I posted earlier this week that my friend and I went to Lebanon, NH. Lovely town, I urge you to go.
HOWEVER. Please allow me to warn you about where you should NOT stay.
I don't say this half-heartedly. In fact, I don't remember a time I have EVER given a bad review on this blog. I am hard to offend and I always give folks the benefit of the doubt. If I don't like a restaurant, hotel, inn, or shop, I just keep my mouth shut. To each his own.
HOWEVER. Again. Please allow me to warn you.
My friend went to Lebanon on business and asked me to go along. She is a seasoned traveler whose job takes her all over New England and the entire Northeast. Our plan was to drive to Lebanon on Sunday afternoon. While she worked Monday morning, I would take that time to write, and then we'd sight-see and drive home to Maine on Monday afternoon.
We had reservations at the Shaker Farm Bed and Breakfast in Enfield, New Hampshire, just down the road from Lebanon. If you click the link and look at the website, you'll see that the photos are charming and the entire experience looks very promising.
We arrived at 8:00 p.m. and it was already dark. The owner had told my friend he would be out of town, and that we would be welcomed by his neighbor. Not a problem. When we got there, we found a note on the door, called the neighbor (Lorraine) and she came right over.
Understand that there is only one room at the inn that has two beds. All the rest have one king-sized bed. The double room is the room my friend reserved. We also understood that there was one room with a king-sized bed that could be made into two twin beds, should the double room be occupied. But the double room was NOT occupied, so that's the one she reserved for us.
As neighbor Lorraine took us up the narrow staircase with our bags, she informed us that the cute dog at the foot of the stairs should NEVER be touched because he will bite. Uh, ok. Then she laughingly told us that she gave away our room to a couple with a baby, and that she had a different room for us. My friend and I looked at one another, perplexed, and asked if it was the room that could be made into two twin beds. Lorraine said yes.
Upon entering the room, we found the king-sized bed to be intact, so we asked if she, Lorraine, was going to split the bed. She said no, and pointed to a sofa-sleeper against one wall. My friend and I looked at one another again and agreed that neither of us wanted to sleep on the sofa. I mean, I ask you - has there ever been a comfortable sofa sleeper known to man? And even if it was, this was not the room we reserved.
Then my friend asked if, since all the other rooms were empty (other than the only one with two beds), could we stay in two rooms for the price of one? Lorraine laughed and said perhaps, but only if we pay the cost for an extra person. How much would that be? She told us it would be about $12.00 extra. Of course it wasn't fair, but we were tired and just wanted to get into our rooms, so we agreed.
We went downstairs to settle up. That was when she told us it would actually be another $60.00 per person, at which point we told her that was unacceptable. Why should we pay more when she was the one who gave up our room?
I might add here that we were extremely patient and calm and professional about it. We explained that she had given up the room we reserved, so it was only fair that she accommodate us at the same price. That was when things got nasty. She got in my friend's face and told her that not only were we an entire day late, which caused her to stay up late the night before waiting for us, she couldn't very well kick out the people in the two-bed room.
The night before? Huh???
She then told us that if we didn't like it, we could leave. And in retrospect, we should have.
But understand that it was late, we were tired, and it was dark and windy and cold outside. We didn't know where else to go, and we didn't know if other inns or hotels would have vacancies. We were trapped.
So my friend agreed to pay the extra amount and we were begrudgingly shown to our rooms. Rooms which did not have locks on the outside of the doors.
Suffice it to say, neither of us slept well that night. But it got even better when we went to breakfast the next morning.
Lorraine was there to cook us breakfast, and we were a bit worried she might spit in our eggs. But she was all gushing and smiles, and she awkwardly tried to make small talk with us. Before the food was even on the table, she looked closely at my friend and told her that she looked tired - and that she needed to put on some make-up to cover those dark circles under her eyes.
Yes, she really said that.
There's more I could say - much more. But you get the gist of it.
When we got home that afternoon, I sent a long, heartfelt email to the owner of the inn, imploring him to refund the entire amount to my friend, after we suffered so much angst in staying there. But sadly, rather than a simple apology and ownership of the problem, he sent me back a long, detailed, point-by-point letter, making excuses for each of my points of contention. He said he would only charge my friend for one room, but since we DID in fact stay there and DID in fact have breakfast there, it was only fair that we pay the price owed.
If you want more details, feel free to contact me. It would take a post twice this long to cover it all. Bottom line, there are scores of hotels and inns all over New Hampshire, and several in the Lebanon area. If you happen to go, I simply urge you not to go to the Shaker Farm Bed and Breakfast. I mean, unless you LIKE being insulted and treated poorly.
Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes