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Reviewed 20 April 2017

My wife and I were planning our vacation trip to Florida with our usual stops in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Gainesville, Florida, when a friend asked if we had ever stayed at Barnsley Resort near Adairsville, Georgia. Barnsley Resort? I did some research. An old antebellum plantation with gardens and ruins converted into a five-star resort with luxurious cottages, a Jim Fazio-designed golf course, two restaurants, spa and numerous outdoor activities. We made a reservation. What a pleasant surprise. Barnsley Resort isn't a hotel; it's an English-inspired village setting with all the amenities that remind of more celebrated Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. Some visitors just come to see the gardens and ruins and have dinner at the Woodland Grill. It's a wonderful experience that begs three days, not one. For the record, Barnsley is a golf resort on the grounds of a history former plantation in the Northwest Georgia foothills near Adairsville, off I-75. Originally known as Woodlands, it was established by Godfrey Barnsley in the late 1840s. Barnsley came from Liverpool, England, and became one of the 10 most affluent persons in the South via the shipping business and cotton trade. He built a magnificent Italianate villa on a 4,000-acre plantation with beautiful gardens. It survived Sherman and the Civil War and a tornado. Barnsley's descendants continued to live on the property until it was auctioned in 1942 and fell into disrepair. In 1988, Prince Hubertus Fugger of Bavaria bought the estate, expanded the gardens and restored the ruins. It is one of the few surviving antebellum gardens in the South. In 1991, Barnsley was opened to the public. In 1999, the resort opened. It features 400-square-foot manor rooms and 650-square-foot suites and multi-bedroom family cottages and offers a multitude of outdoor activities, including swimming, tennis, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, horseback riding, sporting clays, canoeing and kayaking. The resort offers high-end hospitality and draws most of its clientele from Atlanta, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Florida. Add Chicago to that list.

Room Tip: Any of the 400-square-foot manor rooms or 650-square-foot suites are desireable
  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Taylor B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carmen M, Manager at Barnsley Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2017

Thank you for joining us at Barnsley Resort. We are delighted you chose us as your stop on your way to Florida. We hope to become your usual stop for your future vacations!

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Reviewed 19 April 2017 via mobile

Beautiful grounds, biking and hiking trails. Food was very good at restaurant. Clay shooting course has tons of options. Joe.....out on the range ....was so helpful with all his directives. He really made our experience feel special and memorable.

Stayed: April 2017, travelled with family
Thank thecatanias
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carmen M, Manager at Barnsley Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2017

Thank you for staying with us at Barnsley Resort. It's a delight to hear of your enjoyment of the grounds, biking and hiking trails, restaurant and clay shooting. We look forward to your next visit!

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Reviewed 17 April 2017

We booked a multi-unit room for our vacation. I had actually planned to book a stand-alone cottage initially but decided to book a smaller room first since this was our first stay at Barnsley. I wanted to check out the resort as I was looking for a place to get away that wasn’t too far away yet close enough for a getaway two times a year or so for my family and my extended family. The cottages sounded like they might be perfect for future reservations.

I was somewhat disconcerted when I made two phone calls to the resort prior to arrival in order to ask a few questions and was encouraged to leave a message for a call back, yet failed to receive a returned call both times.

I’ll begin with the good experiences. Upon arrival, the first impression was very good. The grounds were beautiful and secluded and the overall ambience was exactly what I was looking for in a resort. The golf course looked well-kept and the cottages were quaint. They weren’t cookie-cutter from the exterior at all and the winding paths between the cottages, front porches, porch swings and other nice touches were impressive.

Check-in was fine but parking was a bit of an issue since it seems that golf club members park in the spaces reserved for the cottages instead of parking in the main parking lot, which requires a walk of about a block. This is an area for improvement since if nothing is said or enforced, nothing will change. I don’t think the guests should be denied their parking spots.

The room layout was very nice, spacious enough with a fireplace, high ceilings, a ceiling fan and enough storage space for clothing & articles. The bathroom was spacious as well and also had high ceilings. The separate toilet area was great. The porch included an area where we could sit outside. The beds and linens were very comfortable.

We ate primarily at the Woodland Grill and were happy with the meals and service. We found the servers attentive at the right level and especially enjoyed Chris as our server during lunches. The fire pits in the evening were a great end to the day and we got to meet other guests in a leisurely environment.

We enjoyed the ruins and museum while we were there, too.

The resort offers a wide variety of activities which we greatly anticipated before our trip. There are tons of things to do. We did observe that many of the guests tended to be corporate guests, so Barnsley may concentrate their attention on bringing in this type of clientele versus offering a true “luxury” vacation for individuals. This segues into my analysis of what went wrong during our stay and our criticisms of Barnsley, as compared to true luxury resorts we’ve visited in both the U.S. and around the world.

When we arrived we had a reservation for 3 people, yet the room was only prepared for two. Two coffee cups, two wine glasses, towels for two people, two robes, two pair of slippers, etc. Inattentiveness to details like this make for disappointments. I don’t want to manage somebody else’s employees while I’m on vacation. To their credit, the staff did stop by to provide ice and replenish towels if necessary in the afternoon, so that was a good thing.

Unfortunately, the robes in our room were not up to snuff. Two of the three had belt loops which were torn free and unusable so you had to tie the belt around your waist and pick it up when you untied it, since we invariably forgot they weren’t secured by belt loops. I’ve had better quality robes in every single hotel in which I’ve stayed. The towels were thin and scratchy and definitely wouldn’t fall under the description of luxurious. The shower had no shelf for placing personal items (shampoo, razor, etc.) so everything got piled on the floor.

The chair in our room was broken and scuffed. I would have expected better at a resort.

The most egregious experience of the stay was the cleanliness, or lack of it. The rooms looked okay upon entering but the level of existing filth was shocking. The baseboards looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in years. Ditto for the windows, window frames and blinds. The porch light was dirty. The door to the toilet was splattered with what looked like overspray from hairspray. Somebody needs to do a deep-clean of these entire rooms because, to me, they are just gross.

I was also surprised to see that the toilet paper and tissues were the cheap Angel Soft brand. I noticed when I used the tissue, since it was rough. I would expect a better quality at a luxury resort. I can’t imagine there is a huge difference in price, but the difference in quality is substantial.

During our stay, we unintentionally tracked in sand from the bottom of our shoes. The room was not swept at all during our 5-day stay and I can only surmise that they only sweep it before the next guest arrives. It was not comfortable walking on sand particles during the entire vacation. The housekeeping staff also failed to clean either the toilet during our stay (developed a ring) or the bath each day. The bath tub had a ring since we used it each evening, yet each day the ring was never cleaned. The rooms need to be thoroughly cleaned every single day! I might add for the second time that I don’t want to manage somebody else’s employees. I don’t want to have to tell the housekeeping staff to clean the bathtub, for goodness sakes! It is expected.

There was a leak under the wet bar that dripped water on the bananas we brought for one of our family member’s special diet. Yuck.

We were excited about participating in a number of activities, but this place is not pristine by any means. The bikes they had were few (4) and were not well maintained. The tennis courts had mold mixed among the sand and there were weeds growing at the edges of the courts.

Since this was also a spa vacation, we looked forward to the services and amenities offered online. All of our massages were good although the robes were subpar and not what one would expect at a resort spa. They were rattier than the robes at our normal massage salon. I strongly disliked the music choice during the massage, which plays throughout the entire spa building. It was not relaxing at all or what one would expect during a massage (pan flutes, water, wind, etc). Instead, it was classical or instrumental music of hits. This was a distraction to me since I am a musician and it is harder to relax when you are listening to familiar music. I got to listen to Fur Elise, Moonlight Sonata, Cristofori’s Dream and the theme to “Titanic.” Awful!

The spa building needs serious attention. The lockers are old and wood veneer is missing in some spots so they appear ratty in spots. The floor grout was brown in areas, especially near the shower, and looked like nobody had ever taken a scrub brush to the dirt. The sauna was out of service and nobody knew when it would be put back in service. This is crazy…I can get a repair service to my home in a day usually. The steam room had mold growing inside on the walls and floor so I skipped that and tried the whirlpool, which was swirling with dead ants. I looked around the whirlpool room and realized that all of the plants in there were dead or dying and one plant near the whirlpool actually had colonies of mold growing on it.

Although I had made reservations for dining months before our arrival, I got a call from someone (front desk, I assume) asking if I would be dining at the resort. Apparently, my phone call to make dinner reservations was in vain, since they had no record of our meal reservations for the entire week! This is basic stuff!

Forget plugging in to the external world here. Wi-Fi is pretty much nonexistent. It worked on occasion but was spotty and unreliable. Not good.

The bottom line for us is that we would never return in a million years based on the value received. I booked this reservation based on the high ratings on TripAdvisor, yet it was very disappointing in the most basic definitions of service. I have traveled worldwide and visited dozens of exquisite locales so I do have high expectations, but the failures at such basic levels confound me. This is not a luxury resort.

The sad thing is that it has the potential to be a luxury resort. The environment is absolutely beautiful and the level of entertainment is quite good, but the cleanliness and quality of service overall means that I will keep looking for a resort in the tri-state region that feels like a resort and worth my time and money to go. This was definitely not it.

Stayed: March 2017, travelled with family
4  Thank Lily783
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carmen M, Manager at Barnsley Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 18 April 2017

Thank you for staying with us at Barnsley Resort. We are delighted you enjoyed the grounds, dining at The Woodlands Grill, fire pits, and ruins and museum. We also thank you for your feedback regarding cleanliness and quality of service. We take these comments seriously and will address with the appropriate departments in efforts to improve our service for the future. We will ask a manager to follow up directly with you. We hope you will give us an opportunity to earn a return visit from you in the future as this is not indicative of the Barnsley Resort experience.

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Reviewed 7 April 2017

We did not stay at Barnsley Gardens Resort rather we visited the gardens, the ruins of the original home & had dinner in the lodge. The ruins were an unusual treat. To imagine living in such a place surrounded by gardens. Apparently it was quite "modern" for its time the way water & heat was distributed around the home. What a pity that it was destroyed by a fire. They were set up for a wedding the next evening & I thought what a perfect place to be married.
The food at the restaurant was wonderful. I had the pork chop with mac & cheese (I had no idea that was a southern specialty) & roasted Brussels sprouts. A GREAT meal.

Stayed: April 2017, travelled with friends
Thank Linda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carmen M, Manager at Barnsley Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2017

Thank you for visiting us at Barnsley Resort. We are thrilled you enjoyed your time by exploring the manor house ruins and gardens and dining at The Woodlands Grill. We will see you again soon!

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Reviewed 27 March 2017

Had a wonderful time during my stay. The property is an entire village, all well laid out for easy access. There are plenty of activities for couples and families. The food at the restaurant was terrific, I ate there for lunch and dinner! And definitely ask to stay in cabin 1945, it's amazing!

Room Tip: Room 1945 is a log cabin on the back of the property with updates amenities and an amazing view!
  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank mobaman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carmen M, Manager at Barnsley Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2017

Thank you for staying with us at Barnsley Resort. We love hearing when our guests enjoy the property and food at the restaurants. We look forward to your next stay!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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