As part of our three-week honeymoon in New England, my husband and I booked 3 nights at the Grunberg Haus in Waterbury, Vermont. The Inn's Web site depicts the "beautiful," ïnformal, rustic Austrian-style chalet"(quote from the Web site) described as an "intimate mountainside lodge" where one can awake to enjoy "heavenly breakfasts" (quote from the brochure).
Since we could write a 5-page review about how terrible this place was, here is the executive summary, with pertinent details since we consider it a serious thing to submit such a negative review. However, we also consider it a responsibility to warn other travelers about such a gross misrepresentation. A few examples:
"Rustic" means dirty and completely run-down. The Grunberg Haus opened in 1972 and it appears that not one single renovation has been made since then. The room was dusty and shabby but that's not the worst of it. The bathroom was just plain dirty. When I complained (kindly) to the owner, she looked frustrated as if "it's hard to get good help" and said she would clean it herself. She disappeared for about 3 minutes and came back saying, "ok it's clean now." (Which is why we cannot, unfortunately, blame the poor state of the Inn on incompetent housekeeping-staff. This is clearly the owners' standards.) The shower curtain/liner was filthy, the bottom of the shower, brown. The carpets are dirty and knappy. The entire Inn, including rooms, pub and living rooms, are extremely dusty and dank. The breakfast was worth about $0.50 (plain and frugal).
If having an eye for details is everything--and it is when it comes to the hospitality industry where the most basic thing you are providing guests is a CLEAN place to stay--however humble it may be--lacking an eye for hygenic details is downright disgusting.Toiletries provided include a bar of soap the size of a book of matches, shampoo and conditioner in large bottles (re-used with each new guest). In the pub cider and water are provided in large 1-gallon jugs for everyone to "share."
The Innkeepers seemed nice enough but because we felt so disappointed and cheated, we barely spoke with them. Apparently, we weren't the only ones who felt cheated; after staying up late to chat with 7 other guests, we discovered that they too were angered by the misleading Web advertisement. (One of the guests even mentioned that a jacuzzi is shown on the site, which the owner told her (when the guest wanted to use it) was removed several years ago because they didn't want to spend the money on upkeep. What confounded us was the fact that the guestbook was signed by so many satisfied guests. To be diplomatic, I think it's best to chalk this up to a huge difference in standards regarding hygiene and charm.
However, since we DO have the benefit of comparing these accomodations with so many other wonderful Inns at the same price level , the Grunberg Haus is a RIPOFF. If we'd paid $25 a night, I'd say we had no right to complain--but our rate was $125 per night--a price that will get you a very decent (however small) room in any major or minor market.
Fortunately, the Grunberg Haus was our LAST stop after 6 WONDERFUL places (all getting excellent reviews!)