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“Very disappointing”

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Old Rittenhouse Inn
Ranked #1 of 15 Bayfield B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Duluth
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Very disappointing”
Reviewed March 7, 2007

We were really looking forward to visiting the Old Rittenhouse to celebrate our anniversary, but left very disappointed. The staff seemed a bit disinterested and aloof, but we overlooked it. The food was adequate, but didn't seem quite enough. Our room was also not as nice as advertised. Even though things were not quite what we expected, we still tried to focus on enjoying ourselves. We were looking forward to a nice fire in our room that evening, but had a problem with the wood not burning properly . We brought this to the attention of one of the staff members twice, but all we were given was some newspaper. My husband spent most of the evening frustrated trying to start and keep the fire going, which did not lead to an enjoyable evening for either of us. When we later brought this to the attention of the owner the next day, he was rude and insulting. The overall rating would probably be higher if we were not for this response. Needless to say, we cannot recommend the Old Rittenhouse.

Stayed March 2007
Helpful?
12 Thank AdventureDuluth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old_Rit_Innkeeper, Manager at Old Rittenhouse Inn, responded to this review, July 12, 2007
Let us begin by saying that we regret that these guests had the experience outlined above, and we sincerely hope that they might be willing to give us another chance to exceed their expectations in the future.

As we’ve underscored in each of our responses to complaints about our staff, customer service has been our primary concern since we went into business over thirty years ago. We continue to strive for excellence in this aspect of our Inn. We are dismayed that these guests had the poor experience with our staff that they did, but maintain that we try very hard to go above and beyond our guests’ expectations whenever possible. We value our guests beyond all else—even those who have negative experiences while staying with us—because they give us an opportunity to evaluate and improve on our level of service.

In response to the firewood complaint that these guests had, we apologize for the inconvenience. In such a situation, we hope that our staff would offer a new batch of wood for the room in case that turned out to be the source of the problem. We will certainly encourage them to take such a measure should this issue arise in the future.

In regards to the complaint that this guest voiced about “rude and insulting” comments from “the owner,” we can say with great certainty that these guests never spoke with anyone in management about their problem. The management team is a welcoming group of people that is quite attuned to the guests’ needs and concerns. When a problem is brought to our attention, we do everything in our power to appease the guest. We ask that our staff do the same.

Again, it all comes back to the emphasis we put on customer service. Our guests always have been and will continue to be the most important part of our business—without them, we wouldn’t be here.
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433 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (158)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2007

I have had the pleasure of dining at The Old Rittenhouse Inn several times in the past year. Chef David Miller is special. There were several people in our group with specific dining needs. After giving him our needs when we made our reservations, we were astounded with what he could do. I am a vegan and experienced flavors and tastes that were truly out of this world. The attention to detail sure made our dining experiences a delight.

While I usually don’t need lodging in Bayfield, I did stay at the Inn on one occasion. The many rooms have several different price levels. Our room was super cozy with a fire place, comfy couch and whirlpool. We felt very spoiled sleeping in there.

If you feel that you deserve to be treated well both at the table and with accommodations that inspire, stay here when in Bayfield.

Jeff Kriner

  • Liked — The food!
  • Disliked — I had to leave!
  • Stayed May 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank kriner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old_Rit_Innkeeper, Manager at Old Rittenhouse Inn, responded to this review, July 12, 2007
We are so glad that we could provide you with such a wonderful dining and lodging experience during your time with us. It’s always nice to receive compliments from guests who have enjoyed their visit.

We’re delighted that our chef was able to cater to the dietary restrictions of your group in a way that exceeded your expectations. Similarly, we are pleased to hear that your room was of the quality you desired. Thank you so much for visiting us. We hope to see you again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2007

My wife and I have stayed at the Old Rittenhouse Inn in Bayfield on many occasions and each time we have enjoyed the Old World charm of their beautiful rooms, the delectable gourmet dining and the one-of-a-kind personal service that always makes us feel at home in this special get-away.

Most recently, we shared a romantic weekend in Suite 11 at the Rittenhouse Inn (Main Building) to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We felt like royalty in this palacial suite, with its huge, comfy bed, sunny window seats, two-sink bathroom with shower/steamer, and relaxing den with its cozy fireplace and giant whirlpool tub. To top it all off, we followed a dip in the whirlpool by donning the room's plush robes and enjoying a nightcap out on the suite's private deck looking out on Bayfield.

Only the quaint town of Bayfield and the mouth watering delights of the Rittenhouse 5-star dining could lure us out of the terrific room. Every step in the multicourse meal was perfectly selected to please our palates at every turn. The salads were delightful and fresh, the hors douvres yummy, the beef and pork dishes tender and delicious and desserts (though we were hard-pressed to find room) we simply could not pass up. Our meal was neatly complimented by elegant wine selections recommended by resident expert Julie.

We enjoyed chatting with the Rittenhouse proprietors - Mark, Wendy, Mary and Jerry who made us feel as though we were their honored guests!

I can't recommend enough this one-of-a-kind B&B in gorgeous Bayfield, WI.

Joshua
Minneapolis, MN

  • Liked — Everything
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank jglippy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old_Rit_Innkeeper, Manager at Old Rittenhouse Inn, responded to this review, July 12, 2007
We are delighted to hear that your experience at the Old Rittenhouse Inn was so enjoyable. It’s wonderful to receive such compliments. Room XI certainly is a bedazzling suite, and we’re overjoyed to know that you took full advantage of all that it has to offer. We are also pleased to hear that your dining experience lived up to your expectations. (Yes, it’s often difficult to find room for dessert after those first four courses, but we’re glad that you found room to enjoy the finishing touches of your meal.)

Once again, thank you for visiting us. We would be honored to serve you again should your travel plans bring you back to Bayfield and stunning Lake Superior. Until then, safe travels!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2006

This may be a wonderful landmark hotel, but the owners of this establishment are at best borderline fraudulent. We booked a one night get away for our parents and were told a price over the phone. When we noticed our credit card was charged for almost twice the stated price (nearly $400) for a one night visit, we questioned the charge. We were told they could not refund any portion of the charge even though our parents had neither booked a reservation or stayed there!! Further, we had not authorized these charges to our credit card. Obviously we are disputing these charges, but never plan to do business with these people again.

After reading the other reviews of this establishment, I think enough has been said. Our recommendation should be obvious. Any establishment that pursues such practices should be avoided until it comes under new management.

  • Tips/Secrets — See review...Just avoid it.
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
Helpful?
12 Thank Bereasonablebehonest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old_Rit_Innkeeper, Co-owner, Innkeeper, Marketing Manager at Old Rittenhouse Inn, responded to this review, February 26, 2007
This person has not given all the facts about this situation. Since we've had only one disputed charge in the last 5 years, it was not difficult for us to investigate the history here.

At this customer’s request, a gift certificate was ordered for one night’s stay at our Rittenhouse Retreat ($350/night + tax) Because a gift certificate was purchased, there was a definite price quoted over the phone…the total of one night’s lodging at the Rittenhouse Retreat ($350.00 + 43.75 tax)

Unfortunately, lodging tax here in Bayfield, WI, is 12.5%.
(5% state, 6.5% city, .5% county and .5% premier)
This is high and catches some people off guard, but it is a factor beyond our control.

A room was not reserved. A gift certificate was purchased. If this person contacted us to order a gift certificate, how can it be said the credit card transaction was not authorized?

Furthermore, this gift certificate was activated for $393.75 and mailed to the customer as a gift for their parents. They are still in possession of this gift card valued at $393.75. How can we issue a refund to someone’s credit card account when they have the merchandise for which they paid?

As with many gift cards, the terms are clearly stated:
“Card is redeemable for goods and/or services only. Unused value remains on card and cannot be redeemed for cash.”

We made several efforts to work out the situation over the phone, but they had already made up their minds to dispute this charge. We only regret not having been given the chance to resolve this conflict as civilized adults.
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UK
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2006

We'd heard good things about this hotel, so didn't hesitate to book a room when we found ourselves "homeless" in Bayfield early evening a couple of weeks ago.

We were shown 5 available rooms, 2 in the Chateau, 2 in the Silvernail and 1 (suite 11) in the main house. The rates ranged from $149 to $299 excluding tax. All were awful! None of the rooms felt particularly clean (probably due for the most part to their decoration - old thick carpets, old style bathrooms, old style furnishings - although I did find as well, an old mint under a piece of furniture in the room we finally chose), most were small/cramped, and there were few amenities (a cake of soap, some make-up wipes and a small shampoo). Quite depressing. We had just travelled from another Inn in Door County (Hillside Inn) where we'd paid a similar price for a huge, very modern, spotless room with balcony and an array of amenities that you'd find in a 5* city/resort hotel - the difference could not have been greater (hence the depression that overcame us).

We decided to stay however, as it was getting late and booked in for a dinner (which is what we'd actually heard the good things about come to think of it). There is very little good we can say about it. The service was rushed (we opted for a "late" dinner - 8.30pm), there were menu changes, the food was bland/overcooked and just dull.

Breakfast the next morning was no better. We did not want the full breakfast (we just cannot eat that much!) so opted for the continental. Don't believe the Inn's own literature promising freshly baked muffin and scones. This was 2 small stone cold bland muffins (plus OJ/fruit cup) - oh and a dismissive waitress who lost interest when we didn't opt for the full breakfast (for which you pay more; the continental is included in the room rate).

So the room is awful, the food just as bad - what else? Try the 20% obligatory service charge everyone else has moaned about (that you only find out about once you are seated) and the fact that the rooms have no keys so you cannot lock your room/balcony door when leaving it (geez - that helps with our insurance policy!!). We could go on, but...

Our opinion - don't do it! Find somewhere else. You can spend far less for the same experience (or better) elsewhere in Bayfield. We left lamenting our lost $350 plus. From now on, give us bog standard corporate style hotels where you get what you pay for...

  • Liked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
15 Thank Lonesometravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old_Rit_Innkeeper, Co-owner, Innkeeper, Marketing Manager at Old Rittenhouse Inn, responded to this review, February 26, 2007
The Old Rittenhouse Inn is comprised of five historic properties dating from late 1800’s. All rooms have been lovingly restored, or are part of an addition to the Rittenhouse completed in 1985. Some have antique fixtures and many are decorated with antiques.

Anyone who has toured our guest rooms or taken an online virtual tour knows that our rooms are not awful. We deduce that this party stayed in our third floor luxury suite, Rittenhouse XI, because it is the only one of the rooms mentioned that has a balcony and no key.

None of the eleven guest rooms at the Rittenhouse Inn have keys, and we have never had a problem. However, we have come to understand that this makes some people feel uncomfortable; therefore, we are in the process of having each room at the Rittenhouse keyed. In the meantime, as has been our policy for 30+ years, our safe is available to guests who wish to use it. (Each of our satellite buildings already uses keys).

Rittenhouse XI was newly constructed within the last 5 years. We struggle to find anything old, cramped, or yucky about it.
It has new carpeting, the most modern furniture in our entire Inn, and classy features like a crystal chandelier, stained glass, a wood-burning fireplace, and a marble bathroom and tub surround. As to the mention of cleanliness, unfortunately, marble is a very soft and delicate surface and guests are not very considerate about using coasters. Consequently, wine glass and bottle rings have been etched into the marble around the whirlpool tub and bathroom vanities. Much to our dismay, the marble has been ruined, and despite guests who may think it is not clean, it is. (Update: The Inn is currently receiving bids for the replacement of all marble surfaces in this room.)

We are sorry our food and service did not live up to this guest’s expectations. We were not made aware of any problems during their visit or an adjustment to their bill could have been made. Furthermore, the fact that a 20% gratuity is added to guest tabs for dinner and/or full breakfast is mentioned to every guest, either in person or on the phone. It is published in all of our dining literature, listed on every confirmation, on our website, and in our room portfolios. The first time this person heard about the service charge was NOT at the table.

As a seasonal restaurant utilizing local ingredients whenever possible, we hope our guests understand that it is sometimes necessary to change the menu; especially if a particular item has been very popular and sells out. Since we do not know what was ordered, we cannot interpret what is meant by “bland/overcooked”, but to our estimation, there is nothing dull about entrées such as Cocoa Dusted Scallops or Duck Saltimbocca.

The Inn has always offered two breakfast options to suit our guests’ needs: continental breakfast (included with room) and an optional full breakfast of hot entrée items ($8.50 for house guests, and $11.50 for the public).

Baked goods like muffins and scones are freshly baked on premise each morning. Guests are each served a sweet or savory muffin and a neutral muffin, which becomes the perfect vehicle for our delicious homemade preserves. Coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are served along with fresh or prepared fruit. Since this visit was shortly after Bayfield’s Apple Festival, we can only guess that apple crisp, a baked apple, or some variation was served. As self-proclaimed “light eaters”, we are sorry the continental breakfast did not suit this guest’s needs. As mentioned, our full breakfast is always available, and it is permissible to order one continental and one full breakfast.

The Inn prides itself on offering the best accommodations and service possible. We are helpless to address problems of which we are unaware. We are reasonable people who welcome face-to-face interaction. Perhaps these guests are indeed more comfortable in a “corporate style hotel”.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Paul
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 8, 2006

We stayed for 2 nights in room 3. The bathroom was small and the water fluctuated between ice cold and scalding. There was hair in the sink and the shower curtain was moldy. The bedroom was fine. We "dined" at The Rittenhouse Friday night. The lamb was tough and overdone. The service was lack luster but they automatically tack on a 20% service fee. The following morning we had breakfast (which is not included in your room fee). The eggs were horrible and the presentaion was sophmoric. Upon checkout, I waited 15 minutes for a free staff member to help me. None did. I also noticed complaints from other guests. We left and I had to check out by phone. I would not recommend the Rittenhouse. The food is not the best in the area and there are numerous places to stay in Bayfield. It is clear that the focus is on marketing, and the inn falls very short on fulfilling its billing.

  • Liked — Nothing
  • Disliked — Staff
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
13 Thank GLASS123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old_Rit_Innkeeper, Co-owner, Innkeeper, Marketing Manager at Old Rittenhouse Inn, responded to this review, February 26, 2007
Clearly, we are dismayed with the experience these guests had at our Inn. Rittenhouse Room 3 is one of the Inn’s original guest rooms. Despite a comfortable Queen bed, cozy fireplace and lakeview, it is a modest-sized room with an admittedly small bathroom housing the toilet and shower. Our guest rooms are thoroughly cleaned each day and are toured by loads of visitors on a summer day. A stray hair in the sink could have come from anyone, even from the guest’s themselves. (Did you know the average person loses 100 strands of hair per day?!) We are sorry about that, but something similar has probably happened to all of us at one time or another.

We can only take the guest’s word about the condition of their shower curtain, but rest assured, it most definitely would have been replaced. The fluctuation in water temperature is being addressed with the installation of a more efficient hot water system.

We are sorry our breakfast and service did not live up to this guest’s expectations. We were not made aware of any problems during their visit or an adjustment to the meal and/or gratuity could have been made.

Check-out can be a hectic time on a summer morning. The limited space and flow of traffic through a small area may have prevented our staff from knowing this person was actually waiting in line. However, we are confident that our front desk staff does everything possible to assist our guests.

Hospitality and customer service are our top priorities. We offer on-going staff training for every department so that we are better able to meet the needs of our guests. We are committed to providing an excellent experience for everyone. Just remember, one bad experience does not necessarily ensure another. We welcome the opportunity to exceed this person’s expectations in the future.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 15, 2005

We just returned from a 3 night stay. Our room was in the Silvernail cottage. The room we had was VERY small. The bathroom had a huge jacuzze tub which took up all the space. No counter space to put away our bathroom accessories (rollers, shaver, etc.). We would much rather have had a smaller tub and more room to put things away. Also, the sliding doors between the bathroom and bedroom were very hard to use (they were stuck). Also, lots of street noise. The continental breakfast which was included had awful baked goods (hard, tasteless). The fruit cup was tasty, but that was it. The hot food was also very disappointing. They provided a plate with cookies down the hall, but they were hard and tasteless. We ended up eating breakfast elsewhere the rest of the time. We did have their 5 course meal one night. Expensive and not worth it. The best part of the Inn is the outdoor porch sitting area....swing, beautiful flowers, etc. But that's it. Would not stay there again.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old_Rit_Innkeeper, Co-owner, Innkeeper, Marketing Manager at Old Rittenhouse Inn, responded to this review, February 26, 2007
A few of the issues mentioned about this guest’s room are beyond our control. The Silvernail Guest House is located on Bayfield’s main street, which harbors its share of traffic during the summer.

The building is owned by a third party and leased to the Rittenhouse Inn. We have no say in how large the rooms are, nor how the whirlpool tubs are placed. Since submission of this comment in 2005, many of our guest bathrooms have had additional shelving and hairdryers installed; some even have lighted make-up mirrors.

Having eaten breakfast elsewhere during their visit, there isn’t much to comment upon here. There is definitely something to be said for first impressions, but there is also such a thing as a second chance.
An “expensive meal that is not worth it” doesn’t offer anything constructive about what could have been improved and is simply one person’s point of view.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Old Rittenhouse Inn

Property: Old Rittenhouse Inn
Address: 301 Rittenhouse Ave, Bayfield, WI 54814-5016
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Bayfield
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in Bayfield
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Old Rittenhouse Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Old Rittenhouse Inn is Bayfield, Wisconsin's first Country Inn Bed & Breakfast and gourmet restaurant offering 20 guest rooms in 2 Victorian homes and a private cottage. Accommodations include wood-burning fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and spectacular views of Lake Superior. A full service restaurant offers breakfast, brunch, and dinner, and showcases regional cuisine in season. The Inn is located blocks from Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. This year-round getaway offers seasonal rates and special events. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Old Rittenhouse Hotel Bayfield

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