After much research on Tripadvisor and reading the many good reviews, I chose Our House. We were disappointed from the beginning. Below is a detailed account of our trip.
We drove to Our House for a weekend getaway and arrived late in the afternoon. Upon turning onto the street where it is located, we had a sinking feeling as the neighborhood is unkept and dingy. Our House fit well in the neighborhood, bushes are overgrown and the exterior walls of the house look like they had not been cleaned in years. We drove around the block to get a better look of the surroundings, and decided to give the place a try for one night as there was no way to cancel our reservation at this point.
After knocking on the door, we met Dave the innkeeper and he gave us a tour of the house. This would be the most conversation our host had with us during our stay. As we would find out, Dave is not one for small talk. The house is old and the wood floor has taken a beating through the years. Our bedroom and bathroom floor looked especially rough and in need of repair or replacement. Dave asked us if we had any food allergies, we said no. No other questions were asked about our food preference for breakfast. In fact, no other questions were asked of us at all. We were advised breakfast was at 9 AM and coffee at 8 AM. My wife and I had the sense these times were non-negotiable. It was also about this time I realized: although this B & B is called “Our House,” Dave let us know it is HIS house! Then, he went through a list of restaurants and hurriedly said which were good and bad. This felt rushed and was of no help. I have stayed at many hotels, and a decent hotel concierge would put him to shame.
At 8AM someone came trudging up the stairs with coffee, and music starting playing right outside our door. If anyone is not downstairs for breakfast by 9 AM -sharp, Dave plays the piano loud enough on the first floor to wake the entire house up and the neighbors down the street! At breakfast, we were served fruit, then an egg type dish, and then a whole-wheat pancake. This breakfast was the same all three mornings except for minor variations. The pancake comes pre-soaked in syrup which I have never experienced. Also, one morning my wife did not care for the egg preparation and had only one bite. Our host took her dish without asking if she did not like the food or if she would like anything else. I think it is also worth mentioning you are sharing a small table with other guests, so be prepared for 1-on-1 conversation at your table with complete strangers at breakfast.
During our visit, I did have one other conversation with Dave- while he collected my credit card information. I mentioned I was from Florida, and he remarked I was one of the few civilized people he met who are from Florida. My other interaction with the innkeeper occurred whenever I would set a water bottle down for more than a minute and he would annoyingly ask “whose water bottle is this?”
Also, each morning we were given 2 plastic wrapped biscotti’s for breakfast. My wife and I saved these in a drawer with other personal belongings. On the afternoon of our second day, we were missing two of our biscotti’s. Evidently, the housekeeper felt it was appropriate to go through a drawer in our bedroom with other personal belongings and retrieve uneaten biscotti’s for future use. Also, the weekend we were there it was the beginning of daylight savings time. Dave was on us first thing in the morning to ask if we needed help setting our clocks forward an hour. It seemed he was more concerned with us showing up for breakfast and checking out on time the next morning than our technical knowledge of his digital clock.
Overall, this experience left us with a bad taste for B & B’s although many of are friends advised us that most are not as stringent on time of breakfast and it is unusual to have no choice in what you are going to eat. Also, I would assume someone who would run this type of business would have more appreciation for people from the state he decided he start his business venture in. I am not sure if Dave could use more staff and that is what led to the lack of personal interaction. I know there are many more good reviews than bad of this B & B, and for the price it may be worth it although a nice hotel along the line’s of Hampton Inn would have been better for us.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 April 2012
Of course it concerns me that what thousands of guests over 10 years of hospitality have found unique, relaxing and thoughtful about Our House struck you as strange and underwhelming. There is much that goes on behind the scenes to ensure my guests have an easy, care-free and private experience. My guests - not my personal schedule - are my priority at Our House. I aim to give my guests the courtesy and care that I would want if I were a guest.
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Some comments, such as "the house is old and the floor has taken a beating through the years," are indisputable. Our House was built in the 1880s, and renovation of the house included preservation of its historic integrity, while adding modern amenities. Irreplaceable pine floors are refinished and proudly intact, yes.
I enjoyed reading your perspecitve on other things, though, including some that I wasn't aware of. For instance, I don't recall stalking you and your water bottles ("Whose water bottle is this?") I provide unlimited, free bottled water to guests, so perhaps I trying to avoid disposing of a water bottle that you were still using.
Staying at an intimate B&B - unlike staying at a hotel such as a Hampton Inn that you reference in your comments, with large lobby, institutional dining salon and one-size-fits-all breakfast bar - generally means sharing the public spaces with like-minded travelers. Exchanging conversation with other guests is the norm, but certainly not a requirement, and is usually entertaining, pleasant and informative. I trust my other guests enjoyed your company more than you enjoyed theirs.
Immediate feedback from guests while they are here at the B&B is the surest way to fill in any perceived gaps in service or comfort for our guests. I, and my fellow innkeepers throughout St. Augustine, are eager to please. We do our best to anticipate guests' needs and preferences, but alas, we are not clairvoyant. Planning a future B&B stay? Please tell your innkeeper on the spot if you feel you are being neglected, underfed, overcrowded, baffled, underwhelmed or estranged in any way. I guarantee you will get an immediate response. At least at Our House.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC