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“Nice accommodations, strange service” 3 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, Minnesota
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Nice accommodations, strange service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

I recently stayed at Madden's for one evening for a work event. I was looking forward to this, as my husband's family owned a home on Gull Lake for many years and we frequentlybalatad past Madden's and I had been curious about this resort. I arrived late on a Sunday afternoon in anticipation of a conference on Monday morning. I was assigned a room in the voyageur, which had a nice view of the lake,and a lovely outdoor balcony to enjoy the lake view. There was a small refrigerator and sink (wet bar) but no microwave. The rooms seem to have been somewhat recently redone, although keep in mind this is an older resort, so don't expect everything to be new. I thought the room was very nice, the bedding and bed was very comfortable. I also enjoyed the flat screen TV. I was there after Labor Day, so I was aware that this is the off season, and didn't expect to get the full Madden's experience. I wanted to use a hot tub, but it was too confusing to figure out where to go to find one, so this was disappointing. I ate dinner at the restaurant at Madden's Inn, which was a terrible experience. As I was there for a work function, I was alone. I have no problem eating alone and do so regularly when traveling on business. However, it was incredibly uncomfortable to eat there alone. First, the waiter was very strange, asking me several times if I was really alone. It was uncomfortable. I also was not able to really order what I wanted, because their entrees do not come with any sides, and you have to order sides separately. No problem, except each side served three people. So if you are by yourself, you can't order the walleye, and have a veggie or potato with it without spending tons of money for food that will go to waste! I really wish I had picked up something to eat in
Baxter on my way to the resort, but by this point I was hungry and tired and had no choice. I could not get out of there fast enough after eating.

When I checked in at he Lodge, I was told that breakfast would be served there. However when I went there in the morning, there was no breakfast and I was directed back to the Inn. Since i was there, i checked out, although the staff had a terrible time dealing with my bill because of some computer problem and had to run my card multiple times. Finally, I ate at the lobby cafe, and other than being overpriced, it was fine. Since I had already checked out, I gave them my debit card to run. The server was gone for over ten minutes, and then came to my table and whispered loudly that their Internet was down and did I have another form of payment? It was super strange, and other diners would get the idea that my card was rejected, which would have been impossible. So luckily I had enough cash and paid with that. It was very strange. Once again, I had a bad feeling leaving the restaurant.

So overall, the accommodations were ice, but the service was just strange and made me feel uncomfortable being on my own. I stayed at Grandview Lodge for a similar work conference a couple years ago and had a much better experience. If my husband and I are going to ever vacation at Gull Lake we will probably look to stay there instead.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cara L, Manager at Madden's on Gull Lake, responded to this review, October 8, 2013
Thank you for sharing your review. We always enjoy hearing from our guests and appreciate that you took the time to share your experience.

Our Voyageur rooms are some of our most popular rooms because of the spectacular sunset views and quiet setting on Wilson Bay. We apologize for the frustration in locating a hot tub, as we certainly would have wanted you to enjoy relaxing in one. We have them located at the Madden Lodge, Madden Inn and Wilson Bay, which is quite close to the Voyageur rooms.

I am very disappointed in your experience in the dining room. We would never want you to feel uncomfortable in any way. We are used to accommodating single diners, as we get many visitors like yourself who are traveling on business. We have a variety of dining outlets available ranging from casual family-style to fine dining so that we can accommodate all preferences. We apologize for the confusion over breakfast and for the inconvenience at check-out. Both experiences should have been quick and easy, as they usually are.

We are a family-owned resort that has been in business for 84 years. We are built on a reputation of welcoming and taking care of our guests at every turn. That you felt uncomfortable is unsettling and I deeply regret that you felt this way. Please contact me directly, as I would like to discuss your experience further and find a way to make this right.
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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
Cottage Grove, Minnesota
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

My husband and I love to golf at Maddens in September. The weather is beautiful and the golf courses are in great shape. We always have had a great experience there with our rooms, the staff and the food. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. They all really want to make sure you have a great experience. We have tried other resorts in the Brainerd area and we were very disappointed. We will definitely be back next year!!

Room Tip: cabins on the lake are wonderful as are the rooms in the inn
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Cara L, Manager at Madden's on Gull Lake, responded to this review, October 3, 2013
Thank you for sharing your amazing review of Madden's on Gull Lake!

Fall golf at Madden's is really beautiful and we are thrilled that you had a great time. We appreciate your comments for our staff. The comment that we hear most frequently from our guests is that our staff really cares and goes above and beyond to make sure their stay is enjoyable, so thank you for sharing. We're so glad that you have always had a great experience when you visit us- that's our goal!

We look forward to welcoming you back to Madden's again next year!
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013 via mobile

Everything at Madden's is stellar. From their friendly and welcoming staff, to the excellent food, lots of activities, wonderful amenities and beautiful grounds- you will really have a great experience here. Lots of fun things to do, and plenty of relaxation to be had. Enjoy!

  • Stayed September 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cara L, Manager at Madden's on Gull Lake, responded to this review, September 25, 2013
Thank you for sharing your review of Madden's on Gull Lake!

We are so pleased that you enjoyed your experience with us and that you were able to take advantage of all of the fun things there are to do at Madden's!

We appreciate you sharing your experience with other travelers and look forward to seeing you at Madden's again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
windermere, Fl
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2013

loved it. great historic minnesota lake resort. very nice restaurant portions were huge walleye was spectacular. nice lounge to watch favorite sports events. staff outstanding. well stocked golf pro shop beautiful golf courses what else could you want from a lake resort

Room Tip: get a lake view from you balcony
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Cara L, Manager at Madden's on Gull Lake, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Thank you for sharing your review of Madden's on Gull Lake!

Yes, we do have portions of the resort that are historic ( we are celebrating our 84th season this year), we also have other accommodations that are quite new and modern. A nice variety!

We're thrilled that you enjoyed your dining experience, as well as our 19th Hole Lounge. Walleye is always a Minnesota favorite!

We're so glad that you experienced our golf courses during your stay- nothing better than fall golf! Because we offer 63 holes of golf- including our premier course, The Classic, Minnesota's only 5-Star, Top 100 golf course- not only do we offer something for every skill level, but we offer more golf than any other Minnesota resort!

Again, thank you. You are so kind to share your experience with other travelers. We look forward to your second time at Madden's!
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Rosemount, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

Visited twice in the summer staying at the cabins on Wilson Bay. For us, the accommodations at Wilson Bay could not have been any better. The AC was needed during our stays, and was very welcome. The bed comfort was exceptional.

Staff was very helpful and courteous for the most part. But, if you do not pay for the meal plans, make sure you ask questions, as it is not very intuitive. Walking into the lobby and cafe area made me feel like a second class citizen as I was not on a meal plan. Signage or more details about European plan meal options, breakfast and coffee, etc would have been helpful and inviting. It can leave you feeling "less wanted" to purchase meals. I just don't like being tied to eating all my meals in one place. I like the freedom to explore restaurants, etc. But more info about on site options, specials, features, etc would certainly inspire me to want to stay on site and indulge!

Happy Hour cruise was a nice touch.

My only major complaint is the same for most all of the resorts in the area. Poor internet access and reliability. Yes, it worked... most of the time. But speaking as a traveler who works remotely... as many people do these days... It is nice to have the flexibility and reliability of knowing you can always go online. A few stoppages and intermittent spots of downtime were prevalent in BOTH my stays. Fix this issue, and you have a quality resort.

The main lodge and lobby could use a slight makeover in a few areas, or embrace the history more by highlighting it... Otherwise it feels a bit worn and torn and sitting there unused. I would prefer the lobby areas with flat screen monitors calling out activities, vs. a board with papers all over it. It looks junky...to be honest.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Cara L, Manager at Madden's on Gull Lake, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Thank you for sharing your review! We love hearing from our guests and appreciate your feedback. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your accommodations in our Wilson Bay cabins. The Wilson Bay area is very popular with our guests and they especially enjoy the large sandy beach and amazing sunset views over Gull Lake.

Like you, so many of our guests are moving away from the meal plan to give themselves more flexibility and choice and we have enjoyed the opportunity to present a variety of dining options to our guests. We understand the desire to explore and try different things and have embraced this concept. We are sorry you did not experience this and have taken your comments to heart. We hope you will have a better dining experience with us in the future.

We recognize the importance of a strong wireless internet system, as we understand that travelers need to be connected 24/7. We apologize for the inconvenience during your stay. We are constantly making improvements and have recently made a substantial fiber and wireless antenna upgrade that has significantly improved service.

Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions for our lobby. We have many historical pieces throughout the resort, including our lobby, and are always looking for ways to honor our past and share our story with our guests.

Thank you, again, for sharing your experience. We look forward to seeing you again!
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Blaine, Minnesota
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

The meeting space and attentiveness by the staff was excellent. The room had very comfortable beds, was clean, and had an excellent view of the lake. The property is older but that adds to the charm you don't get from a standard cookie cutter property that you find in the national chains. The staff is amazingy and everyone I encountered had a smile and was eager to assist you. I have golfed three of the four courses and the courses are great and again the staff is outstanding! The dinning is superb and and the desserts were wonderful. I am already looking forward to meeting there again next year!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Cara L, Manager at Madden's on Gull Lake, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
Jeff, thank you for reviewing Madden's on Gull Lake!

Meetings at Madden's are a lot of fun because of the interaction that occurs outside the meeting room- sometimes the "meeting after the meeting" is more productive than the meeting itself! You are so kind to mention our staff- we love what we do and I'm glad that you enjoyed your experience.

Madden's has grown over the last 84 years from the historic hotel to our newest golf villas, so we offer a wide variety of accommodations in various styles. Our Food & Beverage team work hard to provide interesting and delicious offerings and our on-site scratch bakery does an amazing job of baking breads, pastries and desserts that are available throughout the property.

Thank you, again, Jeff. We look forward to hosting your meeting again, as well.
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Minneapolis
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

Every year my family stays at Maddens for our family vacation. We always look forward to the friendly staff, nice accommodations, and our golf scramble on the East Course.

They know how to handle our large group at Maddens and do a really great job of making everyone happy. They even helped get us rooms that accommodated people with limited mobility. Staying on the first floor of rooms on the Madden Inn allows them to walk out right by where the golfing is.

My favorite part of vacation is sitting by the pool watching the golfers come in.

This place is a gem and if you need a little bit of time away from the cities but don't want to drive too far this is the perfect place for you.

Room Tip: If you have someone with limited mobility stay in the main guest lodge on that first floor with room...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Cara L, Manager at Madden's on Gull Lake, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
Thank you for sharing your review of Madden's on Gull Lake!

We appreciate that your family visits us each year. I am so glad that we are able to accommodate your needs for those with limited mobility. Just a 2 hour drive from the Twin Cities, it's a quick trip to get to Madden's.

Thank you for your kind words for our staff, as well. We all look forward to hosting your family's get-away and golf scramble again next year!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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