I will agree with many of the other reviewers and say that the Inn at Ormsby Hill is quite lovely, truly respecting it's history and well maintained in all areas.
While I know Ted is one of the owners of the Inn- I'm unsure how he came to be the host. It seems like a strange vocation for a man with such a gruff manner. My husband likened him to a retired drill sergeant- who mellowed a bit with age.
We only saw his wife Chris once, briefly. She was chatting with a couple in one of the common areas and said a friendly hello to us as we passed. That was the extent of our experience with her.
Most of my complaints have to do with Ted's lack of 'people skills', as you will see below.
Unfortunately I have many more grumbles than accolades. Here is my list:
No a/c or even a fan in common areas- including the dining room used for breakfast. During our stay it was horribly hot and humid. It was very uncomfortable to eat breakfast with no circulating air.
The Library room has a portable a/c that had to be emptied of accumulated water (by the occupant) every 3 hours during our stay. That meant waking up at night to empty it, or it would stop running.
Another reviewer stated that his wife wanted to stay in the car as he checked in and Ted refused until she joined them... the same thing happened to us! He was absolutely insistent and wouldn't deal with me until I went back out to the car to fetch everyone (we were traveling with guests in another room).
During check-in we were given a long presentation, more like rules. While I understand and appreciate knowing how things are run- we quickly got the impression we needed to 'walk a straight line... or else'.
Another reviewer likened the experience to being treated like a child, and I agree 100%.
At our first breakfast- we used a small flat plate, rather than a bowl, for our fruit. Ted pointed out that there were bowls for the fruit. We apologized, saying we didn't see them, then he muttered that now they would run out of plates! This seemed to mess up his order of things.
From then on we knew he had major hospitality shortcomings, and we certainly didn't ask him for anything or bother to voice a concern during our stay.
When we returned to our room after breakfast I noticed another person's key in our door, and found housekeeping making up the room, even though I had locked the door and hung the 'go away' sign on the door knob. I did this because I left my valuables in the room since we were only downstairs for breakfast and would soon return- so I was visibly upset to find her there. I pointed to the sign and she said 'I'm done already'- which did nothing to address my concern- her intrusion. As she left I asked for more towels and she returned stating that guests customarily leave their door unlocked during breakfast so that their rooms can be made up.
During our lengthy check in presentation Ted made no mention of keeping the door unlocked for housekeeping- and I have never been asked to do so at other inns. Nothing was missing and no real harm done, but it was not acceptable protocol. Luckily it didn't happen again- though on the following days I brought my purse with me to breakfast- just in case.
Our running joke was that the strictly enforced rules were for the guests to follow, but the staff could opt out. We wanted to have as pleasant a stay as possible, so we developed a sense of humor about the gruffness and quirks.
Here are some examples of the lack of hospitality shown to others that we observed during our stay:
Ted reprimanded someone for having their fluted glass off of the coaster. He rudely reached over the guest and moved the glass while stating that a coaster is to be used. The poor guest felt terrible and touched the spot to make sure no damage was done- it was perfectly dry of course, as was the flute. Not only did this embarass the guest, but it made the rest of us feel very uncomfortable.
Another guest asked if they could pay their bill- and Ted matter of factly told him no, that he was busy and they would have to wait until after breakfast. The guest stood there partially stunned.
We overheard Ted re-iterating the importance of ringing the bell upon check in or he won't know you're new. The couple was apologizing profusely.
One day in the afternoon we walked by while Ted sternly commanded his dog- but we didn't understand what the dog did wrong, as he was simply walking at Ted's side. I think he wanted him to stop- though I can't be sure, but my husband and I agreed that his tone was a bit frightening.
On the next day Ted was having a full blown argument in the kitchen with a guest during breakfast. The guest ended it, saying she didn't want to hear any more about the issue and stormed out of the kitchen to her table.
I don't mean to make Ted sound like a monster, he really was more like a grumpy man with stern rules. Some of these complaints about him have nothing to do with me, but it is uncomfortable to be a guest at the Inn and having to hear and see this lack of hospitality all around you. It made us feel pretty ill at ease.
On to the positive!
Ted offered to carry bags for us and allowed us to use the fireplaces in the summer. He even showed a bit of friendly interest on how we had spent our previous day once. (He's not all bad ;-)
While the food was not always in agreement with our tastes, it was clear that everything was fresh and thoughtfully prepared. Portions were large and food was rich. No one leaves hungry! There were always cold items available, like the delicious granola and fresh fruit salad.
The grounds were lovely.
While maintaing the integrity and history of the place, there were still many modern amenities offered in the spacious rooms- such as large steam showers and whirlpools, flat screen cable tv's and cd players, wi-fi, etc...
In conclusion- I think the inn has a lot going for it. The innkeepers have a lovely place that they maintain very well.
Unfortunately for Ted, in an intimate inn such as this- guests are looking for a friendly atmosphere.
I don't think Ted is a bad man... but he is not a warm & welcoming fellow and this really turned us off.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If our lavish rooms and full, energizing breakfasts aren't enough to take your breath away, our spectacular mountains views will. Recipients of the AAA Four Diamond Award for the past fourteen years and a Select Registry property - a Manchester inn exclusive. One enchanting evening with us and you'll understand why. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Inn At Ormsby Hill Hotel Manchester
- The Inn At Ormsby Hill Manchester, Vermont