I researched for hours on where to stay, being new to visiting Brainerd. Honestly, we wanted to stay at Kavanaughs but they had a minimum stay that didn't match our travel plans unfortunately.
We decided to splurge and stay at the EXPENSIVE Cragun's hotel (I can't call this place a resort). We don't mind splurging as long as we get a nice place but THIS AINT IT! We rented a cabin, and the location did give a beautiful view of the lake but the interior is that of a semi-clean one-star motel. I'm not picky about the lack of updated decor as long as it's clean, but everything felt "sticky" like a well-used roach motel. I AM picky about odors, and this place is old, so I should have expected the foul old-cigarette odor mixed with something else--TIP: if you stay here, turn the old icky window AC units on full blast and the odor is dimmed enough to fall asleep but then you wake up two hours later freezing your toes off. Gas stoves in cabin and well-used garage-sale utensils for you to prepare food with. They charge about $3 for a bag of ice that is only about as big as a gallon of milk, and there are NO ice trays in which to make our own ice from the fridge in the cabin. The lake itself is big and pretty, and our fishing guide was a really nice man, and the people at the main lodge were friendly, but this place is crappy! I couldn't wait to get a good night's sleep away from cold and odors, so we only stayed for two nights instead of the original plan. The price they charged was WAY out of line for what you get...if you're picky about odors like I am, run away from this place!! Also, the "beds" were awful and I like a firm bed, but it was too hard for me. Even the bedspreads were "sticky" feeling. I was glad to get my family out of there so we could shower the motel off of us! Yes I'm a neat-freak, but this place was really disgusting. Luckily, we didn't spend that much time in the cabin because the lake is beautiful. I read similar things from Maddens so we didn't choose that place, but I got to scope out Madden's at our stay and they look like they have more for teens than Craguns (fyi for those with teens). I would NEVER stay at smelly motelCraguns again, even if I "win" the free drawing they offer--I'll give it to someone I don't like.
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