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“Great family getaway- could use some improvements” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Fern Resort

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Fern Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   4432 Fern Resort Rd, RR#5, Orillia, Ontario L3V 6H5, Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 15 hotels in Orillia
Toronto
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Great family getaway- could use some improvements”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

Just back from 3 nights 4 days at Fern Resort with our group of 10, including 5 children ages 9 mos and up. A family tradition, at Fern we always know what we will get- family friendly meals, comfortable accommodations and activities for all age groups.
Our 4th year in a row, we had a main inn room and 2 edge water cottages. As far as size the main inn rooms are very bright and spacious with more modern furnishings. The main inn rooms can only be accessed by a large flight of stairs which make it totally inaccessible for those with mobility challenges. As a matter of fact, many areas of the resort are inaccessible; the spa and upper levels of all buildings require walking up a flight of stairs . Carrying multiple bags up a large flight of stairs with 3 small children is a frustrating start to a get away. The cottages on the other hand are very cottage like, but could use a facelift; old bedspreads, furnishings, and bathrooms. The view though is lovely, right in
front of the lake.
The food is family friendly and fresh, and baked goods are certainly the specialty. The kids buffet of course is a hit with the kids, but tends to always be the same, and is not always replenished.. Soups on the menu are bland and this year especially I noted food served at times was cold. Prime rib and
turkey dinner were excellent,as
were the desserts.
The wait staff range from horrible to excellent. The first day our server was slow, disorganized and not overly friendly. We switched tables our 2nd day and Charlotte was excellent! Very tolerant of the mess with 5 kids and most accommodating to our requests. Some other servers walking around barely cracked a smile- in previous years we have always had great service.
The activities for the kids are great- there is something for all ages. Some of the staff in the play village are less than enthusiastic but perhaps that is because its the last week of summer and they are tiring. I will say with Sunday being a turnover day, the activities are
poor. For a family staying Sat to Tues we were in need of
entertainment for kids and
adults on a rainy Sun afternoon .There was really nothing to do- quite disappointed.
The best entertainment by far was Jamie Williams on the Mon night- he sang and played multiple instruments- fabulous!
The exterior of the resort is showing its age and we noticed a lot of areas badly in need of a fresh coat of paint, esp the Fireside building and staff quarters which are not very attractive from the parking lot.
Fern is not cheap and I really think in order to keep guests coming back year after year, some updating is needed.
All in all a great family time together at Fern but we may consider another property next year.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FernResort, General Manager at Fern Resort, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Thank you for posting your comments here on Tripadvisor and thank you for allowing us to be apart of your summer vacation experience for the last four years. Your family, like so many of our guests have established a summer tradition and come back each year to something that is familiar and comfortable for everyone in the family. As an all-inlcusive family resort, we offer a wide range of activities, room styles and dining options in order to allow everyone in the family a unique and enjoyable experience. Evenings are great and I enjoy Jamie Williams as well. He is a very talented musician and has been preforming for Fern off and on for the past 15 years.
Almost all of our accommodations have been renovated over the past few years. We are now focusing our attention to the exterior of our inns. The Main Inn is getting a face-lift as we speak. The resort is rich in heritage and we are keeping this in mind as we schedule renovations and upgrades. Thanks again for posting your comments and I hope you continue to enjoy your summer family vacation tradition here at Fern.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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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
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Orangeville, Canada
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

haven't been to Fern in 3 years, and now with the kids being 6 and 10, it was so much better for us! It was good the first time, great this time. Kids spent time in kids camps allowing us to have either time alone or together. We took advantage of several of the adult activities being offered or just relaxed by the pool. You can either be really busy, med busy or not busy--the choice is yours. I can't argue that the pricing is high....but when you consider that is everything including the excellent evening entertainment, and factor in the fixed costs of running this size of resort....it is reasonable. If you want something cheaper..you will get less..either not on the lake, less to do, or some sort of sacrifice. We had a great time...gotta love the peanut butter pie and we have already booked for next year. Can't wait. First time I have felt like I had a true vacation all year long.

Room Tip: we like the main inn rooms facing the lake and pool or hearthside or fireside - all facing lake. Ne...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FernResort, General Manager at Fern Resort, responded to this review, September 2, 2013
Thank you for posting your comments here on Tripadvisor and thank you coming back up and seeing us again. It is truly a great vacation when you can be as busy or not as busy as you want. When the kids want to be involved in the programs/camps and mom and dad can relax and enjoy each others company, it makes for a great vacation. I always love to hear comments from families about how the kids are able to do their own thing and have so much fun doing it. When meal times come around the families regroup and tell each other about their morning or afternoon adventures. I think of Fern as the perfect vacation format and I love your comment: "First time I have felt like I had a true vacation all year long". It does take a lot to ensure all members of the family enjoy the vacation. Thanks for re-booking for next year and we will be counting down the days.
Thanks again.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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Toronto, ON
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Too many resorts in ON check you in, tell you when to come for dinner then expect you to find the fun yourself. Fern had lots of activities but would be best for young families. We took a day trip to the area were at Rama and thought would see about spending the night. Even the Econolodge was about $130. Stayed at Fern as they had things going on that night and we could stay the next day.

They have two outdoor and one indoor pool a small golf course (pitch and putt) and some high ropes. Best was the activities for the kids- they had a whole program and staff to run them. Was very organized. You are paying for the staff to be there and run things. You may find a less expensive resort but you are organizing the activities yourself.

Took a wakeboard lesson -the boat and crew are set up to start you at different levels then get you ready for a full water start. They also have pedal boats, kayaks etc. The mini golf and trampoline area was also fun.

We went as a couple and had a good time but a young family would really enjoy it. Many people there were return visitors.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
FernResort, General Manager at Fern Resort, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
Thank you very much for posting your comments here on Tripadvisor and I am glad you enjoyed yourselves. Fern Resort is primarily a family resort but as you have experienced, it is also a good resort for a couple. Having activity programs and extensive resort facilities allows people to have a stress-free vacation. The beauty of Fern Resort is you arrive, park your car, and everything you want is right here. The staff are eager to engage guests of all ages, at every opportunity.
The water ski dock staff are no exception. They are professionally trained instructors that want to see you have fun and improve regardless of your skill level.
Thanks again and I hope to see you again soon.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ancaster, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

We were at the Fern Resort on July 26th-28th. We traveled with our three children aged 9, 9 and 7. We stayed in the Twin Fern overlooking the lake, outstanding! The activities for the children were endless from bocce, to shuffleboard, to tennis to mini putting to the trampolines. The kids didn't know where to start. Our children particularly loved fishing and the water sports. The staff there was outstanding and very friendly. The restaurant food was amazing. The buffet was perfect for the kids and always stocked. Our waitress during our stay was Jennifer and she too was amazing! Although this was not an "economy" get away, it certainly was worth the money we spent. We will likely be back again with more friends and family.

Room Tip: If you are looking for a larger room, ask for the Twin Fern, it will accommodate larger families wit...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
FernResort, General Manager at Fern Resort, responded to this review, August 12, 2013
Thank you for posting your comments here on Tripadvisor. I am glad you and your family enjoyed your getaway with us this summer and the kids had fun doing all the great activities. Our staff certainly have a desire to serve and have a genuine interest in ensuring all our guests truly have great time here. From the familiar faces in the dining room to the activity directors and sports staff around the grounds, our guests comfort and enjoyment is our first priority. The Twin Fern accommodations are very spacious and have a spectacular view of the water.
Thanks again, we look forward to seeing you and your family and friends again soon.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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Burlington, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

Reminded me of Kellermans in "Dirty Dancing" Straight outta the 60's-Stayed at Fern a few weeks ago, yes the location is nice, but that is it. WAYYYYY over priced, 2 nights-over $1200.00 for 2 people.

Food-from what I tasted on Saturday(we missed dinner Friday because they only give you 1 1/2 hours of serving food at dinner time, You dont get there by 6:30 or earlier, too bad for you. Ended up going into town to eat) Told about the lunch BBQ- um on sunday-no bbq, another meal we didnt get. Breakfast buffet-meh!!!!

Yes there is a lot for kids to do, but if you dont bring a kid with you, NOTHING to do.
Pool table- have one at home,
Bar-ya, my dads basement is better,
MAGIC SHOW????-COME ON, nobody likes a magic show these days.
Bingo-enough said!!
Room smelled musty too.

When I think All Inclusive, I think, I can eat and drink anytime I want, as much as I want, here you get told when meals are served and if you dont get there in time-NO FOOD FOR YOU!!!

If your going to charge as much for a weekend as I would pay for a week in the carribean, you better bring a whole lot more to the table than a damn kids play village and watersports. NEVER GOING BACK.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FernResort, General Manager at Fern Resort, responded to this review, August 4, 2013
Thank you for posting your comments here on Trip Advisor and glad you found the location to be nice. Fern Resort is primarily a family destination and we don't pretend to be anything but. With structured meal times and activities, we provide families with a stress-free, relaxing vacation that has something for everyone. Although meal times are structured there is flexibility and we would never turn anyone away. You can arrive for dinner between 6:00pm and 7:00pm. Most families do arrive at the beginning of the meal hour but you are more than welcome to arrive at 7:00pm and enjoy the same menu and service options. For busy families on the move a buffet breakfast is certainly a good option but most of our guests enjoy Eggs Benedict, fresh eggs or pancakes and French toast from the menu. BBQ lunches are available 5 out of 7 days a week with many great options.
I do apologize that Fern Resort did not live up to your idea of an "All Inclusive" vacation. With meals, activity programs, kids clubs, fun family evening entertainment, and free use of the resort facilities, Fern Resort is a popular "All Inclusive" option for many families to enjoy right here in Ontario.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

We just returned from our 10th annual vacation to Fern. Once again, hats off to the Downing family and the AMAZING staff for their on going commitment to their guests. As always, our kids 13 and 7 were so sad to leave. We are already looking forward to next year.
Here is a piece of advise, if you are looking on the website and are thinking wow that is expensive, here is the truth....it is money well spent. Your children will be well taken care of. Your stomachs will be full and your will have everlasting memories. I guarantee this, that if you go once you will definitely go again. It is simply FERNTASTIC!!!!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
FernResort, General Manager at Fern Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
Thank you for posting your comments here on Trip Advisor and thanks for 10 years and counting! I agree with you when you say "money well spent". There is great value in the vacation experience that we offer here at Fern Resort. The up front cost may seem expensive but when one looks at the total product offering; meals, activity programs and kids clubs, the facilities and the surroundings of a safe and beautiful lake-side resort, it is truly money well spent. The world of travel has become much smaller with the internet. The travelling public now can look at Cuba, The Dominican Republic, etc... and compare on price. What is unfortunately not compared is cost of living and minimum wage. In Canada we have a great country that has been built on creating a society that promotes equality, health, and has a high standard of living. We enjoy these comforts but the other side of the coin is that it costs everyone more. It costs more to vacation here because it costs more to live here. I personally wouldn't want it any other way.
I am so glad you and your family have been making great family vacation memories here at Fern Resort for the past 10 years and I look forward to hosting you for another Ferntastic 10 years !
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

I with a group of 18 friends go to Fern resort every year so we do have a comparison from previous years.
This year, what sticks out the most is the organization/management. Most of our disappointments came at meal times. Unfortunately, at the begging of the season there is a lot of training. Everyone has to learn, we understand that, however there should be closer shadowing of the new employees. There were too many in our group whose order was forgotten or not what was ordered. By the time an order would come, the majority were even finished their desert.
All in all it was not a good experience at all.
As for the rooms, some of them have been renovated which they needed. Beds were comfortable and rooms were clean.
The resort itself needs a facelift, baring that then freshen up with paint to make the place more inviting

Room Tip: the rooms at the waters edge, I think they start with a 3, are the best. the ones at the other water...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
FernResort, General Manager at Fern Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
Thank you for posting your comments here on Trip Advisor and thank you for coming back to Fern year after year. I can appreciate your comments about the dining room service and as you pointed out it is a challenge to train our new staff in very short window for the summer season. Combine this with a large party 18 and things get very difficult for a young server. Here at Fern Resort we do offer various types of accommodations, both large and small, to accommodate different family make-ups and budgets. I do agree the cottages along the water have a fantastic view! As we continue to update our accommodations, we also are looking at the grounds and exterior of building and trying to update them. Currently the exterior of the Main Inn is being updated and re-sided giving it a new very clean look. I trust your group continues to enjoy the entire vacation product we offer; meals, activities, kids clubs, entertainment and great resort facilities. I look forward to having you and your group here at Fern Resort for many more years to come.
Thanks again for posting your comments.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort.
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Additional Information about Fern Resort

Address: 4432 Fern Resort Rd, RR#5, Orillia, Ontario L3V 6H5, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Orillia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Orillia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Fern Resort 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fern Resort and the Conference Centre at Fern are located along the shores of Lake Couchiching in the city of Orillia. We offer all inclusive packages for both vacation stays as well as meeting and conference stays. All meals, use of facilities and at specific times of the year, we offer activity programs for all ages, children supervision and nightly entertainment. Established in 1895, Fern has a long tradition of offering our guests with good olde fashion hospitality in a professional and friendly manner. Whether it's the traditional family vacation, a little getaway weekend or a sales meeting or corporate seminar, Fern Resort and the Conference Centre at Fern should be your venue of choice. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fern Hotel Orillia
Fern Resort Orillia, Ontario
Fern Orillia

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