My sister and I had the misfortune of staying at this B&B for three nights in October. I can only say that William of NYC and his family had a lucky escape.
Our tour operator could not book us into a hotel in the area as it was halloween and so I booked it online after reading reviews. I only wish I had read the reviews further back as those I saw were totally misleading and not indicative of the real quality of the place or service. It was less than poor and I would NEVER go back or recommend it to anyone else.
Our room was up a narrow back stairway which I am sure must have contravened health and safety and our 'private' bathroom was situated back down the narrow staircase and in the dining room - hardly prviate when people are eating their breakfast!!
Like William of NYC the whole cost of the stay was taken from my credit card before we arrived and so when I expressed our concerns 'Peg's' first comment was that she couldn't refund any of our money, We were prepared to forfeit the cost but couldn't find anywhere else to stay and so were stuck with the place for the three days. Furthermore, we felt insulted by Peg's comments about Europeans when I expressed our dissatisfaction!!
We agree with William of NYC in that her store and internet business seemed far more important than customer care in her B&B - half of her stock seemd to be under our beds!!!
The photographs on the website are totally misleading and do not represent a true image of the place - I notice that much of the narrative has since been removed from the site - this is after I made my observations about misrepresentation!!
It was unfortuante that this stay was early on in our month long tour of New England and did rather spoil our enjoyment of Salem.
One thing we have leaned is never to take the actual website at face value and to delve back as far as possible on the reviews - there are plenty there that did indicate the true feelings of past guests we just didn't see them in time.
My wife and live in NYC and were looking forward to a nice getaway with our 5 month old son. We have been to Boston many times, and have friends in Salem and thought it would be nice to stay in Salem area. After doing considerable research we decided on the Henry Derby House - I admit that availability and a willingness to accept young children played into our decision, but those matters aside, the place looked charming and relaxing.
I made the reservation about 10 days in advance. The person taking the call seemed a bit confused and had hard time articulating availability and price, but ultimately we were in agreement that we had a reservation for the following weekend. I asked for an email confirmation and was told they would send one, but it would take awhile. After a few days, I still hadn't received the confirmation and chalked it up to it hitting my bulk/spam folder. I call the HDH again (in early afternoon, avoiding breakfast/checkout/lunch) and was told to call back later since they couldn't look up the reservation at that time. When I called back, it took several minutes for the person on the phone to look it up - I found this a bit odd - seems like if I was running a B&B I would have pretty quick access to my reservations, and be prepared to answer a very basic question , which was "are we confirmed for this weekend?" This is especially true since the whole B&B is only 3-4 rooms; it isn't like a hundred room inn. Finally I got confirmation that we were good for this weekend (which I assumed we would be since they had already hit our credit card for one night's stay) and we would be in a room appropriate for a child.
On the day of our getaway, several hours into our trip I received a message from "Peg" from the HDH to please call immediately. I called from the Mass pike and Peg started to rattle on this long, confusing, disjointed story about some people that had arrived earlier that day, check into the inn, and were now out and about in town, how they were very nice people, etc.. I had no idea where she was going with this and was wondering why she was telling me this story as I was trying to stay focused on the road. Finally she got to the point, she had checked these people into our room, and there wasn't a room available for us. I was shocked, to say the least.
I couldn't believe that I had packed up my family, was hours away from home, had already been charged for the night, about 90 minutes from arriving and to be told we didn't have a place to stay. To make matters worse, being a summer weekend, there weren't many other options available. Peg said she called around and found a place in Marblehead. She gave us the name of the place and my wife tried to look it up on her blackberry, but couldn't even find a listing for the place - also the rate was significantly lower - which in my experience typically doesn't mean a deal, but rather a place that we would rather not stay.
As I asked questions about the place - where is it, is it smoke free, do they accept children, Peg got noticeably mad at me for asking the questions and shot back that this whole situation had upset her terribly and she was nearly sick to her stomach about it, that she didn't have to find another place for us, that she went out of her way, and that we should be thanking her for finding a place on such short notice. At that point, I honestly couldn't believe that this woman was actually in the hospitality business. She had missed the point completely - it was her fault that the situation had developed! She has a handful of rooms to book and isn't competent enough to do that.
The place she had set us up in wasn't so much a B&B as it was a rooming house that was at the top of about 80 exterior stairs - which as you can imagine is not very convenient when travelling with an infant.
The following day, we decided to stop by the HDH just to take a look, not letting on we were the family that should be staying there. We took a quick look around, and while it is in a nice part of town, and charming building, it was completely overrun with bunch of crummy looking knickknacks, tchotchkes, candles, etc... Apparently Peg's focus is on her Internet business selling these items and not on running her B&B. I can only imagine the horror of being surrounded by all that stuff and am ultimately glad we didn't end up there. I also wonder how well someone incapable of managing reservations could be trusted to get the other details of a stay right - my guess is not very well. I highly recommend that you avoid the Henry Derby House and look for a place that can be trusted and treats customers as guests, not as a nuisance.
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This B&B was wonderful, we really enjoyed staying there it felt like home. Every thing was so quiet. We will be back it was well worth the money. If you get a chance stay here.
I loved everything that there was about this charming bed and breakfast! I only stayed there one night, but I wish that I could have satyed a lot longer. The room that I was in was comfortable and welcoming. I stayed there with my best friend and we both thought it was wonderful! The breakfast was more than you could ask for and the company was excellent. Peg, the owner actually came down and ate with us and told the most wonderful stories. I would defintly stay there again! :):)
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Only stayed there for one night, but definitely wished that I had stayed longer!!! The room that my best friend and I were set up in was very cozy; I loved it!! The breakfast was absolutely delicious, just what I wanted! And the owner, Peg, was extremely nice! She sat with us at breakfast and told us a wonderful story. I would definitely stay there again!!
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