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“Super Location-Great Property-Super Nice Owners!”
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Overview
Cottage -
2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, Sleeps 6
Vilano Beach, St. Augustine, Florida

Reviews from our community

Very good - based on 10 reviews
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Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
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Holly H
1 review
“Super Location-Great Property-Super Nice Owners!”
Reviewed 31 July 2016 for a stay in July 2016

My husband and I stayed on the second floor of the house and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We were able to bring our dog as well. A nice family was downstairs and they also had their two dogs! It was a super great location, so close to the beach we could go back and forth easily for lunch, sunsets, etc. We enjoyed going to St. Augustine to shop and dine a few times as well. It's an easy drive over the bridge. So much to do there. The property was great, furnished with everything you would need. Just bring your toothbrush, and your good to go! We will definitely be back! Thank you so much Gayla for the great hospitality!

Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
annemU524...
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great vacation house”
Reviewed 28 June 2016 for a stay in June 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here for a week. The house was fully equipped, even having beach towels and beach chairs which we did not expect. The owner, Gayla, was quick to respond to any questions, and immediately remedied any issues we had. The house is a half block from the beach, which made it easy to Walk back for lunch. We were fortunate to have a very nice family upstairs during our rental. It was nice to bring our two small dogs, but I can imagine if the upstairs apartment also had dogs it might be noisy. Overall we would definitely go back.

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
29 Jun 2016
Thanks Anne! Looks like sound proofing the floor between the rental is working. We're happy you enjoyed your stay. Look forward to seeing you again!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GlenH1950
Oakville, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Buyer Beware”
Reviewed 6 June 2016 for a stay in February 2016
3
people found this review helpful

I agree with marinemom in the review “Disappointed with This Rental”. During our visit in February of this year we experienced almost all of what she detailed and I suggest you ignore the “blame the renters” reply from the owners. Covering marinemom’s points, briefly, we experienced:
1) Big bugs in the house – who knows or cares whether they were cockroaches, they were big and we saw them a number of times.
2) There was a coffee pot when we were there but it dumped coffee all over the kitchen – rather than use it again, we bought the small French press marinemom referred to and left it behind!
3) The concrete “patio” needed cleaning.
4) The grill was old, rusty and dirty. No way was it only six months old. We never used it.
5) We didn’t use the oven for the same reason as marinemom – not clean.
6) The shower handle was wobbly and we learned to handle it with great care.
7) We had problems with the lights in the kitchen and hallway – reported to owner, not fixed.
8) The couch that marinemom reported as torn was already torn when we arrived at the beginning of February. The silver tape hadn’t arrived yet. Also, both couches were very uncomfortable.
9) The place is noisy. First, this “beach house” is a two story older building with two rental units – upstairs and downstairs. Your vacation enjoyment will depend on the cooperation of the renters (and their dogs) in the other unit. Second, in addition to the renters upstairs, this cottage fronts on A1A, a major busy highway that connects St Augustine with Ponte Vedra. There is traffic, including numerous motorcycles, all day and night. Third, the unit is directly across the street from a 24 hour gas station and convenience store. The master bedroom window faces both A1A and the gas station.
10) The “Pay it Forward” house cleaning policy is a concern. We had to clean the bathroom and the refrigerator when we arrived – not what we expected. We certainly left the place much cleaner than it was when we arrived. Not everyone “pays it forward” and it appears no one is checking on that. Then, the owners refused to return our housekeeping deposit, even though they initially agreed to do so. Finally, after three complaints to HomeAway, the owners returned this deposit, after almost three months delay.
11) Finally, we had a major problem with the owners. After we had fully paid for the unit, my wife was diagnosed with cancer and they (kindly, we thought) arranged to sublet the unit for two weeks for us when we had to shorten our stay. They took advantage of my wife’s illness and never sent us the money they collected – in addition to keeping our full payment. Finally, when we questioned these items, they stopped replying to emails or phone calls. One reply they did make revealed a complete misunderstanding of the terms and conditions contained in the invoice that they had sent us. I have pointed this out to them and they continue to misrepresent the words that are contained in their own invoice. Don’t trust them with your money.
In summary, buyer beware. The positives – close to the ocean and pet friendly – are minor compared to the negatives with this old place.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: close to the beach and pet frendly
Liked least: based on our experience, the owners can't be trusted
Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
15 Jun 2016
**** The below was the original response on another site. This is now the third response on a third site.

** All we ask is for you to please also read all the 4-5 star overall ratings our place has received before and after the below guests stayed three weeks in March. We also would like to, respectfully reemphasize, that not a single complaint was made during the stay even with bi-weekly or weekly check ins with our guest.



Our guests who have made this particular complaint were really great guests and treated our home with great respect. This couple and myself communicated heavily by email and text for two months during their medical diagnosis/recovery event. All communication was directly related to the process of re-renting all or parts of their stay depending on the frequent updates of his wife’s progress. Even after their partial cancellation, we truly wanted to accommodate them, so his wife could escape the Canadian winter and enjoy the beach and sunshine. We wished for her a speedy recovery and hoped the warm winter we were having would have a positive impact on her. On a personal note, having lost both of my parents to cancer, I am appalled by even the slightest reference that I would never take advantage of this situation. As for mentioned other mentioned items.

• They never voiced a complaint until the end of March,after they had stayed for 3 week in February, half of their original planned time frame.

• They had a 60 day cancellation notice. They did not ask for the second half of their refund due to the constant communication between us about the time frame when they could still possibly use the second half of their payment.

• While our home is an upstairs/downstairs duplex, it is also a 1930’s cottage style house located on Historic A1A which is clearly depicted on the location map.

• Vacationrentals.com/Homeaway, after looking into this complaint and all emails not only supported our response and decisions concerning the invoice contract but also assured us our listing is of good standing.

After several attempts to explaining our point of view, we did stop responding to personal communication once Vacationrentas.com/Homeaway resolution team was involved. We did delay the return of their deposit until the resolution center had returned to us of the outcome of their conclusion. It was returned.

We proudly stand by our high rating and our 10 years of experience. We really do love to share our future retirement home with couples, families and their pets so that they can visit Vilano Beach and experience the beautiful town of Saint Augustine.

Thank you,
Bennetts by the Sea
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mountiane...
Morgantown, West Virginia
1 review
“Good rental ”
Reviewed 31 May 2016 for a stay in May 2016

This is a good rental in a great location. Had everything we needed. The owner is awesome and always responded promptly to any questions. Hope to return again soon.

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
1 Jun 2016
You're welcome back anytime!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marinemom...
Spring Valley, California
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Disappointed with This Rental”
Reviewed 29 April 2016 for a stay in April 2016
5
people found this review helpful

The photos posted of this home are somewhat deceiving as there were no patio covers as shown. The patio itself could have used a pressure cleaning as it was dirty. Old grill available for use. Upon entering the house, there was a huge cockroach on the floor. No coffee pot was available, only a small French Press. We had to purchase a coffee pot. The oven had not been cleaned so we chose not to use it at all. The first time my husband took a shower, the left shower handle came off in his hands. This was reported to the owner. We were able to make the repair ourselves .A kitchen electrical outlet was completely loose and we did not dare use it. Also reported to owner. One couch had been torn and the tear was covered with silver tape. Living room walls were gouged, overall, place is really beat. In order to receive a "damage" refund, guests must wash all of the sheets and towels and leave beds re-made. Instructions cover a kitchen wall that owner has written out with chalk. So, we spent several hours providing a service FOR the owners instead of THEM paying a cleaning service. The house is located on a very busy and noisy street. Easy access to beach. Bedrooms were OK but much smaller in person. I do not recommend this accommodation as there are several, better alternatives in the area. Consideration the amount of money we paid, we were very disappointed.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Beach is close by
Liked least: Overall beat condition of the property
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Your age range 50-64
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
10 May 2016
Thank you for letting us know of your experience during your stay at our place. We really do appreciate any and all feedback so we continually grow and improve our home. Our intentions are always to ensure your visit is a great visit to Bennett’s by the Sea.

We were a little surprised by this review due to what we saw as very cordial communication. While reviewing our text timeline with each other we reread the following wording “ no emergency, just wanted to give you a heads up, no big deal, looking forward to meeting you”
We don’t normally respond in such a detailed way but due to some of the items mentioned we feel compelled to do so.

• We do provide a full kitchen experience so we were surprised to hear that the coffee maker had disappeared. A new one was ordered that day.
• Unfortunately, in Florida’s marsh and dune areas, we do see Palmetto bugs. We thoroughly spray after every guest leaves…we do not have cockroaches.
• The guest before your visit, with 4 boisterous children, did split seam on one of the two matching couches. We are searching for a replacement other than purchase two new ones. They also lowered the futon corners into a newly painted wall.
• The shower handle on inspection is in normal condition. No concerns of the handle being loose had been expressed by previous guest.
• We do have a 22 x 14 ft. covered terrace to allow outside dining even in the rain. The covered patio area referred to is an attached yard that can be used for larger parties when requested. Grill is 6 months old and it lives by the ocean.
• Vacation rental etiquette has a ‘leave it like you found it and pay it forward to the next guests’ philosophy. It is a common practice to ask for items that were used to be washed and dried.
• The hotel down the road charges $189 a night for two beds. This is a 2 bedroom 900 sq. ft. apartment w/full lichen, beach towels and chairs provided, fenced in yard for your pet experience.
We sincerely apologize if your visit was not what you were hoping for. We strive very hard to keep our 80 year old future retirement home in great condition and to provide a comfortable home like experience for your family. We know we are very blessed to live in this beautiful area and we really do love to share our home with our guests. We do believe our 15 year history and almost 5 star rating speaks to our dedication to strive for excellence.

The Bennetts
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mickjags
Coloma, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Honeymoon in paradise”
Reviewed 9 November 2015 for a stay in November 2015
1
person found this review helpful

We loved spending our honeymoon at Bennett's. We got in very late on a Thursday night but owner worked with us for easy access which was much appreciated. Though it was late we made the short walk to the beach. It's wonderful to hear the waves at night.

The home was well appointed and nicely decorated. The outdoor area is shaded enough to be helpful while allowing plenty of sunshine. We had extended family of four adults and two little ones over for dinner one night and breakfast another day and with the nearby grocery and full kitchen had everything we needed.

My husband and I hope to stay here again in the future when meeting our Florida family in St Augustine. The owners were helpful and nice. We enjoyed meeting them.

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
10 Nov 2015
We were so excited to have the two of you here for your honeymoon! You were great fun ....we hope the family photos turned out great!

We look forward to seeing you in the near future. Thank you for treating our home with great respect and care.

Gayla & Peter Bennett
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lmo559
Gainesville, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“great location, great rental”
Reviewed 17 April 2015 for a stay in March 2015
2
people found this review helpful

perfect beach access, good food nearby.
very comfortable rooms, feels like a home not a rental.
will be going back later this year.
Location between St Augustine & Jax Beaches allows for lots of options.

Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Your age range 50-64
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
8 May 2015
We're so happy you'd loved our place! You two were on the go the minute you arrived.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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