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“A Very Good Portage in a Storm” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Kettle Falls Hotel

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Kettle Falls Hotel
10502 Gamma Road, Voyageurs National Park, MN 56669   |  
Hotel amenities
Iowa
Top Contributor
222 reviews 222 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 153 cities Reviews in 153 cities
199 helpful votes 199 helpful votes
“A Very Good Portage in a Storm”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2011

We had a rather unexpected day stay at Kettle Falls hotel. Early one morning we headed out from Pine Aire resort on Lake Kabetogama with our fishing guide, Don Granger for a days fishing trip across Namakan Lake then portage around Kettle Falls/dam over to Rainy Lake on the Canadian border. Just as we got close to Kettle Falls, Don's wife called to say it was storming and hailing back home and headed our way. Luckily the portage crew was able to load & haul our boat overland from Namakan to Rainy lake just before the storm fully hit. Kettle resort then loaded the 5 of us onto a couple of their golf carts and portaged us to Kettle hotel. Needless to say it was much preferred to sit on their covered screened-in side porch watching the wind and rain blow by vs riding the storm out in a boat on the lake.

The hotel is an old lodging house built around 1910 by a timber baron in a remote part of Voyageurs National Park. (Reputedly Madame Nellie Bly also had connections to the establishment). It is only accessible by boat or float plane, so has a very secluded and laidback atmosphere. The hotel had about a dozen quaint/antiquey rooms upstairs and a separate set of modern villas to rent for larger groups. For some reason the Kettle Hotel's layout reminded me of a wilderness backwoods mini-version of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park or the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The most interesting find was the Kettle's LumberJack Saloon with its famous sloping floor. The bartender told us the original corner posts had all sunk into the ground over the years. When it was restored into the Kettle Hotel, 3 sides were shored up level but they left the corner of the building where the bar was located sloping. You stand at one end of the pool table waist high but the other end is almost up to your shouldars. The bar also slants as do the booths and benches in the saloon. See their website for info on hotel's rooms, rates, etc.

The hotel has 3 stages of electric backup. A tree had fell on the main power lines, so the hotel went on auxillary power, which meant the kitchen and bar areas shut down. Only electric lights and refrigerators remained powered. After the storm blew by, we took a wooden boardwalk over a wooded marsh to the marina on Rainy Lake where our boat was docked. We still caught enough Walleye on Rainy Lake to head back to the Kettle Hotel by noon to have them cook our shore lunch for us. Unfortunately, since the storm crippled the electricity, their kitchen was still closed. So the Kettle kitchen crew fired up their Weber charcoal kettle grills and grilled our walleye, potatoes&onions and pork&beans. Luckily the cooler in the LumberJack saloon was fully functional, so we had some cold LaBatts and Nordeast beers while waiting for our shore lunch.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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22 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2011

I have stayed at Kettle Falls several times. You have to take a boat ride to get there which always gets everyone in the vaction mood . Have had great luck with the fishing (see photo). The bar has an awesome atmosphere and the restuarant is really good too. (Make sure you have the wild rice soup).

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2010

We had only one day to visit Voyaguers National Park, so we reserved a room at the Kettle Falls Hotel, the only in-park lodge. We were picked up (for a fee) at the Ash River Visitor's Center and taken 14 miles to the hotel, which is an old lodging house. The park is beautiful, but almost entirely accessible only by water. When we checked in, we asked about renting a canoe and were told that the lodge had only 2 canoes, both of which were already spoken for. The cook, who was the only fishing guide, was not available to take us fishing. We made the best of it by having a quiet day reading on the screened porch, as there was nothing else to do. There is a bar with television, but the rooms have no television or air conditioning. One positive note: the food at the restaurant is wonderful.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
kirkland lake ontario
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2008

i enjoyed my stay there imensely,as the stormy waters were alittle treacherous to travel back over the border waters to the canadian resort called stokes bay resort,which was once owned by my dear friend,sid bruyere---new owner now is dan houle from ely,mn.kettle falls hotel holds alot of adventure and history nestled among the kettle falls dam.it feels like a place somewhere in time.truly a relaxing place to reminisice and explore the many areas of curosity it has to offer.i especially like the boardwalk over the marsh to the marina,how often does one find a boardwalk in the woods.the hospitality was truly excellent and as well as the food.this place will always remain in my heart,and just maybe i will be staying there soon.

Stayed July 2003
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnetonka, MN
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2008

My husband and I stayed at Kettle Falls for 4 days on our honeymoon and absolutely loved it. We went fishing, kayaking, and hiking. Every meal at the restaurant was amazing and we enjoyed the bar and veranda very much. Would recommend it to everyone!!!

  • Liked — The location...scenery was breathtaking and it was outside the range of cell phones so we could have some time away without interruptions.
  • Disliked — Nothing. Everything was fantastic.
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iowa
1 review
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2008

Our family stayed at Kettle Falls in June 2007, for a three days family fishing and vacation. Our interest is in getting away from any hustle and bustle and Kettle Falls is made for that. We had our own boat, so we navigated our way to the falls (10 + miles from Ash River). If it's your first time to Kettle Falls, take your GPS if you've got one, otherwise a detailed map is required.

The Villa was no frills, but a beautiful spot with our own dock, just feet from the water. The staff is very courteous, and the service is extraordinary.

The restaurant is fabulous. Any supplies you may need are available from the hotel staff.

We made our reservations in October 2006, although we were told we were very lucky. One year advance is the norm.

  • Liked — Beautiful Setting and Service of the staff
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 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.
Milwaukee, WI
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2006

I stayed at the Kettle Falls Hotel for 2 nights in July, 2006, and it was an entirely enjoyable experience.
The hotel was built in the early 1900's in an incredibly remote part of Voyageurs National Park. It's a 14 mile boat ride from the mainland, and it's the only way to get there. If you're looking for a remote location, you couldn't do better than this.
Proprietors Rick & Diane were the consummate hosts, making every effort to please. Indeed, the entire staff was personable and friendly.
The dining room has excellent food, and the bar has a grotesquely slanted floor that adds to the unique atmosphere.
Hotel rooms are small but cozy; the bed was very comfortable. One must go down the hall for the bathroom/shower, but this only added to the rustic flavor of the establishment. They also have cottages for families.
I highly recommend the Kettle Falls Hotel.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Kettle Falls Hotel

Address: 10502 Gamma Road, Voyageurs National Park, MN 56669
Location: United States > Minnesota > Voyageurs National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Voyageurs National Park

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