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“Sundance Inn using a Travelzoo voucher-BEWARE!”
Review of Desperado Inn

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Desperado Inn
Ranked #27 of 30 Paso Robles B&B and Inns
Reviewed 27 June 2013

I live in Santa Barbara and travel often to Paso Robles, wine country extraordinaire, and the photo of the Sundance Inn had me crazy with excited anticipation when I saw the Travelzoo voucher, $299 for two weekend nights, including meals and happy hour wine and cheese tasting! I imagined a lovely anniversary weekend in August. Instead, Tom could not accommodate that weekend, or any other, it turns out, without some added expense or another. The old "bait and switch".

I would just repeat the words of another reviewer, themisticles because he says it best. "Huge Disappointment".

As for me, I cancelled the voucher. I am merely writing about my experience with the reservation manager, Tom. I will never get to this Inn.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank Eve_and_Lee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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76 - 82 of 191 reviews

Reviewed 7 June 2013

With the travelzoo deal, it was good. The view is beautiful, the room was large and clean, the bathroom was nice. It was very quiet. A couple of things that could be improved: 1. low end toiletries (Soft soap and White Rain) 2. bedding could be nicer 3. plants in front of home need some TLC 4. breakfast, while good, was a little skimpy. No juice and no choices of what was offered. Also it was available only 9 am - 10 am which is a little late if you are leaving and need to drive some distance. 5. There was no wine or appetizers on the second night and no explanation. I thought it would be offered each night. The confirmation Email I received said that check in was 5pm - 6pm which is really quite late. We arrived at 3:30 and a note on the door said they would be back by 4pm. We returned about 4:20 pm and were able to check in. We did overall enjoy our two nights at the Sundance. It was nice but just needs a little "fine tuning".

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Robyne W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed here using the $299 TravelZoo deal and enjoyed our time in Paso Robles. It was our first time staying at a B&B and wine tasting, so we didn't know what to expect, but had a good time overall. The place is quaint, charming, and worth the TravelZoo deal. It may not be for everyone, but if you like a relaxed person in general, you'll probably enjoy your stay.

Pros:
-Tom and the housekeeper/assistant easily accommodated our extremely late check in
-Free wine tasting vouchers
-Provided good advice on wineries & driving service options
-Friendly and welcoming
-Great views from the property
-Less than 10 min walk to a wonderful winery (Still Waters)
-Great shower
-Late to breakfast, but still welcomed and served
-Free wi-fi

Cons:
-They use well water. Some people love it, not for us.
-"Unpolished" - random assortment of bath soaps & shampoos, I prefer crisp linens for the feeling of "new" sheets at a business that sleeps people rather than their "soft" sheets that could be mistaken for worn out, could use the help of a professional interior designer or hospitality consultant to give the place a warmer and more kept feeling

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank jatherinekoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2013

My husband and I love Paso Robles previously staying at a hotel. When I saw the Travel Zoo deal, I thought it sounded great! We were lucky and found availability over the holiday weekend. I have never stayed and a B&B before, and I can see why it is so different. We had no problems finding it using google maps.

The views are spectacular! Tom was a very nice person and made us feel very welcome. Gave us good recommendations. We were able to enjoy the welcome reception, the wine was good and so were the cheese and crackers. I didn’t mind that there was no TV, my husband and I rarely watch movies, but Friday night, we did just that and it was wonderful. First day, coffee was cold, but the microwave took care of that. The breakfast was delicious the first day, presentation was nice. We enjoyed conversation with the other guests.

I now fully understand when someone in a post here said it feels like you are staying in a strangers house, indeed. We stayed in the Sundance room located inside the main house. Very nice. Had a nice big closet was clean and down the hall so was semi private. My uneasiness, it was not keyed? It had a handle lock, could be locked from the inside. But me, being me, I felt very insecure leaving for the day knowing my room was open? We are simple people and didn’t have really any valuables and nothing went missing, but I felt so uneasy leaving. It would have been nice to be able to lock your room. I think if I do come back, I would only stay in the outside rooms, seemed more private and had rooms with locks.

The gazebo area needed new flooring. It was a beautiful private place to enjoy our wine and watch the sunset. But I did worry we would go through it. We laughed it off and made sure to stay on the beam!

The cat. I am not a cat person at all. When selecting a movie the cat just came out of nowhere and tried to get in my room... That did not sit well with me. I also did not like waking up to it meowing at 6:30 in the morning.

In general, I agree with another poster, this is not for everyone. The grounds were a little rough, but once you focused on the view, it was a non-issue. Overall, it was a pleasant experience. I am glad we got the travelzoo deal, totally worth it especially over a holiday weekend. We met our ultimate goal, which was to leave rested and relaxed, which we sure did. I am grateful for that. With a few minor improvements, I think this place can be brought to the next level. I appreciate Tom’s hospitality and wish him the very best.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Elle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2013

Thought anyone considering this B&B might appreciate a hopefully "objective" review of our experiences last weekend at the following Paso Robles bed & breakfast using the "$299 -- 2 Nights at The Sundance Inn; Fri.-Sat. deal" purchased on Travelzoo:

The Sundance Inn
http://www.villavaldemosa.com
2552 Old Grove Lane
Paso Robles, California 93446
805-400-7932

The first experience we had was trying to actually use the reservation. I booked it on 2/19/13. It's expiration date was 9/2/13. Following the directions on the Travelzoo voucher, I called this bed & breakfast on April 2 to try to book our weekend getaway for April 26 & 27. I was informed by Tom Rigby, their manager, that almost all of their weekend through the September expiration date of the promotional voucher were full, and they could not accommodate us for the above weekend. He would be able to take me the weekend before, but unfortunately that was not good for us. After some further discussion, and a conference phone call with Tom and my significant other, Nancy, we were informed that for another $304.90 he could book me for the April 26 weekend in their largest suite "The Sundance Room." He confirmed that this was the only way we could use the voucher for the weekend stay we had purchased from the end of April until it expired.

Tom even commented, on my initial phone call with him, that the Travelzoo voucher had resulted in some 400 vouchers being purchased. As such, their B & B was fully booked from this promotion. He told me that I should have called as soon after I got my voucher to guarantee the weekend we wanted. While on the surface that seemed like a reasonable comment, unless I am mistaken, this B & B has only 5 rooms, including the Sundance room. Since it is a weekend voucher with a September expiration date it means that it has a window of about 6 months. Unless I counted wrong, there are 31 weekends from February to the end of August. 31 x 4 rooms = 124 rooms available. Since the Sundance room is not available without the upcharge, this seems fair. If you assume that enough other people who purchased this voucher will also pay the $304 upcharge to book the Sundance room rather than lose their $299 prepayment, then you get a maximum availability of 155 room nights. If that is true, then he oversold this promotion by 258% (i.e., 400/155).

It seemed to us, since the other 4 rooms were only paying $299 for both nights, that our paying an extra $304 for the Sundance room on top of the $299 voucher cost appeared to be his method of making a profit for that weekend. If we received a $300/night value during this trip, we would have no issues with this added cost, and this would be a different review. As it stands, here are the objective comments on this Travelzoo "deal" for the benefit of your other readers:

1) The bed & breakfast is located in a large home on the top of a steep hill overlooking the Stillwater Winery. Note: we were actually impressed visiting the Stillwater winery on our day of departure. It has no connection to the Sundance Inn, other than sharing a long driveway.
2) We had a great deal of difficulty finding the property despite using Google Maps on an I-Pad and two different I-Phones. At least two other guest couples reported the same problem, and Tom acknowledged that other recent guests had complained about this. The end result was about 30 minutes of additional delays, following a long trip from Orange County, as we unsuccessfully "hunted and pecked" are way around the back roads of Paso Robles. We finally needed to call Tom for exact directions (e.g., "Turn at the Oak Tree", etc.).

During that call, we asked Tom to call the B & B, as he wasn't there at the time, and let their hospitality hostess know that we would be arrive there shortly to check in. He promised he would.

3) We got there about 7 PM on Friday. The house was dark. Their hostess was just walking to her car as we were coming up the driveway. She stopped backing out of her spot when I got out of the car. We introduced ourselves and told her we had asked Tom to call her. At first, she indicated that she never heard from Tom. But then she acknowledged that he might have sent her a message that she didn't look at.

4) The scheduled wine and cheese happy hour was scheduled to last until 7 PM. Since we had just made it, she took us inside, showed us our room, and offered to pour us some wine. There was no food of any type offered, or available. There was also no red wine, which we preferred. Only a cheap white wine was offered. We declined.

5) We checked into a lovely spacious room, the Sundance room. It was as good as we expected, but when we asked were told that there was no closet, only a narrow wardrobe to hang our clothes.

6) It became apparent, after she left, as we wandered around the place for the next 30 minutes, that it was not being well maintained. I have attached some pictures to document this. For example, there were cheap plastic and other mismatched chairs on the patio, all fireplaces and fire pits had lots of uncleaned ashes, the jacuzzi that was filthy and unusable. It had what appeared to be an open unsafe maintenance pit partially covered with a patio stone. A person could easily hurt themselves if they stepped on this stone and it gave away. The pool also looked "cloudy" and unclean. The potted plants on the patio had lots of dead foliage, and the grass in the backyard was overgrown. Not what we expected for $300/night.

7) That being said, the view from the back yard was spectacular. We met a couple of other guests, and enjoyed a nice conversation. They also complained about their difficulty finding the place using their GPS systems. One couple was from the Reno / Lake Tahoe area. A second couple was from the San Jose area. We shared a drink (from our stock) on the patio with them.

8) The next issue was going to dinner. It was after 8:30 pm. Since the B & B is rather isolated, about 10 miles outside of Paso Robles, and there did not appear to be any restaurants that we would want to eat at outside of downtown Paso Robles, we decided to pass on dinner for the evening.

9) On Saturday morning we woke up around 8:45, according to the room clock, and went out for their 9 AM breakfast. We quickly learned that our room clock was not set to the right time, and it was actually around 7:30 am. Breakfast would not be ready until 9 AM. And, there was no coffee. Coffee did not actually become available until about 8:45 AM. There also was no "Half and Half," as according to Tom, it "did not keep". The small refrigerator serving the coffee area had only one half gallon of milk. It was quickly depleted by all the guests. The whole tenor of the stay was starting to tell us that this was a "cheap" establishment.

10) The Saturday morning breakfast was an interesting experience. It wasn't ready until about 9:30 am, about 30 minutes late. It was served in their dining area. The table seated about 8 people. The chairs in the dining area had no plywood under the cushioned seat. We had to sit on pillows, taken from the coffee room area, to prevent sinking into the seat's hard wood framing. Breakfast was served two plates at a time on a couple by couple basis. About 5 minutes passed between each couple being served. Stated another way, it took well over 20 minutes to get each person a meal. Essentially, the choice was to let our meal get cold while we waited for everyone to be served, or to forget about manners and start eating. We decided, correctly as it turned out, to start eating. That breakfast consisted of a piece of dried out and partially burnt egg souffle, not larger than the size of our palm, and one piece of cheap food store type whote wheat toast, cut in two with a small amount of butter on top, The person making and serving the breakfast quipped, "If the toast is too burnt for you, I can make you another." No orange juice was offered.

11) We brought bikes with us to bike ride. We quickly determined that the road from the B & B to Paso Robles was too dangerous (steep shoulder drop offs, no bike path, and lots of traffic) to attempt to ride. Instead, we drove into downtown Paso Robles with our bikes on the back of our car after breakfast, and rode for about 2 hours. We had a great time. It is a delightful downtown area. Seeing it from the seat of a bike turned out to be an excellent way to explore the town. We saw as much of the town as we wanted, and were able to stop and visit several different places of interest, including a flea market in the park.

12) Returning to the B & B in late afternoon for their happy hour, and to shower and change for dinner, we found the house again had no lights on. This seemed odd to us as the main area was very dark and really needed some lights. There was no no happy hour, and this time we had arrived well ahead of it's scheduled time. Both experiences reinforced our feeling that the B & B was cutting corners to save costs. On a positive note, the shower head turned out to be a terrific rain fall type. Although many of its spouts were clogged with calcium deposits, it still provided a warm full shower and was one of the highlights of our stay.

Unfortunately, we had to reuse the towel from Friday night. We later learned that this B & B issued one towel per person per weekend. They did not change any of the washclothes, face towels, or bath towels during our stay. Taking 3 showers using the same towel was not something we were accustomed to doing.

13) After cleaning up, we then drove the ten miles back to Paso to have dinner at the Villa Creek restaurant at 1144 Pine Street. Frankly, our top three restaurant choices were booked, so we had our fingers crossed that this restaurant would be good. It was closed when we rode bikes by it earlier that day. To our delight, it was crowded with people (always a good sign), and our table was ready at 8 PM for an 8 PM reservation (another good sign). The dinner was terrific, starting with the Duck nachos, and continuing with a fine steak & salad.

14) After dinner, around 9:45 pm, we drove the ten miles back to the Sundance Inn. Again no lights on in the main room area of the house, and this time it was dark. In fairness, a light and loud TV were on in the kitchen. I reset our room's clock to the correct time. As I turned on the nightstand light, my hand bumped it's lamp shade. A lot of dust quickly dropped down on my hand, and clock.

15) On Sunday morning, we planned to ride bikes before breakfast on a back road we had taken the day before, located in the opposite direction of town. To ensure we had coffee, I made a special run to the closest Starbucks, located 6.3 miles away. While there, in addition to the coffee, I decided to buy a Greek yogurt and banana for Nancy, and an egg sandwich for me. This was hedging our bet that breakfast, if we returned in time, might not be to our standards. Returning to the B & B before 8 am, we enjoyed the coffee and food. We then rode our bikes down the steep driveway, onto the main shared driveway, and out to the main road, turning left instead of right. The bike ride proved to be an excellent way to start the day. That direction was safe, without the sharp shoulder drop offs and had much less traffic. About 12 minutes later we came to the country road we wanted to ride. We had a leisurely 1 hour bike ride, stopping to take pictures of the vineyards along the way. We got back to the Stillwater Winery shared driveway about 9:35 am and locked our bikes at the foot of the very steep driveway to the Sundance Inn. We walked up the hill to the B & B.

16) Arriving at the breakfast room around 9:45 am, we sat down to eat. Breakfast was from 9 to 10 am. We expected to enjoy a conversation with some of the other guests, but were surprised to find none of the other guests eating. Perhaps an ominous sign about the type of breakfast being offered, as most of the guest cars still were there. Sure enough, the "gourmet" breakfast that was promised in their promotion was not "gourmet" at all. Instead, it consisted of 1/2 of a store bought frozen waffle accompanied by 1 slice of ham lunch meat rolled into a tube -- both served on a small bread dish. A very small and tasteless portion of melon was also served separately. I passed on eating the tiny piece of waffle, but ate the ham slice and melon pieces.

16) We showered, dried for the 3rd time that weekend in the same but now "damp" towels, and packed up and left.

All in all, the Sundance Inn was a big disappointment. Under the right management with the right client service attitude and if they delivered what they promoted, this could be a good value for $300/ night. But, the current management appears to be "cheap," skimping on maintenance, meals, happy hours, etc. Their promotional flyer even advertised, for an extra cost, a Saturday evening gourmet meal, made by their chef, with a live band if you wanted to dine with them. Our experience, on this Saturday evening, was that there was no chef, no meal, no band, and even no lighting inside the main area of the house for the guests.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
31  Thank themisticles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2013

I'll say this right off the bat. Sundance Inn is not for everyone.

Previous reviews were spot on. Pluses : great location, good breakfasts, quiet/peaceful, easy to get to downtown, wonderful views and nice pool to cool off in on a warm day. Downsides : rooms are somewhat spartan, could do with some better maintenance, no sign of happy hour, host/owner is not warm/welcoming.

Room Tip: Outside room not in the main house would be best for a little more privacy.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank SometimesFlyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2013

I agree with previous poster that they have missed the mark. The Inn does look beautiful on the website. Loving husband purchased a Travelzoo deal at my request and will probably never again! Tom was a cordial man and very talented musician. He also gave a great recommendation to a great restaurant.The place was clean enough, no complaints there. We had a room inside the house and it really felt that way. Like a spare room inside someones house; which made us feel uncomfortable. I am sure that the folks who had outside rooms had a different experience than us. We felt that the website doesnt give a really accurate description. We HAVE stayed in B&B's before and realize they are different. This place was just lacking some "polish" for our tastes.Besides maintenance needs that Im sure Tom is aware of the Gazebo is an extreme hazard right now. Suggestions to Tom- Please invest in some quality sheets and I wont complain about your art like others have but the room feels unfinished. Perhaps warm paint and a better placement of pictures. We were on a milestone Anniversary and hoped for some place with a little more privacy. We booked two nights, stayed one and left early the next morning forfeiting our funds and missing out on the breakfasts that Tom is so highly praised for. We ended up somewhere that cost a slight bit less was brand new and had a bigger fluffier bed, crisp linens, a private entrance and quality bathroom amenities. All in all I am sure they could significantly improve with a little work. We simply felt that we did not have an accurate description of what to expect and they were charging more than its contemporaries. This review isn't intended to harm Tom's business but hopefully to inspire change. Best of luck.

Room Tip: Did not care for the Petite Syrah room.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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14  Thank calgirl71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Desperado Inn

Address: 2552 Old Grove Ln, Paso Robles, CA 93446-9438 (Formerly The Sundance Inn)
Region: United States > California > San Luis Obispo County > Paso Robles
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #27 of 30 B&Bs / Inns in Paso Robles
Price Range: £166 - £265 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Desperado Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Relax at our romantic Villa located close to town and yet worlds away. Surrounded by vineyards, bask in the sun by the pool and enjoy see forever views from our 1200 ft elevation on a ten acre estate,lined with olive trees, lavender, and many kinds of flowers. Four suites, all with full bath, private patios or walk out sundecks. Southwest/Tuscan decor; eclectic furnishings; flat screen DVD players in every room for private movie viewing our library of over 500 first run movies. Air conditioned, Pool, serene, exclusive. Owner is Executive Chef and winemaker. Est. 2007.. Ten minutes from 20 wineries, located in the heart of the "Backroads wine district" in east Paso Robles. WALK to a nearby winery for a picnic and tasting. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Valdemosa Hotel Paso Robles
Valdemosa Hotel Paso Robles

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