As the first article in this trilogy of posts on a recent stay at the Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, Vermont states, it is upsetting that that visit to a once (and future?) favored destination did not provide the desired joy during a historic period of constant distress. The prior post discusses the Inn not meeting reasonable great expectations and then doubling down by not being very responsive to that disappointment.
This tone of this current post on calling one of the two spa luxury rooms at the Inn my own for three nights has a more positive tone. The post that wraps all this up discusses postponing travel until the US has a much better handle on Covid.
Guest-services ambassador/Woodstock native Richard Adams deserves strong praise both for providing an otherwise Covid-paused ghost tour and for coming in on his own time on the evening before a 12-hour workday at a second job to provide a private experience. This type of above-and-beyond is a large part of what makes a high-end destination special.
The aforementioned anticipation was that the friendly and kind reservation agent to whom I spoke upgraded me to the Laurence Rockefeller Suite. Having that hope dashed on arriving at the Inn was less bothersome than the unpleasant check-in experience that lacked even a :no-brainer" effort to make things better.
I strongly believe that the reservations agent arranged for me to live like a Rockefeller and that a manager subsequently changed my reservation to book me a in spa collection room, which still was an upgrade. Another perspective is that I paid roughly $450/night during the shoulder season between the summer crowd and the foliage enthusiasts.
The nicest upgrades in the room were a high-quality Jacuzzi and a huge rainforest shower that at least approximated its advertised steam feature. It also was nice to have a cafe table and a separate sitting area.
Objectively, the room (which I believe would have gone for roughly $650/night during my stay) lacked the wow factor that is desired as to any room at a property that is the caliber of the Inn. Other rooms at the Inn have elicited that response during prior visits.
Part of this relates to the room not looking or smelling very clean on first arriving; both were greatly improved on the room being recleaned at my request that reflected a hereditary condition (about which the Inn was well aware) that enhances my susceptibility to Covid.
The dresser and credenzaesque bureau offer more-than-ample drawer space; further, the comfortable bed, high-end linens, and just-right pillows combine with the black-out curtains to promote a good-night's sleep.
As the first post in this series states and the epilogue will reflect, the fault seems to lie in the corporate leaders of this five-star property. These "suits" at a place that owes its status to the Rockefeller robber baron family charge pre-Covid rates for a place that reasonably no longer offers in-stay housekeeping or turn-down service and that arguably has unduly cut back on staff and "extras."
The amenities in the room were fine, but were not stocked to the level apt for three nights without housekeeping. The exception is the "big bottle" system for body wash, conditioner, and shampoo. I avoid these at the best of times and used the anticipatory small bottles that I brought with me.
On a related note, the website still promises chocolates. It seems that these are part of the turn-down service, but there is no reason that guests could not be wowed by having some in the room when they check in. If having them in the room is an issue, the desk clerk could provide them (and maybe other small goodies) on checking in.
The 20/20 hindsight as to all this is that I believe that I would have been better off saving myself the three-hour drive each way to the Inn and spent comparable money at a smaller closer historic property near my home. My affinity for Woodstock extends to definite plans to move to that area in the next few years; I simply put my faith in the wrong hands as to this trip.