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“A great girlfriend's weekend!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Madden's on Gull Lake

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Madden's on Gull Lake
11266 Pine Beach Peninsula, Brainerd, MN 56401   |  
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53rd Best in the World!
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Brainerd
Minneapolis
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“A great girlfriend's weekend!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2011

A group of us came up here with expectations of relaxation though I think we left more tired than when we arrived from all the activities.

This was all our first time here and made our reservations by phone. We ended up reserving a 2 BR cabin that overlooked the lake (with some trees in the way) and was also connected to the executive course. Each bedroom had one single bed and one double bed. The cabin was clean but is outdated and had an old, musty smell when we first walked in. It went away after we aired it out but looking at all the different lodging options, I would pick something else next time.

Being our first visit, we were surprised by the size of the resort and all the things it had to offer. There's a schedule of activities that they published (some free and some you need to pay extra) from bingo to happy hour cruises to horseback riding. I also highly recommend getting the "recreation family pass". It's a one time $25 fee for the entire stay and includes equipment use for games at the tennis/croquet center (tennis, croquet, lawn bowling, shuffleboard, indoor board games, badminton, volleyball, basketball) and use of their non motorized watercrafts (kayaks, canoes, paddle-boats and paddle bikes) for up to 6 people. They have 3 pools throughout the resort so it doesn't feel over crowded. They also have a bonfire every night and put out a basket for people to make s'mores.

The service was excellent across the board and everyone was super friendly. We even got free shuttle service to their Classic restaurant and barely had to wait.

Situation in the middle of the resort is a few shops including a mini liquor store, coffee shop, convenience store and an ice cream shoppe.

A couple of use drove to the driving range and afterwards decided to drive through a couple other close by resorts. One looked very new with their accommodations looking like townhouses. There was a beach, pool and playground. It was much smaller compared to Madden's but didn't see any rec center. The other resort seemed to be a similar size to Maddens and looked to have similar accommodations. I would say they tailor more to the avid golfer as I didn't see a lot of the extras that Maddens has.

Overall we were very happy with our resort selection and all agreed to come again. We saw prices can be a little on the higher side during their "peak" season so it would be worth it to wait for the first two non-peak weekends that follow.

Recommendations: It would be worth it to bring your bike as there are a bunch of bike trails around and the rental run $30/day.

Room Tip: They have an interactive map on their website so you can see pics of your specific room. Good tool...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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177 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Hudson, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2011

We went to Madden's for a long weekend in mid-August and had a great time. Of course, the weather helped. Was sunny and 73 degrees and beautiful. Here's our take:

1. Lodging - There are many different options for rooms around the resort. It is a large property, so you may be close to the water or the golf course. We were in the main lodge, and although we did not have a view of the water, we enjoyed our room. It was spotless and roomy with comfy beds.

2. Food - Our package included breakfast and dinners, so we weren't real picky. But I would say that breakfasts are better than dinners. We tried the buffets at the Lodge and Inn (two different buildings in different locations). Both were quite good with eggs, bacon, sausage, cereals, yogurt, french toast, waffles, etc. We had lunch at the 19th Hole on the patio. Good sandwiches/soups with a nice view of people teeing off at one of the courses. Dinners were much better at the Lodge Dining Room than the Inn. The Inn's menu is just too large for quality. The Lodge, however, has a smaller menu which changes daily. Had very good walleye one night and ribs the next. It's not a foodie paradise but is ok if you choose wisely.

3. Activities: We were mostly interested in golf and boating. We aren't great golfers, so stuck to the Social 9, a sweet little par 3. No tee times - first come, first served. We generally got there after breakfast - 8:30ish - and had the place to ourselves. You can use a cart, and we did, given some holes are quite hilly. If we had wanted to play the Pine Beach East, we could have. It was quiet, and we learned that mid-August is when the bulk of their visitors slow down. Judging by the range of golf talent, we would have been fine, so maybe next time. Courses are well maintained and staff is very friendly. They make it easy.

Recreation was also included in our package, so we had our choice of kayaks, canoes, etc. We tried a little sunfish and had a great time learning to sail. We also rented a simple aluminum craft fishing boat to check out more of the lake. It is a very large chain of lakes, but traffic was minimal. Some folks are going way too fast, and I assume alcohol is involved, but most were very respectful. Other rec options are movies, kids activities, etc.

In general, we had a great time and felt it was a terrific value. If the weather had been bad, we probably would have gone into town to do some shopping or check out some historic sites, but we were lucky enough not to have to. We'll definitely go again.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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
161 reviews 161 reviews
87 hotel reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
372 helpful votes 372 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2011

We stayed just two nights but would have loved to stay longer. Booked minimum rate room (the cabins really look beautiful but not this trip). Sunny in reservations was very helpful in selecting a good location and we got the exact room she had promised. All staff had a smile and a pleasant greeting and seemed to like working there. We booked a package which included meals and golf. Sometimes when the meals are included the food is marginal. Not the case at Maddens....excellent cuisine in very nice dining rooms (you have a choice). It was a great deal. Room standard but clean and even a view of the lake. Nice pools and grounds and some shops. I would highly recommend Maddens and watch for the packages as we really felt it was a good price for everything that was included. We will return next year for sure. We also went fishing with the Madden's recommended guide Walleye Dan....9 lb Northern Pike...it was really fun!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, IL.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2011

Expect to have a wonderful time, the facility, service, quality of food, condition of golf courses and the quality and professionalism of all staff and employees is the best.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ewing, New Jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2011

We have been vacationing at Maddens for ten years and I want to say that it is worth every penny! We are busy morning til night and everyone is so pleasant and helpful. This year the food seemed particularly delicious at the Lodge, the Classic Grill, the Inn, and the 19th hole. Be sure to wake up and take a kayak paddle on the lake before it gets busy at 9:00. Golf and tennis clinics very professional! Facilities in great condition. And if you need something or to make a change, just ask!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2011

We just happened upon a deal they were running for the 2 nights we were there. Our price included 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners and 3 rounds of golf at 3 courses. The Classic course was not included. I called ahead to ask alot of questions and they were all answered by a very charming woman named Sunny. The staff at Maddens is first class, very accommodating in every respect. The dinners were ok nothing over the top, but breakfast was served in the lodge in buffet style or off the menu,and it was very good. I believe the young man who helped us the most was Patrick working as an intern for the summer at the front desk. We managed to play 2 rounds of golf, sit in the one of many pools, go for a pontoon ride that was complimentary to us and eat as much as we could. Many laughs and a great time.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Billings, MT
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2011

Do not attempt to check in late at night in the Inn. The representative does not enjoy sending folks up to the Lodge.

After the sun rose, the firt thing I noticed is how well manicured the grounds are. It wasn't always this way in the past, but now the landscaping really adds a touch of class to the resort. Aside the frustrating check in, the service was stellar. From packaging breakfast to return to the room to the friendly nods that one may not expect when an employee passes on a service vehicle, the folks working here want guests to feel comfortable.

The spa seems to be undergoing a transition. Hopefully in a few months things will seem more polished and settled there.

The location of the resort is unparalleled. Ten minutes to Baxter and right on a quieter bay of Gull Lake makes for a relaxing time with non-resort amenities within easy reach.

I hope to make it back again next summer.

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Madden's on Gull Lake

Address: 11266 Pine Beach Peninsula, Brainerd, MN 56401
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Minnesota > Brainerd
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Brainerd
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 287
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Large resort with four golf courses, dining, spa, children's activities, tennis, croquet, watersports, miles of lakeshore. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Maddens Resort On Gull Lake Hotel Brainerd
Maddens Hotel Brainerd

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