As a child I spent many summers at this place. It was warm, inviting, and full of families and people enjoying the beautiful scenery this place has to offer. This is exactly why I chose to take my boyfriend here to celebrate his birthday but as we pulled up on Friday afternoon I couldn't believe what I saw... The place was empty. No one was in the gift shop and the river area seemed deserted but it wouldn't be long until I realized why. Our hotel room was across the busy highway and right in front of passing traffic. Probably not something they wanted to advertise online so I probably just missed the "fine print." We opened our hotel room and I was overwhelmed by a musty smell. It was a very small room that was dark and not particularly inviting. Everything was dusty and very outdated. I laid down on the bed to try out the mattress and it was extremely uncomfortable. Had I really paid over $200 a night for this??? It looked so different online. Honestly, I've seen rooms at motel 6 that were nicer then this. Regardless, I wanted to make the best out of the situation so we headed down to check out the river. At the entrance, I notice sign in the middle of the entrance that says the grass area is only open to hotel guests. Really?? It's a river!!! Are you really trying to tell the locals and visitors that they can't enjoy something that should be shared with everyone?? Reading the other yelp reviews it seems that is exactly what the management of the River Inn are saying. One yelper writes, "Historically a wonderful place to pass the time under big sur sun by the river on the grass along with other travelers & local families. However, this past sunday (September 2nd) there was a hotel manager/food nazi patrolling the campus clearing out/kicking out patrons who had any additional water/drinks/snacks, were playing any sports (croquet/frisbee/catch) unless they were staying in the lodge. Result was an empty lifeless riverfront with a completely killed mood on a potentially lovely Labor Day."
Despite our disappointment we decided to have dinner at the restaurant. Where do you think we asked to sit at the River Inn Restaurant?? By the river... Were we sat there? No, and were told its because its too far for them to walk to so they close it for dinner...Huh? The lower deck was a mere three steps down and on top of that the whole restaurant was empty! What's the point of having a hotel along the river when you won't even allow your guests to enjoy it? Despite this we decided to eat there anyway and had a mediocre meal that cost over $100.
We spent the next day up the road and that night decided to give the River Inn Restaurant another try. I figured last night had to have been a misunderstanding but I was terribly mistaken... after asking to sit by the river, we were referred to a host who obviously had no authority. She then passed us on to a manager and no sooner had I begun talking, when he responded that using gestures when talking is extraordinarily rude. Well isn't that the best way to talk to a customer who is disappointed in where they are seated. Interrupt them to say using hand gestures are rude... Clearly this is the reason they have no guests here. They did nothing to help us. In fact another staff member told us that we were miserable people. So we just left without ever getting to eat dinner by the river.
The next morning we checked out and I asked one last time to speak to the general manager but was told he was not there. I decided to give up. We packed up our stuff and got ready to leave. As we were backing out of the parking lot someone knocks on our window. My boyfriend rolled down his window and the man said "my name is Rick... someone wanted to speak with me?" It was the general manager. The one who supposedly wasn't around? The one I wanted to speak to in a private professional manner was now chasing down our car banging on our window. I thought to myself wow he wants to apologize or ask how he could fix our terrible stay. Again I was wrong... why did he chase us down and bang on our window you ask? To tell me that I thought I was entitled and I "deserved the way I was treated." I told him this is probably why no one is here anymore and his response was "no you are the reason." Hmmm that makes sense. I now realize this has to be the same miserable old bald man who was kicking families out of the creek on labor day weekend. It is clear from all these terrible reviews that the management here has lost touch with reality and the times. Yes, people are entitled to good service, that's what any reasonable person expects when they pay you for something. It is sad to think, that a place so irrevocably endeared in my childhood memories, is so poorly managed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A quaint stream-side inn. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Big Sur River Hotel Big Sur