We booked a 5-night stay in the Guest Cottage for our winter getaway, beginning on a Friday evening. We thought it worth $279 per night to have a comfortable setting in which to relax, read, cook a little, etc. The only nice features were the two-sided fireplace and bed. The advertised “handsome antique” furniture is thrift store stuff. The cottage is dumpy and rundown. The too-small, cheap TV hung crookedly on the wall far from the seating area, with wires and cables hanging down from it to the outlet at the base of the wall. The Jacuzzi sits in the middle of the living area under a window looking onto the front porch and the Inn’s parking area and adjacent to a little kitchen table from which it is separated by a Chinese screen (see above reference to thrift store). There are no closets in the cottage. The only capacity for hanging coats and clothes is provided by a small bedroom armoire.
The bathroom and kitchen are both sorely in need of an update. The bathroom is very small, capable of room only for a pedestal sink with old, loose faucets, no counter space or even suitable shelves for toiletries; the plastic shower surround had a curtain liner that constantly blows to the inside of the shower. The shower leaks onto the bathroom floor because the curtain won’t stay in place. The hair dryer was stowed in a kitchen cabinet (no space for it in the bathroom). Just as well, because we had to stand in the kitchen to dry our hair – no bathroom outlet for that, either.
The cottage kitchen is a kitchenette – not outfitted for cooking, and tired. The kitchen stove’s old electric burner pans were lined with aluminum foil, and the counters were covered with green linoleum. We were disappointed and felt ripped off.
Shortly after checking in, I walked to the main house and told Kyle that the accommodations were a bit rustic for our liking and that we’d like to see if other options were available. He was busy checking people in, but called later to tell us we could move to the Joyce Kilmer suite on Sunday for $20 more per night. We couldn’t see that room because guests had already checked in. We briefly contemplated leaving early and returning home instead of paying even more for a room that might be equally unsatisfactory, but decided we were already in for $1,500 – how much worse could it get?
When we arrived for cocktail hour that evening, the new charges were reflected and I was asked to sign the credit card receipt. Nothing was said to acknowledge our inconvenience or betray any responsibility for the shabby state of the cottage.
Breakfast is “The Frank Show,” served up promptly at 9 a.m. No exceptions. We decided to go with the program the first day, arriving at the main house a few minutes before the appointed hour to wait in the sunroom with the other assembled guests. The baby grand player piano is cranked up and playing a very loud and festive show tune. Frank opens the doors grandly at something slightly later than 9 a.m. and allows everyone to file in for the formal, 3-course affair. Unfortunately, the food was mediocre – some kind of unidentifiable cooked fruit in a lovely antique bowl, followed by a baked egg dish, and finally – chocolate brownie pie? See also other guest critiques on the house special Folger’s coffee blend. Frank hovered loudly and inquired about us not finishing everything on our plates and not partaking of the pie.
I’m sure he is well-intended, but the breakfast timing and production are consistent with the sense one gets that Frank’s needs are paramount. Once released from that torture, we opted to go it on our own for future meals.
Sunday arrived and we moved to the Joyce Kilmer Suite – a relative palace. Truly a full kitchen, not necessarily fully equipped but with a dishwasher and modern appliances. The suite has two bedrooms, with a comfy king-sized bed in the master, a large bathroom with 2 sinks, roomy tile shower, and Jacuzzi tub. But the walls are really thin - we could hear the neighbors when we were in the kitchen – not yelling, mind you - just clearing their throat and talking at normal volume. We took note to try to be extra quiet.
The JK Suite was probably worth $300. The cottage? Either cut the price by half or make improvements needed to justify the price point. In hindsight, it was no surprise when we saw that Frank had posted lengthy replies attacking reviewers who had raised concerns. NOTES TO SELF:
• Pay attention to critical reviews noting common complaints (breakfast, accommodations
needing updating, paper-thin walls, and an overbearing innkeeper)
• Take note when the website lacks pictures of kitchens and bathrooms
• Pay special attention to the proprietor’s response to those who have raised issues. This one
is especially critical. Had we looked beforehand, we would have gotten a sense of the
owner’s insecurities and general attitude, and stayed somewhere else.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape to our Four Diamond, romantic Asheville bed and breakfast offering majestic Blue Ridge Mountain views only steps from downtown. Our charming Asheville, NC B&B features amazing rooms and private garden cottages with Jacuzzis, fireplaces, flat screen TVs & luxurious amenities. Don't miss out on unforgettable gourmet breakfasts, afternoon refreshments & award winning gardens our Inn in Asheville, and reawaken your senses with amazing treatments at our on-site Asheville spa. Pet friendly units available. A 4 Diamond, Select Registry Property. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 1889 Whitegate Inn And Cottage
- 1889 Whitegate Inn & Cottage Hotel Asheville