Lots of Pines, Pretty Barren

Nonfiction by Anneka Bell


Quarantine Stays™ invites you to review your recent visit to one of their many locations in southern New Jersey.


Feedback Report Type: Room booking 

Length of Stay: March 14, 2020 – ?? (89 days and counting? Who knows at this point?)

Purpose of Stay: Isolated family trip, not planned


How would you rate the following?


There is an abundance of plant life, a home gym and library, air conditioning, free parking, and a piano. All the amenities come free, and I have regularly used the library and craft supplies. I do wish the pool were open; however, I have seen the legendary giant toad who resides there. It’s nice to have open access to the wildlife of the Pine Barrens: birds, deer, squirrels, and the occasional roadkill. The WiFi is strong enough to hold multiple people on it, and I’m able to video conference for long periods throughout the day. The fellow guests are friendly enough and noise control isn’t much of a problem.


I applaud you for the truthfulness of your advertising motto, “it feels like home.” The location is quaint and has an atmosphere of family. However, there are used dishes scattered across the living spaces. As for the couch, do I want to know what has been gnawing on it? Also, I found ants in the only functioning full bathroom yesterday. Maybe hold the bathroom renovations to one at a time and not puncture the ceiling during dinnertime?


The overall cleanliness of the place is good. I could say otherwise of the upstairs rooms, but I can’t blame the cleaning service for avoiding guest rooms. Most rooms have “do not disturb” signs and emit smells of animals, urine, and heavy incense. I hear there is an elderly dog across the hall who could be contributing to some of these odors. 


Although I am quite comfortable in my room, there is a fellow guest camping on my floor. Evidently her bed was too uncomfortable and she needed a place to stay; she said the staff was going to handle it, but all the rooms were full. She has, however, exceeded her initial request of a “few days” and has made a mess of my room with her belongings. I got her to leave for a short while, only for her to return. I have been trying to resolve this issue, but I keep getting put on hold by customer service. (If you stay here and she asks to stay in your room: decline. I hear she is a room hopper.)

Another negative is that the place is destitute for a majority of the day. The only staff member who can be found during the day is your singular front desk worker, and she remains relatively mute. She’s either sleeping on the job or literally barking at fellow customers or passing service trucks in a foreign language I can’t understand. In the evening, the other guests are more present but sparsely communicate (except for a select few). Maybe my stay is during an off-season.


Dinner is the only meal provided. The food tastes good and home-made, but there is only so much salmon and leftovers I can eat. I would increase the variety. I can navigate the kitchen decently enough for other meals. I guess a bonus of this stay is the expanded list of meals I can cook. Luckily, the bar is open 24/7. You never know when you need a drink. 


Overall, my stay has been mediocre. The amenities offer enough to keep guests busy, but the longer the trip, the more painful the stay becomes. The social events are depressingly insubstantial. The place could use a decent renovation in all. Save up your pennies for a more enthralling view with more people. 

How likely are you to recommend this place to a friend or colleague?


About the Author:

Anneka Bell is a senior at Elizabethtown College, majoring in Music Therapy. She hails from the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

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