The Worst Cabin Rental Experience Ever!

***Note: This is a true story from the owners of Cabin Creekwood about a cabin rental experience (NOT Cabin Creekwood) that helped them to develop Cabin Creekwood into the amazing place it has become!


Deb and Missy looked at each other. You could see it in their eyes…disgust bordering on revulsion.

“What kind of place did you bring us to?”

The furniture was old, that much was obvious. My heart sank as I dropped onto the couch, then my rear end sank… literally!

I mean I was engulfed…the cushions were practically gone, the supporting framework was sagging badly. My rear end nearly hit the floor!

I looked up in time to see a roach scurry across the floor.

How could we enjoy the weekend, two couples getting away to relax, play games, to escape from the routines of life? You’d think we were on a mission trip to a third world country!

At least it was warm! The fire in the woodstove was lit before our arrival, and danced cheerily through the glass…

…until we realized there was no other heat! In order to stay warm, we’d have to maintain that fire all weekend! It suddenly no longer looked so cheery.

Maybe it would get better, we thought as we made our way from the living room through the rest of the cabin. It didn’t! The sheets were mismatched, there was hair on the bathroom floor, and the cookware in the kitchen? It looked like we might be ordering out our entire time away!

What went wrong? I had researched the place online. It looked nice enough. I mean, it wasn’t the most expensive place, but it was pricey enough you’d think that it would be better taken care of.

As Lincoln or another smart person once said,

“Any fool can learn from their own mistakes, but wise men learn from the mistakes of others.”

Maybe through sharing my mistakes, I can help you avoid booking a vacation rental you’ll regret!

How My Research Had Gone All Wrong

Deb and Missy were freaking out, and rightly so. After all, Todd and I had brought them here, promising a relaxing getaway, far away from our four children and our busy routines back home.

What went wrong?

I’d done a Google search. I’d found a cabin in the area we wanted. I’d looked through the photos and read the descriptions. I’d read some reviews, I had even called and talked to the owner, but I must not have asked the right questions!

As is the case with many cabins, we had been required to pay in advance, so WE WERE STUCK!!!

Maybe we could have gotten out of it, but I hate confrontation, and besides that, where else would we have gone?

Yes, we stayed. We survived. And yes, Deb and Missy made the best of it. We laugh about it now, but at the time it was not a laughing matter.

And you can believe that we’ve never returned to that place!

We did learn a thing or two seeing the experience from the eyes of the guest, in fact, over the years we’ve learned quite a few tricks of the trade that have made a big difference for us. But there is…

The One Secret That Makes All The Difference

So there we were, in the “Cabin from Hell.” Yes, we made the best of it and escaped relatively unscathed.

We weren’t attacked by the giant cockroach, and we even managed to remain friends with Todd and Missy through it all! (Although they never did ask me to find a getaway after that!)

The big secret I’ve learned from that awful experience is this:

Ask one simple question:

“Is your property registered with and inspected by the health department!”

That one simple question could have saved us from our awful experience.

Yet how many people think to ask this?

We tend to assume that everyone does business on the up and up, yet in this industry, the sad truth is that anyone with a property can easily get listed on several of the most popular listing websites, and yet fly under the radar when it comes to standards of health.

That puts you and your family at risk.

Any rental worth doing business with should operate completely above board, and work closely with the local health department to ensure at least minimal standards.

I know…seems too simple. Yet it is shocking just how many properties bypass this in the vacation rental industry.

The Cabin Creekwood Difference

Our story of “the cabin from hell” has come to an end, but our process of exploring and learning has not. You see, as the owners of Cabin Creekwood in Virginia, we constantly visit other properties to see what we can learn.

We even send our on-site managers to stay at other properties from time to time.

We’ve gleaned a lot. Some things are no-brainers. Like making sure the rental unit has been properly cleaned and is well maintained

Others are more subtle, like the little things that make guests feel special.

I’ll never forget a B&B we stayed at in Baltimore. The owner, who was elderly and somewhat feeble, took us on a long, extended tour of the 3 bedroom house, when all we wanted was to get to our room and relax!

Through that we learned to be sensitive to cues which indicate whether a guest wants to chat, or to check in as quickly as possible.

In our process of learning over the last 20 years, we’ve fine-tuned our business so that we can make BIG, AUDACIOUS PROMISES that make us different than almost everyone else in the industry!

We promise…

  • To respond to every inquiry in a timely fashion. In most cases, that is less than 4 hours. For evening inquiries that may mean the next morning. Compare that to the more typical response time of several days!
  • To have NO hidden fees.
  • To treat every guest with respect.
  • To take exceptional care of guests while they are here.
  • To have a regular, professional, pest control program.
  • To maintain our properties in good working condition.
  • To provide you with clean, comfortable, well-equipped accommodations.
  • To assist you in planning your activities when requested.
  • To leave you so delighted that you want to return.

Here is what a few former guests say about Cabin Creekwood.

We were there for Christmas & took our grand kids to Wintergreen. They wanted to stay at the cabin & play in the snow. They all had a great time & are ready to go back. Enjoyed the peace & quiet time there.  – Donnie & Jeanne Simpson, Elizabeth City, NC

Thank you for a wonderful and relaxing weekend.  The staff is fantastic, they go out of their way to make you feel welcome and family.  We stayed in mountainwood and it was so pretty – very clean and well stocked. And anything we needed was offered.  Found your site by accident in looking for rooms in the area for a family reunion, but I will definitely tell everyone how fantastic our stay was.  Not sure we will ever come that way again from Kentucky but am already missing the mountain air, the birds and the wonderful stay.  You have a jewel and hope you know that.  – Louise and Greg Coomer, Ky

What a great place to spend family time! We will be back for sure! God Bless the folks who run this slice of heaven!  – The Piane Family, Delaware

As you can see, we do consistently provide a wonderful time away, an escape from the crazy busy-ness of life. The most common thing we hear when guests are leaving is, “We can’t wait to come back!”

We would love for you to experience our “Truly Restful Getaway” for yourselves.

Click here to find out more about our cabins in the Blue Ridge Mtns of Virginia!