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“Location is its greatest asset” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tamarack Lodge

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Tamarack Lodge
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   291 N. Walnut Ave., Ketchum, ID 83340   |  
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Ranked #4 of 12 Hotels in Ketchum
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Chicago
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Location is its greatest asset”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

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.

The good:
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.

The bad:
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.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
woodriverinn, Manager at Tamarack Lodge, responded to this review, August 21, 2013
Thanks for your input - we will always keep working to make it better
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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116 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    49
    39
    17
    7
    4
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27
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7
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Poulsbo
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

If you arrive in the dark - depending on the room's location you might need a flash light.The first day and night we had no interior lights in our building hallways at all, making it difficult to climb up a dark staircase to the rooms. Even the backup lights were down - but they finally fixed it. There are several buildings and parking is sparse (and dark) at best.

The room was nice, sunny, and large with a balcony facing West. That made the room a tad warm (we did encounter an unexpected heat wave in May), and the AC was noisy and next to the bed, blowing cold air on us. When we opened the sliding door to the balcony to get fresh air we heard people on the street talking loudly - so we had to close it again. The window coverings are not black-outs and don't go all the way up to the top windows, so you'll want to wear blindfolds or just wake up with the chickens.

But the bathroom was tiny - no room for two people to walk past each other! One could tell it must have been an after-thought to build it because the door was very narrow, too. There was so much extra space in that TV Alcove - just 2-3 feet could have easily been added to the bathroom without cramping anyone's style who might want to sleep on the pull-out couch below the wall-mounted TV.

The pillows were quite hard and over-stuffed, giving both my husband and me a crimped neck. I asked for flatter pillows - to no avail. As in too many hotels - the Wi-Fi is NOT secure. How hard is it to establish a password for guest access?

But the location is within short walking distance of everything downtown. Don't want to move that car too often if you're lucky enough to snatch a parking spot, that's for sure. Yes it's old - but all in all it was a decent place to stay for the reasonable price - clean for sure, and beds (sans the pillows) were comfortable.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013 via mobile

Dated exterior but interior is quite nice with ample supplies in each room. We had a great view of mountains; found the location to be convenient. Beds were comfortable and pillows full size. Bath tissues were 2 ply and softer than we have found at fancy hotels. Pool and hot tub were clean.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
woodriverinn, Manager at Tamarack Lodge, responded to this review, January 31, 2014
We thank you for your stay with us - we do value your comments
Do come stay with us again
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, Washington
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

On my way home from Utah and a friend of mine and I decided to take an 80 mile detour to Sun Valley. Decided to stay at this older hotel and we pleasantly surprised. The service was great the room was a little older and very clean. Beds were comfortable and it is in a great location for exploring Ketchum, ID.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
West USA
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

The Tamarack Lodge is an older motel in downtown Ketchum. The location is excellent with several dozen restaurants within walking distance. The rooms are older, catering to a ski crowd, with some features that make it a pretty good deal especially during the slack season when we visited. King beds are comfortable. Room size is good. We were on the first floor overlooking a grassy courtyard. Outside our sliding glass door were two chairs and a small table...ideal for enjoying a glass of wine and snack. Rooms have a microwave and refrigerator with small freezer section. Ours also had a couch and small table and chairs. There is an indoor pool across the courtyard with a whirlpool. We thought about using the whirlpool but it was being used by groups of children each evening so we skipped it. The hotel offers free five speed Raleigh bikes which were fine for us. Nice to not have to lug ours there. The bike path is a block away. The hotel check in and out times are not very generous. You cannot check in until 4PM and check out is 11AM. We tried to check in an hour early but we were turned away and told to come back at 4PM. There is no breakfast. We went to Atkinson market a block away and stocked our frig with fruit and yogurt....the front desk had coffee after 7AM or so. All in all if you can get a good deal it is a very nice stay. If I had paid more than $100 per night I would have felt that I had paid too much.

Room Tip: We preferred the first floor. In winter I would prefer a higher level.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

Our visit was very pleasant! Tara in the office made us feel very comfortable. She also gave us information on attractions which was very nice. I will be coming and staying again. Thank you Tara for all your help.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

I will be back to stay again it was wonderful to have such a warm welcome from Tara at the front desk! The beds were comfortable and the room was very clean. The location was great and I can't wait to go back and stay again!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.

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Additional Information about Tamarack Lodge

Address: 291 N. Walnut Ave., Ketchum, ID 83340
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Idaho > Sun Valley-Ketchum > Ketchum
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 12 Hotels in Ketchum
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Tamarack Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 26
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

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