We stayed on the second floor of the Phoenix lodge from Sunday evening through Friday morning. The room was very comfortable and spacious - especially the huge bathroom! The view from the balcony was lovely both day and night, and we were treated to an extensive and colorful display of heat lightning flashing over the mountains for several hours one night.
As many others have mentioned, there are many free amenities including canoe and kayak and paddle boat use, a variety of swimming and hot tub options, free computer use at the clubhouse, free movie check out (and yes, they are current titles and the selection is pretty good). Also an endless supply of free coffee and assorted teas available at the clubhouse.
The landscaping is excellent. I suspect the flowers were a bit limited this year due to the heat, but there was still plenty of color. The grounds were well watered a very green, and we were fortunate to be there when the temps were in the mid-80's.
We did not use the shuttle service. They had several of them running around, but it was so easy to drive around the place that it didn't make sense to us to get dropped off and then have to call again to be picked up. We were generally going to a series of places each time we went out. There is ample parking anywhere you want to go.
The bi-level pool up on the hill is the largest and least crowded, so we spent considerable time there. The little complex with the gift shop is nice to stop into. There is a big dinosaur skeleton statue and a balcony with comfy rocking chairs and a beautiful view. There are just dozens of hidden treasures if you poke around the grounds a little. The craftsmanship of the stonework and bridgework is impressive.
I think the reason I'm rating this "very good" instead of "excellent" is that our expectations may have been a little too high and there were a few disappointments and quibbles along the way. The "lazy river" was very small and full of young children. The canoes, etc, could only be used in the small cove on the property. The kitchen was missing a few handy items like a dish rack and scrubby. The lighting in the unit was just hopeless. The lampshades are all made of an amber colored material so even with every light in the place on you can't see anything. We had to resort to using a flashlight to read a brochure at one point. Some of the staff was very friendly but others were a bit stand-offish. We got a giggle out of the wrist bands that potential Bluegreen purchasers were given to wear - we figured that was to alert the staff of who they needed to actually be nice to because the company didn't have THEIR money yet. (That said -The staff at the member services desk that handled movie check out, shuttle scheduling, computer assistance, and apparently dozens of other tasks were outstanding and unfailingly cheerful, no matter how busy they were.)
They did bring us cookies every evening, and ask if we needed coffee replaced or anything....we only used one coffee packet during our stay. It was only upon checkout that we discovered that this service was NOT complimentary, nor was it optional as far as I know. It was a bit of a shock that a total of 20 cookies and one pot of coffee ran us $25 in service fees!!! You would think a platinum membership plus annual maintenance fees would cover something like that without paying even more. At the very least you should be offered the option to pass on the cookies if they cost over a buck each. It seems as if the cookies are being used as an excuse to offset the cost of all of those "free" amenities that they offer.
We'll certainly visit again if circumstances allow. Overall the positives far outweigh the negatives. You just can't help but be relaxed and content in such pleasant surroundings.
- Also Known As:
- Big Cedar Wilderness Club Hotel
- Big Cedar Wilderness Club Hotel Ridgedale
- Big Cedar Wilderness Hotel
- Big Cedar Wilderness Ridgedale
- Big Cedar Wilderness
- Big Cedar Wilderness Club Ridgedale
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