We recently stayed at the Vernon Downs Hotel outside of Vernon, NY. The stay wasn't what it could have been. Read on for the complete review.
When it turned out I need a room for a couple of nights in the Vernon NY area to attend a George Thorogood concert at the Turning Stone Casino, I called the casino first - but they were booked. I inquired about other local hotels and was directed to give Vernon Downs a call.
Note: Vernon Downs is in NO way affiliated with Turning Stone Casino. Turning Stone is a well run, well maintained, Vegas style casino.
I looked up Vernon Downs on the web and gave them a call. To my pleasant surprise they had rooms available, and had a promotion going on. So I picked a room which they told me was the "Honeymoon Suite" which featured a kitchenette, a two person jacuzzi, a living room, and a bed room - all for a great promotional rate of 89.00 a night.
We arrived Sunday evening (the concert was on Monday night) and received prompt and courteous service. We were even given coupons for a free breakfast (closer inspection revealed the coupons had expired two weeks earlier).
Upon entering the room it seemed clean and well appointed. Kitchenette was there, as was a living room with a big screen TV.
We were on the fourth floor, and both windows opened to a great view of the Vernon Downs race track with green rolling hills as a back drop - very nice scenery.
Entering the bathroom I found the "two person jacuzzi" wasn't designed for two people, unless, of course, they were vertically challenged (that is to say, midgets or dwarfs). This thing was never intended for two grown adults.
After a bit of unpacking we decided to try the Hotel Restaurant named "Lucky's". The food was OK, if a bit pricey. But not something to write home about.
Later that evening when we returned to the room we found no internet connectivity (and I didn't ask if they had it when I reserved the room - so no foul there) the Television channel selection to be minimal. On top of that, most channels were so noisy with background static that the only choice was to turn the television off. Sort of makes the big screen TV in the living area not so useful.
As we settled in for the evening we also noticed peeling paint and wall paper in the bedroom and bathroom.
The room, even though situated near the elevator, was very quiet. We slept through the night peacefully.
In the morning I got up, showered (note the shower made a horrible racket - sort of a high pitched whine squeal), and headed downstairs to the restaurant while my better half slept in.
I entered Lucky's and stood at the "Please wait to be seated" sign. The hostess (or manager?) looked at me as I walked in - she was fiddling with the cash register, but didn't say a word. Nor did she offer to seat me.
I stood at the "Please wait to be seated sign" while the hostess/manager finished fiddling with the cash register. She looked and me and walked on by back into the kitchen - no greeting. No "Can I help you". Nothing.
I stood at the "Please wait to be seated sign" while a waitress walked out of the kitchen carrying a tray of food. Walked past me (I stepped out of the way) without so much as an "Excuse me" or "I will be with you in just a minute".
I stood at the "Please wait to be seated sign" as the waitress delivered her loaded tray of food, took another order and then walked past me headed to the kitchen.
At this point it became obvious that Lucky's wasn't all that lucky for me. I was hungry. Did I mention that I detest incompetence? A hostess/manager that doesn't greet a customer needs to fired. As does the waitress. I left the restaurant and headed to the front desk.
At the front desk I inquired about some place to eat - as the desk clerk mentioned Lucky's, I interrupted and explained my recent experience. Her expression told me that my misfortune wasn't unique. She politely apologized and recommended several other local establishments. I opted for a quick run to a local food-mart for munchies.
Returning to the room I opened the curtains and was treated to a great view of harness racers in training as they circumnavigated the track - very picturesque.
Using the restroom I found something else that I find to be a pet peeve. You have a room you call as suite. You charge extra for the suite. And then you let some bean counter in accounting tell you it makes sense to use the cheapest, roughest, toilet tissue you can find. This stuff had more in common with emery paper that with quality toilet tissue. Come on folks this is simple stuff.
My significant other woke up and took a shower. She noted a fair amount of mildew on/in the grout of the shower.
Afterwards she attempted to use the hotel provided little pack of cotton swabs and cotton balls. Pulling the package out of cardboard container she discovered it had been opened, and some of the contents used, and then the (hopefully?) unused items stuffed back in. GROSS. I reported this to the front desk. Makes you wonder if they bothered to change the sheets.
As we headed out for the day, I hung the "Please make up the room" card on the door.
When we returned later that evening, we found the "Please make up room" sign on the door had been turned and now said "Do not disturb" (and yes I am sure which side was facing out when we left the room). And of course, the room had been untouched. I called the front desk and left a request for a 5:00 AM wake up call.
We slept the night through (once again the room was VERY quiet). I woke up at 5:15, and realized that the wake up call didn't happen. They did manage to call at 5:27 - after I had just finished my shower. We packed and left. When I approached the front desk, no one was visible. A moment later I heard a door open and the clerk came out. She nicely said "Just a moment" and proceeded to prepare coffee - which would be fine if I wanted coffee. What I wanted was to check out of my room and hit the road. She went about making coffee, and five minutes or so later wound up behind the counter and checked me out of my room. I did note she didn't ask about my stay - probably a good thing.
When I got home, I did place a call to the hotel manager, Larry. He offered a free nights stay if I would return. I declined. I won't be going back to that hotel - ever. He confirmed several things to me:
- The room we had was NOT the honeymoon suite (though he couldn't tell me why it was changed and why I wasn't notified of the change)
- The problems with the TV are endemic to their current system (which he said was in the process of being replaced).
- Convenient access to Turning Stone Casino.
- Great views out the window.
- Wonderfully quiet room.
- Restaurant Staff doesn't understand customer service.
- Housekeeping doesn't pay attention to detail.
- Unsanitary items were left in a "clean" room.
- Entertainment system is useless.
- Lousy toilet tissue.
- Late on wake up call.
- Didn't get the room I reserved.
- Poor general maintenance.
Note that this room was supposed to be 160.00+ a night, it wasn't worth 50. Not a good value for the money.
And if I am waiting - you ignore me at your own peril. I am a paying customer. And I have a voice. If you don't treat me right, others will hear about it.