In celebration of an upcoming milestone birthday, Tom and I decided to head to the cooler climes of the Colorado Rockies for a little R&R. We did a bit of research individually and, after putting our notes and our heads together, settled on a small riverfront resort called Shelly’s Cottages a few miles northwest of Boulder. Nine cottages situated along 900 feet of the North St. Vrain River, each cottage offering a king-size bed, full kitchen, private hot tub, and “tranquility.” Oh, and no guests under the age of 13. According to the website, this policy does not reflect a dislike of children, rather a belief that adults need “a little time away from the stress of everyday life.” Sounds good. Explains “tranquility.” I don’t have a problem with kids, but sign me up.

Tom called the resort early on Sunday afternoon to make the reservation, but no one answered. He left a message with our home phone number requesting a call back. A very pleasant lady from the resort finally returned his call early the next afternoon and was more than happy to take our reservation. Although the cabin we had hoped to rent was no longer available, several others, including one similar to our original choice, were still available on the dates we wanted; however, she informed me with a bit of an edge in her voice, before she could take my reservation, I needed to be clear about their booking policy. And here’s where the whole thing started getting a bit strange.

First, to book a cabin, you must put down 50% of the total cost of your stay. We’ve stayed at lot of places, both mom-and-pop and corporate properties, but rarely do I recall having to put 50% down. When we have, the deposit was fully refundable up to a day or two before the arrival date. Not at Shelly’s. If we cancel more than 30 days out, the deposit–minus a $50 cancellation fee–is refundable. However, if we need to cancel less than 30 days from the date of our scheduled arrival, tough. They keep the whole deposit. In our case, we’re only staying a few nights, so it won’t break the bank if we should happen to cancel, but I would guess the cancellation policy is a deal killer for many guests, particularly those making reservations for an extended stay.

Second, before the reservation is complete, the prospective guest must go online, read The Policy, the same Policy that he or she has just been told over the phone. Then the guest must enter his or her confirmation number and click on the submit button, indicating that he or she agrees to and will abide by The Policy. The Policy includes, and I quote:

  • No smoking (no problem)
  • No pets (bummer, Teddy)
  • No children under 13 (a fact established earlier)
  • No visitors (Huh? Seriously, the website says, “To preserve the quiet and intimate setting, we do not allow additional guests or visitors on the property. There are pleanty [sic] of parks in the area that you can meet your family/friends for BBQs or get-togethers.” When told about this particular policy, Tom wanted to know if we also have a curfew. Makes you wonder.)

Still the website is rife with complimentary comments and recommendations from previous guests. Plus, the setting looks really beautiful. Tranquil and beautiful. At minimum, our experiences there should be fodder for future postings. But, I must remember to leave my docking station and Tom’s squeaky tennis shoes at home. Shhhhhh. Seriously. Keep it down!

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