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Historical Traveler Reviews Beaconlight Guesthouse Provincetown
Downhill in a hurry
If you have stayed at the Beaconlight in the past and have not yet experienced it under the new ownership, here is what to expect. The warm welcome is gone. The comfortable common room and drawing room furniture is gone. The fresh baked breads and cakes are gone. The complimentary sherry, port and glass of wine are gone. The prompt cleaning of your room while you are at breakfast is gone. The Gilchrist and Soames toiletries are gone. The afternoon home baked cookies are gone. The guaranteed parking for your car is gone. Use of the first floor bathroom is gone. Even decaf coffee is gone. The pampering and care of the owners are gone. The level of comfort and service is gone.
Don't be mislead by the photos and descriptions on their website. The photos are of the old Beaconlight. The printed brochure that they have at the guesthouse features many photos of another guesthouse in Provincetown. The guestroom guidebook, complete with rules, refers to many businesses in town that are out of business. The common room is filled with formal Victorian seating, no tables to set a drink upon or proper lighting to read a book by. The new owners have placed additional furniture in the guest rooms, making them overcrowded and with no thought to the comfort of guests.
It is clear that these new owners are in it just for the money. There are plenty of other guesthouses in Provincetown where you will be made to feel welcome.
What a disappointment
Having stayed at the Beaconlight in previous years and being pampered with the same high standard and wonderful hospitality each time over and over again I made a reservation hoping for just another fabulous stay. You shouldn't think that new ownership could make such a difference - but no more warm hospitality, no more high standard or trying to make a guest feel at home. I have stayed in several guesthouses in Provincetown and chose the Beaconlight as my home away from home in Provincetown.
Now I have to say "never again" and try to find a new home. What a shame!
A great dissapointment
I must concur with previously posted pans of the new ownership. Staying at the Beacon Light in the past was like staying with two favorite uncles. My stay early this summer was like visiting with unloved in-laws. The new furniture is fussy and unwelcoming as is one of the new owners. The other never spoke so I don't have an impression of him. One is lectured at breakfast rather than entertained. The Beacon Light is everything I do not like about a bed and breakfast. It makes you feel like you are squating in a stranger's house.
The Beaconlight as we knew it is gone: now cold and uninviting.
This review is difficult for me to write, as I have been a long-time fan of the Beaconlight and enjoyed 12 wonderful years of visits. Both the Beaconlight and the Oxford were regarded as the best houses in Town, with Stephen and Trevor running premium-level homes filled with warmth and charm.
Sadly, the sale of the Beaconlight to new owners has destroyed the positive factors that made the Beaconlight such a wonderful place. I essentially echo the prior two posters.
The reality is that Mark and Keith, the new owners, have a fundamentally different operating philosophy in how to run the house. While the prior owners valued repeat customers and building relationships; the new owners clearly could not care less. The old owners made sure that their HOME was warm and inviting; not only in attitude but in the furnishings and style of the house. The new owners are cold, and at times curt and rude, and the furnishings are cold and uninviting by design.
Basically, the "new" Beaconlight is a place to sleep. Otherwise, they don't want you there.
Some telling points:
The "new" Beaconlight is rule driven, as discussed in the earlier posts. A list of rules is included in the guest handbook, and they make it clear that these are enforced.
The layout of the living room, always the best part of the house, is now a cold Victorian Parlor. Chairs are straight and uncomfortable, and the vase of flowers in the middle makes sure that conversations are almost impossible. Further, there are no end tables, making it impossible to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper. This is by design, to keep people out.
The house staff is totally inadequate. They are running a 50% smaller staff than in the past, and it shows. Rooms are not cleaned sometimes into the late afternoon. Sheets are rarely changed, if at all. To compensate, Keith runs around the house in an obsessive-compulsive cleaning frenzy, and is covered in sweat by 9:30 am. Very unappealing when you are eating breakfast.
Amenities have been reduced. As noted in an earlier post, the sherry and port are gone; no afternoon fresh baked snacks; no wine hour; no fresh baked bread in the morning ( a Beaconlight signature); no decaf coffee (when asked about this, we were told that we should drink decaf espresso for breakfast!) This is cheap, and it gives people less reason to spend time at the house.
What really is offensive, in my opinion, is that they flat out mislead everyone. In the confirmation letter, the website (unchanged from the old owners), when checking in, and in the guest handbook, they make it clear that the level of comfort and amenities are unchanged. That is not true. Fewer amenities and a cold, uninviting and intimidating interior. We paid for the same amenities as advertised, and did not get them.
The great wonder of the Beaconlight are the fantastic friends from all over the world I have met there over the years, many of whom return at the same time year after year. All of us were unhappy with the way the house is being run, and it put a damper on many of us. It distressed me to see how our group will be broken up, as most I think will never return to the Beaconlight.
In summary, as a conveniently located, clean, cold hotel, the Beaconlight is adequate. But if you are looking for warmth and comfort, look elsewhere.
BeaconLight a Disappointment
The Beaconlight was a disappointment! My job requires a lot of traveling and I found the Beaconlight guesthouse to be just as cold and unfriendly as so many of the hotels that I have stayed in over the years. It was obvious that the new owners did not care about me and my much needed vacation. I had a feeling that the owners had taken on a large mortgage and the only way they could run the place was to cut corners (even though I had paid $200.00 per night plus I was asked to leave a sizable gratuity to the staff). My room smelled moldy and I discovered that the dresser must have previosly been stored in a damp warehouse and was never fumigated properly; therefore all my clothes smelled as did the room! I would leave the air conditioner on low to clear the smell but the staff would go in my room while I was out and turn off the air to save money. I always felt I was in the way when I would go into the common areas especially the kitchen and many times I took my breakfast up to my room. Unfortunately, by doing this, I missed out in meeting others and this made my stay seem like all the other unfriendly, stuffy cold establishments I am used to staying at during the year. If you're looking for fun and meeting others at an upscale guesthouse, DON'T STAY AT THE BEACONLIGHT!
The Beaconlight's beam has faded into darkness
Having been a regular at the Beaconlight for years, I have grown to know hospitality, service, and friendship. This year the owners (Trevor & Stephen) decided to sell the Beaconlight in March, but continue to run the Oxford Guesthouse. With some trepidation, but an open mind, we maintained our reservations and appeared at the Beaconlight's door in August.
Gone is the warm welcome, hugs, and name recognition received by the previous owners, instead replaced with an air of banal sensibility. The own owner, Mark, tries to be friendly, but is obviously shy. To his credit, he does attempt to make small talk and engage with the guests, and this does sit favorably with the guests within the house. His partner, Keith, is neither shy, nor friendly, and could use some refinement in proper English etiquette. He neither speaks to guests unless directed a question, his conversations are short and curt, and he avoids looking at guests by always dropping his head as he passes.
Gone is the comfortable furniture, replaced instead with Victorian furniture that is as uncomfortable to sit in as it is misplaced within the Beaconlight itself. And the Victorian furnishings are everywhere. The new owners previously owned a brownstone in Washington, D.C. and decided to bring all of their furnishings with them. Jammed into every possible nook and cranny is a Victorian artifact rendering the house feeling cold and unwelcoming.
An example would be the Minot room, whose size is comparable to a walk-in closet, has had a 2nd chest of drawers added, as well as a chair, and an antique bed frame, all of which renders the room cramped for even the most bulimic of guests. Fortunately for such guests, the small refrigerator now resides in the bathroom next to the toilet. Unfortunately, if you are larger than a size 2, you will need to walk on the bed to adjust the air conditioner's settings.
The Chatham room has received a loveseat that now rests at the bottom of the stairs leaving less than 12 inches for Chatham occupants to get from the bed to their bathroom. Thus the occasional late night exclamations from guests who need to use the toilet at 3 a.m. and arrive there rudely awaken with much swollen toes.
In the living room where guests gather, a Victorian table of substantial height resides in the middle draped in detailed floor-length lace and topped with a large green glass vase of fragrant flowers that blocks one's view of any individual seated directly across from them.
Gone is the attention to service: no cocktail hours, no daily baked cookies, no fresh morning goodies baked by the staff, no query as to one's dining itinerary so as to offer the making of dinner reservations, and no inquiry as to your travel needs. (Two guests were arrived by ferry and were delivered to the Beaconlight by one of the former owners who was there to pick up one of his Oxford Guesthouse guests.)
Service has been replaced by new rules: breakfast is from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., don't bring your beach towel into the house, don't go into the kitchen after breakfast, and parking is first come first serve. If the lot is full when you arrive, your $175 - $250/night fee buys you the enjoyment of finding parking on your own. (Keith be damned if he's going to move his red Range Rover from the lot to make room for a guest's vehicle.)
If you arise from your vacationing slumber to attend the morning feast, Keith, who follows like a hawk lunging for prey, tails your breakfast activities closely, and giving you the feeling of "You're making my kitchen a mess. Hurry up and get out!"
While there, one guest took a clean plate, set it on the table while he got coffee, only to have him turn around with the coffee to see his plate had been removed and placed within the dishwasher by Keith. Subsequently, he put down his coffee to get a new plate, and when he returned his coffee was gone.
Gone are the house manager and the 3 house staff (a.k.a. "house boys"). Instead, the owners themselves clean the house along with 2 staff, one of who was fired years prior by the previous owners for reasons uncertain, but surely warranted. During your stay, your bathroom will be cleaned adequately, and your sheets will remain on your bed for the duration of your stay.
Most annoying is the habit of Keith going around the rooms turning off the air conditioning while the guests are out. Thus, upon return, the guests find their rooms quite tepid. In August, when temperatures reach 95 degrees, a warm retreat is not convivial.
Maybe it's the change of owners, the change in environment, the change of services (or lack thereof), or just a constant that has now become variable, but I shall not be returning, which is alright with the new owner Keith, as he has personally stated that repeat business is not important to him. "The telephone rings off the hook. There are plenty of individuals who need a room."
Yes, the Beaconlight is no longer a shining light of welcoming embrace for its brilliance has dimmed and it's appeal lost. I shall instead follow its shadow to the Oxford in hopes of returning to the warmth, charm, and hospitality that once existed within 12 Winthrop Street.
I will never stay anywhere else!!
The Beacon Light is wonderful. The guest house is beautiful, rooms are diverse. The house staff were great, the sweetest bunch of guys. The food was amazing. All around perfect experience. We stayed there for our wedding. I love it and can not wait until I go back!!
We stayed at the Beaconlight Guesthouse during February 2005. We arrived later than planned and called them first and they kindly left a key for us to collect so that we could get in after they had retired for the evening.
Next morning, woke up to a fresh smell of coffee and homemade baked goods... went downstairs and was greeted by two golden retrievers (Jessye and Potter).
We helped ourselves to breakfast and then went and had a walk around Provincetown... on the hole, Provincetown is a nice place, but boy was it dead, it was like a ghost town and even in February Christmas Decorations were still up in shop windows (which was most amusing). There were a few Restaurants open in the evenings to go to.
However, back to the Guesthouse. It was a charming place and I would of course stay there again, our two Hosts were great and friendly. (Sam and John I think).
I tend to use InterContinental Hotels, but this was a breath of fresh air, much more of a personal service, give it ago, you won't regret it unless you don't like dogs... :) Huw
Fab, Homelike Guesthouse
I've stayed at the Beaconlight three times: in early November 2003 and 2004 and the week after July 4, 2004. The owners Trevor and Stephen have done an outstanding job of creating a warm, and homelike atmosphere. Many guests return, particularly in the summer. Staff are friendly and helpful; location is great and quiet: very close to Commercial St. in the heart of P-town. Mussel Beach gym is only a five-minute walk, and bike shop is closeby too. Highly recommended!
We stayed here a couple of years ago and I remember it as very nice.
The rooms are off a living room type room with a piano and I loved the breakfast/kitchen room. They had a hot tub that we didn't try. A little too close for me in a B&B situation but I only tried them once and it was awhile ago.
TripAdvisor Reviews Beaconlight Guesthouse Provincetown
Travel Blogs from Provincetown
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Enjoy your cool weather!