My husband and I recently completed a 6 week trip throughout the Maritimes. We stayed at one hotel, four inns and nine B & B’s in the Maritimes so we had lots of opportunity to compare various places. Our stay at the Sonata Inn late July wasn’t quite what we had hoped for. It appears from reading the most recent reviews that perhaps some of the issues we dealt with have been resolved. It has huge potential to be something great and Charlottetown is a spectacular small city. It is a dynamite combination ripe for a fabulous Inn.
Mike, who owns the B & B at 9 Grafton Street, (just down the street) sold the Sonata Inn to a Chinese family earlier this year. He is on a one-year management contract to facilitate the transition from him being the owner to the new owners. So unlike most of the B & B’s we stayed in, there was no lovely host couple to greet us. Instead, there is a different face at the desk every time you enter, and that face is generally very young. The gift of hospitality was definitely more evident in some of the greeters than others.
The good side of this accommodation is the excellent location in Charlottetown. We loved being able to walk everywhere and beautiful Victoria Park is right around the corner. The location couldn’t be more perfect. A real bonus is that the room we had (room #10) has a lovely bay window (the only one with a bay window at the inn) and was very clean. The sheets were impeccably pressed and the bed was fabulously comfortable. The other huge benefit was having laundry facilities available to us in the basement for only $1 per wash or dry.
The bad is that the carpeted areas in the common areas have some unsightly stains that definitely detract from the ambience of the inn. There is also rarely someone at the desk and although you just have to ring a bell and they generally come, there isn’t someone at the front desk to readily assist you during the day. At 10:00 p.m. there is no one except for an emergency.
What didn’t work for us was breakfast. It was completely unappetizing as the eggs used were very white with no real yolk. They were completely tasteless. I actually thought they were egg-white omelets but apparently that’s the eggs they buy. I highly recommended they buy from another egg farmer which I hope they have. There is also a selection of cereals and breads and the good part of breakfast are homemade cinnamon rolls that are quite yummy. Coffee never was really hot either which was a shame, especially if you added milk.
The other issue with the breakfast service is that the waitresses are neither fluent in English or French. They are Chinese with a very limited English vocabulary which makes breakfast a struggle before you even receive the unappetizing, tasteless food.
There is a wonderful woman who cleans the room – Star is her name – and if you have a chance to meet her, you will be delighted. I suggested that Star be the “star” of the show when it comes to dealing with the guests as she is very gifted and talented. She shouldn’t be cleaning rooms but should be out dealing with the guests. You can teach someone to clean a toilet but you can’t give someone the personality to deal with the public. Star has what it takes and I hope she is being better utilized after my conversations with Mike.
What they are now moving away from in their advertising is that this is a B & B. It is a boutique hotel or Inn. It’s NOT a B & B and you can't expect some of the perks of a B & B here. It is an Inn that serves breakfast.
Maritime hospitality, food and service have overall been astounding. The people are simply delightful. Our experience at the Sonata Inn did not reflect the same level of hospitality, service or friendliness that we had come to love in the Maritimes. From the more recent reviews, Mike and the owners are obviously working through the transition with a degree of success which is wonderful to see. With some tweaking, the Sonata Inn has the opportunity to be a really fabulous place from which to enjoy Charlottetown.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Immerse yourself into the rhythm of relaxation, here at The Sonata Inn. Our rooms suit to soothe the weariest of travelers, coming to Prince Edward Island. Let us expose you to the warmth of Charlottetown’s atmosphere, as you settle into one of our charming rooms, basking in a unique, home-style atmosphere. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Sonata Inn Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada