Beware Ladyswell House -- Cashel

Old Apr 17th, 2006, 06:25 AM
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Beware Ladyswell House -- Cashel

I would love to tell you about Ladyswell House but, unfortunately, I can't. And that is exactly the point behind this review.

I decided to take my daughter to Ireland -- just the two of us -- for her 17th Birthday. Because of a bad travel experience I had many years ago, I always plan my trips, and particularly where I'll be staying, in great detail. Indeed, TripAdvisor has become one of my favorite sites for precisely this reason.

With this in mind, I began my research last January, and the reviews that precede this one convinced me that, in Cashel, Ladyswell House was the place to stay. Because I was travelling with my daughter, it was essential that we get a "twin" room, i.e., one with two beds. Since you can't always get this information from the websites or reviews (or because it's sometimes not wholly accurate), and because of the importance of this to our travel plans, I called Ladyswell House in late February, 2006 and spoke personally with the owner, Mr. Kevin Leahy. I explained my situation to Mr. Leahy and confirmed that Ladyswell House had a twin room available for my daughter and I for the night of March 23, 2006. I was asked to confirm my reservation with a credit card, which I did. Subsequently, I further confirmed my reservation by e-mail, as follows: "This will confirm our later conversation, and my reservation for myself and my daughter . . . in a twin room on March 23, 2006." Mr. Leahy replied to my e-mail, so I know he received it.

When my daughter and I arrived on the 23rd, I knew immediately that something was amiss from the receptionist's reaction. She looked at my daughter, then myself, and asked, "You reserved a twin room?" The expression on her face immediately gave away that there was some sort of problem as she disappeared into the kitchen.

Moments later, she re-appeared. At first, she told me that I had not specified a twin room and that, because of my failure to do so, they had booked me in a double. In reply, though, I produced my confirmation e-mail which, of course irrefutably established to the contrary. The receptionist (who, it bears noting, was an unfortunate employee caught in a bad situation, but who was uniformly pleasant to deal with) again disappeared into the kitchen, where I could hear her on the phone talking with someone. I also overheard her say, "No, he has the e-mail confirming it."

Moments later, when the receptionist again appeared, the story had changed. Now, I was told that the people staying in the twin room had overstayed their reservation, and that, as a result, the only room available was a double. In fairness, the receptionist did advise that she could move a roll-away into the doule room. Since the hour was late, I decided I should consider this option. When I went to the room, however, it was clear this alternative was a non-starter. The room was of very modest size and, even though the settee that was already there was to be moved out, would have been decidedly cramped with two beds in it. (I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to maneuver around in the middle of the night if one needed to use the bathroom). Also, for what it's worth, the bathroom was one of the smaller ones that I saw on our trip, and the shower had some sort of black stuff (it looked like mildew, but I must admit that I did not inspect it closely enough to be sure) towards the bottom -- not enough to be a problem (if the room had been larger, I would have just made do), but at least worth mentioning. Based on the cramped quarters, I declined the offer.

The receptionist -- again, a very nice lady -- did offer to make some calls to other B & B's, and even set up one for me to go and look at. However, she seemed generally unfamiliar with them, and could not supply me with much information beyond what was already in the B & B guidebook. It left me somewhat less than confident about her guidance/recommendations.

Anyway, I left Ladyswell and, on my way to look at the B & B the receptionist had told me about, I stumbled on Ard Ri House, about a mile outside of town. (Be advised, if you stay at Ladyswell, you are right downtown on a main thoroughfare. Good for walking to the castle and restaurants, bad for traffic noise and general congestion/hassle). I hope to do a seperate review of Ard Ri House but, in the meantime, will say that it is a lovely, brand new facility with a wonderful host, HUGE rooms, and spectacular food.

After checking in to Ard Ri House, I stopped by at Ladyswell to let the Ladyswell House receptionist know that everything had worked out, and that she should probably call the B & B she had referred me to to let them know I wouldn't be coming. She had, unfortunately, already left for the day, but I now met Mrs. Leahy. Mrs. Leahy reiterated the original version of the story -- namely, that there had been a failure to note that the reservation was for a twin, a fact directly belied by my confirmatory e-mail. She also insisted that the room would have been of more than ample size to accomodate two beds, a point I'll have to respectfully disagree with her on. In any event, while certainly polite, she was, at best, marginally apologetic (unlike her receptionist) for a problem that was, without doubt, entirely of Ladyswell House's own making.

The point of my review is this. If you make a reservation at Ladyswell House, you had better document it very carefully, and even then, as my story illustrates, that may not be enough. Indeed, having taken a credit card confirmation of my reservation, I am compelled to wonder how accomodating Ladyswell House would have been had I failed to live up to my end of the bargain and had failed to appear as agreed. Given that their website sets forth a "No Refund" policy for cancellations within seven days of the scheduled arrival, my bet is, "Not Very."
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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I think Ladyswell House needs to take a good look at their policies. Hoteliers owe nothing to guests who overstay their reservations, and everything to those with whom they've made agreements - when you arrived was the moment they should have moved them into the twin.

Thank you for the heads-up. I know what to avoid. If you have the stamina, you might want to post on traveladvisor.com
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 07:00 AM
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Sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience in Ireland. We have had a few accommodations in Ireland that I would not care to repeat a visit. A good rule of thumb there is to consult one of those charming inns and B&Bs books. It seems that many people in Ireland open up their homes to visitors as soon as the kids have grown up and moved out. They surely must have to qualify for a rating but many of these homes are sitting right on a busy road and are not appealing at all. We also have had good luck with Karen Brown places in Ireland. My personal goal for the next trip is to make certain each and every stay is a hotel, inn, or B&B that has a really special feel to it. We just returned from Italy and had a few disappointments there also.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 09:14 AM
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I hope, then, that you were not charged by the original B&b!
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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You will complain to Bord Failte about them I hope? If these premises are approved by them they should be notified immediately of the problems you encountered to ensure no one else has same. The more complaints they receive the sooner changes can be made.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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We had a similar unfortunate experience with Ladyswell House back in '02. We'd exchanged a number of detailed emails with Kevin Leahy that all seemed straightforward and even a little chatty.

Three days after our final email exchange, we're standing in the doorway at Ladyswell and Mr. Leahy is telling us he knows of no such reservation - never heard of us, despite email printouts in hand. "Maybe it was his wife", "maybe it was his son". We too were confused and left to find our way for the night (something we do more often now, but not as much then). I'm not sure if they're just lost as to who is doing the reservations or if they are double and triple booking to cover all of their bases, but I don't think I'd recommend to friends that they depend on a booking at Ladyswell.

By the way, I agree with you on how it would have worked if the shoe were on the other foot.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 03:14 PM
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This kind of situation happens more than it should. A few years back we arrived at a hotel near the Pont du Gard, reserved 6 months earlier and a deposit charged to our credit card. the receptionist--who seemed very new and confused--could find no record of our reservation, and the hotel was full. We ended up staying in a much pricier place.

The next morning I returned to the original hotel to talk to the head of reservations (the previous day was Monday, and both she and the owner were off). After much urging we persuaded her to check the February c/c slips, and she found the charge for our deposit. Then she wanted to argue about refunding the deposit! We finally got our money back, but there was neither an apology for the inconvenience or an offer to pay for the difference in the hotel costs.

When I returned home I wrote to the hotel's owner and am waiting, 4 years later, for a reply.

So, folks, beware of the Bégude St-Pierre.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 04:05 PM
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I love the way some businesses think that a contract is a one way street. If you don't show up per your contract, they keep your money. But if they can't provide you with the accomodations you were promised -- too bad.
There ought to be a law that if you reserved a $150 room and guaranteed it with a credit card or deposit, then they owe you $150 -- in addition to your deposit back. That's what you'd owe if you don't hold up your end of the contract.
 
Old Apr 17th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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Underhill, that happened to me also but in London. I paid in full in advance for 3 weeks at Chelsea Cloisters & when I got there, it wasn't available & I had a dickens of a time trying to get a refund.

Dcfrech, glad you found a good spot to stay but it's frustrating when you're diligent about planning in advance just to avoid these situations.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 04:54 AM
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Reminds me of a trip to Tunisia - I was allocated on arrival a double room to share with my son. What on earth were they thinking - a 35 year old woman and a 13 year old boy! We didn't find out until we got to the room and then had to troop back downstairs and ask to be transferred to a twin.
Then chatting with some other guests over breakfast they all got really cross because it turned out that the hotel only had a few double rooms and most of the couples were stuck in twins. Even a honeymoon couple, who had arrived with us, had been given a twin room and were not able to change.

I think the receptionist must have harboured a secret hatred of tourists...
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:12 PM
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This makes me nervous, my sister and I have reservations at Ladyswell House for the night of July 13. I will reconfirm ahead of time. Our emails are also chatty. Of course I will bring all paper work with me with copies of where my credit card has been charged. But if we are left without a room especially in the busy season of July copies aren't going to help! Does anyone else have any advice? Thanks
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Cancel your reservations, and book somewhere else, perhaps? If they quibble about sending your deposit back, cite this page!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:58 PM
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Why not confirm by telephone?
Somewhow, hearing a person's voice is better than just getting a reply to an e-mail.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Cancel and book Joy's Rockside House. It is lovely. If Ladyswell gives you any problems tell them you will dispute the deposit with your credit card company.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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I e-mailed Joy's Rockside twice and never got an e-mail back. I was very polite and waited between e-mails and
put on the second one 2nd request. I called two times and also no one answered the phone that's when I researched and came up with Ladyswell House. I figured with Joy's it just wasn't ment to happen.

Green Dragon, I really enjoyed your website!

Irish Eyes I always learn a lot from your post also.

Miss Prim I will confirm by phone once before we leave home and again from Dublin from my trusty cell phone. (unlocked cell phone bought on ebay from advice from fodors)!

I guess I need to talk to my sister before I just change our reservation. Thank you all for your help. What ever we do I will let you all know. Since you all have traveled to Ireland has anyone ever been to Buttevant? I just found out that is wher my Great Grandfather was born. Thanks.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 03:27 PM
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hester,

I remember that there were problems with the Joy's getting emails in the past. In fact I emailed them myself to see what was up becasue several people here mentioned it. I got an email back saying there were problems that were now cleared up. They were not ignoring you but never received your emails. I would try again as it really is a good place to stay. The hosts are wonderful too and do reply to all emails they get in a timely manner. I can tell you of a couple of other nice places, so let me know if you would like those.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 03:45 PM
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Thanks for the compliment on my site, hester!!!
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 09:40 AM
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Hester (by the way, Hester is a family name on my mother's side) --

I also spoke with the Leahys by phone, so I'm not sure that would be enough. I will tell you that, for my money, the Ard Ri House would be tough to beat. It's where we went when the incident with Ladyswell occurred, and the place simply couldn't have been better.

Its only drawback (or blessing, depending on how you view things) is that it's a mile out of town, not right in the shadow of the Rock. That wasn't a problem for us (just the opposite), but if you're planning on walking to dinner, you won't be able to.

Good Luck -- Ireland is the best and, for every one Ladyswell story (my only "bad" Irish experience ever), there are a thousand great tales to experience.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 10:06 AM
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I don't think this story is too uncommon. We had made reservations to stay in a lovely B&B in Clifden one trip. We had corresponded by email multiple times and I had our final confirmation with us. We called her from town the night we were to stay with her for directions, and she guided us to her home. When we got to the house, she said "Now, who are you?" We weren't in her book, said we must not have confirmed, and she was full. There was really no point in arguing since there was no room available, so we accepted her arrangement to send us to her friend just up the road.

Since then, I always confirm a few days ahead!
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 02:29 PM
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Hi Hester:

There are lots of B&Bs in Cashel and quite a few more in Cahir just down the road (10 miles + or -). Given the reviews here, I'd look elsewhere. I believe I've heard good things about Tir Na Nog. Give them a shot.

Bill
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