Not what I expected
This is my first review that I've ever written where I did not give a hotel a perfect 5/5 rating. I was reluctant to write this for a while, because I hate "bad-mouthing" businesses especially on an online platform such as this. However, I really want to provide an accurate unbiased transcript of my stay at Youngberg Hill from early this month. The purpose of this review is to make potential guests aware of some things that I found troubling or wrong, in my personal opinion, and is not to "bad-mouth" or slander this establishment in any way.
I will start off with the positives. The property on which the hotel sits on visually stunning, and well-kept. The view from the room is truly gorgeous. These are both facts which I will not deny, and I give credit where credit is due.
What I did not like:
The rooms although air-conditioned, do NOT have a thermostat which guests can control the temperature in their room. I am extremely particular when it comes to the temperature indoors, particularly when sleeping, and 3 of the 5 nights we stayed there I found the room to be terribly hot, and did not sleep well at all because of this. I have never stayed in any hotel regardless of cost where the room does not have any type of temperature controls. I was stunned to learn that we did not have any control over the thermostat. I don't believe that this was listed anywhere on TripAdvisor or the hotels website and I want to call this out.
The rooms do NOT have an in-room safe of any kind to lock away valuables. Although the hotel is located in a safe area, and I'm sure the staff is trustworthy, I don't feel comfortable leaving jewelry, cash, and other valuables unattended in the room. We took a couple of day trips where we hiked, and we wanted to put our jewelery in the in room safe, but there was none. Again, I've never stood in any hotel regardless of price that does not offer an in-room safe to lock away your valuables. I don't believe that this was listed anywhere on TripAdvisor or the hotels website and I want to call this out. At $309/night I was truly shocked to learn this, given that every hotel ive ever stood at whether its a cheap hotel or a luxurious one has offered this.
In room soaps. Some hotels these days I find are really going above and beyond with some over the top opulent offerings. Although these are great and unexpected I don't require such things to be satisfied. However, I do strongly prefer bar soap which was not provided (only liquid body wash). Also, I think that every hotel should offer moisturizer/ hand lotion in their rooms. 99% of all hotels ive stood at regardless of price have all offered bar soap and hand lotion/moisturizer. This includes budget accommodations. This hotel on the other hand I paid $309/ night for, so I was really blown away when I saw that neither was offered.
Breakfast: Due to COVID-19 the resort is only offering in-room dining for breakfast. At 9:00am one of the staff members will knock on the door and deliver breakfast. The breakfast that’s delivered you do not select, but is rather chosen for you by the staff. Breakfast is comprised of a carafe of water, carafe of juice, a Greek yogurt parfait, and a combo of fresh fruit, nuts, or pastry. Although breakfast was delicious I would have expected greater variety. The breakfast is truly just centered around the Greek yogurt parfait. The other items (nuts, fruit, pastries) are more side dishes to the yogurt. I fully understand that COVID has placed a great deal of limitations on things, and that there may not longer be a dedicated kitchen staff. However, I'm really surprised that there are no simple affordable offerings that can easily and quickly be prepared such as eggs, cereal (hot or cold), fresh baked breads with butter and jam, etc.. Also, I found it really odd and inconvenient that breakfast is ONLY offered at 9:00am. I think that the breakfast system can be made a lot more “guest friendly” if perhaps there was a paper menu left in the room, or a tag to hang from the doornob with boxes you can check i.e time: 8:00, 8:30, 9:00 and choice of simple breakfast offerings i.e bread and butter/jam, cereal, eggs, etc. and guest could check off what they'd like and the time they'd like to dine at. What made this more irritating was I smelled bacon being cooked one of the mornings by the staff members for themselves. I would have loved eggs and bacon, and there is an extensive kitchen on site where things like this can easily be prepared for guests, I have no idea why its not. Perhaps most importantly I was shocked at the beverage offerings. Coffee is not delivered to the room, but rather there is a drip coffee machine in the room. The machine itself was quite old (I'm guessing approximately 10 years). I know this because my parents have the exact same one. It was dirty, and riddled with water/coffee stains. In addition to this, because it's a drip machine and not a Keurig, Nespresso, or similar, it's not very hygienic, especially with COVID-19 I found this unsettling, and elected to not use it all. I beleive for $309/night, a Keurig, Nespresso, or similar should be offered (a new on costs less than $100 on sale).
There is no TV in the room. This was not a problem for us as we don't watch much TV at all especially on vacation. Nevertheless, I was shocked when I noticed its absence. With the risk of sounding repetitive, I don't believe that this was listed anywhere on Tripadvisor or the hotels website and I want to call this out. I've never stood in any accommodations that don't have an in room TV. Please note there is a TV in the common area on the first floor though.
Wine tastings. Despite staying there for 5 nights for a total of $1645, wine tastings are not complimentary. Again, this is really shocking to me, I can understand if margins are thin, and perhaps requiring a 2 night minimum to offer a complimentary tasting, but with a 5 night stay for $1645.... thats pretty surprising and in poor taste in my opinion.
No tour of the grounds/hotel. We arrived late at night, and had an after hours remote check in. Obviously we did not expect to be shown around on arrival because of this. However, we did expect that at some point someone would offer to show us around the hotel and grounds. Again, even at budget accommodations when guests are passing by staff members they're greeted, asked about their plans for the day, and informed about the facilities and their surroundings. The fact that this never happened is bizarre.
On sight animals. We happen to both be dog lovers. With that being said we were never told that there are 2 dogs that roam the premises unattended. This is not an issue with us whatsoever. In fact we loved it. However, its deeply troubling that we were never made aware of this. For example, our 3rd night there it was around 10:00 at night and we were outside sitting down, and looking at the stars. Next thing we know a dog came running up to us. We pet the dog for a while, and after 45 minutes the dog was still there, and was not leaving. We were really worried that the dog was lost, was not supposed to be here, or maybe belonged to one of the other guests, etc. I checked for a collar for a name and/or info, but there was nothing like this. Eventualy the dog ran off and we got really worried. We even looked for it but to no avail. I ended up searching around online and saw on their Instagram page pictures of the dog, so I determined it was theirs. If there is going to be a dog roaming the grounds there needs to be a sign perhaps near the entrance notifying guests. I’ve stood at many other properties that have a dog like this that almost serve as a mascot. ALWAYS, there is a photo of the dog that says something along the lines of "Hi my name is so-and-so, please don't feed me, but feel free to pet me, I am the mascot of the such and such hotel". This would avoid unwanted confusion. In addition to this a collar with name, address, perhaps "official dog of Youngberg Hill", etc. should be mandatory. Finally, although we love dogs many people don't, and therefore they should be made aware of this.
There is a small minifridge/wine cooler in the room. The fridge is incredibly loud. I'm a heavy sleeper but it even bothered me and I contemplated unplugging it many nights. I have a similar unit in my home from the same brand (Wine Enthusiast), and it is nowhere near this volume which leads me to believe there's likely something wrong with it. Most hotels do have some type of mini fridge in the room, and again, none of them are ever this loud. The fridge is half stocked with some basic beverages which are available for purchase. There is no complimentary water, sodas, etc. offered in the room or on premises other than the juice and water served with breakfast. Nearly every hotel these days offers complimentary bottled water, or has a filtered water station of some kind accessible somewhere onsite for guests. Especially at an upscale priced accommodation I found the absence of this disappointing.
There is no welcome beverage of any kind. Again, we arrived late after hours, but this can easily be solved by offering something at a later date, perhaps when guests are shown around (which we never were). Generally a glass of sparkling wine or similar is appropriate, and almost customary these days.
Another oddity was housekeeping or lack thereof. Our first day we returned to the room around 4 or 5:00pm and walked into the bedroom and noticed the bed had not been made up. I was shocked that the room had not been made up. I made my way to the bathroom, and saw the towels were replaced. I couldn't figure out if they forgot to make up the bed, were too lazy to do so, or perhaps this was some preventative action being taken due to COVID-19. Throughout the stay this same cycle continued, and to this day I don't know the answer as to why the bed was never once made. I assume, and hope that this is a precautionary measure because of COVID-19. However, if it is, this should be noted somewhere, perhaps a card left on the nightstand explaining this procedure. This is not noted anywhere, and the staff never informed us of this.
There is a cellphone charging station on the night stand. It has 2 cables which are iphone capatable and a handful of other cables for different devices. One of the iPhone cables does not work, it would charge the phone for a few minutes and then stop. I thought at first the charging station was a nice idea, and truthfully did not expect it at all, but when I learned that my phone didnt charge over night it was more of a nuisance than a luxury.
I hope this information helps future guests make an informed decision and sets appropriate expectations.