Clean towels every day, shampoo, soap, mouth wash cups, night light. Very nice. In the main room there is a lovely view from large windows out onto a tropical garden and Koi pond. There wasn't a chest of "drawers" though; there was the cabinet the TV sat on that you can put your folded clothes in but a set of drawers would have been nice. In our room there was an extra twin bed for a third person, we would have perferred a comfortable chair to sit in. The other rooms may have that to offer. The closet was full size, with plenty of hangers and a small refrigerator which was great to keep soda, snacks etc.

All in all the room was wonderful, clean, nicely decorated and a welcome site after a long day exploring the BIg Island.

Food "Breakfast":
Now, being our first B & B we have no comparisions from which to draw. We're use to the order from the menu routine. So with that said, the food was good. Warm muffins, homemade granola (delicious), fresh fruit, yogurt, hard boiled eggs or some hot food offering each morning, a great tea selection and very good coffee each morning at 8:15. Claudia was very accomodating if scheldules dictated an earlier or later need for breakfast. Claudia likes to make you feel at home. If she finds out you have a particular favorite she does her best to surprise you with a treat. If you have certain needs Claudia is gracious and will do what she can to meet them.

So, in summary, the food is healthy, well prepared and tastey. If you want to eat there you are somewhat tied to the Inn Keeps schedule so be prepared but don't hesitate to ask if you need alternate arrangements. A coffee pot that could be set up to turn on for the early risers would be nice, there is a French Press coffee pot available for the guests, but an ordinary push the button one would be a great convinence.

Extras:
Claudia & Scott have done a wonderful job of making your stay with them enjoyable. There is WIFI for your computer, beach equipment, sun screens, umbrellas and towels. There are plenty of books on places to go, what to do, Island history and more. Claudia and Scott will visit with you, share their stories and make you feel at home and a welcome guest. The common room is comfortable and there are snacks (on the house) and tea available 24/7.

So, in closing, our stay at At the Beach with Friends B & B was wonderful and worth the price of admission. If you like the B & B style of traveling I can't imagine you'd be disappointed with At the Beach with Friends (Claudia & Scott)!

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled on business
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7  Thank cablemn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2007

Having paid in full for two nights, we checked out hurridly on our second day.This was the worst experience.No coffee or cups. Breakfast was to be at 8:00 am..still not there at 8:30.Other guests concurred with our displeasure.The insult was a little baskets of 25 cent cheese crackers/ granola bars.If there was any fresh fruit..we never saw it.The most painful part of the experience,however,occured on our second day.As my husband and I walked back to the B&B(loosely described) some local boys joked with us and we responded, in kind.After all, this is their island and we, their guests.All of a sudden, we were called over to speak with a policeman who wasat their gate. Claudia demanded that we tell the officer that the boys had bothered us.We said this was not the case at all and she angrily commanded,"Don't tell him that!" I repeated to the officer that there was no problem and gave a thumbs up to the young men to signify that we had no problem.They smiled in response.Claudia, again,insisted that we "change our story" to suit her position.Her husband said they had been video-tapping these young men and their complaint was that they were making too much noise and drinking beer.Neither my husband nor I drink, but we remember what it is to be young and to have a day at the beach.Not only do I agree that Claudia has no passion for the B&B,but also found her to be disinterested in her guests.It did not matter that she had many Hawaiian pictures adorning the walls...there was no semblance of Aloha in the environment.My husband lived in Hilo for 12 years and stated that it is her type which gives "howlies" a bad name.Perhaps it could be re-named,"Enemies at the Beach."I expect,as with other unfavorable review,"Memorble for the wrong reason",that Claudia's response would be volumous,however, I have only conveyed the bare minimum of the negativity in the experiece.We have not asked for a refund.We were simply delighted to "escape".

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank PiperPisgahForest_nc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
An_Innkeeper_in_Hilo, owner at At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded November 2, 2007

I don't recall these guests and events as described here. Hopefully this review will be taken with a grain of salt.

owner, At the Beach with Friends B&B

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Reviewed September 26, 2007

This state of the art B&B felt like old Hawaii with all its charm and grace. Our hostess, Claudia, made elegant breakfasts every morning, taking special consideration for my unfortunately extensive dietary limitations. Our room was grand, with the hugest most comfy bed I've ever slept in. At The Beach With Friends provided everything we intrepid beach bumscould need to enjoy the gorgeous beach at Richardson's Point, almost exactly across the street. I could rise with the sun, collect snorkling gear from the hall closet, walk to the Point in less than 5 minutes, snorkle, walk back, shower, and then sit with my daughter and Claudia and new friends in front of enormous windows watching the clouds slide across Mauna Kea while eating gourmet 'grinds'... that's Hawaiian pidgeon for 'good eats'!
Don't miss this place. We go twice a year to visit family: I'll stay with Claudia rather than burden my new daughter-in-law... It is a nourishing, friendly, tolerant B&B, and as beautiful as they come. Did I mention the ponds and flowers and birds? Just go.

Stayed: August 2007
5  Thank TutuSkye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast

Address: 369 Nene St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4942
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 19 B&Bs / Inns in Hilo
Price Range: $190 - $215 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Private guest wing on a salt water lagoon across from Hilo's favorite swimming beaches. Luxury ocean view accommodations for $160-$180 king beds, ensuite baths, free WiFi, flat screen TVs, common sitting room/lounge area, games, books, & hot buffet breakfast. Small refrigerators in room and tea service available in common room. Triple room available. Beach towels, folding chairs,coolers flashlights and umbrellas on hand. $10/night discount off base price for five nights or more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
At The Beach With Friends Hotel Hilo
At The Beach With Friends Bed And Breakfast
At The Beach With Friends Bed & Breakfast Hilo, Hawaii

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