Shocking Hospitality Fail

What if TripAdvisor were a thing in the 18th century?

Hotel with stagecoaches in England
The Cock Hotel, 1789, by Thomas Rowlandson. Note the family (including dog) traveling by cheapest method possible on left, and the stage coach approaching on right. Image: Public Domain

***

Hey, It's The South. Buckhead Inn, somewhere in rural South Carolina, 1742

Myself and my friend stayed here on our way to the cockfighting in Charleston. It totally exceeded expectations. Food was tasty, ham and house-made cornmeal mush, huge portions. Some issues with giant cockroaches, including one in my mush, but, hey, it's the South. Beds were not too crowded, and comfortable enough. Have to knock off a point because the whole place smelled a bit, but that might have been my bedmates’ feet. Big shout-out to Big John at the bar who pours an excellent rum shrub. Recommended overnight stop for a road trip.


*

Worst Coach Trip Ever. Jones's Coaches, Great North Road, London to Scotch Corner, 1751

Nightmare. I booked an inside seat, but it was full up, so I had to sit on the roof, in the rain. The coachman was nice and lent me a blanket, but no thanks to management and poor planning. First night we stopped at an inn to change horses and sleep, and I suspect landlord pays driver to stop there. Inferior establishment. Dinner was gristly pork, all overdone and overpriced. Landlord drunk, his wife rude, poor customer service. Even the complimentary loaner slippers were worn out, where do I even start? Oh, yes, BEDBUGS in my bed. Ugh.

Next day I finally got to sit inside the coach, but by then I had a cold, and I’m lucky it wasn't pneumonia. Second night's inn was better: Fantastic bar atmosphere. We all sang along with Daniel on guitar. Plenty of good local ale, dinner of locally-sourced beef stew. Funny enough, this inn had bedbugs, too, so might have brought those with me.

Day 3, horse lame, had to wait for roadside rescue. Three hours wait for replacement horse. Not impressed.

The trip just got worse after that. Never again. AVOID.

P.S. Scotch Corner is in England, and all there is there, is an inn. Totally misleading. I thought we were going to Scotland.


*****

We Saw King George!! Windsor Castle, 1787

This was AWESOME! So me and my best bud just graduated, and we're over from South Carolina, touring Europe, first stop England. We decided to go see the Castle, and hoped we would run into the King. So we walked around the Castle, which is very old and cool, hoping to run into him, but no luck. The place was mostly deserted, but nobody bothered us, because we're a pair of young American gentlemen.

So we got talking to some servant, and he offered to let us see the King take his daily walk, if we hurried, and made it worth his while. We didn't hesitate! My friend slipped the old guy a few shillings. Next thing, we were round the front of the Castle, and we saw the King come out on the Terrace with some lady (the Queen, I guess?) and walk right in front of us! He didn't even notice us. We were so excited! So, yes, totally worth the ride from London (we rented horses) For the VIP experience, ask the porter at the gate for Old Tony, and tell him Charlie from Charleston sent you!


*

Shocking Hospitality Fail. Dreckington Hall, Northumbria, England, 1760

I was so excited to spend two weeks at Dreckington Hall. I haven't been here in years. When I was a kid, it was just a ruinous old castle, but I’ve been following the story of how the new owners just completed a brand new front wing, with tasteful classical architecture, and modernized the rest. The staff is much bigger now, and they wear livery, if you can imagine that! Plus it’s tastefully decorated in all the latest styles, right down to the dinnerware. And the food is amazing, all kinds of meats, fish, and sweetmeats, a feast for a King!

All of these things are true. So why a one-star review?

Three words: Shocking Hospitality Fail.

The lady of the house refused to allow me to have breakfast in bed. She demanded I come watch the hunt depart at some ungodly hour. She deliberately allowed the servants to serve me with kidneys for breakfast (she knows I hate them). She tried to set me up on a date with this horrible old man who was staying there, and hinted we should marry (!) which was so offensive, and when I called her out on it, she actually slapped me.

I don’t think my sister should entertain guests until she learns to treat them with respect.

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