First and foremost, as strange as it might seem, this - a two star review amongst the five star perfection ones - is an honest and objective review from a family that is not strange to world traveling. I wish I would have read a review like this before plunging over $2k on this place for four nights.
I will start with the positives. As many reviewers here stated, the kitchen staff is very friendly and warm hearted, and the scenery is breathtaking. Hence the two stars. Now let me share our experience. When we arrived, noticed that out of approximately 10 rooms, only couple of them were occupied. In spite of that, we got a crummy smelly room with warped wood floors, worn out bedding and very uncomfortable beds. The loft had two cots that essentially were two cheap mattresses on wood planks. Neither me nor my wife could get a decent night sleep. The bathroom was dirty (check the pictures) with worn out towels. The first impression was that this place hadn't been refurbished in ages. The room service was non-existent. I think the poor ladies from the kitchen do it in their downtime. The doors do not lock and you can hear your neighbors like they are in your room. Their so called hosts change every day, sometimes twice a day. The entire staff leaves after the “evening activity”. There is nobody at night there. You be the judge how safe it is not to have staff to respond to different nighttime situations and ensure safety of the guests. The activities range from lame to O.K. They do not offer zip-lining and horseback riding anymore. Told us that the zip lines tire the trees. The reality, I think, is that they do not have/want to spend money on maintenance and qualified staff. The fact that this place is opened only couple of months a year (the main operation), it is self-explanatory why it might be too expensive to maintain a full-time qualified staff. Bear in mind that most of them are NOT suited for children under 10 and some (i.e. axe throwing) are outright dangerous for little tots. The management should disclose this before taking people’s money. Speaking of management, you would think that these people would introduce themselves to new guests and show them that they care. For the whole time being there, we had never been asked how our experience was. The only time we met Amy (a secretary I believe) who took our money was at the end. She could care less of why we are leaving earlier.
In the end, it is so sad that such a wonderful idea was turned into an absurdly overpriced summer camp. If you think this is just one spoiled customer's venting and exaggeration, and still want to go, just pay for the room and food. That way you might be able to choose your activities and pay separately and/or not feel so bad about being screwed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Remember that sense of wonder and adventure that gave childhood its magic? Well, get ready to feel it again. Escape to a storybook place guaranteed to exceed your expectations. Your family can unplug and reconnect with one another in an environment free of digital distractions. Earthshine is "unforgettable." ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Earthshine Mountain Hotel Lake Toxaway