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“Not for non-smokers” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Surfside on Lake Superior

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Surfside on Lake Superior
Highway 61, Tofte, MN 55615   |  
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Special Offer
Spring Fever Special
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Tofte
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Winkler
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Not for non-smokers”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

My husband, our daughter and I recently stayed at here. We wanted a quick, relaxing break after a recent family wedding. We love the area, and wanted to enjoy the lake views from our windows. My review is mixed so I will split it into:
Pros:
Lovely layout of condo. There is enough room for a family to spread out and not be squished into a small area. The kitchen is well-stocked with cooking utensils, plates, glasses, flatware. Large fridge freezer with ice and cold water feature. Coffee, tea, sugar and creamer are provided. Has some air-conditioner units in the rooms.
Cons:
The place was dirty when we arrived. Large handprint on the fridge. Sink was filthy, kettle on stove was full of what looked like oil splashes. Windows had handprints all over them. Garbage alongside couches and a huge splash of white stuff down the side of the coffee table. The air-conditioner fins and the heaters, as well as all surfaces, were covered in dust. Dining table was not clean either.
After reporting a detailed complaint, which was noted down, cleaning was offered. Came back later on in the afternoon to find that the beds and bathrooms had been neatened up, towels replaced, which we did not request. However, the things we wanted cleaned, like sweeping the floors, cleaning the dirt and dust, were not done. I eventually cleaned the sink myself.
The biggest problem with this place was the old cigarette smell. It whacks you as you walk in the door. We opened windows to air out the rooms to no avail. The worst was the last few days as it was extremely hot and humid, which made the smell unbearable. The lady at the front desk did not seem to know or care about the problem when we checked out.
DO NOT STAY HERE IF you are a non-smoker.I am asthmatic, so it was a huge concern that I not get sick on our holiday. I had to take double doses of medications to stay well. Not fair!! Our car reeked for the 9 hour trip home, we had to wash everything we took with us, purses and wallets stink, so does the card.
VERY DISAPPOINTED. Considering what we paid to stay here, we feel it was not worth it at all. Too bad as we would stay again IF we could be guaranteed a non-smoking condo., but as that is unlikely, we will look elsewhere to spend our dollars.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BluefinGM, General Manager at Surfside on Lake Superior, responded to this review, September 13, 2013
I was surprised to find this review since all accomodations at Surfside have been non-smoking since they were originally built. I called this guest by phone to learn more about the smell. Information they provided led us to discover spoiled food inadvertently left by the unit owner in their pantry cabinet (a storage space not accessible to rental guests). This food gave off an unpleasant odor that did resemble the smell of smoke. We have thoroughy cleaned the pantry cabinet, steam cleaned the carpet and upholstery, and wiped down all other surfaces in this condo to make sure that no traces of this smell remain. I have also given the author of this review a certificate to return as our guests for their inconvenience.
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74 reviews from our community

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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 (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Decorah, Iowa
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

Well, hopefully the title of my review tells you how I feel about Surfside. Course, my experiences go way back to 1968 when my parents first brought me to the BWCA. We stayed overnight at the little Surfside Motel (on the same site) prior to embarking into the wilderness. Tofte and the BWCA have been my personal Mecca ever since. I love the area, the lakes, and I'm in total awe of Lake Superior. I want a place to spend more time in retirement in this area but don't want to buy something that I, personally, need to maintain. So, I hope to own. Having said all of this: we have stayed in Bluefin before and totally enjoyed the experience. We decided to try Surfside following viewing these beautiful condos during an open house. Our stay met and exceeded all of our expectations. We had ample space for 6 adults. Everything was as it should be and as advertised. We experienced no issues with noise transfer. I'm a teacher. Sadly, one of my students was tragically killed 5 days after our return. I know that my mental state was in a much better place during this difficult time due to the privacy and serenity we experienced at Surfside. No amount of money could have bought that. I can't say enough thanks!

Room Tip: every room is choice!
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  • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Grand Forks, Minnesota, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

We just got back from a 4 night stay at Surfside. First impression was "wow" it was great, not a lot of guests their at the time. We stayed in a Master Suite in the basement. It was pretty clean/decent, our sliding door opens to a breathtaking view and it was so peaceful. Then our neighbors above us decided to show up OMG with lot's of liquor.... A family with 3 kids-that night was awful, constant running bang bang it was ridiculous. Finally after 11:00pm I had enough and went outside to find the responsible adults who were all outside getting drunk by the fire. Instead one of their older children came out slamming the door and I kinda flipped. He was apologetic I just explained everytime they run and jump we hear it, it settled down shortly after but every morning boom/bang non-stop and everynight. I was with my husband and 2 children and we paid way too much money for this. I would definatly never ever stay in a master suite again unless no one rented the above at that time. Everything else was great but that was such a disappointment. I wish I would have really listened to the others about this issue, it was really really bad.... On another note the spa was great a little over-priced for services but I enjoyed a massage. The young man at the front desk was very nice but unfortunately after 7pm guest services is closed so you have to go to Bluefin down the road. Getting the free s'more kits was a nice treat. Also be careful if you walk out onto the rocks on the shoreline there we stumbled upon a huge "crack" in the rocks that was very hard to see if you fell in it you would be severely injured. Probably would not be a bad idea for Surfside to put a sign up..

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
BluefinGM, General Manager at Surfside on Lake Superior, responded to this review, September 13, 2013
When first built the soundproofing between the upper and lower units at Surfside did not function as it was designed to. We brought in the premier sound engineering company in Minnesota to analyze the problem and recommend the best solution. Per their direction we removed the cieling of the lower level suites and installed several layers of sound insulation and sound deadening materials. Once this work was completed, with the 42" TVs in the upper floor at their highest volume setting (which was deafening in the upper level), not a trace of this sound was detectable in the lower level. However the results were not quite as good with impact noises. Loud pounding, jumping and heavy running on the wooden floors above can still be detected below. Guests seldom notice this because most neighboring guests do not pound, jump or run. The group staying above this guest had numerous active children, so they were impacted. We added a layer of gypsum concrete over "Acousta-mat" sound deadening material to the upper floor system of our newest building, which solved this problem. Our future buildings will included these same added measures. The first three Surfside buldings will be due for new carpet in two years, at which time sound deadening floor mat systems will be added to their floor systems as well.
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Saint Ansgar, Iowa
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

We love this place! We've stayed here twice and have rented the upper level (two floors) with our two kids. Perfect space for a vacation. Love the location and the water's edge. The spa treatments were great and convenient. Nice to have an indoor pool and hot tub available. Location is perfect for exploration trips both north and south. We cooked in alot but ate at Coho Cafe twice which is divine! Great food and gluten free options!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

The location is lovely - we could hear the surf at night. The room was fine; the jacuzzi was great. But there is no housekeeping "for your comfort and privacy." And there were bulbs out in the bathroom and we could not get anyone to replace them. Way too much money for that kind of service.

Room Tip: There's not much privacy on the bottom floor.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duluth, Minnesota
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

We stayed at Surfside for a romantic vacation, and I have to say that I could have not been more impressed. Everything was perfect. The front desk staff was flawless and very efficient. The room was clean, and the perfect size for the 2 of us (Lower Unit), and the Jacuzzi overlooking the lake was spectacular. The spa was amazing. I had the same therapist for my massage, and she also instructed yoga, shes great at both! The small cafe above the spa is superb! The food is the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing morning at the spa, please tell the Chef that they do a wonderful job, and we will definitely be back. We had dinner at the grille, and our server was very courteous and helpful on both nights. The food was very good as well. HIGHLY recommend the scallops! The coho was alittle overpriced, but all of the bakery is good. The tall blonde manager was probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. We WILL be back. Thank you all so much!

Room Tip: Middle units seem to have the best view.
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  • Stayed June 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
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Brandon, Canada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

We stayed in a 2 bd/2 bath unit for 6 nights starting June 1st. We usually stay at Larsmont Cottages so were a bit apprehensive about trying somewhere new. We were pleasantly surprised. We checked in at Surfside and checkin was efficient and Nathan was very friendly. Our reservation was exactly as discussed - no pet, no smoking unit 16A. This is a middle unit and we thought we might have a lesser view than an end unit, but that was not the case.

The main floor bedroom was huge with a king size bed, chair, loveseat and had an attached bathroom with shower (heated floors in the bathrooms). Another door in the bathroom opened to the hall. Bathrobes were provided and there was ample towels and amenities for a 6 night stay. There was a walk in closet in this bedroom, and an additional closet in the hall. The kitchen had everything we needed other than a blender would have been nice. There was a deck off the dining area where it was very warm in the morning due to the sun and we were able to have coffee/breakfast on the deck most mornings. The units do not have central air, but there is a wall mounted quiet air conditioner in 4 areas. We did have some problems with the unit in the main bedroom, so went upstairs to sleep the last couple of nights. There is also a window in the main bedroom that does not have a blind, so we found we were waking up too early as we like it dark to sleep. As it is so high up, the only option would be to install remote control blinds. On the 2nd floor, there is a sitting area that overlooks the living room and 2 comfy chairs, along with a desk area. The 2nd floor bathroom also has a shower. There is no bathtub in the 2 bd/2 bath unit.

Our neighbors beside us and below us seemed to change every 1-3 days but we did not hear a sound from the other units. At Larsmont Cottages in a comparable unit, you can actually hear conversations from the unit above you.

We visited the pool/hot tub once and the area is very nice, but take shoes with you as the pebbly surface on the floor is coming off. Very nice changing/shower rooms.

The firepit is located on the parking lot side of the units and there was lots of firewood and logs to sit on. We used the firepit once at lunchtime for hotdogs and several times in the evening.

We also visited the cafe once for breakfast and the food and service were very good. The cafe was open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Their menu indicated they serve afternoon tea (sandwiches, beverages, dessert) and it sounded quite nice for an afternoon treat.

The grounds were well maintained, with a laundry building on site for guest use. There were also bikes, games, DVD's available. We were told that we could not use the pool or other amenities that are located at Bluefin Bay.

A nice feature was that guests could sign up for free activities offered at Bluefin Bay. When we were there, there was kayaking, rockpicking hike, photography hike and hikes to various waterfalls etc. We just had to drive to Bluefin Bay, which is a mile down Hwy 61, and the activities person drove us in a van to the site. We signed up for the rockpicking and the photography hike and both were great.

Our unit was very very clean, nicely decorated, and we had a great stay. Every staff member we met was friendly and helpful. We will definitely visit this resort again.

Room Tip: Not sure if there is a bad room here, but we did attend an open house in Unit 17A, and we were told...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Surfside on Lake Superior

Address: Highway 61, Tofte, MN 55615
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Minnesota > Tofte
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Tofte
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of the Lutsen/Tofte area, just a three-and-a-half-hour drive from the Twin Cities. Surfside on Lake Superior™ is set against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains, surrounded by Lake Superior and the magnificent Superior National Forest. Surfside combines all the comforts of a luxury vacation on the North Shore, with the rewards and benefits of owning a second home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Surfside On Lake Superior Hotel Tofte

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