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“Never again”

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Prancing Horse Retreat
Ranked #1 of 4 Malahat B&B and Inns
Reviewed 18 January 2005

My husband and I stayed at the Pranciing Horse last summer. When we arrived the front door was locked (at least we tho't it was the main entrance) so, when no one answered our knocking and calling we entered through the garage downstairs. Someone who was doing laundry looked at us, said not a word, and walked away. We eventually found a woman (owner or manager, I'm not certain) who was less than gracious, seemed to barely have time to tell the surley laundress to take us to our room. I was ready to leave right that minute. Our room was odd....couldn't stand up straight at the sink in the bathroom....steep gable. The location was lovely but we both felt that these people really didn't care one whit about their guests...that the Prancing Pony was a concept that the owners were not willing to put effort into beyond the building. This place was definitely a lesson learned for us....Pretention does NOT mean quality. I've never written this strong a negative review about a place...we're pretty flexible and can roll with whatever is presented. For the price, spend your money somewhere else.

5  Thank anniejet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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84 - 88 of 88 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 6 August 2004

I think that the Prancing Horse is an absolutely stunning inn. The views are breathtaking and the rooms are very clean and well appointed.

However, upon arriving at the inn, we found no innkeepers to greet us (we arrived around 6pm on a Tuesday afternoon). Instead, our keys were posted on a chalkboard with our last name on an envelope. There was a short note inside the envelope asking us to dial "star" to reach an innkeeper if we should have an questions. However, when we attempted to do so in Deluxe Suite number 5, we were greeted by an operator that told us that we could not be connected. When I brought this to Elaine's (the innkeeper) attention the next morning at breakfast, I was told that they already knew about the problem and were going to have it fixed shortly. Why we were instructed to dial the number when we arrived is still a mystery to me, since the note was left by Elaine with our keys and she clearly knew that it was not operational.

We stayed two days at the inn and never saw an innkeeper at the Prancing Horse except for ten minutes during breakfast. Other than the cleaning staff, when we had questions or problems, we pretty much couldn't do anything about it. An example of this is the fact that they have candles in their rooms but no matches....The only way to get in touch with the innkeepers was by phone and I certainly didn't want to call Elaine and ask her to leave her house at 10pm to bring us matches for candles (there is no innkeeper at night either). Also, in their guide book they have a list of movies that are available to guests. Unfortunately, we were never told where to locate the movies and could never take advantage of this feature.

On the second night, we stayed in Deluxe Suite 6 (The Osprey) which is beautiful and boasts a washer/dryer as an amenity. Because my boyfriend and I were on an extended trip, we had planned on doing a load of laundry at the Prancing Horse before embarking on a kayaking trip. Unfortunately, when we got into the room, we discovered that the washer/dryer had been removed (even though it was still advertised on their website). This time, I contacted Elaine and asked whether it was possible to do a load of our laundry in the inn's washer; imagine my surprise when Elaine rudely said no, I couldn't and that I could take it to a local laundering service (she did not offer to cover the cost).

Breakfast is served on a terrace that clearly has a bee problem. We spoke to a German couple on our first morning who also complained about not being able to enjoy breakfast because of the infestation. Also, breakfast is not what you would necessarily expect. Although the champagne is a nice touch for mimosas, serving canned fruit is absolutely unacceptable. At a minimum, offer your guests bananas or apples, not something that comes from a can and sits on a shelf for who knows how long.

Overall, my boyfriend and I were disappointed with The Prancing Horse. We choose small inns and B&Bs to enjoy the people who own them and the personalized attention. I know that Elaine and Alan are very busy business owners, but they really should make an effort to be at the inn for a couple of hours each day. Our stay at the inn felt more like a rented apartment, not comfortable and cozy, as we had expected. All in all, I would not recommend this inn and would not return again.

6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2004

I stayed at the Prancing Horse Retreat and found the experience incomparable to any I have previously experienced. I have travelled extensivelly througout Europe and North America and I have not found a resort that rivals the natural beauty of this one.
The interior of the property lives up to the promise that one expects when you approach it. Every detail has been meticulously thought out by the propietors, Alan and Elaine Dillabaugh,who I might add make your stay special due to the ambiance that they have created.
My stay at this property was the most enjoyable I have ever had. I found that it is unique because every suite has it's own distinct character adding to the overall sense of adventure.
If you can only travel to one destinatio in the future I would recommend this one.

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Simona B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Tacoma, WA
Reviewed 17 February 2004

My husband and I stayed at the Prancing Horse for a romantic Valentine's weekend. The drive is a short distance from the ferry at Shwarts Bay (note: if you are taking a ferry to get to the island, be sure to book reservations in advance...we arrived at the ferry dock in Tsawwassen near Vancouver at 5:00pm and had to wait until the 9:00pm ferry due to overcrowding). Once we arrived, we knew we had reached an amazing place. The B&B itself is beautiful and the view of the water and mountains is breath-taking. The room was beautiful as well (we stayed in Suite #4) - very nicely decorated and spacious. Although the shower was a bit small, the 2-person tub, which is positioned right in front of huge bay windows overlooking the vew, made up for it.
Breakfast was delivered to our room promptly at 9:00 the next morning and it was wonderful. Fresh baked pastries and breads, fluffy pancakes, fresh squeezed orange juice and champagne and all so yummy. We felt very welcome and had a very nice time. I would recommend to my friends and family. The only problem we had was that we were able to hear the people in the suite above ours (suite #4 is on the 2nd floor of the 3-floor villa) and were awakend by them in the middle of the night.
(I'll leave it to your imagination as to what we were awakend by.) Other than that, the stay was great. Thanks, Prancing Horse, for a wonderful stay!

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Santa Cruz, CA
Reviewed 3 December 2002

Located near the Aerie Resort about 20 minutes north of Victoria, the Prancing Horse Retreat is an incredible experience.

Upon our arrival, we climbed the spiral staircase and entered our room. Standing near the jacuzzi tub, we watched eagles soaring outside our bay window over a spectacular ocean inlet with a backdrop of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains.

The room was luxurious in every detail, from the sound system to the furniture to the latex mattress on the bed. The Callebaut chocolates, fresh roses, champagne and spa accessories didn't hurt, either! Did I forget to mention the fluffy robes, down comforter, wet bar and in-room laundry?

Breakfast the next morning was brought to our room at our request. While still marveling at the champagne, full carafe of fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit and breakfast rolls, our main course arrived of french toast. What a wonderful way to start the day.

The Retreat is easy to get to and a very short drive from the ferry to Butchart Gardens. Nearby are at least two wonderful restaurants plus the dining room at the Aerie Resort. We tried the sampler - which turned out to be an 8 course culinary delight!

The Prancing Horse Retreat reset our standards for luxury in a private, intimate setting.

I suppose it's only fitting to mention that the 2-night romantic package that we choose cost the same in US dollars as a regular room for 2 nights at the beach in Santa Cruz where we live.

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Prancing Horse Retreat

Address: 573 Ebadora Lane | P.O. Box 11, Malahat, British Columbia V0R 2L0, Canada
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Malahat
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Malahat
Price Range: £74 - £155 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Prancing Horse Retreat 3.5*
Number of rooms: 4
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