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“Carriage House not so good”
Review of Inn on Columbia

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Inn on Columbia
Ranked #3 of 17 Ithaca B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
United States
Level 6 Contributor
150 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Carriage House not so good”
Reviewed 3 December 2012

We stayed at the carriage house. We arrived at night and our taxi driver didn't know where it was. Since you can't see the address from the street, that involved slogging through a lot of mud and wet leaves until we found the place at the end of a long, slippery, wet and leaf-covered driveway. The house is cute and nicely decorated and the breakfast (left the night before) was tasty with some nice fruit and acceptable pastry. The location was nice and it was quiet and warm. The owners are ice and the place was spotless.

What I didn't like were all the leaves on the stoop, but what would keep me from recommending this to anyone, are two significant things. First is the design of the upstairs, which was built with open pits/holes on the sides of the room to allow for heat (and presumably air) to circulate up to the attic space. There's a handrail that would keep an awake adult from falling through the holes (they are large enough for a grown tiger to fall through), but I could help but worry that I'd stumble around half-asleep at night not remembering where I was and have the vacation end in tragedy! Also, we were unable to invite the grandchildren over because of worries about safety, so the whole point of staying in a place big enough to invite family was kind of ruined. (I have worked with risk assessment, but am not overly paranoid, just have seen a lot of shattered bones and see this as a potential threat.)

is that the bed was like a dorm bed from the 1970s. I could feel the metal springs through the sheets and the bed was so lightweight that every time my husband turned, the whole mattress shook and buckled. You could compress the mattress to half its size by pressing down with a hand. I ended up sleeping downstairs on the vinyl couch/bed and that was pretty comfortable, except that the bathroom is upstairs in the attic.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank aaardvark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kenn Y, Owner at Inn on Columbia, responded to this review, 9 February 2015
We are sorry that you think that you reviewed our Carriage House because you were not a guest there. That is clear from the description of the building. Please remove this review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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119 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Akron, Ohio
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2012

I stayed at the Hillview House this past weekend with a group of friends.The house was great -- very comfortable. Nice to have room to spread out, and this house was perfect for that.
Our check-in at the main inn was pleasant -- Kenn and Madeline were both welcoming and helpful.

The house itself was immaculate. Plenty of towels, blankets and pillows. The breakfast basket they supplied contained beautiful and delicious muffins and scones, along with apples, clementines, strawberries and grapes. The basket, paired with the yogurt, granola, juice, milk and coffee we found in the kitchen, proved to be more food than the four of us could eat in 2 days. There was a nice outdoor seating area as well. We even saw a little deer in the backyard one morning.

We found that tons of great restaurants and shops were just a short and easy walk from the house. We never moved our car once we arrived. And it's great to be able to pull your car up so close to the door -- makes loading and unloading luggage (and cases of wine) really easy.

The only con to this house is the steep, steep driveway. Not for the faint of heart. We were able to navigate it with little trouble, however, we didn't really enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, the topography demands the steep driveway -- nothing can be done about it, but it's good to be forewarned. Honestly, I probably wouldn't recommend this particular house for anyone with mobility problems, as the bathrooms are both upstairs, and the walk into town requires going down a number of steps. Again, not a fault of the house or the owners, just information that needs to be considered when choosing lodging. I'm sure that the Inn has other accommodations which would be friendlier for those with mobility challenges.

I'd definitely stay here again if I ever get back to the area. Would love to see the rooms in the main inn -- everything was so charming.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank NoodleW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, VA
Level 5 Contributor
45 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 November 2012

I have traveled to Ithaca for business several times over the past couple years. I had hoped to stay at a local B&B vs. a hotel, but it's difficult to find any at the same price point as a Best Western or Holiday Inn. Inn on Columbia has consistently been the answer and I always try them first whenever our schedule allows.

Through my 4-5 visits, I've only ever stayed in Villa Madeline because it fits our needs perfectly, so this review is purely for this single location. Overall, I really like this location and would recommend it if your situation fits a similar kind of situation as we have. Check out the details below.

Benefits:
- Check-in is always fun, often with cookies and a visit from the host's super friendly german shepherd "Sophie".
- Villa Madeline has 3 bedrooms which has been great twice in terms of renting out the entire house for our employees on business (you get a discount for renting the whole house)
- If you call the "day of" (e.g. if you don't mind Best Western or Holiday Inn as a back up), you get a discount which makes the rooms very well worth the stay. (we got each room in the Villa Madeline for $125/night the day of when we rented the whole house)
- Have a little home to yourself without the chumminess of the typical B&B (which is nice for business travelers)
- Muffins/fruit for breakfast allows a visit to Collegetown Bagel for breakfast which is a must-visit for anyone visiting Ithaca (happy to not have a full breakfast)
- The keys are all in lock boxes (for the house and for the individual rooms) which is awesome - you never have to carry the key with you.
- All 3 rooms are very roomy. Upstairs back room is particularly nice with a really large closet room and bathtub, but the actual room of the downstairs room is probably largest.
- Within easy ~10 min. walking distance from "downtown" Ithaca (it is a decent hill to get "home" though)

Drawbacks:
- The driveway to the house is super narrow and *very* difficult to park/leave if there are two cars at the house.
- The lighting throughout the house isn't great, but it's fine for the short visits we've had
- All of the lights are on sensors. I *love* that from an eco-standpoint, but it can get frustrating to figure out how to turn the lights on and off as you need. Also, my co-worker had a bad experience where (in the upstairs front room) the light sensor was too close to the bed and in the middle of the night he accidentally turned on all of the lights in the room at once.
- Front, road-facing rooms can be loud if you're a light sleeper. The upstairs back room is nice and quiet (but I didn't find the front-facing room difficult to sleep in either).
- The furniture is fairly utilitarian which might be a turnoff to some - I rather liked the basic, but very classy look.

Room Tip: In Villa Madeline, take the upstairs back room if noise from the road will bother you.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank grebebird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kenn Y, Owner at Inn on Columbia, responded to this review, 9 February 2015
Thanks for your thoughtful and well written review. Do do acknowledge that traffic on Aurora St can be busy at times. We have a new building on quieter Columbia St that I know you will appreciate. The Villa does have use of six parking space right next door. The motion sensor lighting is really simple to operate- switch to "off "for lights out and "auto" for lights on. You don't even have to turn lights on or off as you enter or leave the rooms-like having a butler looking out for you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2012

Lovely Gazebo stay at last minute back in June! Ken and Madeline are wonderful with helpful information and helped us for breakfast when we left early! The architecture of the house is amazing. The breakfast was a creamy scrambled egg with cheese and quiche like. It is a bit far to walk into the main part of town 15-20min walk but not too bad - after all we did intend on hiking too.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank SMWjourney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 12 October 2012

Our stay in the gazebo was perfect. A private quiet retreat in the midst of a long road trip. The king bed with fireplace and spacious bath area made for the perfect nest. We truly felt right at home.
Ken and Madeline have succeeded at creating a truly unique Inn experience.

Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank J0anneH15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2012

We found this place while searching the web for a B&B in Ithaca. It consists of multiple buildings. What we look for in a B&B or inn is something more home-like than a hotel that is comfortable and quiet and that serves a breakfast to a group of guests who get to meet vs. sitting by themselves in some restaurant or cafe. This inn/B&B met none of those conditions: We were in a building on S. Aurora Street, in a front room. The street has noisy traffic until late at night and again beginning early in the morning. Probably because there are multiple buildings, the innkeepers deliver a continental breakfast in boxes the prior evening and one serves oneself breakfast. One is requested - admonished might be more accurate - to clean up after oneself; and there is a whole double-spaced page of rules/regulations/responsibilities for guests prominently posted near the kitchen. The kitchen is inadequately lighted by the way. Overall the innkeepers, though pleasant when we checked in, seemed more interested in how they were paid and imposing their rules than in our comfort.

Room Tip: Require being in a building that is not on a main street such as S. Aurora and ideally be in the bac...
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank 111SCS111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2012

We arrived in town rather late without a place to stay. This place had the perfect accommodation for us - a two bedroom apartment in a house nearby but separate from the main house. We had two bedrooms, one bathroom and a living room. I liked the living room best. It was a nice size with galley kitchen (fridge and microwave and many attractive wooden cabinets) and black leather furniture, colorful rug, windows. We especially enjoyed having this communal space to hang out and work in (although there was no desk).
The bedrooms were both small - barely bigger than the queen beds they contained. There was a wardrobe for clothing and a metal shelving unit (not very homey or attractive) for the tv. I found the bedroom claustrophobic and it smelled somewhat of urine - maybe from the pets they own and allow? Also, the view was not so great - of a driveway and yard filled with cars. On the other hand, it was very quiet. The bathroom was typical of an old house - functional but not luxurious. The main house, where we checked in, is very attractive - a renovated wooden clapboard house. Breakfast was a basket of delicious breads and muffins as well as yogurt, granola, fruit and juice. The owner was very helpful but also very opinionated. He recommended restaurants and activities. The price was very reasonable.
So, overall, I have mixed feelings. Attractive living room and cramped bedrooms. Quiet, close to town, yummy breakfast breads. You decide if this is what you are looking for!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank PHguide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kenn Y, Owner at Inn on Columbia, responded to this review, 9 February 2015
So as I understand it everything was great except the size of the rooms in our most economical accommodation and you didn't like the view from the bedroom. Seems like minor issues for such a harsh overview.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Inn on Columbia

Property: Inn on Columbia
Address: 228 Columbia St, Ithaca, NY 14850-5734
Region: United States > New York > Finger Lakes > Ithaca
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Ithaca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Inn on Columbia 3*
Number of rooms: 10
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