Sycamore House B&B, Dublin / Enough to put tourists off Ireland
My partner and I along with two friends (another couple) booked with the Sycamore back in March. We booked as soon as we heard U2 were playing there, even before we got the tickets for the gig! We were relieved to have secured a booking as we knew Dublin would book up very quickly, so a nice B&B not far from the centre and not far from Croke Park was ideal.
My partner had been in running contact with the Proprietor of the B&B since booking, including an e-mail the day before our arrival to further confirm the booking. We stated we would probably be arriving at around 6pm, depending on flights etc.
Our flight was delayed by 30 minutes so we arrived in Dublin a little later than anticipated. As we were keen to get out that evening for dinner, we opted to take a taxi to the Sycamore, rather than waste time on the bus. Unfortunately Dublin seemed to have ground to a standstill and despite the best efforts of our taxi driver (the lovely Noel) a simple journey turned into a 50 Euro trip! These things happen.
On our arrival at the Sycamore our host greeted us warmly and after the reassurances from my partner I felt very at ease. This however was short lived. We were taken into a room. This would formerly have been the living room and was clean but simple. It did not however have an ensuite (as advertised on the sign outside, which clamed all bedrooms had ensuites). We were aware that one room would not have an ensuite, but were willing to compromise on this for what appeared to be cheap and cheerful digs for two nights.
Our host at this stage casually dropped into conversation that her daughter had let our second room out and that two of us would have to sleep on the floor. The reason she gave for this was that we had arrived after 6pm. Not at any point in the correspondence (of which there was a large amount) were we told of any 6pm deadline. We explained about our delays and our reasons for being later than anticipated, to which she said that we should have called her. Had we known of a deadline, we certainly would have called, but this simply was not the case. Our host even told us she was doing us a favour and wouldn't charge us for the two staying on the floor.
Obviously we were not happy with the idea of sharing a room, let alone one without a bathroom that was of average size. I struggled to see where the two extra people would fit and told the proprietor I thought the situation was unacceptable.
How the room had been let in the 30 minutes we were apparently late, when we did not see anyone coming to check availability throughout our stay is still a mystery to me also.
Our host soon turned from the charming Irish lady we had first met to someone who clearly saw the best form of defence to be attack. She felt she was dong us a favour by "allowing us to stay in her home" and the conversation we hoped to have to find a suitable resolution to our situation quickly dissolved into mud slinging. We were outraged at being spoken to in such an abhorrent manner so three of us went outside to get on the phone to attempt to find alternative accommodation. As expected however, this was not going to happen, Dublin was booked out with three U2 gigs going on over the weekend. We were over a barrel and had no option but to go back in to the B&B and try to reach a resolution.
Our host eventually conceded her own room, which actually I thought at the time was pretty big of her. This would only be for one evening and then the second room would be available. If only we could have had some sensible suggestions before our host was so unreasonable our weekend may not have been ruined in the way it was.
We returned to the B&B before midnight and went to bed. We woke up to cooking smells and quite a lot of noise from other residents. Our host did not once mention breakfast and we were certainly not offered anything to eat or drink.
The second night after our return from the U2 gig, the key for the second room was on our bed. Our friends went into the room which was big enough (just) for a double bed and had a very small ensuite. I hasten to add the levels of cleanliness throughout were outstanding and was the one saving grace of our stay. The standards of room and the hospitality of the proprietor, were another issue altogether.
On Sunday morning (yesterday) we opted top check out early. We had not been offered breakfast (and with no tea and coffee making facilities in our rooms) were all hungry and ready for a cup of tea.
Myself and the husband from the other couple went to settle up. I had mellowed a little and was certainly not hoping to have yet another argument. I wanted to pay and leave. I did however ask if there was any discount for the inconvenience on Friday night. Our host then said that she had researched our flights and knew all the facts. I felt incredibly relieved and was almost hoping to leave on good terms. How wrong I could be!
Our host then turned and called us liars about our flight and proceeded to throw further insults our way. My friend and I put the money on the table and walked away. Our host followed us to the door and screamed insults out into the road after us. Disbelief does not even begin to cover how we all felt.
She eventually went away and we waited at the bus stop mouths wide open to see her walk out of the house after us. In an effort to avoid yet more conflict, we decided to start walking to the next bus stop. When we saw her running we thought we had better stop. Trying to hope for the best I wondered if one of us had forgotten something.
She reached us and informed us that we had not left the correct amount of money. We had believed the rooms would cost us 37.50 per night. Apparently this was not the case and it was 37.50 per person, not per room. If our host had stopped shouting at us long enough to tell us the price this surely could have been rectified in the house rather than out in the street, making us all the floor show for the local neighbours. I turned to our host and said, despite what you think of us we would not knowingly leave without paying. She responded "well I think you would!” She continued on her tirade, I had to ask her how much money she needed to leave us alone. I was shaking at this stage. She had told us she had spoken to the police and they would be waiting for us at border control (!!!). We gave her the extra 150 Euro, taking the cost of two nights in possibly the most horrendous establishment I have ever experienced to 300 Euro.
I honestly wish we had not paid the extra money, but at the time I was intimidated and just wanted to be removed from the situation. The service we received wasn't worth the price we originally had believed it was, let alone double! I can't even say it was value for money, plus there was no discount for having a room without an ensuite. The bathroom we had to use was upstairs, which was definitely not ideal when having to walk through the main hallway in your pyjamas in from of other guests!
Our host's parting shot was that she "didn't need our sort around here" if she means respectable paying guests, then she certainly shouldn't get our sort, the way we were treated was not only rude and upsetting, it was a disgrace. I am disgusted that my weekend was ruined by someone who clearly had made a mistake and couldn't concede that. If her attitude had been different I'm sure I would be telling a very different story now.
This is not sour grapes, I honestly feel it is my duty to warn fellow travellers and tourists about this place. It has not only put me off the Sycamore, it has put me off B&B's and Dublin itself.
If you book here you are mad.