The Inn on Poplar Hill – 10 year anniverary ruined

Ok, so my wife and I decided to go to the Inn on Poplar Hill for our ten year anniversary. It was not a good experience. Rather than try to summarize it myself, I’ll just quote the review my wife posted on tripadvisor.

My husband & I were very disappointed with the level of service we received and the lack of understanding of their business from the Inn on Poplar Hill.
Due to employment issues with this economy, my husband and I are living 4 hours apart from each other. We thought for our 10 year wedding anniversary that we would go somewhere special and meet in between. We had $300 in Bed & Breakfast Gift Certificates so we thought we should meet halfway in Orange, stay at a B&B & spend a romantic weekend wine hopping.
Now we are aware that these certificates have some criteria to them. It specifically says that we MUST go ONLINE at Bed & Breakfast website to use them. The Inn on Poplar Hill does have a website connection with B& and it does say on there that they do take gift certificates them, however, there is not “Book it Now” button link to use the gift certificate on the site.
I emailed the Inn on Poplar Hill from the B&B website & Victoria answered saying, ‘We do accept gift certificates from Bed and We just don’t use their on line booking link. you can make reservations online at our website or by calling.’
So I called. I mentioned that these gift certificates say they are online only and she said it is ok, that they take the gift certificates. I felt concerned that she did not understand me fully and called again. This time Marty answered the phone. I explained that these certificates say they are online booking only, that it is $300 and I am worried you won’t take them. He assured me that they do this ALL the time. He explained the process that he goes online, types in the GC# and then the money goes to their account. OK then. Well, I talk to my husband and there still is a fear in our stomach that they won’t take them when we get there. So, this time my husband calls (I didn’t want to annoy again) and READS the entire terms & conditions to Marty and we are again assured that there is NO PROBLEM. Fantastic! We book! We arrive & hand them the gift certificates and pay the balance with our credit card.
We sleep, wake up and have a great breakfast. After finishing breakfast, Marty comes to the table to tell us that WHOOPS! We do not accept these gift certificates and we will need to pay it all off with another form of payment. WHAT? My husband and I step outside to discuss what just happened. This is now NOT in our budget! Well, we have to go! When we went back to them to tell them we were leaving, we spoke with Victoria. We told her that this place was NOT our first choice, if we were to pay in FULL we would have gone somewhere else. She said she was UNAWARE that there were different types of gift certificates. My husband told her that as a business owner working with a third party to promote your B&B, you should be AWARE. Especially after us calling 3 times to make sure! Now the rest of the weekend is ruined because we have to drive separately to all the wineries and then we ended up at my husband’s home 2 hours away which defeated the purpose of the weekend.
So, are we partially to blame? Yes, of course. But we were assured that this would be no problem and they would accept the gift certificates. Not once did we check, but via email and THREE phone calls and even reading the entire terms and conditions to them. We felt safe because they assured us!
Now throwing salt on our wounds, they still needed to collect a remaining balance from us that the gift certificates would have covered for the one night. The least they could have done for the mistake of not knowing all about who they are partnering their business with is to have not collected the balance of $63 remaining after handing my cards back to me. They could have said, “Sorry for the mistake, we will not collect the remaining balance of $63. We are sorry you cannot stay the entire weekend with us, we would have loved having you here longer.” THAT would have been a better service. It was very inconsiderate. I was in tears.
So Marty & Victoria, please educate yourselves on everything about your business and your third party partners and please actually listen to the questions and concerns that a future vacationer has so that another weekend won’t be ruined like ours was.

Normally, this would not be enough for me to blog about. But what infuriates me is the innkeeper’s response, which is a flat out lie. Here is their response:

PoplarHill, Owner at Inn on Poplar Hill, responded to this review
May 12, 2012

We are truly sorry that you had an unfortunate experience. When you called to ask if we accepted gift certificate you did not NOT mention us that they were only valid if your used them online directly with B& It clearly stated this on the back of the certificate. If you had told this to us prior to your arrival we would have told you that we could not accept them for payment. There is no way for us to cash these particular promotional certificates. When you checked late on Friday my husband did not even look at the gift certificates as it was so late.

In the morning after breakfast, when we discovered the certificate was invalid, we gave you the option of paying for the second night of your stay or releasing you from your obligation. We generously forgave you for the second night of your reservation. Returned the invalid gift certificate to you and wished you well.

You never mentioned to us that the certificates said “must be used online” or we would have never taken the reservation. Why would we want to cause such a problem. We then lost revenue for a room night on a very busy weekend.

Now perhaps Victoria was uninformed when she posted this response and had not talked to her husband before posting it, but the assertions posted above are simply untrue. The 4th and final time we inquired I personally spoke to Marty on the phone. I told him exactly what it said on the front of the card. And I made sure to read to him verbatim what the terms and conditions on the back of the card said. More than once. I even asked, “Are you SURE you will accept these, because it says they can only be used online.” The answer was yes.

There is also no excuse for not having told us when we were checking in so that we could find an alternate place. Yes, we checked in “late”, but “late” was 5pm vs 3pm, not 11pm or midnight.

Now about the accommodations. We stayed in the Black Walnut room, and the room was pleasant, but the tub/shower left us seriously disappointed. It is a very fancy and modern tub, with lots of options for the shower. If you look at the  pictures you’ll see what I mean. Now the description does say that the whirlpool jets are not functional, and we were OK with that. What the description failed to mention is that the water pressure is so low, that the shower is basically useless, even as a basic shower, and the water coming out of any shower head/nozzle was barely more than a drizzle.

When we checked in, we were told about the game room and to make ourselves at home. So I went to the game room, and saw that there was a computer there, not hidden in some corner, but very invitingly set up next to the entry door with the screen facing the door, and a nice stool on which to sit. I was pleasantly surprised, and decided to check my e-mail, since I had not brought my laptop with me. A few minutes later, Marty walks in and informs me quite brusquely: “That computer is not for guests”. I did not appreciate being made to feel felt like I had violated some rule within minutes of our arrival, when there was no indication that this computer was not for guest. No sign, no password, nothing. If this is not for guest use, then it should not be invitingly set up in the “game room”, with no signage or password protection.

We will not be staying here again.


~ by chriggy on May 14, 2012.

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