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“Great Alternative” 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 #2 of 15 Hotels in Orillia
Certificate of Excellence
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great Alternative”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2014

We spent the last 18 years at another Ontario resort called Cleveland's House, but looked for an alternative after that resort changed ownership. At the last minute we decided to try the Fern Resort and we're very happy we did. The staff could not have been friendlier or more accommodating. The tennis program under Stan, the tennis pro, has a bright future. He's terrific. Hopefully, by next year there will be more tennis clinics and programs available. I especially liked the fact that everything was close and easily accessible, from bikes to kayaks. I should also mention that, unlike Cleveland's House, bicycles and tennis clinics were included in the package price we paid (they have a wonderful bike path and they just resurfaced the tennis courts). There's also a terrific bar by the pool which meant I could sit at the pool or on the beach and have a drink without walking very far to fetch it. Food was good and plentiful. The menu was creative and there was something for everyone on it. The kids buffet at most meals is a great idea. My wife has a broken foot and has a hard time walking and I was amazed at how helpful the other guests were. So, do I miss the Cleveland's House days...yes, because that resort under the Cornell family ownership had amazing gardens and enveloped you in Muskoka. It also had a great golf course nearby (Fern has added a five hole par 3 practice course). Would I recommend Fern resort as an alternative to former guests of Cleve's. Absolutely. We had a terrific time there and will not hesitate to return. It reminded us very much of our early years staying at Cleve's...a lot of fun.

Room Tip: Ask for a room facing the lake
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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 7, 2014
Thank you for your comments and thank you for staying with us here at Fern Resort this past summer. I enjoyed reading your comments about our friendly staff and the food and the inclusiveness of the resort. Stan was a great addition to our Sports and Rec program as Tennis Pro and the program will only be stronger and expanded in years to come.
Thanks again for staying with us and I hope we can become your new Ontario Resort vacation destination for the next 18 years.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
Genreral Manager
Fern Resort
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222 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

My 7 year old has Celiac Disease and I felt the server Lindsay along with the chefs was completely committed to ensuring her health and safety while at Fern. It was so nice to take a break from cooking and still have amazing (and I mean amazing) meals with the whole family. All the staff was extremely helpful and polite. My only negative was the double beds (would have preferred a queen/king) but the pull out couch gave us plenty of room for the four of us. This was our first time and Fern and we will be definitely be going back. My typical vacations locally are in Muskoka and with Sandals and Beaches so my standards are pretty high! I loved Fern and everything it offered our family. Thank you

  • Stayed August 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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 23, 2014
Thank you for posting your comments regarding your stay with us here at Fern Resort. Your comments regarding our food and the staff are very much appreciated. Vacations are suppose to be stress-free, relaxing times with family and friends not having to worry about planning, cleaning or even what's for dinner. Having a child or children with a severe food allergy is a certainly a challenge. Trying to find a vacation spot that can take some of that stress away is paramount for parents. Here at Fern our kitchen and dining room staff continually go over and above to ensure food allergies are dealt with in a professional, friendly manner that puts your child's safety first and foremost in order to take some of that stress away from Mom and Dad. I do commend our Chef and kitchen staff who take on this challenge day in and day out with great pride and a commitment to a safe and enjoyable dining experience for all our guests.
It was our pleasure to have you with us this summer and we hope to see you again soon.

Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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Windsor, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

Firstly, our trip was marred by 4 out of 5 days of cool, wet weather, unusual for mid-august to be sure. Playvillage and staff were amazing, can't say enough. The dining experience was a struggle however. Even after dropping our kids off in good time at the playvillage and than returning for supper at the Main Inn(by 615pm), the service most nights was horribly slow. Almost every night we were rushing to finish and take our deserts with us to pick up the kids at the playvillage check out time (745pm), and that's with ordering the whole 4 courses right away! It made for a stressful, not stress free meal time( Tums anyone). Also, why are there no lids for the drinks for the kids, we were constantly having to watch to make sure they didn't spill their drinks, every other place you go has lids on kids drinks. This was our first visit, will we be back? I'm not sure.......

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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, August 23, 2014
Thank you for posting your comments and thank you for staying with us this summer at Fern Resort. Thank you for your wonderful comment regarding our Playvillage staff. They are certainly committed to providing our youngest guests with a safe, fun and memorable summer vacation. Our Playvillage area offers guests the security of signing in their children for some awesome supervised activities and free play. This is a magical area for kids: trampolines, bouncy castle, motorized jeeps, a huge playground structure and so much more. The Playvillage, which is open all day long, also offers an evening component. Parents can bring their children to the dining room 1/2 an hour before the regular meal time where the kids can enjoy dinner from the Kids Buffet. Once they have finished their dinner, they can go back to the Playvillage for the early evening program which offers more fun and planned activities for the kids. This in turn allows parents to enjoy a meal on their own if they so desire.
I do apologize that your dining wait time was longer than our expected average. We do strive to serve you a four-course meal from start to finish in under 90 minutes. All in all, I hope, in despite of the weather, we were able to offer you and your family a unique family vacation experience that is full of lasting memories and I hope that you will come back and see us again.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
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Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014 via mobile

Tried Fern out for a family getaway weekend with 2 teens in tow. The entire resort was well maintained and all amenities were a short walk. Accommodations were clean and comfortable. Activities were plentiful, but they relied on people coming to them. Staff did little to proactively engage the kids (admittedly, this is a challenge with teens). Kids loved the zorbing (inflatable ball) and kayaking. It was tough to tell who staff were to ask questions or get help. Having staff wear a common shirt colour would help. Meals were a bit of a disappointment. There are set times for meals which felt restrictive. My teens never made it to breakfast. The BBQ lunch was very chaotic, as a newbie it was not clear where to pick up meals (no defined lines) and drop off dirty plates (nobody was making the plate return). Part of my lack of knowledge on the BBQ was the result of challenges we had with our server (Anthony). He was unfortunately largely uncommunicative, slow and not attentive. We heard about things from other servers explaining to their tables. I had to ask for tickets to the BBQ. He spoiled the experience. The other experience the made me feel unwanted was on departure day. Housekeeping moved in to turn around the room before we had checked out and removed our bags. Try finding all your kids things when housekeeping is stripping beds and working in the room. Fern has lots of unrealized potential, they just need to take advantage of it..

Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
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 12, 2014
Thank you for posting your comments and trying us out for a family weekend getaway. Glad to hear you enjoyed your accommodations and our activity programs with your teens. Teens can be a finicky bunch when it comes to many things, and this holds true while on vacation as well. Our teen program is a well balanced schedule of both social and physical activities. Teens enjoy having the privacy of our "Teens Only" Teen Shack, supervised by Megan our Teen Director. The shack is where a few of the day time and early evening teen events are held. The Climbing Wall and other extreme sports are another highlight of the program. During the week all the teens shoot and produce a video that is highlighted during our Thursday night entertainment. Additionally the Teen Cruise to Big Chief island is a memorable and fun event topping the weeks schedule. Thank you for your suggestion/observation to proactively engage the kids. We will look at additional ways we can promote and sell our activity programs to the kids staying here at Fern.
I do apologize the dining room service was lacking during your stay. Dining, and the interaction between our guests and their server is a very important part of a vacation and certainly adds to the overall experience.
Our housekeeping team has a difficult task on check out days with some guests checking out at 1:00pm and new guests arriving for a 4:00pm check-in. In order to be fair to both the departing guests and the arriving guests, our Housekeeping team does enter rooms on checkout day to strip beds and do an initial clean up. Departing guests are notified of this practice on the day before they check out. Under no circumstances do the housekeepers touch or remove any personal belongings from a room.
Thanks again for your comments and suggestions and I do hope we see you and your family again in the future.
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.
toronto,ont.
Level Contributor
55 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

On a picturesque point of land with a beautiful waterfront, this resort has everything to ensure a great family vacation. Programs for children beat other similar resorts offering pony rides, battery operated cars for "trail" rides, supervised fishing where staff even put on worms, to name a few. Nightly entertainment for young and older folks is also well planned. Two swimming pools and lake swimming ensure water exposure is available for all. For an additional cost, children can participate in water skiing which is extremely well taught and supervised. To see my grandsons, 5 year old twins, learning to do this was a treat. There is a variety of accommodation from individual cabins to motel type rooms. The cabin we were in had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, large living room and small kitchenette with a coffee maker for those who ne a quick cup before breakfast.
Meals were excellent with a variety of menu items to suit all tastes. Dishes were cooked perfectly and the servings were generous. Children can either order from the menu o help themselves at the children's buffet. You will not be hungry after any meal! For adults there is paintball, tennis, a small golf course (5 short holes and clubs available) and many other organized activities.

Room Tip: The cabins on the waterfront have a small deck which may be a nice touch but there is so many activi...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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, August 12, 2014
Thank you for your comments and sharing your Fern Resort experience on Tripadvisor. A picturesque setting, plenty of activities and facilities, and great food is a recipe for an outstanding family vacation. Being able to offer a vacation experience for so many different ages, groups, and tastes is what sets Fern Resort apart from the rest. Multi-generation family travel has become more common in recent years. Grandma and Grandpa, the kids and the grandkids all meeting on one spot, all having their own expectations and wish lists for a vacation. Time and time again Fern Resort not only meets but exceeds the vacation expectations for all age groups, which is no easy task. Congratulations to your two grandsons for learning to waterski while they were here. I am sure this was a happy moment for them and a very proud moment for Grandpa!
Thanks again and we hope to see you and your family 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.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

Fern does many things very well. The organized programs for kids and adults are great. Front-line staff were universally friendly and accommodating. Nothing at Fern ever felt crowded; we were always able to participate in what we wanted and use any of the facilities without having to worry about waiting. The entertainment options were also good and family-friendly (though it did seem strange to have some events targeted at kids scheduled when younger children would be in bed).

In other areas, however, Fern fell short of our expectations. The food always failed to impress. Most dishes were bland, basic, relied on inexpensive ingredients and weren’t very good. And despite serving simple dishes, getting food took an unexpectedly long time. The wait staff did their best to expedite orders for the kids and have our staples ready, though cycling through 4 servers over our 6-day stay made it more difficult.

Our group stayed in the Evergreen Villa, which was quite outdated and not as clean as we might like. We found garbage from previous guests in plain view in the bedroom and webs in corners and near air conditioners were there for the duration of our stay. Despite the villa having a full kitchen, don’t expect to have any food there; we found 4 glasses on arrival (there were 10 of us), no plates, no utensils, no cooking equipment, etc. Washrooms had too little counter space, water pressure was lacking and the toilets were sometimes difficult to flush (and the handle on one broke).

Internet speeds throughout the resort were poor and much of the equipment could use updating (I think 1 of about 8 table tennis rackets that we found wasn’t broken in some way). Organization and communication could also be improved; on arrival we were given incorrect information about orientation times and on 1 evening the buffet for kids was unexpectedly cancelled.

We used to go to Fern annually in the 80s and I’m not sure if we would return after this visit. Our kids had a great time (staff at the Playvillage were good, especially Bridget) and we had a lot of fun during our stay, but the food and accommodation detracted from the experience for us.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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 11, 2014
Thank you for posting your comments regarding your recent stay with us at Fern Resort, and welcome back! I certainly appreciate your positive comments regarding activity programs and the entertainment. Our front line staff are very in-tune with meeting and exceeding our guests’ expectations and offering genuine hospitable service. I do apologize the food did not live up to your expectations. We do try very hard to offer a large variety of options at every meal. Our dinner menu consist of 10 entree items and the menu changes each day. Along with our regular menus we do offer a kid’s buffet each night as well as a daily poolside BBQ lunch option. Two of the upgrades this summer are sushi and build-your-pizza at the poolside BBQ lunch menu. They have been very popular this summer. Although everyone has different tastes, on the whole we do receive very positive comments about the quality and taste of our menu options.
The Evergreen Villa accommodation is a very sought after unit. It is a large unit that holds up to 10 people and is very popular with large families. Because we include all meals in our rates there are not many plates, utensils, etc in the unit. The building itself is very old but has been renovated with new carpet, blinds and paint in the fall of 2013. We will consider putting plates and utensils in the unit as well as some additional glassware. Thank you for the suggestion.
I am glad to hear your kids had a great time and you had a lot of fun during your stay. I hope we have added to some of the great family memories you and your family have of Fern from the 80s.
Thanks Again.
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.
Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
104 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014

We went as a large-ish group staying in three cottages for an in-law's birthday celebration. Our cottage had two double beds and a pull out couch. Opening the door I immediately noticed the great view of the lake out the patio doors, which was even better than I expected. The room decor is somewhere between dated, and homey/cottage depending on your taste but was clean and fairly comfortable. It was less busy overall than I expected (I don't think they were full). The only time I really noticed the crowd was during meal times since the scheduled meal times meant that every one is there all at once.

I managed to find some quiet time to myself in the morning with a stroll through the mini-golf, trampolines, and a round of actual golf on the 5 hole course (Free!), and shooting some baskets. In the afternoon we enjoyed the batting cages, some archery, and another tour around the five hole course with family in tow this time. The golf course is rough around the edges (longish grass on the fairways, aerator marks on some greens are an added challenge) but quite fun for the casual player.

Bottom line: We had a good weekend as a family. You can probably tell from Fern website whether or not the resort is the place for you.

Pros:
- They arranged for a cake from a local bakery which was great. (The desserts on the menu were good enough that you might actually be better off just sticking a candle on one of them! :) )
- Some of the cottages have a small deck on the back of each cottage facing the water is great. I wish I had spent more time out there in hindsight!
- Muskoka and Steamwhistle beer on tap! (albeit pricier than "domestic") Great to see local breweries being supported. I probably drank 50% more than I would have if they hadn't had such a good selection!
- Overall the food was good, with a good variety to choose from. Some small misses like my side of bacon being way too crispy (meanwhile the bacon at the buffet was perfect) and the home fries and burgers were just okay, but the soups were great, and my dinner entrees were excellent (particularly my mustard sauced pork tenderloin). Multiple courses with good sized portions, you won't go hungry.
- Servers in the dining room are mostly teenagers and perhaps not always perfectly polished but I thought the service was great and very friendly. (And we were probably a difficult table with two children and some indecisive adults!)
- Entertainment options were enjoyable. It was the Fantasy Circus and a comedy magician for the two nights we were there. Similar to the family cruise we did, the entertainment options were not necessarily my cup of tea and probably not things I would normally choose but I still enjoyed them and they were crowd pleasers for all ages.
- All inclusive. Pretty much everything was included other than motorized boats which was nice. A fridge in our cottage meant that we could have some snacks and beverages on hand if we wanted, but we didn't really take advantage of that.
- The weather wasn't particularly hot but the pool area was less busy and more relaxed then I thought it might be.

Cons:
- I found it to be a tad pricey but it was comparable to other resorts we looked into.
- The late riser in our group our group found the meal times restrictive. I thought it was fine personally but something to keep in mind if you don't like being on a schedule.
- The mattress on the pull out couch was not amazing if you are larger person. I suspect it might be better if you are smaller than me.
- My double bed came with a lot of pointy elbows and knees, which lead to me try sleeping on the couch the second night. (We are used to a king size bed at home) You should probably be fine if you aren't traveling with my wife!
- Screaming children. This will obviously vary with how busy it is, and who happens to be there with you. It's a family resort though (What do you expect?) - and we brought two of the little monsters with our group so I suppose I can't complain too much :)
- Some areas are showing their wear (e.g. basketball courts, mini-putt) but probably not enough to spoil the fun for anyone but perfectionists.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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, August 11, 2014
Thank you for posting your comments and thank you for joining us at Fern this summer as large family group. The views of Lake Couchiching are incredible from the Edgewater Cottages and I can't think of a better westerly view from any resort in Ontario. I am glad you enjoyed all the complimentary resort facilities and that your family's dining experience was enjoyable, as was your overall weekend experience. Fern Resort is a great spot to host multi-generation families whether it’s for a reunion or celebrating a milestone. Because we offer a variety of different accommodation sizes and types, activity programs and kids clubs, for all ages as well as nightly entertainment and many resort activities, Fern Resort truly offers a vacation experience that has something for everyone at every age level. Thanks again for your comments and we look forward to seeing again soon.
Cordially,
Scott Collens
General Manager
Fern Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Orillia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Fern Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 103
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 family 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 Orillia
Fern Resort Orillia, Ontario

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