My husband and I are Trillium Members of the Garden, and have been for a couple of years since moving to Oregon, and discovered its wondrous green charms. We come as often as we can, as my hubby is a passionate and knowledgeable birder, and we walk for hours.
On Saturday I took two lady friends to visit the Garden, and we had lunch at the resort. These friends had never been to the Garden or resort. There was a noticeable difference in the service, but made the decision not to remark upon it. I really wanted my friends to enjoy the day, and perhaps consider becoming members. Two years ago, my husband and I stayed at the resort, availing ourselves of the Dinner Escape Package, and were impressed.
Our most recent visit which was Sunday, October 15, for one night, we partook of the Dinner Escape Package. (We were celebrating my 66th birthday).
I must tell you right up front, it was a most disappointing experience. To begin, I contracted food poisoning at the café in the Visitor Center. I was violently ill within twenty-five minutes of eating the sandwich, as we were walking our usual route through the garden.
These things happen, and I contacted the café this very morning and told them that I felt certain that the culprit was the turkey in the Tram Driver Special. I must say that the young lady in the café who took my call was immediately very apologetic and sympathetic, and offered all sorts of concessions, which I declined. That was not the point of my call, but simply to say if they were still serving that particular batch of turkey, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Since I felt so ill, we checked into the resort as soon as it was feasible. When I found the room was not what we had requested, I called the front desk to ask if it was possible to move. I will quote verbatim what I was told by the young lady; “I suggest you stay put right where you are”.
Our next call within a half hour of checking in was again to the front desk, and was regarding the “no signal” message on the t.v. We did fiddle with it for about twenty minutes and then gave up. Again, I will quote verbatim from another young lady at the front desk when I called for assistance. I was abruptly cut off by “I don’t know anything about problems with that. I can’t help you – I will call maintenance”, when I described the issue. I was simply giving her information I thought might be useful in advance to the maintenance person. And, indeed, he showed up very quickly; no complaints there. I will tell you, though, if I was in the room alone (sadly, I am considered elderly these days), I would NOT have let this young man in. He was not in any sort of uniform, and no badge or identifier, slovenly dressed, pants down around his posterior, and one of those weird skull caps. However, he was polite, but in the end, not helpful in resolving the issue. My husband finally had to take over the remote and figured it out. But at that point I was quite ill, and just needed to rest.
We needed to reschedule our dinner reservations from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm to allow time for my stomach to settle. Frankly, I could have done without dinner, but I knew my hubby was starving and I didn’t want to ruin my birthday celebration.
We were right on time for the reservations. There were only four other booths occupied, all two-tops, except for one three-top, and two patrons were on their way out. It was very quiet which suited us nicely. When the server arrived at our table, we immediately ordered an appetizer for my husband – my stomach was still in revolt.
The server was not what I would call welcoming really. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and put it down a very long day. I also then requested a club soda from that server, explaining it was for my stomach. The fried avocados came for my husband. But no club soda. The avocados were delivered by a very sweet young lady, not our server. I requested the club soda from this young lady, who promptly brought me a ginger ale, but with a smile, nevertheless.
Just laying the foundation for the truly unpleasant part to come.
Our entrees came, our server put them down without any comment, and was rather dour. I assumed it was because I had asked someone else to do her job. I asked for the wine my husband had ordered from her way back when we ordered dinner – and she tossed over her shoulder as she walked away – “it’s coming”.
That was the last we heard from her until my husband’s Cornish hen was plucked pretty clean. By the way, the Cornish hen and the steak and shrimp were absolutely perfect, but veggies quite cold, as though our server had let them stand for a bit. At this point, there were only two other booths occupied; the restaurant, as you know closes at 9:00 pm.
The server never came back – so I walked up to the young male server at the steps and asked who I should speak to about our server. There was an occupied table at the steps so I kept my voice low. He looked at me with his mouth open and couldn’t or would answer me when I asked for the Manager.
At that moment, the “server” appeared at our table where my husband sat, and raised her voice rather aggressively, saying “I am the Manager, what can I do for you?” And I was quite taken aback that this “server” who had, thus far, been so unprofessional, was herself, the Manager.
And, then, she did something that I found unacceptable in every way. Standing at our table, a dozen steps away, she jerks her head back toward our table and says – (again, verbatim) – “Come back to the table and we'll discuss this”. For a moment, I was speechless. Still trying to avoid ruining our evening, I walked back to the table and sat. Using a bullying tone, she starts out defending the fact that she had not brought the club soda – and I stopped her by saying “this is not about club soda. My husband’s dinner is now finished, and no one has brought his wine”.
That seemed to give her pause, and changed her antagonistic attitude for just a moment.
When she brought the wine finally, she was still very passive-aggressive, not conciliatory at all. Frankly, she was mad, and, she didn’t care if we knew it. She said the wine was on her, as if that was appeasement enough.
She never asked if we cared for coffee or dessert, but simply brought the check, stating the appetizer and wine were taken off the bill. The bill stated the reason as being “Unhappy Guest”. I have never in my life not left a gratuity of some amount, reflecting the level of service. I will confess to you that this “server” received $0.00.
We never asked for any concession. The food was really very good, and my husband said the wine was spectacular, something from New Zealand.
To say that the service was lacking would be a complete and utter understatement. It was shockingly bad. And, not just the dinner service, as you will have read above.
So, the point of this long and tragic story, is that we found the service to be appalling, from the front desk to the restaurant, and in total decline from just two years ago.
I was in the real estate industry for 30+ years, and am well-acquainted with customer/client service and its trials and tribulations. However, this experience was so dismaying that I can assure you, we will NOT visit the resort or the restaurant again.
And, as a matter of fact, we got up at four a.m. that next morning and drove home.
Conversely, we will continue to support, patronize and spread the good word about the Garden, which is nirvana; we feel utterly entranced when we are there. The volunteers are congenial and courteous, and we have had delightful conversations with some of your gardeners who love to educate and inform.
There were negative reviews of the restaurant and the resort, but, sadly, we had chosen to ignore them this time.
And, let me very clear on this point, I was NOT seeking concessions of any kind. My objective in writing to management was, hopefully, to initiate some staff training, or effective corrective actions with staff who appear not have much understanding of "hospitality industry".
On a single positive note, the assistant general manager, Ms. Bell, responded to my emailed letter immediately. She appeared concerned and also wrote another email asking for further information from me. She wrote that she would handle the issue with the staff, and I found her response to be appropriate and professional.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Oregon Garden Resort sits above The Oregon Garden's 80-acres stunning botanical gardens. Our guest rooms are nestled in a series of cottages throughout the grounds behind the main lodge. Each building has six rooms, featuring fireplaces and private landscaped patios or balconies. Rooms also feature microwaves, fridges and coffee makers, among other amenities. Included in an overnight stay is a complimentary hot American breakfast buffet and unlimited admission into The Oregon Garden. Ample parking is available both at the main lodge and around the rooms. Pet-Friendly and accessible rooms are available at the resort. The Resort's beautiful main lodge features the Fireside Lounge, which hosts live music each night along with happy hour specials daily; Moonstone Spa, our full-service day spa; and the Garden View Restaurant, which features sweeping views of The Oregon Garden and the Willamette Valley beyond. The menu showcases the best in Northwest cuisine and wines. The main lodge also houses meeting space for corporate meetings, family reunions, wedding receptions and conferences. A heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub are set behind the main lodge. Oregon Garden Resort is a smoke free resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Oregon Garden Hotel Silverton
- Oregon Garden Silverton