My review is not for a bed and breakfast type of stay but one where we had the run of the house and grounds and brought our own food. The whole building was rented for a weekend for a family event, and the owners were not present. I was not involved in the rental arrangement and do not know the costs. I speak from the point of view of having middle of the road expectations, knowing that it was in cottage country (with the additional expectation of wifi which was listed in the email we received before arriving).
First impression was delightful - beautiful grounds, spacious, large outside verandah for socializing, beautiful common areas. Inviting library nook at the landing on the way to the second story. I stayed in one of the “fishermen’s rooms” with two twin beds. Simple, adequate. The bed I used was solid (and VERY tall).
I shared an ensuite bathroom with one other room. The slide lock on my side of the door to the bathroom to secure my room did not latch. Hall doors lock from the inside but no keys were provided to secure your room when you leave. As well, often the outside door to the house was unlocked during the day with no idea if anyone was in or not.
We were told by email to bring our own towels if we wished to use the pool (which I heard was very nice; I did not use it). I used my towel for the shower since the towels provided were too small and few for a whole weekend. Ceiling lights had one light bulb rather than two in most fixtures; some table lamps were missing light bulbs altogether. This and other details made it seem like the owners were cutting every possible corner.
Some other comments:
- There were pencil marks, lines, holes etc, in/on the bathroom wall around the toilet that looked like some repair work was going to be done but had not been.
- There was significant grime build up on the window sills. Other guests commented on cleanliness so I don’t think this was unusual.
- There were no washcloths or tea towels. I was told that a bundle was sent over after other guests were in touch with the owners.
- The industrial toilet paper was incredibly thin and there was only one spare roll for an entire weekend for a bathroom shared between two rooms.
- The metal elbow to open and shut the door to one room was loose and tended to fall in when the door was open, meaning that you had to push it up to be able to close the door again. An older woman stayed in that room and needed assistance to come and go since she could not reach to fix it.
The front door uses on an electric lock with a code which is a great idea if it works. In my opinion, the door should be auto locking; often it was unlocked when I arrived but there would be no one in view inside or out. I left my laptop, etc. in my car whenever I left the house. However, on Saturday night, in contrast, we could not UNlock it. My brother and I ended up attempting to enter through a window! Fortunately, a younger guest showed up and told us the trick to open a door like that when the batteries are dying (pull hard, etc., etc.). I looked through the pamphlets in the entry afterwards so I could be prepared next time I needed something, but did not find contact information.
The website (I looked at it after the trip) advertises air conditioning, wifi, and hot tub. The wifi did not work, the air conditioning was not on and there were no circulating fans (for a full house for a weekend at the end of June), and we were informed in the introductory email that the hot tub was for the owner's use only. Interestingly, when I returned at noon on Sunday to pick up my luggage, the air conditioning was on. I was shocked; I'd assumed there was none in the period house.
Also, I discovered an extensive list of cleaning rules on a printout in the guest book. Bring your own garbage bags! Really? Do the towels, run the dishwasher. To my knowledge we did not have to clean the building (it was never mentioned to me by the person who booked the space for us), I was not comfortable with the thought that I was sleeping in a place that had been cleaned by previous guests. "Leave the space as you found it" is acceptable, but I was concerned about the health aspects of this arrangement, given that there was neglect evident.
It was and is a beautiful place, full of character and in a great location. A bit of attention to the basic and advertised amenities would turn this from a two star to a five star rating.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our Inn is a beautiful, historic home with approximately 4,000 square feet of living space, two walk-out porches, one from a second floor bedroom, and original maple floors. Many of the bedrooms have cedar ceilings. Situated on approximately one acre of land, this large property offers over 27 professionally designed gardens and two ponds stocked with goldfish, Japanese koi and local frogs for our guests to enjoy. Our suites are colorful, large, and welcoming, with king/king-singles, or queen beds, with ample sitting space for a relaxing read our as a base for adventure on Lake Simcoe.. Operated very much like an old English Country Inn, Whispering Pines provides its guests with a very comfortable atmosphere, where they are free to make themselves truly at home for the duration of their stay as the proprietors have their own private apartment. Hence, guests are encouraged to relax in the living area, light a fire, make themselves a cup of tea, and enjoy take out, BBQ, or a prepared meal in the dining room or outside in the gardens. Our main house rooms are beautifully decorated year round for romantic getaways for couples, and will also appeal to families visiting relatives and friends in the area; our low season price applies for the winter season. Also during the ice fishing season; Lake Simcoe is the ice fishing capital of Canada; we have a selection of rooms which we re-decorate for the comfort and convenience of our fishing guests. For those that would prefer the solitude of their own residence, we also have private cottages available. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Whispering Pines Cottages And Vacation Rentals Ontario, Canada