Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 1040: Owner, River Cabin
cabins near Luray, Virginia
We rented this house that we found on-line. A week before we are to depart (some 5 weeks after the final payment has been made) we get an e-mail stating that we need to bring our own water. Gee, why didn't this guy mention this issue BEFORE we paid for the place?
So, we drive 5 and 1/2 hours to Luray, VA. We are driving two Honda Civics (my two sisters and one brother-in-law). Neither Honda can make it up the steep hill to the rental unit. We watch as a guy in a Ford Explorer spins his wheels trying to get up. He says that it was worse on Saturday, when he arrived in the rain.
We call the owner (Stephen) and get a machine. We call the guy who we are supposed to call if we run out of water. The water guy suggests we climb the hill, since Steve is probably up there working on a house he is building.
My b-i-l and I climb the hill. It is a workout on foot. We find Steve. Steve charmingly tells us that no one else has EVER had trouble getting up the hill, even those with two-wheel drive vehicles. He says we are "suburbanites" and "inexperienced drivers." He offers to get our cars up the hill. We state that, even if he did, we would have a heck of a time getting in and out all week and, what if it rains? Steve says the road was recently graded (dirt road) and that it should be packed down and driveable in a couple of days. He refuses a refund, basically saying it is our fault we can't get up. He then states he may be able to find us alternative accommodations owned by the water guy.
Steve goes inside, has long conversation with wife. Meanwhile, it's getting dark. Steve comes out and says he can't get in touch with the water guy and that he will drive us and our belongings up to the cabin and work on alternative accommodations in the morning.
As we walk down the road to discuss this with the rest of our party, I get the idea to call the water guy myself. He answers the phone promptly, does not seem to have received a message from Steve and stammers that maybe he didn't hear the phone. He tells us that, yes, his place is available tonight and for the rest of the week.
Steve comes down with his Jeep. We tell him we reached the water guy and his place is available. Steve asks "Do you want to come back and try to get up the road in a couple of days?" We tell him no. He says nothing else besides "I'll pay ______(water guy) in the morning."
We go to the alternative accommodations. The water guy meets us there and asks if we are staying all week and we tell him yes. In the morning, we call him to make it clear (again) that we are not paying -- Steve is. The water guy says he'll talk to Steve and get back to us in a couple of hours.
We don't hear from anyone until the next day. At 5:30 PM, while we are on Skyland Drive (20 miles from where we are staying) we get a call from Steve who says he is not paying for another night, that we must come and try to get up the road that evening. My brother-in-law asks why he waited until 5:30 PM to call us. He says he's been trying to reach us all day. There are NO messages on the phone to indicate this.
If we are to accommodate Steve, we will drive 20 miles back to our accomodation, pack up, clean the house and drive 15-20 miles to the other house and hope we can get up the hill, likely in the dark. I call Steve back and get a machine.
Meanwhile, we find out that there is only one company that will deliver water to Steve's neighborhood, since the other two companies refuse to deal with the road conditions there, per our source.
Steve calls back while we are packing up (we have secured a hotel room in town). He says we are being "unreasonable". He threatens us that the water guy will come and put us out in the middle of the night if we don't leave. I ask him why he waited until 5:30 to call. He states "I was calling the house all day - I didn't find your cell # until 5:30." I tell him we will stay the night and try to get up the road in the morning. He refuses to pay for another night. The phrase "inexperienced drivers" is used again. When I bring up the fact that the two trucking companies refuse to service his neighborhood due to the road condition, he tells me he doesn't know what that has to do with anything.
My brother-in-law doesn't want any part of this guy or his house at this point. So we went home.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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