My husband and I have just returned from a long weekend at the Grand Dutchess Bed & Breakfast in Red Hook, NY. I was never so glad to sleep in my own bed as I was the night I returned!
There are two things a traveler wants when booking a stay at a bed and breakfast -- a comfortable bed and a delicious breakfast! The Grand Dutchess offered neither!
We booked Patrice's Parlor for a three-night stay ($135/night plus NY tax -- we were never presented with a final bill). The room was pretty; decorated with antique furnishings. It had its own private bathroom, with a large tiled tub/shower, pedestal sink, wood trim and exposed brick. Complimentary soap and shampoo; fresh towels daily. The maid forgot to clean the tub after Day One.
The bed was extremely uncomfortable! I have visited plenty of b&b's -- we were married in one -- and this had to be the worst bed I have ever slept in! A guest should NOT be able to feel the mattress coils through the sheets. Antique head and foot boards, yes; antique mattresses -- NO! Three nights in that bed was torture. As I write this, I still have a sore back!
After a miserable night's sleep, I thought a great breakfast would change my mood. Day One was a slice of cantaloupe and french toast made of stale bread, perhaps french or italian, soaked overnight (?) in egg. No syrup was on the table; the innkeeper insisted that the french toast was too sweet to need any. When syrup was finally brought, EVERY guest poured some on their plate! Powdered sugar was available. No butter offered or on the table either. One inch-long sausage link and one quarter sized sausage patty. Plenty of coffee and tea, but one guest, sitting next to me, so I heard it correctly, asked for honey and was brought congealed honey, while the innkeeper told her that honey can be warmed to bring it back to its original state. Well, exuse me -- why didn't she do that for this woman? One milk pitcher on the table that had to be passed back and forth -- very annoying! A guest noticed a bug in the orange juice pitcher; her husband fished it out ( I saw the bug and I saw him pick it out with a fork) and drank the juice anyway. Yes, she offered more french toast and sausage, but...
Breakfast Day Two - A slice of honeydew melon, three teaspoonsized corn fritters and two slices of bacon. UGH! Hot corn for breakfast? I was furious! No fresh baked muffins or breads? No bagels or croissants? No toast of any kind, or jam, jelly, or preserves or butter on the table! Again, more "fritters" were offered, but as my husband pointed out, it has to be something your WANT more of! No Sunday newspapers around or offered!
Breakfast Day Three - Sliced strawberries (about three or four) and three silver dollar-sized pancakes, again the same sausage combination as Day One. No butter on the table for the pancakes; syrup, yes, but I noticed the powdered sugar shaker back on a wall shelf. One guest asked for toast, and I saw that he was brought two hacked slices -- no butter or jam, that I saw. I was fed up with batter and dough -- does she know how to make eggs of any kind? My husband ate a box of Raisin Bran.
CHEAP PAPER napkins in antique napkins holders at every breakfast -- crazy! A porch that COULD have been prettied up for breakfast or relaxing, but had a green film from the tree pollen and was unswept. One side of the porch had wicker furniture, the other had mismatched chairs and tables that looked junky. No flower boxes, no hanging plants, no prettiness of any kind outside, to make the porch inviting and comfortable for guests to use.
The downstairs rooms were too filled with Victorian nick-nacks to be comfortable or inviting. The room off the dining room was the family tv/toy room. While eating, we got treated to the sounds of tv/video games during breakfast and the sight of a messy room. Other inns offer serene music to accompany adult conversation and divine breakfast! At the weekend's antique show, the innkeeper/owner mentioned she bought a Queen Anne plate -- well, that was our breakfast money! She also mentioned she and her family were going on an extensive trip to Norway, Iceland, etc., -- guess she saved up by using paper napkins and not offering any nice bakery items!
Backyard had a nice lawn but no lawn furniture -- one table and umbrella and two chairs -- were they hers or for guest use? Back proch was messy and not available as a short cut to guest rooms -- you had to walk all th way around. Seems like only your room was available for relaxing -- no other part of the inn made us feel as if we wanted to hang out and relax.
She also goofed up our only dinner reservation and wasn't really too apologetic about it.
A chilly goodbye from her, and she failed to mention that the streets exiting the town were blocked for the Memorial Day Parade! She COULD have cleaned up her porch, decorated it, and invited guests to a bird's eye view of the parades, maybe with some lemonade or tea, but.....
A LESS than grand weekend!