Where do I start? This will be a VERY long review as I have a lot to say, but bear with me, you'll definitly know why not to stay at this place.
I, my husband and our three small children (3, 1, 3 mo.) met my husband's brother and his two small children (5 and 4) in Clear Lake, Iowa for an impromptu get together since we were going to be within a 3 hour driving distance from my husband's brother in South Dakota. Being short notice, we did not make any reservations at any "major" hotel's prior to our visit and found all "major" hotel's to have no vacancy. I then contacted the chamber of commerce to see if they had any suggestions. They (I CANNOT BELIEVE THEY DID!) suggested this PM Park Place and another lodgey type place that didn't answer the phone when I called. So PM park owner (Chris) told me that they had 4 rooms available in the "lodge" but otherwise were plum booked solid (making it sound like a GREAT place.... She did explain to me that the "lodge" used to be a type of camp lodge but that it had been remodeled and to see her website (www.pmpark.net). Also see the website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PM_Park,_Clear_Lake,_Iowa
for more information on the "history" of the place. She explained that although the rooms are "smaller" and the bathroom's are "in" the room.. that they are "remodeled" and "cute". I told her small wouldn't be a problem as long as she thought I could fit a pack-and-play in the room and still have enough room for my daughter to sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor. On the phone she really was nice and sounded more than accomodating telling me that just to make sure there would be enough room she would move the dresser and a chair out of the room for me for the pack-and play. So, after looking at the website (it really DOES look cute, but looks are BEYOND deceiving in this case) I went ahead and booked two rooms.. one for my family and one for my husband's brother and children.
So after we saw the lawnmower races in the nearby Mason City, (which all hotels anywhere near the fairgrounds were also all no vacancy, I guess the Iowa Fair must draw a huge crowd... don't ask me why... but that's another story...), so anyways... we find our way to this PM Park place via my googlemaps directions. After what seems like a forever drive around to the southwest end of the lake, we FINALLY arrive with five very sleep little kiddos. Cris had previously told me that if we arrived after 5:00 we could pick up the keys at the restaurant next door. So we arrive and are shockingly surprised by what seems like a HUGE beach party at the new tiki bar, right next to the parking lot, also RIGHT next to our "lodge/hotel". Let's just say LOTS of drunk people... And it was only like 9:00. So we go into the restaurant entrance which appears to be more of a nasty diner/bar (mind you I didn't see the dining room, but there was bar seating like two feet from the front door). And there we meet Cris (along with a few more drunk people). So Chris is very nice (I think she was sampling the margarita's too...) and told us she would show us to our rooms (but then she hurridly remembered that she should get some money from us first (hmmm... I wonder why?). So I pay her the just over $100 for our two rooms (which I didn't think was bad at all... BEFORE we actually SAW the rooms). So back through the drunk crowd we walk to the "hotel" which is a stone's throw from the restaurant AND drunk crowd, I mean tiki bar. I should have turned around and said no thanks as we entered the first floor of our delightful accomodations. Picture really REALLY bad college dorm, (but actually worse). Dark dingey hallway for about 10 feet, turn the corner to go up a nasty stairwell (which is wonderfully decorated in grafitti ~ something that I guess is "cool" at this place because of the Buddy Holly airplane accident in the area years ago... but to a three year old who we are trying to teach not to write on the walls is somewhat confusing...), turn right at the top of the stairs and enter another lovely hallway (see "hole in wall" picture with God knows what spewing out of it) and finally to the two rooms (9 and 10) which we were now SUPER excited to see!
I know this is a long review... but I have LOTS of details...
So ~ Room #10 ~ As if we didn't ALREADY have a WONDERFUL first impression, Chris unlocks the room and goes to flip on the light... hmm... that one must have burnt out. Well.. let me pull this chain light above the sink to shine on the wonderful accomodations. A lovely set of twin beds (I'm exaggerating), knotty pine walls (I'll give her website THAT for honesty), a sink that resembled my old dorm sink, and a BEAUTIFUL "in room" bathroom (more on that later... see pictures too...)
Now on to Room #9 right across the hall, the room where she so generously moved the dresser and chair out of to make room for a pack and play. Pretty much the same except for a full size bed instead of two twins.
So we say, thank you very much and Cris is off (probably to test some more Margarita's). At this point all I can do is stare at our accomadations pretty much speechless and almost ready to cry because I was the one who foolishly booked this place based on the recommendation of the Chamber of Commerce (who I am also going to contact, along with the health department) and also on the wonderful website. I'm also feeling REALLY terrible that I invited my husband's brother and kids to join us at this horrible place. But I'm holding it together because I know that there is NO PLACE else to stay in the area and we still have 5 very tired kids. So, we tell ourselves that it can't be that bad, and it'll be just like "camping with walls" (words that I'm taking right out of Cris's mouth). Up go the pack-and-play's, and kiddo's go to bed. (For a couple hours we had them all sleeping in the room with the double bed while we sat in the other room with doors wide open so we adults could chat a bit since it was only a little after 9:00, but don't worry... across the hall is literally two feet away). So now with kiddo's off to bed, Mommy (me) is REALLY peeved and let's the steam roll about this place. I am so disgusted that I get out my camera and start snapping REAL pictures that do the place justice, not the ones of the probably ONE nice room in this whole place.
Now that I've ranted for long enough, I'll explain some of the pictures:
(Sorry about the quality of the pictures, I had to open them in paint and shrink them smaller so the would all comply with tripadviser's upload policy...)
Photo 1 - This is me standing in the doorway taking a picture of the "beautiful" knotty pine wall that is now cluttered with the AC cord. Would you want to (let alone want one of your children to) sleep next to that?
Photo 2 - This is the view from the beds, this looks exactly the same in the room with the full bed (except they forgot to give us any towels in room 9). Nice little dorm style sink that is VERY user friendly (you have to hold on either the hot OR the cold with one hand while you wash the other hand... they don't stay on without being FORCED on...). Nice little trash can conveniently located under the sink to catch any random drips. Lovely flowery plastic shower curtain to close off the "private" toilet/shower area. Oh yeah, also notice the copper plumbing on the outside of the shower... romantic huh?
Photo 3 - View of the bathroom from the side wall. I am flush against the wall holding the camera above my head (that's the curly hair at the bottom of the photo). Yup.. I'd say the rooms are small.
Photo 4 - All I can say is, UGH! Needless to say, NOBODY slept on the floor! This was in room 10, but room 9 was the same.
Photo 5 - Can you say shower shoes at best? Yuck! If you look really close you can see HAIR still in the drain and we didn't even shower in the thing!
Photo 6 - I took this picture the next morning when I could OBVIOUSLY see daylight between the huge CRACK in the door!
Photo 7 - Bathroom toilet / floor in room 9. I wonder how sanitary THAT floor is?
Photo 8 - HORRIFYING BED! I think this is probably the most horrible/shocking thing that we encountered! So after we adults chatted for a couple hours, we transferred my brother-in-law's sleeping kiddos from the full bed to the twin bed that is behind the shower (not the twin bed with the AC cords stapled to the wall). Being dark, we just threw back the top bedspread and sheet and placed the still sleeping kiddos in the twin bed (on a bottom sheet). So if you know kids, you know that they don't sleep still in the least and they toss, turn, kick, toss, turn, kick... so morning dawns and they have toss, turned, kicked the bottom sheet right out from under them and THIS HORRIFYING BED was under them! AHHH!!! I could NOT believe my eyes. You would think that housekeeping SURELY would know about this! Can they NOT afford a new matress if they are so BOOKED?!
Photo 9 - The wonderful view from Room 9's window. I don't know if it's garbage or remodeling materials, but it was a hodge-podge of a pile of junk that didn't look like anything productive was being made of it...
And Photo 10 - Last but not least (I DO have more, tripadvisor only lets you upload 10 though, so I picked the worst 10...) . . This was another "boasing" point from Cris. She was so excited that we had young kids and told me the kids would surely love to play on the beach that is private to PM park and that they also had a little playground for the kids. YOU CALL THIS A PLAYGROUND?!
Hmmm... where do I start? The broken flowerpots in the dirt? . . . The... hmmm.. are those puke buckets next to the "No Alcoholic Beverages Beyond This Point" sign? . . . That's the TIKI Bar behind the "playground" if you didn't notice... You telling me they don't serve ALCOHOL at the tiki bar? Maybe you should turn your "no alchohol" sign around ... But then I guess the "playground" would be IN the drinking section now wouldn't it?
So needless to say I WOULD DEFINITLY NOT NOT NOT recommend this place to ANYBODY! (Unless you are a complete drunk who drove your boat to the one bar that is on the lake and then are too snockered to drive your boat back... then I guess you're too drunk to notice anyways.) If you go to their website, (which you should... see how decived I really was!), look at all the pictures with the idea that they are for ADVERTISING! I really can't review anything else but where we stayed... who knows... maybe her "remodeled" houses really are spectacular. But I would think that a place couldn't hold a double standard. SUPER nice accomodations for one house, and LOUSY for another. I also couldn't IMAGINE having a wedding here! I also can't adeqately review the restaurant or the food as there was no way in heck we were staying more than 10 minutes past wake up time!
In closing, I WILL give Cris two bits of grace... my husband went to her the next morning (found her in the Tiki bar... I don't think she left the night before) ... he told her that he was GREATLY dis-pleased with the place (as she tried to argue and argue why why why...) he told her, for one it was not sanitary, we wouldn't even let our daughter sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor and our other two were in their pack-and-play bed's. She tried to argue that she TOLD me that the rooms were small and that the bathrooms were in the room... bla bla bla... trying to argue some more until my husband finally told her that we took lots of pictures of the place and of the torn up matress and that he demanded a refund until she finally gave him a refund in full. So we stayed there for free... but it was so aweful, I would have rather slept in the car.
And that's my story. Moral of the story... STAY FAR AWAY!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- PM Park was established in 1913 by the Patriarch Militants as a kids camp, later the mess hall turned into a restaurant and the dormitory turned into the hotel, we added the Tiki Bar in 2007. Nothing fancy, just as it was then, it is now. We are located on the shore of Clear Lake. If you are looking for old-fashioned vacationing in a laid back lake setting you will be happy here. If you need all the luxury, or any for that matter...we are not the choice for you. Call us for lodging options, we have simple rooms and apartments to cabins and cottages. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Pm Park Hotel Clear Lake
- PM Park Clear Lake, Iowa