After reading a few poor reviews of this place, I was a bit apprehensive about staying here. We were limited in our options for places to stay near the park, so we decided we would take our chances and prepare for the worse. After all, there were a number of reviews that were positive; maybe we would be one of the lucky ones.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a friendly staff person at the desk. She told us all the information we needed to know and informed us of the brown bag lunches they offered to guests that were going to be out and about during the day and wouldn’t be able to be back for lunch at the lodge.
Our room was in the main lodge on the top floor. There is no elevator, so you have to lug your bags upstairs. Our room was quite nice. There was a king sized bed and a bunk bed. We had our own bathroom, which was small, but clean and adequate. The view from the room was terrific, as it looked out east into the woods and mountains. We got a great view of the sunrise the next morning.
The meals are included in the room price, which is great, as there are no other restaurants close by. Having said that, the food is of the quality you would find in a buffet style restaurant. We had no problems with the food, but some people could have issues with it. I would suggest getting down there early to get through the line first, before all the kids with their dirty hands get the chance to handle all the utensils and stick their hands in the food.
They have flavored water, coffee and hot chocolate available at all times, as well as cereal and some snacks. The small bar does have some alcoholic beverages for sale during certain times, too.
There is a ping pong table and board games for kids and families to entertain themselves. There is a TV in one of the main rooms, but not in the individual rooms. No phones in the rooms, either, but one in the stairwell for guests to use, if needed. This was not an issue for us, but some people might find it a turnoff. Also, there is wi-fi in the main room, but we found that it worked in our room, too. It just depends on where you are and how good the signal is.
Now for some of the drawbacks: the carpeting in the hallway was pretty worn and in need of replacement. The walls are paper thin, so you will hear everything that goes on in the rooms next to you or above you (I would imagine). They ask you to be quiet in the hallway, but even doing that can’t disguise the fact that you are walking out there.
The room didn’t have air conditioning, but in mid-October, that wasn’t an issue. We had snow and blustery winds one night, so we actually had to turn on the heater, which worked fine. If you are staying in the summer, however, you may have an issue with trying to stay cool.
If you don’t have kids or don’t like kids, this is definitely not the place for you. There are many kids roaming and running throughout the lodge. This is can be off-putting if you are expecting to relax and unwind in front of the fire with a good book. If you have a family, then this probably doesn’t bother you.
I read one review that complained about mice. While we did see a rodent trap in the den area, we never saw any actual mice or rodents, so they must have things under control. What do you expect when you are staying that close to the woods?
All in all, the experience was much better than we had anticipated. Sometimes there is something to be said for low expectations!