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“Dirty, Run-Down, Poorly Managed........” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Montecito Sequoia Lodge

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Montecito Sequoia Lodge
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   63410 General's Hwy, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633   |  
Hotel amenities
Florida City, Florida
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Dirty, Run-Down, Poorly Managed........”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2008

This "lodge" is so poorly managed and maintained, I can't believe the Park Service keeps a contract with this company. Everything is run-down and dirty. When we visited our room in the lodge, I felt like I was entering some really cheap motel where you expected to see junkies and the like passed out in the hallway or on the stairs

An example of how poorly maintained this place is......the fence around the pool is held together by zip ties!! I promise this is the truth!

The one positive is that the food is OK. I would never stay at this "lodge" again or any other lodge or hotel operated by this company.

  • Liked — the food
  • Disliked — everything else
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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Carmel, California
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2008

I stayed at the Montecito Lodge Resort with my 9 years old son on winter, spring and summer. All of them are different experiences, and all of them were wonderful.

The summer week long camp is the most fun for the children. They group them by age and assign a counselor, team leader to them. They all bound with each other and with the young and enthusiastic counselors. At the end of the week they have a closing show, where children and counselors sing and dance together. The whole show is magical.
There are a lot of activities morning and afternoon that gives free time for the parents.
They have more activities on summer than winter, but on winter the snow tubing is a day-long activity. Organized or not, it is always there.
The rooms are well heated in winter.

Rooms have no phones and TV, but last time I visited, they had WiFi internet connection from my room. Also, there is a cabin with a TV and computers.

First time I stayed was in the Spring of 07. The place was quite a bit old and neglected. I was surprised to see the change almost a year later. The dining area, the large room and as I heard most of the rooms were fixed up. The place looks much more organized and clean, than before. The room I stayed, had new and very comfortable bed, nice pillows and linen. The bathroom got new tubs and tiles.

The food is plenty and delicious. They serve fresh fruits and veggies every day and they have soup and freshly baked cookies all day long. The coffee is from Starbucks, and they have a huge selection of tea.
I read the previous comment, who complained about dirty dishes. During my four visits, I have NEVER noticed any dirty dishes, cups or silverware at all.
The place is full with children all the time, - children are messy - and despite that fact, the dining area is very clean. I cannot keep my house that clean, and I have only one kid.

I agree, if you are accustomed to 5 star hotels, concierge and porter services, don't visit Montecito Lodge. It is a laid back, absolutely not formal, but extremely friendly atmosphere, where "kids can be a kid", and parents don't have to constantly apologize for the behavior of their children.
The lodge is an old rustic cabin like structure that suits perfectly in the woods. It has a lot of history, entertaining children for more, than half of the century. I highly recommend this place for all families with children.

  • Liked — location, location, location, bed, pillows, FOOD, desserts, hot tub,
  • Disliked — the hallway to the lodge rooms is old, with worn carpet
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2008

During the summer, the Montecito Sequoia runs a number of 6 night family camps - which include a number of activities. The family camp guests leave on a Saturday, and the next group doesn't arrive until Sunday, so they take people for just one night on Saturday evening. The website advertises all meals included and activities.

We stayed on such a Saturday night in early August. Luckily, we understood what we were getting into, and I had already warned my young son that not all of the "camp" activities would be available. My mother called to see what time we could arrive, and was told that check-in was 4:00 pm, but we could arrive earlier and use the facilities, and if a room was ready we could be checked in.

We arrived just after 1:00 pm. The place from the outside is funky - cabins scattered around every which way, but funky in a way that could be fun- that part didn't really bother me. The check-in area is right in the main dining hall, folks were eating at what look like folding round tables. I asked if a room was ready and was quite rudely told "check-in is at 4:00 pm." I said I understood this but asked if any rooms would be available earlier. Again I was told "check-in is at 4:00 pm."

Well, my 6 year old was thrilled just to play at the lake and canoe, catch guppies with the nets, and then move to the pool. My mom, who had spoken to someone on the phone about check-in, went in and when she told them who she had spoken to and said she had been told rooms could be available earlier - they agreed to let us check -in earlier if something opened up.

At 3:15, I was given my room. It was in the main lodge, and was accessed by walking through the dining/check-in area and up a set of stairs. It contained a set of bunk beds and a queen bed. When we took our stuff up the staff was hurriedly cleaning all the rooms, we just got lucky that we had one that got cleaned first (and the one we had had the best view out over the Kaweah Range). The room was clean at first glance, the sheets had been changed and the bathroom looked wiped down, but deep down it was filthy. The rug looked like it had not been vaccumed (and indeed one of the staff members told my mother later that all the vacuums were broken ), the bathtub was dirty, the blinds in the room looked like they hadn't been dusted in ages. All together, pretty disgusting. I will say that the Queen bed was very comfortable. One odd thing was that the upper bunk didn't have a decent bedrail - the was a thin metal one that slid under the mattress of the bunk, I was not 100% comfortable with my 6 year old up there - and actually got a second rail to use.

The rest of the resort was even worse. The hallway carpet was so filthy I could not believe it (and I am a mom with 2 kids, I don't think I have high standards). Half of the dishes (especially the coffee cups) were still dirty after coming out of the dishwasher - and were still set out to be used at the buffet. I went into the kitchen area early in the morning and it had not been cleaned well after dinner the night before - lots of food and junk on the floor and gunk still on the stainless prep table. In one of the children's play areas there were tons of spider webs and a dead mouse (hopefully it hadn't been there all summer). One of the communal bathrooms I used was filthy and 3 of the 4 stalls were out of toilet paper.

While we were able to check in early, a huge number of the rooms were not cleaned by 4:00 pm, and some people were unable to check into their rooms until 7:30 pm (after dinner). My mom's room, right next to ours, wasn't clean until well after 5:00 pm.

The food was tolerable. If you are more into quantity then quality, you will like it - although there are enough basic choices and they had an very good tofu dish. My son was happy he could eat 6 pieces of bacon and go back and get as much fruit as he could eat. I found that much of the hot food was not kept hot on the buffet line, so unless you lingered and jumped on a tray just after it came from the kitchen, your chicken or eggs were likely to be lukewarm. I drink decaf coffee and it was obvious in the morning that it was the same coffee from the night before still in the coffee maker (large industrial ones) - it was cold and there was a note on the coffee maker saying you were welcome to microwave your coffee if it wasn't hot. If the dishes and rest of the property were clean, I probably would not have had any huge issues with the food - well the coffee thing is pretty bad.

Probably one of the hardest things was that our two kids saw all these activities (such as the trampoline) but they were not able to do them. We had prepared our kids in advance, but seeing all the stuff was still a bit hard. Canoeing and kayaking were available, as was the pool and whirlpool. On Sunday morning from 10-12 they did run 2 activities - archery and arts and crafts. The archery guy was quite good, my 6 year old son really enjoyed it. The woman in crafts was nice but clueless, and offered basically no help - still my 3 year old was happy to paint picture frames for half an hour with her dad. The timing was a bit odd, however, because check-out is at 11:00 am.

So, why do I give it 2 stars instead of 1? Simply because my kids had a blast regardless of the issues. They loved playing in the lake and canoeing. However we definitely would not go back unless there were some major changes, which I think is doubtful. We had come for 1 night to check it out and possibly come back for the family camp next year - there is no way we would do this now.

I do not know exactly why cleaning was such an issue, but I suspect that many of the staff (who are often students from other countries) are given Saturday off (well deserved no doubt) and a skeleton staff is expected to clean the entire place for the Saturday night guests (remember, the entire place turns over on Saturday and then again on Sunday, but then won't turn again until Saturday). There was clearly way too much work for the number of people working (and they were working hard - but they were obviously cutting a large number of corners to get the work done). Much of the staff had a resigned look to them and I am guessing that they just dread Saturday and Sunday turnovers - I would if I worked there. I can't imagine telling someone who arrives at 4:00 pm that the room isn't ready, and then not being able to get them into their room until well over 3 hours later.

I don't blame the staff, they were working hard, but I do blame the management - they clearly are not staffing this place adequately. I have stayed at another of their properties -- the John Muir Lodge in Grant Grove and had no issues there. Clearly they have not got a handle on running the Montecito Sequoia, which is a shame, as it has tremendous potential and is in an absolutely lovely spot.

The final insult was that on Sunday we were told lunch would cost 9 dollars a person. We thought it was included, but were told that lunch on Sunday was not included, but that lunch on Saturday was included - and we could have eaten then. Huh? Check in isn't until 4:00. We were, of course, on site at lunch-time, but no one told us we could eat and ithat lunch at that time was included in the room cost. There is definitely a bit of a truth in advertising problem with the website.

  • Liked — location and lake
  • Disliked — filthy
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2008

Loved Family Camp at Montecito Sequoia Lodge!

Pros:
- Kids activities were fantastic, varied, and great new experiences. More than even listed on their website.
- Kids were supervised by enthusiastic, charming counselors many of whom grew up going to this camp every year. Morning pow-wow with fun camp songs for all.
- Parents had tons of free time knowing the kids were well looked after
- Grown up activities were fantastic, hugely varied, from learning to mountain bike, to yoga, hiking, tie-dye and arts and crafts, astronomy. Or you could sit at the pool and read
- Easy to get evening babysitters at affordable rates
- Food was really good, and plentiful
- At least half of the campers were repeats, a big vote of confidence, in fact you will find some families and groups who have been coming for years and years

Cons:
- Lodge rooms are adequate, not luxurious, bathrooms and beds were fine. This is a rustic but comfortable enough camp, not the four seasons
- Pool is fine, but not big enough for true lap swimming
- Lake is pretty small, fine for beginner waterskiers but not huge
- Not cheap, but you do get alot for you money. Prices quoted do not include 13% taxes, AND add additional 10% on top for gratuities at end of stay - it is expected, as is a large portion of counselors pay. By end of week you will agree they are worth it
- Many folks need a day to adjust to altitude

All in all a wonderful family experience with loads of fun and relaxation for kids and parents. Love that the parents get to go to camp too!

  • Liked — Tons of family fun and parent down-time too
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern CA.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2008

We are leaving next week for our fourth visit to Montecito. Each year we spend a week at the summer family camp with our kids. I've read some of the complaints with this resort and, while I agree with them at some level (having once been a real person and not a mom), I have to point out that the main focus of this lodge (at least in summer) is as a sleep-away summer camp that caters to families. If someone is going to provide you with three good meals a day and take care of your kids for six hours (while you are in a National Park), you can put up with a lot of "dump", or perhaps call it "funky"? It's a whole lot cheaper than Club Med. As a camp experience it is right up there with all the sleep-away summer camps I ever went to as a kid, except with fewer rules and your parents come too. What's more, the adults can do all the summer camp activities as well (I like the riflery - though my son doesn't). It's good value as an all-inclusive summer week for the family.

  • Liked — bunk beds
  • Disliked — kinda of seedy
  • Stayed August 2007
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgetown, Kentucky
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2008

We stayed in Montecito Sequioa the first weekend in May 08. Overall the hotel was fine, but we were mislead about the included activities and that put a damper on our stay.

The website lists spring activities including archery, rock climbing, tennis, boating, astronomy, and archery. I called and asked which activities would be offer right before I booked. I was told they were transitioning to spring activities and that archery and canoeing should be available. When I booked our room via the website, our room was listed as "Cabin, no bath, with Meals & Activities ".

When I arrived and asked again about the acitivities, I learned that even through we paid the same price as for any other time, no activites were being offered to us. I can understand that some activities are dependant on weather (there was still some snow in some areas at the lodge), but it was their choice not to offer any. We were told that we go to climbing wall, put our feet at the lower line and try to traverse it horizontally. That was seriously the only "activity" that was offered. The snow might have made it difficult to run the canoeing, but it shouldn't have affected, the rock climbing or even astronomy. I felt that since we paid for included activities that should have offered something. They took our money and did not give us what was promised. If they can't offer activities in the spring, they should make that very clear on the website and the rates should be lower.

Now on to the rest of the stay.....

Our group consisted of 4 adults. The cabin was larger than I anticipated and was located next to the lake. The lack of bathroom really wasn't a big deal since there was a shower house and bathroom nearby. The only problem we had was that the cabin was very drafty. Lots of heat was lost through the poorly sealed rear cabin wall. So those sleeping next to the wall were freezing while those in the bunk beds were burning up.

The spring was sort of a mud and snow time at the lodge and it is probably prettier at other times of the year. But the reflection of the lodge in the lake was nice.

The included food was a definate plus. We ate breakfast and dinner at the lodge and ordered trail lunches while we explored the national parks. The food was pretty good. It was buffett sytle with a couple of choices for the main cource and dessert.

All in all the main thing that the lodge has going for it is convenience. The included food is a plus since there aren't a lot of dining options in national parks. It was nice not having to drive the winding roads in and out of the area every day. But they are other options for staying inside one of the parks, if I get the chance to come back, I will look into other in park lodging.

  • Liked — The convenience of staying in the park and having meals prepared for you
  • Disliked — Lack of activities, draft room
  • Stayed May 2008
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
central, nj
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2008

Walk into a giant hall, check in desk freestanding by the door. Ten or twelve oval, formica tables in the hall, scattered diners eating right where you checked in. Wierd. so, it 7:00pm, sorry, dinners been served and you are late so breakfast is served tommorrow. You are a long, long way from food, so when i objected, she told me to go into the kitchen and make myself a cold cut sandwich, it i'd like to do it myself. the confirm didn't say about being there by 7. so the gross experience of sticking my hands into the refrigerators holding food others would east the next day and eating in the giant hall with formica tables, running kids yelling the jumbo adjoining playroom didn't endear me.

but that was nothing compared with the room. this hotel's web sight showed only the window shaes and a drop or wall/headboard. but the picture was desinged to disguise the fact it's a dump. dresser standing in a closet with no door. walk up stairs, to then have to walk down stairs to get into the hotel.

so, after only a half - nights sleep in what felt like a dump, when i told the manager i didn't want to have to pay for a second night since the place wasn't anything like depicted on their web site, he replies "i took that picture". so, there was nothing more to be said. it's the national park screw that you forfeit the prepaid rent if cancelled withing 48 hours. they need it since who would stay. at least, they offered to let us stay at their reasonably nice logdge near the general grant entrance. I had a great prime rib dinner in that restaurant. but montecito is a DUMP. it always irritates me how the laws of supply and demand are trumped in national parks. I understand that it's to control development, and that's good, but why does the Park Service tolerate lousy park facilities.

Stayed April 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sierra_Cement, Lodge Manager at Montecito Sequoia Lodge, responded to this review, May 23, 2008
Whilst I apologize that our rooms didn't meet the authors standards I do have to point out that the pictures on the website are of the rooms at the lodge.

Our cancellation policy did prevent us from reimbursing the author but after listening to their comments and feeling we transferred their remaining reservation to John Muir Lodge free of charge and comped their meals for the remainder of their stay (Something that is not included in the Muir Lodge rate). Our rooms may not appeal to everyone but we will always do our best to accommodate an unhappy guest.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Address: 63410 General's Hwy, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633
Location: United States > California > Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 hotels in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Montecito Sequoia Lodge 2.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Rustic Mountain Lodge & Summer Family Camp located in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California. Spectacular view of the Great Western Divide of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Buffet Meals and seasonal activities included in room rate. All Lodge Rooms have private bath. Cabins have shared bathhouse. Open year-round. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Montecito Sequoia Hotel Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park

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