I don't even know where to begin with the long list of disappointments and moments of "Huh????" There are several glowing recommendations here, so perhaps there is an inconsistency with service and cleanliness, but my Sister-in-law and I had similar experiences to those reviews in the terrible category. We, like another reviewer, don't believe that this is a legal operation. After spending a lovely night and morning at the Aurora Inn, we headed to our Tuscan retreat, Lakefront ONE, near Ithaca.
We had reserved the premier room in the Lakefront 1 property after a lengthy, friendly phone conversation with the owner/Innkeeper, which occured 2+ weeks prior to our arrival. Upon arrival, we were surprised to find an unmarked house in a typical suburban-looking neighborhood that did not at all resemble the private Tuscan-style villa that was described, and it is NOT lakefront. There was a laminated 8&10 piece of printer paper with "B&B" written on it, but thst had been our only clue that we had gotten there. Disturbingly, the owner, at some point, decided to put us in Lakefront II, which is not what we discussed. The neighborhood is Lakefront, but the "inn" is not. The Innkeeper warmly greeted us outside, which was helpful since it was unclear where the entrance was -- it turned out to be through the freezing cold basement, which had two, less than charming bedrooms. The owner informed us that she had just turned on the heat a few mintutes prior to our arrival, which was actually much later than the 4 pm check-in time. It had snowed the day before, and a cold rain was coming down. The owner tried to convince us to stay in one of the basement rooms, saying that those were the warmest rooms in the house. We declined, since we had reserved the top room with the best view and balcony overlooking the water, albeit in the other property. I'm not sure how I was supposed to believe that a basement is the warmest level. I'm no scientist, but I do know that heat rises. Remember, she had switched locations on us already, now she wanted to switch rooms. We got a cheerful tour of the rest of the house. Dianne is a nice woman, and a real character. She's accentric and friendly, and seemed proud of the house, so we didn't want to hurt her feelings, but we were so unimpressed, and oftentimes a bit disgusted.
We were met on the second floor landing with the unpleasant odor of cooked mystery food that had not been made for us. It turned out to be a pan of seemingly old peas that had been left on the stove in the disheveled, dirty kitchen. Dianne told us that we would have full use of the kitchen and the entire house, as we were the only guests. There had apparently been 17 guests there a day or two before, but we were the only ones now. This seemed kind of cool, if it weren't for the smell, the deception, and the mess. There was a coffee mug of those peas with a spoon in it; we got the feeling that it had been sitting out for a while. The cabinet knobs were coated in a gritty, greasy film. There was a bowl of oranges/fruit mixed with plastic easter eggs and other odds and ends in the middle of a wild nest of indescribable clutter on the beautifully tiled kitchen island. One of the oranges had been zested some time ago, and it was moldy. There was evidence of prior snacking all around -- more coffee mugs with used spoons were in the unclean fridge, a dish of butter with a knife on the countertop, etc. The enclosed porch off the kitchen was unwelcoming, with trash on the table (egg cartons from 2009 or something), and it could have used a good sweeping. The other rooms on the second floor were equally disappointing, and ranged from barren to messy. The ribbon fetish one reviewer mentioned was represented everywhere, but we're not talking about pretty, fabric bows. These looked like reused, cheap, drugstore gift wrap scraps that had seen better days, and were haphazardly tied around a variety of random oddities such as empty and filled picture frames and hand soap. To go along with that theme, dried faux flower arrangement filler, still in their cellophane wrappers with bar code stickers were crookedly propped in a few pots here and there. Considering that Dianne is a self proclaimed artist, we would have expected to see some artwork on the blank walls. Nope. Some of the framed pictures on tabletops were nothing more than what appered to be crooked, ripped magazine clippings or what may actually have been wrapping paper. One of these ribbon wrapped frames, the one by our bed, had a weird plastic canister filled with confetti or something tucked behind the ribbon, obscuring the framed image. We just didn't get it. After touring the whole house we were led to the third floor and into a room that seemed like a storage space with a bathroom. We were told that the heat would take 24 hours to get to a nice temp. We were only staying one night. How is that acceptable? This is where Dianne got really chatty. It felt like she was stalling - we hadn't yet seen our own room. We finally asked to see our room, which seemed nice enough upon first glance. On further inspection, this room was also uncharming and could have been cleaner. There was NO HEAT in the room, which had a vaulted, high ceiling, and a large, door-sized hole high above the bed, covered with a drapery, that seemed like it could have lead to an unfinished attic space. It was a creepy , drafty hole. There was one space heater that, again, had just been turned on. It was quite chilly. There were two flat, lumpy pillows on the bed - not our idea of the described comfort and luxury. Dianne pointed out the hammock hooks in the wall -- we didn't have the hammock that we had expected, just the unfortunately located hooks. If a hammock had been there, it would have been too high for safety, and it would have blocked the path around the bed to the bathroom. The bathroom had nice finishes, but, without getting technical, it smelled strongly as if it had been recently used by someone who wasn't feeling well. Very recently used. The toilet didn't flush properly.
After going back down the two flights of stairs to the car, we had a good laugh over the whole thing, especially the stinky bathroom, but we knew we weren't comfortable staying there. We were confused and annoyed, but didn't want to be rude, and it was dark out and weren't familiar with the area and alternate lodging options. While carrying our own bags up to the third floor, Dianne offered to make us tea while we relaxed and got settled. How kind. I never got my tea. Several minutes later, Dianne made herself some tea, and gave my SIL a mug and some artificial Coffee Mate, but she had to ask where the tea and hot warer was, and made her own. We were offered some baklava that was uncovered on a plate in the grimy fridge that Dianne said she had meant to take to a friend but had forgotten. Um, no thanks. We told her we were planning to head into Ithaca for dinner, and that the restaurant we had chosen would be closing soon, but she wanted to chat some more, and read our birthday horoscopes from a book. Mmmmkay. We like that sort of thing, but we were pressed for time, and there was clearly nothing that we wanted to eat in the house. We indulged Dianne for a long while, and actually enjoyed her personality very much, but then told her we really had to run. She told us that everything in Ithaca closed early, and that we should just go for lunch the next day. We agreed upon a late breakfast, but she tried to discourage us from drinking coffee. That was odd. Maybe she was out of coffee. Then she told us that the key to our room had been lost, and that there was no key for us to the house. She offered to stay in the house with us, but that wasn't where she usually stayed. We told her she didn't have to stay. Ithaca isn't as close as the few minutes that Dianne had promised, so we got there after the restaurant we had chosen had closed. The nice staff in a nearby hotel told us about many restaurants that are open until 10 or 11pm, and showed us a collection of menus. Why couldn't our innkeeper have done that for us, and why did she tell us that everything in town closed at 8ish? When we returned to the house, the kitchen seemed even messier. Dianne had put the coffee mug of peas with spoon in the fridge, left a dirty chef knife on the counter, left dishes in the sink, left the pan full of smelly, cooked peas plus other dirty pans on the stove, and rolled out. The house was still cold and smelly. The bathroom was still stinky. The hot tub was gross, dark and unwelcoming (the hot tub's privacy fence was like the kind around a dumpster). We decided to leave. We didn't feel comfortable sleeping with space heaters, as we've heard that doing so is a fire hazard. It took us about an hour to find other accommodations that weren't a typical hotel, but we found a wonderful place. It was late, but we decided that it was best to inform Dianne then instead of waiting until morning. She didn't answer, but we left her a message that we weren't staying because the place didn't meet our expectations, and that we would like a refund. Her text response came the next morning: "01/02:morning,,, wow!!! feeling that 'my not up to expectations' trumps yours,,, my response of fair ness is to' let us both take the equalness in accountabilit02/02:y for un'expected expectedness',,, 50 /50 and and , peacefully,,,,on to our next we go,, ?,,,let us
Honor ' The Merrily Merrily?in life ,,,".
We're still trying to figure out what that meant. Was it a poem? A song? An autocorrect disaster? My SIL spoke later with a very emotional Dianne who felt hurt and insulted and ranted for quite some time. We never wanted to hurt her feelings, but the accommodations really were unacceptable, and the unprofessionalism was inappropriate. I hope Dianne does the right thing by refunding our money and revamping her business. More honesty about the house and services would have made a world of difference. She apologized later in a text and a voicemail. At least we have a funny story to tell.
- Also Known As:
- The Lakefront Hotel Lansing
- Lakefront Hotel Lansing