My wife and I stayed at the Tamarack for three nights while in Ketchum for a wedding (there was a block of rooms reserved for guests, so it wasn't our choice). Upon driving up Sun Valley Road from Main St. toward the hotel, the first thing you see is a tired-looking sign advertising features such as air conditioning and a pool. Both touts were accurate, but the fact that they are still prominently displayed is indicative of the age of this property and the lack of other hotel options in town. There were both good parts and bad parts during our stay.
1) Check-in was a breeze (possibly because we didn't arrive in town until almost 7:00 p.m.).
2) Parking is free, and at least for us, always ample. There are spaces on Walnut Ave. and also a small lot in the back near the pool. I was always able to find a spot in this back lot. Street parking also appeared to be plentiful in the immediately adjacent blocks.
3) Our room (211) was spacious with a fireplace, a kitchenette with a mini-fridge, and a balcony with table and chairs. The balcony overlooked the back alley, but we could still see the mountains.
4) Our king-sized bed was comfortable with supportive pillows.
5) The wall mounted flat-screen TV had DirecTV, though it was far away from the bed.
6) Wireless internet was free and always working.
7) The location was fantastic. It's three blocks from Main Street, which has a number of restaurants and bars, and there are many other places to eat/drink within walking distance. There's also a grocery store and drugstore about two blocks away. Starbucks is one block away, but a better coffee option is Velocio, which is right across the street and much less crowded.
8) I heard of a free bike rental, but we didn't explore that option.
1) There was a distinctly musty odor upon first entering the interior hallway to our room, and it persisted in the room itself. It never really went away and clung to my clothes upon our return home.
2) The bathroom was downright tiny with a low showerhead (I'm 6'4") and very little counter space. Toiletries were merely servicable, and the towels were thin. If the door was open you could see the toilet from the bed.
3) We were given actual keys (like those to a house) and they had our room number etched on them. This is great for hotel staff, I'm sure, but considering the size of Ketchum, it wouldn't take too long to figure out what hotel these keys were for if we happened to lose them or, even worse, they were stolen. I'm not paranoid about hotel security in general, but this hardly seems ideal.
4) We stayed Thursday night through Saturday night, and while housekeeping came on Friday, they never came at all on Saturday. Not once. My wife and I left together at around 8:30 in the morning to get coffee and put the "please make up room" sign on the door. I came back by myself around 9:45 and they hadn't come yet. No big deal. I left around 10:30, and my wife came back by herself at some point between 10:30 and 11:00 to get ready for the wedding. She put the "do not disturb" sign up. I returned around 12:15 and we immediately left to go ride the gondola up Bald Mountain, flipping the door sign back to "please make up room" on our way out the door. We came back at a little after 3:00 to find the room in the same condition we had left it. Admittedly, we were in and out of the room more frequently than we were on Friday (when we were gone all day), but there was still a three-hour window in the early afternoon when making up the room could have been accomplished. It's as though they tried to come once in the morning (if they came at all), saw the "do not disturb" sign, and gave up on coming back to check for the rest of the day. This is really quite inexcusable for any hotel, let alone one that has maybe 30 rooms total and check-out/check-in times of 11:00 a.m./4:00 p.m. respectively.
The main problem is that everything about the Tamarack is dated, and not really in a quaint or charming kind of way. Just picture a ski chalet with an A-frame roof from the 1970s and you have a pretty good idea. Considering the three nights totaled almost $500 (and this is likely a discounted rate as part of the block of rooms), value is certainly not its strong suit. I concede that lack of value is a common feature of hotels in ski resort towns, but I shudder to think what you would pay to stay here in the height of ski season, especially considering you're not within easy walking distance of any of the base lodges (I suppose you could walk to River Run, but that would be quite a haul with ski equipment). The free parking at both the Tamarack and all base lodges mitigates this somewhat, but if your focus is on skiing, there are closer properties to the lifts.
For summer visits the location is excellent, and if you like to walk places (which I do), it's likely the best option in Ketchum. Three and a half stars is probably the most accurate rating overall, but that's not an option, and the housekeeping issue was a major demerit for me. Just go in with your expectations firmly in check.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Tamarack Lodge looks forward to your visit to the Sun Valley area welcoming you with beautiful spacious rooms, comfort, unmatched hospitality, combined with unparalleled location all yours in the heart of downtown Ketchum, with all the comforts of home. The property also has a beautifully landscaped courtyard, a wonderfully relaxing outdoor hot tub with a great mountain view and a year-round indoor heated pool. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tamarack Lodge Ketchum, Idaho
- Tamarack Hotel Ketchum