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“Not for Everyone”
Review of A Stone Wall Inn

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A Stone Wall Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Windham B&B and Inns
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 8 August 2014

I was off to a bad start with this hotel and I think this hotel has room for improvement with some changes made. I was so flustered when I got there, and didn't want to stay there. I was told that I could back out of the stay if he was able to put the place back on the internet and get a booking. If not, I would still have to pay for the room. First of all, it is a very difficult place to find. When I called, I got the answering service who sends out an email to the hotel. Because the hotel is located in the middle of the Green Mountains, there is NO reception. Of course I didn't have an iphone or lpad or laptop, so I couldn't check email and there was no reception anyway. I received a call back as I was traveling the dirt road and ended up in another town, but the call cut off because of bad reception. I called the hotel a second time, and the answering service would not contact them a second time. I had to demand that this was an emergency, I had a reservation, and didn't know how to get there. By that time, I had 2 people in local area help me, and I finally found the place. The sign is small and dark, so you can also miss the hotel even if you are in the right area. When I drove in, I had to punch in a code to get into the reception check in. You have to maneuver stairs and turns. The manager Sean explained to me that the answering service is only required to relay a second message only in an emergency. As in the booking, I explained that I must be able to do my laundry as this was a stop before attending a workshop. He explained to me that they do not have coin laundry but that they do have laundry services for $3.00 a pound. So for the future, please be aware of "laundry facilities" and understanding what that means. He did not orient me to any of the amenities of the place so I wouldn't be able to tell you anything except for what I saw and experienced. He did direct me on how to get to "The Corner House" and where to park. Apparently, this hotel is divided up into different sections. I say that this place is not for everyone because there are turns and stairs that you do have to maneuver. I had it easy because after I climbed the front stairs, and punched in another code, my room was right there. The people above me had to maneuver a spiral staircase, and the lady missed the last step and fell! This place is not for the physically handicapped or elderly. There are 2 more rooms downstairs and a spa which I did not use. There is a common area for TV and eating, and outdoor patio. It definitely has an eco focus place. It's run on a septic tank, a compost bin in the kitchen, sorting of trash in the kitchen, and unlimited amount of movie channels once you know how to operate the remote. The breakfast has a healthy focus....bran muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit in a cup, and fruit juices. On Sunday morning, I was able to enjoy a homemade cranberry coffee cake that just came out of the oven. The gardens were extremely well taken care and you can see that a lot work is put into the place. If you want to go hiking, an excellent place to do it. The gardens were just beautiful with paths carved out. For the price I paid, it was an excellent deal. My room had a shower, toilet, sink, and bed. The bed was so high, that I had to use a chair to get onto the bed. My laundry was turned in Saturday evening, and Sean had it laundered, neatly folded, and ready to go Sunday morning. I do appreciate the effort that goes into keeping the place up, especially when he is running the place on his own. I only wish that the owners can put a larger sign out in front, give better directions on the site map, and have better communication when clients are having a difficult time getting to the place. So as you can see, there is good and bad in my review. I don't think I would stay here again, and it really is a place for young people who are agile and physically able like skiers. Don't forget to stop at a market before you get there so you can partake in the communal kitchen and share that refrigerator.

Room Tip: In the main building, I saw a swimming pool, but I wasn't sure if I could use it. In the corner...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank alkeni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sean L, General Manager at A Stone Wall Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 10 August 2014

Thanks for the feedback. I honestly must say I was expecting a worse review, given that the very first words you said as we met were “you won’t be getting a good review from me.” With that said, I truly appreciate the honest and constructive feedback you provided here. Sometimes, people can let one or two less than perfect aspects cloud their view of the entire experience. It is clear that you remained impartial and open-minded enough to enjoy your stay.

I am sorry you had difficulty finding us. We do warn guests not to follow GPS directions to our inn, and unfortunately those warnings go unheeded all too often. In your situation, booking after 9pm the evening before your arrival, I responded with arrival info almost immediately, and had assumed you would have received it. This was definitely one of those rare situations where signals were crossed.

As you mentioned, I am the only staff member who runs the entire inn, and I appreciate that you noticed everything I have to keep on top of in order to make things run smoothly. That being said, all of those tasks require me to be out and about on the property, and not necessarily in the office. When I am around the property, limited phone range necessitates the calls get forwarded to a call center in Montpelier, Vermont where they can answer most questions about the inn, and take reservations, etc. We have instructed them to only forward calls they receive on an emergency basis, which we deem to be when life or property is in imminent danger. In reality, even if they were to call my emergency contact number (my cell phone), it is unlikely it would have reached me anyway, because as I mentioned and you experienced, there is limited cellular reception in the area. Despite that explanation, I am deeply sorry that you got lost. I can imagine the range of emotions you must have experienced being lost in an unfamiliar place with limited cell service.

Additionally, I apologize if the coded locks were not your style. Safety and security of our guests is of a paramount concern to us, hence the electronic coded locks. Most guests feel more secure and relaxed knowing that just not anyone can drive up and walk into the buildings. We have tried other options, and have found that this is the best way to prevent any unauthorized access to the guest spaces. Obviously, this is Vermont, and such things happen rarely, but touches like this for people coming from more urban areas help with peace of mind.

We know we are not for everyone, and we go to great lengths to accurately portray the philosophy of the inn, its history, our mission, and the very unique structures, which comprise the buildings of the inn. We do have a very diverse clientele, and I know that this inn is certainly not for everyone, but I feel that suggesting we limit our guests to only younger and agile people is wrong. We have had a great many older guests who have love the space immensely; the owners themselves are in their 60s, and have no problem traversing the property. We do know we are not for the mobility impaired, and again, we try to make this blatantly known to guests. Our website also has a complete virtual tour of every space of the inn, so guests can do a complete walk-through on the building before they even arrive. This virtual tour shows every room, every common area, and every staircase. Again, your experience is one of those unfortunate ones, where you booked through an external booking agent, which limits our ability to describe the many unique attributes of this space. This is, and has been a frustration of mine, and your personal experience of arriving to find something different than what you expected cements my commitment to make sure external booking sites accurately describe our inn.

Finally, as is common with most lodging establishments, laundry services are provided, but in most places this means dropping off laundry and not coin-operated machines. A small bed and breakfast such as ours would rarely have coin-operated machines; those are generally only found in a large bland corporate extended stay chain hotels. Our prices are actually much more competitive than most. Many places charge by the article of clothing (which can cost $5 per pair of pants, $2 per pair of socks, etc.) and washing just a handful of items can often run someone $40. We charge by the pound, as we feel this is a fair way of doing it. I can tell you we aren’t making money off our laundry prices, with energy and labor costs, we aren’t even breaking even, but we like to offer this service to our guests who need it as it would be honestly rude to tell someone that while we have a washing machine and dryer, that we can’t help them. I’m pleased to hear that while you were expecting a coin-operated machine, you appreciated the time I spent laundering and folding it. Once again, your feedback of not expecting this laundry arrangement will make me check to see if there is a way we can better define our amenities on external booking sites. Some simply allow us to say “yes, we offer it,” without description of how it is provided.

Again, thank you so much for your feedback, both the good and the bad. It is so clear that you took the time to look at this with fresh eyes, and in extremely constructive form. I honestly wish every reviewer could convey their thoughts with such professionalism. I’m glad that overall you had a pleasant stay, and even though you state that you don’t think you’d stay with us again, I want to let you know that our door is always open (once you enter the code! Haha) I wish you well in your future travels.

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22 - 28 of 92 reviews

Reviewed 22 July 2014

We loved it! It is a unique place very unlike any other B&B we ever heard of. It may not be for everyone however, so check their website and pictures to review it before deciding. The gardens are very pretty, the grounds are immaculate, the rooms are very clean and functional. The breakfast was more than adequate and tasty. The innkeeper and one of the owners (the other one was away on business) were extremely hospitable, explaining to us what was available in the area, etc. We look forward to returning here!

Strong suggestion not related directly to the inn - gas up as you get off the Interstate as gas stations are far and few between plus close up early (best guess 5 or 6PM), check restaurants as many are closed Sundays and Mondays whereas others are closed Mondays and Tuesdays (probably not an issue in ski season).

Room Tip: "Outlook" had a great view.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
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1  Thank Len S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2014

I purchased a Groupon deal for a two-night stay, which I used in early June. The drive up was beautiful and upon reaching the inn, my initial reaction was like it was very unique. The staff was welcoming and took the time to show us around the inn, which was nice because the layout is a bit confusing. The inn is actually much smaller in person than in the pictures, but even so, it is still a great spot. We stayed in the outlook room, which is supposed to be the most popular room and aesthetically, it was unique, cozy, and comfortable. We even had a private deck and it seems as though most rooms do. The only thing that was not preferable was the bathroom not being all in one room. The toilet was in one small room and the sink and bathtub were outside. The rooms also do not have TVS, which I am not accustomed to. Despite that, the room still gets 5 stars.

There are many restaurants in the area within 15-20 minutes driving distance. The staff gave us great recommendations for food. Our activities consisted mostly of outdoor activities, such as hiking, and sightseeing and the area is perfect for it. If you are looking for a unique, fun, and relaxing experience, this is definitely the place to go.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kassandra B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2014

My husband booked a night here for a Christmas present. The Inn is very cool; I've never seen anything like it - almost wished we had waited until the summer so that we could take advantage of everything. Overall, the place is very clean and a unique experience.

Couple of things to know - follow the rules. There is an email sent out before you get there... read it! Also, tour your room on the website. We had 2 chairs and a bed in a loft - fine for what we needed (we tried to check in at 1:30p, but you can't until 4p, so we left an came back after dinner @ 8:15p), but there is no *room* in your room to hang out. You are really encouraged to mingle in the common areas (not my thing, personally).

Their use of wood & solar energy was great, but our sleeping enjoyment was marred by this - there should be a fan (or two!) in each room. Several times throughout the night, an alarm went off in our room because it went below 70 degrees. (We had to leave the door cracked for an hour just to breathe). Yikes! The kitchen thermostat read 86 degrees in the morning. Speaking of the kitchen, it was great to have available, but as a B&B, I was hoping for a homemade breakfast... the website outlines what is actually provided, so just don't get your hopes up (cereal, instant oatmeal, yogurt...).

I would add fans in the bedrooms and have lotion available (because it's so dry in the winter + living quarters of 70+ degrees). The soap and shower gel smelled delicious and was local - thank you! We wanted to use the hottub and sauna, but 2 guys were already in it. It's there, though, and that's a perk!

We appreciate what you're doing for our environment and hope you continue to be successful.

  • Stayed: April 2014
    • Value
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Thank Kit W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sean L, General Manager at A Stone Wall Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 30 April 2014

Thanks for staying and we appreciate your feedback. I am sorry we were not able to check you in when you arrived. With a staff of one (myself) there are obviously many tasks to attend to at a property like ours. As I mentioned when you arrived, I was cleaning a chimney that day which put me a bit behind on cleaning rooms. As one might imagine, only heating with wood and solar presents other challenges guests might not think of, and with the safety of all guests in mind, we regularly clean the flues ourselves, and have them professionally completed annually. We always have the rooms ready by our check-in time (4pm) but with other tasks that pop up, we cannot guarantee rooms will be ready before hand.

I know you stayed in April, which tends to be a tricky month of the year for heating with only wood and solar; as the outside temperature is not static, and can range anywhere from the high 70’s, to below 0, in our area of Vermont. It was an average April day here in Vermont during your stay, which is why I was cleaning the chimney then. However, after cleaning it was necessary to start a fire in the wood stove to ensure a good draw through the flue. The fire, in combination with the ambient temperature, is what made the temperature in the kitchen rise to 86 degrees (that particular thermostat always shows the maximum temperature in the last 24 hours– so when you came down in the morning and saw 86 that was actually the temperature at around 3pm the day before – and its distance from the woodstove tends to throw it off by a number of degrees)

You will be delighted to know, we generally have fans in the rooms. Our rooms are equipped with Dyson bladeless fans. We know many people like to have a fan on just for air circulation, or even for the white noise while sleeping. Unfortunately, just before your stay, we received notification from Dyson, that a number of the same types of fans we use had resulted in malfunctions (and fires) and we had to send some units back to the manufacturer for replacement. I apologize that they were not available for use during your stay; while we strive to have replacements for most items on hand, this is something we didn’t foresee, and as a result had no extras.

Again, thank you for your feedback, and hope to see you again soon.

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Reviewed 23 March 2014

I don't think it is an insult to say average. It was in a decent location for skiing, had free parking, and hot water. And breakfast was free. The innkeeper was pleasant and friendly.

I booked this room off of a deal and had limited time to use it. And had limited selection of rooms. That is not the fault of the Inn.

We stayed in the pond view room. The description of the inn indicates that they do not use fossil fuels to heat the rooms. It does not indicate that you have no control over the temperature of your room. Our bed was located in a loft area that was so hot while we were sleeping, we tried to open a window. The windows don't open. It was unpleasant, but manageable when we cracked open our patio door. A necessity since I have a cold and couldn't breathe otherwise.

Our seating area was small and slightly uncomfortable, but we didn't spend much time in the room. What could make it better would be a rug on the floor of our seating area. The grounds are covered in sand for traction. But with no rug in our room, the floor got covered in dirt and salt and we had nowhere to sit/stand without the floor being filthy. Our upstairs was just a platform bed with sloped ceiling, so hanging out up there wasn't an option. A rug would fix that.

The email I got from the Inn the day before we were to check in was a bit off-putting.

My advice: book if you are willing to give up some comfort to minimize environmental impact. And understand exactly what that means.

  • Stayed: March 2014
    • Value
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Thank heatherbombard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sean L, General Manager at A Stone Wall Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 24 March 2014

Thanks for the comments regarding your stay.

Yes, it’s completely accurate that guests have no control over the temperature of the room. Keeping this pleasant homeostatic environment with only solar and wood heating is not as simple as turning a dial on a thermostat, and it has taken us many years of trial and error to keep all the spaces of the building at a reasonable temperature; it would be very difficult for a guest to figure out in a few days what took us years to be able to do. Because of the lack of fossil fuels, we have temperature sensors throughout the buildings and rooms that communicate with the office computers and alert us to any temperature extremes. We do this to both ensure a reasonable temperature for our guests, and also to prevent damages, such as pipes freezing. During the course of your stay, the maximum temperature in your room was 70.6 degrees. I’m fairly certain that this is the very definition of “room temperature.” However, I will point out that you put the infrastructure of the building in harms way by keeping your door open all night (when the outside temperature dropped down to 1 degree).

It was a little disheartening when I checked in with you about the low temperature alarm going off, and you just sort of shrugged like it was no big deal. From a guest standpoint, I was concerned with your comfort. If your room was sweltering hot, (which at 70.6 degrees, it certainly was not) we could have found a better solution. Also, I’m not sure how opening an external door on a 1 degree evening is a remedy for the common cold. I checked the Doctors Book of Home Remedies, but couldn’t find a solid answer.

Additionally, I shudder to think of the damages that could have been caused, and to the displacement of other guests, if water lines had frozen and/or burst because of that. I’ll also point out that if you were this uncomfortable, you should have come to see me. I live here. I would have made every effort to make your stay more relaxing, within reason.

Regarding the floors in your sitting area, most people enjoy the parquet wood flooring we have in many rooms. Many guests choose to wipe their feet of sand and salt before entering the main spaces of the building, and generally what doesn’t come off there, comes off before even reaching their room when walking through the hall. In any case, I’m not sure how a rug would have solved the problem. Wouldn’t the same sand/salt you mentioned being on the wood floor, then just be smashed into carpet fibers? Carpets are a heck of a lot harder to clean, and usually necessitates the use of harsh chemicals; something we frown on here at the inn, as they usually end up in the drain, and then leeching into the soil, potentially spoiling the amazing plants in our gardens.

I’m sorry if you found our pre-arrival email off-putting. It simply relays 4 important pieces of information: A copy of your confirmation, How to access the building, Check-in times, and directions. Many people are not accustomed to a bed and breakfast, and sometimes they expect a 24 hour front office. That is not the case, we a one or two person operation (depending on the day) and we are simply not sitting by a computer or telephone all day. Like most bed and breakfasts, we ask your anticipated arrival time, so we can be sure we greet you expeditiously. The piece about directions to the inn is intentionally snarky, as we continuously receive guests who ignore our directions in favor of using their GPS to find us, and then get angry when their GPS gets them lost. We have tried many other methods of getting this point across, with little luck. We simply want people to arrive here safely, and most importantly, happy and ready to relax.

In closing, I’m glad you enjoyed your stay. I’m sorry that some things didn’t meet your needs. But I’ll remind you for future stays, here or elsewhere, if you are having an issue, talk to the staff about it. It’s much easier to work toward a remedy in the moment, rather than complain about it after the fact.

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Reviewed 19 March 2014

My boyfriend and I stayed for two nights in February as a weekend getaway from Boston and a chance to get in some downhill skiing. The B&B was fairly close to many ski options, and the Innkeeper provides a very helpful list of nearby attractions, including directions to nearby restaurants, ski mountains, etc. The Long House was so unique in construction and quite beautiful and tranquil. The breakfast was a delicious assortment of cereals, fruits, fresh juices, pastries, etc. We are intrigued by the Corner House and might consider renting out with other couples over the summer. Also, we appreciate the dog-friendly nature and would like to bring our dog next time.

Our stay was very quiet & tranquil. We did not hear or see other people other than one or two other couples at breakfast. It was exactly what we needed for our getaway, but others might not want that level of isolation and quietness. We also took advantage of the hot tub but the sauna (and the pool is outdoors and therefore seasonal).

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Alexis S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2014

We enjoyed the quick stop at this unique inn and the owners. On the downside, It is esentially a home with many rooms and little privacy. However, it was in a quiet area and we appreciated the home made breakfast. A good alternative to immpersonal hotels.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank oneblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sean L, General Manager at A Stone Wall Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 17 March 2014

We’re glad you enjoyed an escape from the impersonal and cookie cutter hotels and gave our bed and breakfast a try. However, a bed and breakfast is exactly what you described: a large home with many rooms. A Stone Wall Inn is no different, as it was, in fact, a home in its previous life. Of the over 17,000 B&Bs in this country, the overwhelming majority are a home and business all rolled into one individual package. So, we’ll just take that as a compliment instead of as a criticism. We pride ourselves on the fact that we provide a unique escape from the ordinary, while encompassing many of the comforts of home. We do understand that a B&B is generally not a place where you can remain anonymous from other guests, given the numerous common spaces we have. We’re sorry we that our inn didn’t entirely meet the mark for you, but we sincerely appreciate the feedback, including the positive feedback. Thanks again!

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Additional Information about A Stone Wall Inn

Address: 530 Hitchcock Hill Rd, Windham, VT 05359-9653
Region: United States > Vermont > Windham
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Windham
Price Range: £72 - £155 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — A Stone Wall Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Designed by an award-winning architect, A Stone Wall Inn is not your average bed and breakfast. You won't find doilies, antiques, and Victorian era furniture; What you will find is modern architecture, with buildings designed to interact with the environment, artistic symbolism in every nook, meandering staircases that lead you to unique rooms, and custom designed furniture pieces. As Vermont's Greenest Inn, we use no fossil fuels in the heating of our buildings, and use materials which are sensitive to the needs of the environment. The buildings are akin to an adult treehouse, with creative spaces to be found inside and out. Get away from the fast lane, and come explore the pristine nature of Vermont. ... more   less 
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