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“Family of Four at Grandmother's House”
Review of Secret Garden

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Secret Garden
Ranked #3 of 8 Ouray B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 July 2017

After staying in numerous B&Bs over the years including more than 20 in Colorado, we have decided that B&Bs generally fall into two categories – those that are professionally run and those that are more like going to Grandmother’s house. Our visit to Secret Garden during the first week of June belongs in the second category. Sara is a delightful person but really needs good housekeeping help when it comes to cleaning the B&B. As owners of two rental condos in Colorado, we know finding and keeping good housekeeping staff can be difficult.

Along with our two 16 year old great nieces, we stayed in the upstairs Provencial Suite which is a nice setup for a family of four. The suite is more of a converted attic space with sloped ceilings and both bedrooms were very warm and stuffy when we arrived around 7 pm. Sara was out of town and due back later. We opened the windows, turned on the rather loud window air conditioners and used the additional fans provided. During the two nights we were there, it was usually around 2 am before the bedrooms really cooled down. I could not sleep with the noise from the window A/C and would have to turn it off before midnight. The girls did not mind the noise. Out of respect for the cost to Sara, we turned off the A/C when not in the suite. The beds in both bedrooms were adequately comfortable. Wonderful large trees just outside the windows made the bedrooms feel like being in a treehouse.

What even the girls noticed was that the cleaning was lacking in attention to details. Only surfaces were dusted. Baseboards, molding on furniture, light fixtures, corners on window seals and lower parts of bedposts and rails were not dusted and some had not been dusted in a while. In our room, the carpet and rug really needed cleaning and Sara apologized that she had not been able to find someone to do that. The light fixture above the bed was full of bugs. The skirt on the bedside table was sticky with dust in places and needed laundering. The bathroom, bed linens and towels were clean and Sara supplies everything you need even bathrobes. Some people might find the claw foot tub with shower a bit awkward to get in and out of. Because of the narrowness and sloped sides of the tub, the bath mat tended to wad up in the middle.

With it being the first week of June, we were the only guests in the B&B but this was not a last minute reservation. My spouse was somewhat disappointed that there were no cookies, snacks or other refreshments waiting for us when we arrived. Other than beer and wine, which we told Sara we had no interest in, refreshments were not offered during our stay. Our two breakfasts were simple and good. The first morning was light pancakes, fresh fruit, sausage and orange juice. The second morning was a casserole of hash brown potatoes, eggs, ham and cheese, English muffins with jam, fresh fruit and orange juice. The girls were content. The breakfast at our next B&B was more to our liking.

The grounds around the B&B are lovely and beautifully maintained. Secret Garden would be a perfect place for a small wedding. The river is a short walk down the street.

Room Tip: Lower level rooms would be cooler.
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  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank fv1989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 145 reviews

Reviewed 26 June 2017

Beautiful Garden BUT the owner Sara is far from friendly. My daughter was married here last weekend. Many of the guest complained about how they were treated by Sara. Rude behavior was a common complaint. The couple had put a non-refundable deposit down and then all the hidden cost came out. Sara had led them to believe that she would work with their budget and when it came down to it she had her own ideas and would not work with them. The other guest of the house (the bridal party) swore they could not wait to check out of there and felt bad for the bride and groom for the way they had all been treated.

My advise to you is find another place but if you are considering The Secret Garden be sure to get your pricing down before any deposits are made. They are non-refundable and once she has that deposit she is a bear to work with.

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank sextonshirlene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sara S, Owner at Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded 28 June 2017

I am sorry to receive this review, but I must say not surprised. I have a very thorough Wedding FAQ on my website which I require all potential wedding couples to read and fully understand and agree to before we even begin conversation. In part, the FAQ deals with policies and costs which we find it necessary to implement to remain a "going concern." The bride booked Secret Garden nearly a year in advance. I do understand that families' financial considerations and other circumstances may change during that year. However, my policies must remain due to MY financial considerations. The meeting with the bridal family a few months ago became more and more tense as it became obvious that our individual needs, and my clearly stated requirements, did not match up. NEVERTHELESS, I submitted email after email to the bride and her mother offering amendments to policies and prices in an attempt to make a set of compromises and agreements to satisfy their needs. We did eventually come up with a plan that satisfied their needs, if not mine. Due to the tension between family meetings and emails I will agree that I was tense and a bit nervous when the family arrived for the event. It is possible that I was not as "friendly" as they may have expected. I staunchly assert that I was not "rude." As the weekend progressed and the bride appeared to be more relaxed, I was able to feel more relaxed and I am sure that my affect improved. The only thing I will apologize for is that I was not able to make my worries and fears more opaque. The FAQ is on my website to try to avoid this type of situation. As I tell all my brides, "if Secret Garden is not a good fit, it is best for all if we know this before we begin negotiations." Sadly, in this case, Secret Garden was not a good fit for this family.

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Reviewed 30 March 2017 via mobile

Secret Garden is a wonderful historical property that is extremely quiet and comfortable. My wife and I were in the queen sized room and had a shared bath. Excellent wifi. A large livingroom with gas fireplace was available for reading and/or conversation. The owner/chef, Sara, ensured that our every need was met and surprised us each morning with a homecooked 4 course breakfast! Sara was very helpful recommending places to see and restaurants to check out. Our three days at the Secret Garden were most enjoyable and will definitely return!

Thank RockyMtnRd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2017 via mobile

Sarah really helped us in regards to stay. Situations came up in which we would have to change our reservation and she did so without any problem. Mind you this was in the winter when she seems to be a bit less busy. The master suite down stairs is well worth the cost as we loved the ambiance. Think of this as visiting a close family member who will give you your space. She is a great cook and we enjoyed everything about the stay!

Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank marcbrandt949
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2017

Dinners at the Secret Garden after a day of ice climbing with Chicks are absolutely terrific. Sarah goes out of her way to feed us delicious and nutritious food and still manages to cater to everyone's food restrictions. Even while cooking at high altitude. Truly amazing. Very cute place!

Stayed: February 2017, travelled solo
1  Thank Trudi_Alameda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Secret Garden

Address: 101 6 Ave., PO Box 862, Ouray, CO 81427-0862
Region: United States > Colorado > Ouray
Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Ouray
Price Range: €121 - €123 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Secret Garden 3.5*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The sounds of songbirds and gurgling brooks greet you in the morning at Secret Garden, even though we are only two blocks from charming Main Street. Enjoy your custom breakfast, prepared by an experienced caterer, in your room, the dining room, or in our lushly-planted gardens. Relax in our hot tub under the stars. Reserve our entire property for your wedding, reunion, corporate meeting, or any other special event. Sorry, no pets. ... more   less 
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