We recently stayed at the Cooperage (Milano Suite) for 6 nights, our 1st visit to Sonoma/ Napa. We choose Cooperage based on Trip Advisor reviews and we were quite disappointed. Prospective guests should be aware that the property is for sale.
On the positive side: location is very good, just a short walk from the center of town. We found the Inn quiet in the evenings which allowed for a good night’s sleep. The bed was quite comfortable. Claudia and Ken were pleasant.
Rooms: depending on perspective, charming and quaint or dated and old. We’re not high end tourists who require everything to be new and shiny, we like older places with character, but we found the Cooperage (furniture, rugs, décor) leaned too far on the dated/ old side of the ledger. Regarding specifics: 2 burners on the gas stove would not light, Claudia was aware of this but didn’t seem too concerned; carpets were old and musty; sitting room had strong musty smell, we left all windows opened during the day to try and air out the place, no screens on windows so they had to be closed at night; nice large bathroom, Jacuzzi tub, 2 of the 6 jets didn’t work, one other worked intermittently; sitting room furniture, old/ musty; gas fireplace in bedroom was great. Continental breakfast was good, with variable mix of fruit, baked goods, cereal. Claudia asked that we let her know of any preferences.
Cleanliness: poor. Bathroom sinks were not clean on arrival, whiskers on one of the sinks; bedroom closet, space under bottom shelf, spider webs and dust; piles of dust behind dresser in bedroom.
Service: poor. There is no staff, Claudia maintains the rooms herself, she said one of the reasons they are looking to get out of the business is she doesn’t want to perform maid duties. We are low maintenance guests and told Claudia we didn’t expect sheets and towels to be changed every day. We also mentioned on the Memorial day holiday that she could take the day off and not bother doing anything with our room, for which she was quite appreciative. Unfortunately our low maintenance approach seemed to be taken advantage of. The only service received was to make up the bed and empty the garbage each day (even though the Inn was not at capacity for most of our stay). The floors were not swept, the carpet was not vacuumed. Far worse was the bathroom – sinks, and tub/ shower were not cleaned for 6 days. On day 4 we left a note in the morning asking for fresh towels, we only received fresh facecloths. We had to make a second request to get the towels. The suite has a full kitchen, when Claudia showed us the suite the 1st day, she seemed surprised that we might actually use it for cooking. She made it quite clear (and there is even a sign on the wall) that management does not clean cooking or dinnerware (however there were no dish towels in the kitchen to dry dishes). To be clear, we did not make an issue of the lack of cleaning, we couldn’t be bothered. But we sort of thought that having the rooms and bathroom cleaned daily really isn’t something you should have to make a request for. One positive – breakfast was delivered on a timely basis each morning.
Value: poor. The area is quite expensive, the Cooperage is at the mid-range but considering the issues with cleanliness and service, value was poor. We spent significant time in the Napa area which has far more accommodation options than Sonoma, and saw places that offered better value. The suite has the feel of a tired, old 1 bedroom apartment and $190 weekdays and $250 weekends seems just a bit expensive. Other reviews mention a complimentary wine tasting card, we were not offered one.
Overall: poor. We found the place had bad energy, so we made every effort to spend as much time away from the Inn as possible. We wanted a place with kitchen facilities to give us the option of eating in, but we ended up eating out every evening, primarily because of the general bad energy. The Inn has significant potential and we hope Claudia and Ken are able to sell.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
8 July 2011
We're sorry this couple didn't enjoy their stay at our inn. When they informed us they were down-allergic we replaced all the down bedding to accommodate them. We were not aware of any other, unspoken needs they might have had. But it seems that once every two years or so we get a guest who doesn't get the charm of the Cooperage and rather than just saying so, they find a multitude of flaws to pick on. We fully admit we have some flaws, but most people are so impressed with the general ambiance of the place they are willing to forgo any nitpicking ("one jet on the jaccuzzi, some dust behind a dresser, burners on the stove, no wine cards"). Our goal here is to create the ambiance of Europe (mostly Italy in the 1920's). The Cooperage was not meant to be a frou frou, cutesy bed and breakfast. There are thousands of those throughout the U.S. Our building of stone and stucco is now 100 years old and was built by Italian stonemasons in 1911 out of plumstone quarried just up the hill from us. Most of the antiques in the building are of Italian renaissance style made in the pre-Victorian era and a lot of them are family heirlooms from Claudia's grandfather’s estate (he was the superintendent of the Orphir silver mine in Virginia City as part of the Comstock Load in the 1860's). They may look shabby to some people, but we feel they have tons of character, and consider it a testament to their charm that we have had thousands of guests over the past 6 years and only three negative comments. People usually rave about the decor, but to this couple it was just "an old apartment". If you think about it, the people who are most motivated to write in would be the ones with a complaint, why would the others bother, they're happy. With that in mind, we feel like the percentage of our guests who love the place is much higher than the 90% reflected in Trip Advisor.
Report response as inappropriate
As for this couple’s complaints - we had a good deal of rain when they were here and therefore the wool hallway and room rugs had got some moisture on them and may have had a slightly musty odor. The furniture is antique but the rugs are not. But they are wool & pretty new. We change the bathroom towels, toilet paper, and soaps religiously every day, but no, we do not clean the bathrooms every day, unless something is obviously amiss. Early on they had requested that we not service the room, which also made us worry as we felt it was our obligation. One day they asked for hand towels only so that’s what we provided, then later they asked for bath towels and we provided those also, so it is confusing to have them bring this up as an issue. We still made the bed and took out the garbage. They said not to change the towels until they said to change the towels. That was fine but confusing. Also, to their complaint about our sign requesting that guests wash dishes if cooking a big meal, this seems like a reasonable request to us and nobody has ever complained about it. We take care of the breakfast dishes and cleanup. This is standard practice around here. Remember, if this were a vacation rental the same would apply. Half the stove pilot lights are intentionally turned off because hardly anyone uses the stove. The pilot lights generates heat and wastes gas and we tell everyone, including this couple, that we will gladly turn them on if they’d like us to. If we forget to put them out, the issue of the wine cards could have been easily resolved by simply asking for them, which guests do if we forget. As soon as I saw their review, I inspected the jacuzzi tub to see if it needed repair. It was working flawlessly and nobody has every complained, so we can only guess that they had one of the control knobs in the off position. We don't have screens on the windows because we don't have a bug problem here in Sonoma.
Finally as for the comment about us having "very bad energy," we are mystified because the vast majority of people love it here, and I urge you to read all the other glowing reports. My wife, Claudia, is a stellar hostess, who truly enjoys welcoming people to our inn and ensuring that they have a lovely stay. This is reflected in the hundreds of permanent friends we have made running our inn, some who have been coming back every year for 6 years. Sorry for the long reply, but we wanted to cover all the bases. Thanks for your indulgence and we hope to see you at the Cooperage.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC