The Beaconlight as we knew it is gone: now cold and uninviting. A review of Beaconlight Guesthouse
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.