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“Old country charm” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Deer Path Inn

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The Deer Path Inn
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   255 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Lake Forest
Cypress, California
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Old country charm”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

We stayed two days here for a family destination wedding. Our room was traditional old English Tutor charm. The beds and linens were comfortable and high end. The common areas are pleasing, and the basement Pub a superb place to relax in the evening. The only reason I did not give this inn a five star rating fo excellence, is because I did not find the staff to be that accomodating or helpful. It was a nice place if you navigate on your own or don't ask for anything. Our room charge came with breakfast, but there was no explanation as to what what included, and I found out after the fact only a Continental style of danish and juice was included. Unknowlingly I served myself from the breakfast buffet and found this was at an additional expense and that still would have been ok but it was not hot. The second day I ordered from the regular menu and my meal was better priced and very tasty. One other thing about our stay, our room was very small, which I expected from such a older inn, however there were no hooks or shelves in the bathroom suitable for placing personal hygiene products and make-up, even a robe hook in the bathroom would have been helpful. There were no other ammenities. The town is great, and an easy walk to shops and restaurants in the area.

Room Tip: We had a room, second story on the street, and there was no problem with noise. The radiator did mak...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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74 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bingham Farms, Michigan
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

I stayed at the Deerpath many times over the past six years, when visiting my father monthly at his Lake Forest Place residence. I had known of this charming Inn through a number of wonderful dinners here over the years with both my parents.

First of all, the Deerpath is an old and historic Inn, built originally in the 1860's as a grand private residence, and later in 1929, opened as the Deerpath Inn. The Inn itself was styled after 'The Manor House' (c. 1453) located in Chiddingstone, Kent, England. Today, one will find that the guest rooms are not what one would expect from a new or updated hostel. In fact, the rooms are in fact quite dated, the furniture being outdated as well. The windows appear to be original, as does the heating system. It is, after all, an OLD Inn, but it IS charming and attractive and cozy. Alas, I actually had to start staying at a nearby Tollway hotel, as the beds at the Deerpath are about as comfortable as a park bench... Baby Bear would certainly have complained they are WAY TOO Stiff! (Ok, 'Comic Moment'... "That's what She said....)

Apart from these mundane complaints, the linens were always very clean, and the pillows were quite comfortable. You can also request extra pillows from the front desk if needed. I usually requested a room 'away from the crowd' in order to have more quiet. Some days that was not always available, especially on weekends when weddings or large parties were present; nevertheless, I have enjoyed most of my stays at the Deerpath, despite the dreadfully stiff mattress.

What makes the Inn truly special is the restaurant and Pub area, and the Inn staff. I for one loved taking my Dad over to the Deerpath Pub for a late night scotch and chat, and at times we would enjoy dinner at the renovated sushi bar... truly a great spot in Lake Forest. Be sure to visit 'Artemio', the Deerpath Pub Barkeeper... a class act of a guy! Furthermore, the Sunday Brunch is wonderful and well appointed. and yes, there is always great coffee available right outside the small antique elevator every morning.

In general, I have little 'negative' to say about the Deerpath, aside from the stiff mattresses, (which, by the way, my wife really likes,) and the outdated facilties; then again, I have nothing spectacular to offer either. If you are in the mood for experiencing a classic old English style Inn and don't mind living like travellers did nearly 100 years ago, the Deerpath is a special step in to the past... just don't expect luxury and overwhelming comfort when you visit.

Room Tip: When going on a weekend, request a room away from the partygoers to enjoy 'more' quiet.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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New York
2 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

I travel for business with some regularity, and while I have stayed at some nice hotels for work (Biltmore in Phoenix), I mostly stay at lower/mid-level hotels like Day’s Inn, Double Tree, Hampton Inn, etc. And the truth is, for business, my needs are simple; I don’t care where I stay – as long as the bed is comfortable, and the room is clean and quiet. But the Deer Path Inn provided such a miserable experience – with a $320/night rack rate (I’m sure my employer paid much less) – I felt compelled to post my findings – and, further below, a short piece of drollery (turning lemons into lemonade, as it were).

To be clear: the staff at the Deer Path Inn are cheerful and helpful. It is the owners who should be ashamed of the disgraceful facility and substandard experience they deliver – born, almost certainly, of the cynical assurance that, as the only hotel in the center of Lake Forest, Illinois (or so my employer tells me), the owners can be indifferent to the gracious treatment of guests. One wishes another hotel – even a motel, for goodness sake – would spring up nearby – and show what quality American hostelry and hospitality are all about. My notes:
1. Terrible Bed: The bed mattress felt worn out, soft, lumpy, without the firmness and support even mid-level hotels regularly provide. The hotel, allegedly built in 1920, is pre-war, and so, one imagines, are the mattresses – Pre-Peloponnesian War.
2. Cheap linens: The linens are thin, substandard, cheap.
3. Lousy Pillows: The foam pillows are poor quality.
4. Worn, papery towels: The towels should be rated 90 – if you were grading sandpaper.
5. No coffee maker in room: There is no coffee/tea maker in the room – a standard amenity of every mid-level hotel and higher – a remarkable omission at the Deer Path, whose rack rate is $320/night. As someone who rises between 4 am and 5 am to start working, this was a particular aggravation. Though coffee is available throughout the night by the elevator in the lobby, it requires dressing and descending to the lobby – not what one necessarily wants to do at 4:30 in the morning in one’s jammies, boxers, or less. To add insult to injury, one morning at 5 am, I stood by the doors of the classic, venerable elevator – a source of pride, apparently, for the hotel – for five minutes, before realizing it wasn’t coming. The door hadn’t shut properly, stranding it on the ground floor. Having recently had knee surgery, the stairs weren’t my favorite option, but my thirst for coffee prevailed.
6. No curtains in room, inadequate blinds: There were no curtains to darken the room. Strangely – and reflecting the lack of any design consideration – or really, any consideration for guests – a set of venetian blinds is hung between two sets of windows. On the left and right sides of the inner windows, panels open like Dutch doors, and you have to reach inside to adjust the venetian blinds. Even then, light flows through the blinds, never darkening the room fully as some guests might enjoy. There are no fabric curtains to black out the light, just some cheap and rather gray-white gauze curtains hanging on the sides for no functional reason – and certainly no aesthetic reason. The owners of the hotel may take some comic pleasure in knowing that when I opened the lower half of the “Dutch Door” windows to adjust the venetian blinds, when I tugged on the cord – and pulled it outward – the top window panel flew open with slapstick precision, slamming its corner into my skull and exacting a flesh wound and a little blood.
7. Pain-inducing Desk Chair: While those not traveling on business may not care or have much use for the hotel room desk chairs, those who do use the desks in their rooms for work would prefer a chair whose historical provenance was not that of a torturer’s dungeon in the Tower of London during the reign of King Henry VIII. The poorly padded seat, the straight wooden back produce no pleasant thoughts of the past – only muscle cramps and acute lumbago.
8. No counter for toiletries in bathroom: There was no counter for toiletries in the bathroom. There was one tiny shelf filled with towels and the complimentary shampoo and conditioner, but no room for toiletries save the edges of the pedestal sink.
9. Poorly Positioned Light Switches: Light switches for bathrooms are, by architectural custom, usually placed to the right of the door outside the bathroom, or just inside the doorframe to allow one to illuminate the bathroom before entering. In my room at the Deer Path Inn, the bathroom light switch was installed against the back wall, between the toilet and sink, requiring one to stumble in the gloom into the bathroom to locate the switch – a particular hazard, I imagine, for older guests, unsteady on their feet, attempting to navigate in the dark – if, alas, the room were only dark. (See above)
10. Miniature Ironing Board: I had a suit I wanted to iron and found in my closet a miniature ironing board – suitable for a child’s playhouse, perhaps – but with my computer and papers on my desk, there was no good place to put the small plank – except on the bed, where it wobbled as I imperfectly pressed my clothes. Can the Deer Path Inn really not provide a full-size ironing board like every other hotel?
11. No Heat: The heat didn’t work. Unlike the usual heating/AC systems in most mid-level hotels, the Deer Path Inn has a valve/dial attached to the steam radiator – presumably a valve that lets you titrate the amount of steam heat into your room’s radiators. I tried turning it on full for 30 minutes but eventually left the room with radiators as cold as they’d been when I started.
12. No HD TV: There was no HD television in my room. (Other reviewers have said their rooms did have HD.) This wasn’t a huge concern as I had lots of work to do, but for $320/night rack rate, the absence HD TV seemed particularly parsimonious. At least there was no rabbit ears antenna.
13. No Room Service: There is no 24-hour room service. I rarely, if ever, order room service, but when I called down to ask for coffee to be delivered to the room at 5 am to help get my work day started, I was told there was no room service – just coffee in the lobby.
14. Shabby, Stained, Worn Finishes: The room finishes are shabby, worn and tattered. A large water stain was visible in the cheaply stuccoed ceiling; the wood trim is scuffed and worn; the mismatched carpet and wallpaper as tired as they are dispiriting.

This down at the heels hotel claims on its web site that it offers “a stunning display of architecture and upscale style of service.” I suggest the only thing stunning about the Deer Path Inn is that it manages to remain in business.

But, taking as I often do, a comic view of life, I reflected on the Deer Path Inn and penned this letter to the employers who’d put me there and to friends and family.

Deer Me! – My TripAdvisor Notes on the Deer Path Inn

Some guests have called the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest, Illinois, “quaint and charming.” These guests were recently released prisoners from a forced labor camp in North Korea. When these same guests commented that the breakfast was the most delicious meal the former guests of Kim Jong Il had eaten in decades, a reporter pointed out that they had eaten the cardboard meal voucher card the hotel had provided – and not the offered breakfast. Strikingly, guests who had used the breakfast voucher for its intended purpose agreed with the former North Korean internees, saying, in retrospect, eating the voucher card was preferable to eating the food provided. While the former prisoners gave the towels a grade of “90,” they acknowledged they were referring to a grade of sandpaper.

The Deer Path Inn possesses a rich, historic legacy – which, remarkably, goes beyond the hotel’s publicly stated founding in 1920. Not only is the building pre-war, historians – and numerous guests – have definitively concluded that the Inn’s bed mattresses are also Pre-War – pre-Peloponnesian War. Though even this remarkable discovery pales before the irrefutable evidence of Biblical scholars of Gnostic and heretical texts whose translations of newly discovered Aramaic papyrus documents shed light on the Deer Path Inn’s role in the birth of Our Savior. Offering a remarkable coincidence for the current Lenten season, recent translations of the aforementioned texts clearly reveal that when Joseph and Mary, pregnant with Our Lord, approached Bethlehem, they were offered a room at the Deer Path Inn. After one look at the room, Joseph, with holy paternal devotion, told the Deer Path desk clerk, “No thanks. We’ll be more comfortable in the manger.”

Even more impressively, Catholic scholars recently uncovered fragments in the Gnostic gospels of both Thomas and Judas that include the Deer Path Inn among the dolorous Stations of the Cross of the Son of God along His sorrowful route to Golgotha. Apparently, the evil Romans, believing that tormenting with a crown of thorns and flogging our Blessed Lord were insufficient agonies, decided to delay His path to the Holy Cross with a night at the Deer Path Inn – inflicting mortifications of the flesh so great that the writers of the canonical Gospels felt compelled to omit these horrors from their accounts.

Nonetheless, in monasteries across the Holy Land, collections of devotional Holy relics remain objects of awesome veneration and contemplation, inspiring as much dread as fragments of the True Cross, i.e., Stuffing of the Vile Foam Pillows of the Sleepless Night; the Plank of the Miniature and Useless Ironing Board; Drops of the Strange Hallway Disinfectant; Fallen Toiletries of the Counterless Bathroom; and the Aura of the Missing Coffee Maker of the Room.

In this way, the Deer Path Inn offers guest a journey through time – with unforgettable experiences reminiscent of the Roman Coliseum and the Spanish Inquisition.


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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 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
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elizabeth L, Front Office Manager at The Deer Path Inn, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for your feedback. We, at the Deer Path Inn, are always grateful when our guests share with us his/her opinions of our Inn. We are sorry that you found your accommodations to be substandard and wish that you had come to us with your complaints so that we could have worked to resolve them. The Deer Path Inn has a longstanding history of excellent customer service and, in keeping with that standard of excellence, work to ensure that every guest is as comfortable as possible.
That being said, there are a few of the items that I would like to address; the rack rate for the room you were in, an Executive Junior, is $170 per night. The majority of the suites and standard rooms has either been renovated or are in the process of being renovated; unfortunately, we have not been able to renovate the wing of the hotel you were in due to the high volume of guests we have had this year. There are also certain items we are unable to change due to being a historic property such as the boiler system for the heat in the building, nor can we change the size of the bathrooms which, in many rooms, are not large enough to provide additional shelving for toiletries. All of the linens- including the towels- that the hotel possesses come from a renowned linen company and I can assure you they are not cheap. We also have many guests that love the beds and linens here and have asked where they can purchase the beds and linens for their own use at home. We do have standard ironing boards available upon request. A large number of guests find the miniature ironing boards to be convenient and more easily stored away in the closet which is why we stock them in the guest rooms. If you had let us know your preference for a larger ironing board, we would have happily accommodated you. As we are such a small property, we cannot cater room service 24 hours for our guests. We do make every effort to address the needs with our business travelers by making coffee available at 5:30 in the morning in the lobby.
I hope that in the future you will give us another chance to satisfy your needs as a guest at our property. We can, if given your preferences and needs prior to your visit, tailor your accommodations accordingly.

Warm Regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Lake Forest hotels

Fredericksburg, Virginia
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

This is a charming location and property. My room however had the feel of a college dorm. Furniture sparse and overall not a cozy feel, which you would expect from the exterior of inn, lobby and other public areas. The staff, however were exemplary. Welcoming and helpful. So because of them I give three stars instead of 2.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

I had dinner with my friend two nights ago. The menu choice, the food, the staff and the service are excellent!!! I have stayed in many up market hotels around the world and I have to say the quality of food and the service are really top notch!!! Everyone was so friendly and made me feel really comfortable. The steaks and the grilled lobster are absolutely delicious. A must visit if you're in the area!!! The Windsor Hall management and staff were really brilliant

A Londoner that it's looking forward to returning and staying here again very soon!!

Maja, London, UK

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

I've stayed here quite a few times now and must say that it is a welcome change from the blandness of international hotel chains. The building looks like it was teleported from Tudor England and enlarged on the way. Decor is in line with the style of the hotel, though some of it has seen better days (carpets are a little dingy in places). I just love the creaky old fashioned lift that cranks and jolts its way upstairs. I always find their rooms clean and the beds very comfortable - also are high beds which really makes you feel like you are getting into bed rather than just throwing yourself down on it. And I enjoy the security of having a real key - less risk of some technical glitch and someone else coming into the room. Breakfast is always good. Try their eggwhite and spinach omelette. Staff are always friendly from the doorlan to the waiters.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Los Altos, California
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012 via mobile

Recently stayed here on a business trip and was very pleased. Rooms were quite spacious and recently redone (including bathroom). Comfortable bed and flat screen TV. Common areas were a bit worn and dingy but it seems that renovations are underway which will hopefully give the place a facelift. Service was very friendly. Colleagues told me the dining is very good here but I didn't try it. Inn is located in quaint town of Lake Forest. Surrounding area and neighborhoods are very beautiful especially with Fall colors.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about The Deer Path Inn

Address: 255 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045
Location: United States > Illinois > Lake County > Lake Forest
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Lake Forest
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Deer Path Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 62
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Also Known As:
The Deer Path Hotel Lake Forest

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