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“beautiful cabin but multiple problems” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Wapiti Woods

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Wapiti Woods
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5186 River Road, Along SR 555 and the Elk Scenic Drive, Benezett, PA 15868   |  
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york pa
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“beautiful cabin but multiple problems”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

I booked this cabin after calling one of the local Chambers of commerce and being told that I was booking so late that I probably wouldn't find a place to stay. I was given the names of Wapiti woods and 2 other places that were in the area but were booked. When doing an internet search only those 3 came up so I assumed they were the only ones in the area (untrue but the others are just poorly advertised).

I emailed my request and rec'd a response a few days later. I had several questions and the owner, Steve, was great at getting back to me and addressed all of my concerns. What I didn't realize was that there were some things that I should have been aware of that I was never made aware of prior to staying. If I had been told about these things, I doubt that I would have stayed there. I will set it up in a pros/cons format just because that makes for an easier read in my opinion.

PROS- *The location is great, Only a short drive to the Elk Visitor's Center and multiple viewing areas.
*The cabins are beautiful. Exactly as shown on the photo with just about everything (except towels, wash cloths) provided (and toiletries of course)
*Our cabin was immaculately clean. This is an accomplishment in itself considering they are in the woods. Honestly it looks like they are brand new. They are well maintained and Steve has gone so far as to provide with a good amount of startup firewood, kindling, things you will need if you grill, use the firering etc
*Everything is clearly spelled out for you as far as what is expected upon your checkout etc
*He gives multiple phone numbers that you can access from the landline in the shanty in case of emergency (when the site says NO CELL PHONE SERVICE- believe it. Not for many many miles. ) Wifi is advertised as being available in the shanty but we DID NOT HAVE WIFI. (more on that later)
*If you get bored, the shanty has a huge collection of videos/dvds to watch IN THE SHANTY. There is no tv in any of the cabins (as mentioned on the site)
*Steve has even gone so far as to provide multiple covered wagons to get your belongings from the parking lot to your cabin. You can not park by your cabin (more on that under 'cons')
*The website is thorough. Please read everything under each of the little drop down bars. I did not and was quite surprised when I did so the day before traveling to find out that parking was not close to the cabin. (my fault for not reading)
*The surrounding area is beautiful and there is a stream right behind the cabins
*Steve was very helpful in answering all questions

CONS-*I found out after reading tripadvisor the day before we left that there is currently construction very close to the cabins. (within a few yards depending upon the cabin you have). We inquired about this after reading it on TA and Steve said that there is currently construction beginning at 7am and that is true. We were in cabin 5 and 4 new cabins are being built only a few yards from where we were staying. Very early in the morning (it was probably closer to 8am than 7am), we heard lots of hammering and circular saws etc. But, there is never a perfect time for construction. The 4 new cabins were under roof so I'm not sure how long that will be going on but as of Oct 18, it was pretty loud in the early morning.

* TAKE A BRIGHT FLASHLIGHT. We had a lantern and a flashlight and it was not enough. The path to the cabins are very very dimly lit. The lighting was almost nonexistent. You are in the woods and it is just like going to your campsite in the dark but I mention it so you know to bring a good flashlight (at least). The lights were on from approx. dusk to 11pm or so
*The advertised Wifi did NOT work in the shanty. No biggie but just something to be aware of. IT sounds like it goes out from time to time and when we notified Steve, he said we should just try to reset it, which did not work
*The TV in the shanty is for video/dvd purposes only. There is no cable / tv signal (again, no biggie for us but just to mention it)
*You can not park by your cabin. When I inquired about this the day before we left I was told that there is a map on the website which shows the location of the parking lot and cabins. The lot is about 300-900 feet from the parking lot (it is pretty level and graveled so not a hard walk but just fyi)
*On our last day, we were trying to get in a few last minutes of enjoying the beauty of the area and were coming out the door of the cabin to sit outside. As I walked out, 3 young men came by with a wheelbarrow and trees/plants and stopped directly in front of our cabin and started digging. So much for solitude. This was pretty upsetting considering that not every cabin was rented to my knowledge and Steve certainly could have had the workers digging a little later in the day when most people are out and about OR they could have spaced it a little better as far as when to do the planting. It didn't ruin our vacation to say the least, but it was very intrusive. I felt like there were 5 of us enjoying the last moments of vacation instead of the 2 of us. And the noise made from digging the holes for the trees directly outside of our door (literally 4 feet) was quite disturbing. This was between 8am-8:30am on our last day. I can't imagine what it would have been like if we decided to sleep in on our last day. We did, however, want to enjoy sitting outside a bit before leaving and were unable to do that.
*This is the most upsetting point that I need to make but be aware that upon arrival you will need to sign a BLANK CC slip as if you are making a purchase but there is no dollar amount assigned. My husband went to sign in and get our keys and at that point was told (and I was never aware of this before), that you need to sign a blank credit card slip to be held as your security deposit. He questioned that practice in this day and age with cc fraud and stolen identities etc. He was told that this is the policy and he has to agree to the terms. He did so because if not, we would have lost the full amount of the cost of our stay and I don't think there were openings anywhere else. (Upon taking the credit card you are then told that you need to sign a blank charge form "in case" there is any damage to the unit/items etc. There is no dollar amount, no dates etc.) Reluctantly and after expressing his concern multiple times, my husband signed it but the second that we were able to drive where we got a cell phone signal, we contacted our credit card company and were told this is very poor business. They agreed that signing such a form when there is no dollar limit basically is allowing any amount to be charged, at any time. Upon leaving, we videotaped everything showing that there was no damage done etc. We also asked Steve to please at least date the slip so bogus charges couldn't be added anytime in the future. He did agree to that but I have to say that this was the deal breaker for me. Because of THIS policy alone, I will not return. I totally understand about taking a security deposit but we were never aware of this (other than being told the credit card holds our reservation and security.. I was never told that we would be forced to sign a blank cc charge slip that was not dated and without a dollar amount and without discussing possible charges with us IF they did occur in case of breakage etc).

When we returned home , we immediately called our cc company to alert them of this bizarre, dangerous practice in case any bogus charges showed up.
I know this review is very lengthy but there are lots of little things that one needs to be aware of. The area is beautiful but for now, you will hear the construction going on and be aware of the cc policy. If these don't bother you, then enjoy.

Room Tip: Cabin 6 is closest to the parking lot (for now). After construction I'm assuming cabin 10 will b...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WapitiWoods, Owner at Wapiti Woods, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Oh, where to start….thank you for the very thorough review. It is good to see both pros and cons.

Pros…again, thank you for that!

Cons …Construction of new guest cabins – we added on four new guest cabins in 2013/2014. That includes three new 2 person Romantic Cabins and a new 6 person handicap accessible Family Cabin that are all now completed. We certainly apologize for noise during the construction and expansion. The late year timing was due to loan timing and weather.

The path lights are low level lighting….bright enough to light the pathway for people to get in and out of the cabin grounds. They were not meant to act as street lights. Cherry Springs State Park is a short drive from the cabins and it is considered to be one of the premier east coast locations for dark night skies. Our guests can take advantage of our slice of dark sky right from the cabin grounds. We work to leave the path lights on until ~midnight. Also, the cabins have motion activated accent lights on each front porch and we highly recommend guests bring flashlights or lanterns as noted on our “Cabin Stock List and Guest To-Bring List” found on our website.

WiFi access can be troublesome, at times, based on the age of the phone lines in Bennett’s Valley. We currently have 7 hubs spread throughout the cabin grounds – one each in the four new cabins built in 2014, the main hub in the community cabin and two expanders placed on the grounds through the original cabins. We do work to keep the system working but, unfortunately, at the mercy of the aging lines, we are not always aware that the system is down and that the modem needs reset. A simple phone call from the phone in the shanty to our home/office does the trick.

We do not allow vehicles to drive onto the cabin grounds. This improves overall safety for our guests and their children as well as providing our guests with a more intimate, quiet and private experience. The provided large, covered hand drawn wagons have ample room to move personal belongings from the parking area to your guest cabin. Our guest cabins range from 100’ to 900’ from the parking area.

Regarding the security deposit, which is used to protect the investment made in our guest cabins at Wapiti Woods, we have worked to find a way to make that process as pain free as possible. As noted on our website and in our literature, we do request a $250 security deposit at check-in. We have been taking an imprint of a credit card, with raised number, onto a blank CC slip, along with the cardholder’s signature, to hold for the security deposit. We then have something to work with…in case of what we’ve found to be a very, very rare instance of damage. We then destroy those signed slips after cleaning the cabin. The guest is not out of any pocket money and we have coverage for any potential damage.

Alternatively, guests can provide us with a check or cash for $250 for the security deposit, if they have a concern with the blank signed CC slip. We can then void that check after reviewing the cabin and provide proof to the guests, if needed, by scan and e-mail or by shredding or mailing back the voided check or refunding the cash deposit by check.

We do understand some hesitancy regarding signing a blank CC slip but we have experienced similar things during our travels. We prefer that our guests be comfortable with the transaction vs. working to raise a red flag. We have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by using guest information improperly or illegally. We continue to work to offer our guests options to handle security deposits.

Thankfully, the construction work is behind us. For the most part, our guests embraced the expansion and new construction as a sign of good things happening for our guest cabins at Wapiti Woods.

Steve & Coleen K.
Wapiti Woods
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17 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Douglassville, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

We stayed in cabin #3 for our honeymoon from September 22-25th, 2013 and wow!!! What an experience. Saw tons of elk, turkey and deer and it was an incredible experience. The owner of Wapiti Woods is awesome and extremely accomodating. The cabin was beautiful and romantic. This is probably one of the best vacations I have ever had and plan on returning. My suggestion to anyone coming to this area is go see the Elk Viewing Visitor site outside of Benezette and take the horse drawn carriage ride-it is well worth it!. The only thing I wouldve changed about our stay was we couldnt stay longer. This is a great get away!!!

Room Tip: Dont forget to take your own towels and bathing items. Also you will need to take your own food.
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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 1
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WapitiWoods, Owner at Wapiti Woods, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
A great experience and memory…thanks for coming to enjoy our place for your honeymoon. You had a great stay without even using one of the two person Romantic Cabins…that’ll be a treat for you when you come back!

Steve & Coleen K.
Wapiti Woods
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Conowingo, Maryland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

Just returned from a 3 day getaway - actually my parents had booked the cabin but my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in July and tried to cancel due to her inability to travel. However, the owner wouldn't refund her $ because it was within 60 days of the reservation. Upon arriving, I mentioned this again and he said, Yeah sorry but it's the circle of life. Nice - not exactly hospitable OR in good taste.

We stayed in the Couples Cabin. Very nice, well appointed, clean and good proximity to elk viewing & the Visitors Center (about 5 miles away). MAJOR ISSUES: The owner is expanding and although he mentioned the construction site, he did not mention the hammering and large machinery would begin at 7 AM every day. (Is this tranquility?)Nor do the walkway lights come on at dusk, or even 30 minutes after and although ours was a cabin nearest the parking area, it was 218 yds from car to the door, walking in the dark. NOR does he bother to light the roadside sign, which would be extremely helpful as it is a very dark, rural stretch of highway at night and difficult to spot a dark brown & black sign when you're trying to get back to your cabin. Not sure if he was trying to save a buck or what, but for $175 per night I sort of expected to find a little peace and quiet and lights!!!!!!!!!!. All in all I am extremely disappointed - we were there in the middle of Benezett's popular elk viewing time (Sept Oct) so for me there is no excuse for having an active construction zone in early morning when you have paying guests a stone's throw away. Surely there is a slower time of year or more respectable hours.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WapitiWoods, Owner at Wapiti Woods, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
We certainly do understand and make exceptions for emergency situations that we all deal with in life…deaths, sickness, accidents, loss of employment…things outside of our personal control. Since we took our first rental, in those instances when a cancellation falls inside of our 60 day cancellation policy, we charge for the reservation deposit but we also hold that deposit, good for 4-6 months, against another reservation for a similar time period. Those held deposits can be gifted or transferred to others – family, friends. Our guests do not lose their deposit and we do not lose our rental…a win/win for both of us.

We certainly apologize for noise during our recent construction and expansion. The timing was not to our liking either, but determined by the loan process timing and weather. For the most part, the overall effort went very smoothly and with little incident to impact our guests…even during the height of the fall season. Admittedly, we did have some lighting issues to contend with due to unintentional power outages that affected the path light timers. Had we been made aware, we would have made the needed corrections.

Our guest cabins, range in distance from the parking lot of between 100’ to 900’. The path lights are timed to come on prior to dark and to stay on until about midnight. We adjust based on guest request. Each cabin is equipped with motion-sensored porch lighting. We inform guests, knowing that they are coming to the woods, to check the “Cabin Stock List and Guest To-Bring List” noted on our website. It is strongly suggests that guests bring flashlights and even lanterns…just in case of emergency or if you are more light needy.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for our guests with the recent expansion of our guest cabins.

Steve & Coleen K.
Wapiti Woods
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Blandon, Pennsylvania, United States
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

The exact reason we go here is to get away. There is a parking area for cars and buggies with big wheels are provided to get your supplies to the cabin. This certainly cuts down on the noise and light. The path is lighted to each cabin. This also increases your opportunities for wild-life viewing from your cabin front-porch swing.

We took my parents once and even with a bad knee, my dad had no problems walking to our cabin. They didn't want to leave.

Each cabin is very clean; the couples cabin has a jacuzzi. The location is very close to elk viewing areas.

There is no cell phone service, but each cabin does have Wi-Fi internet service. Firewood is also provided for indoor and outdoor stoves.

The beds are comfy and linens are provided. So are many kitchen utensils, including wine glasses. You only need to bring your own towels. We always cook in the fireplace outside--steaks, ribs, hot dogs...

The owners are very friendly and accommodating.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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WapitiWoods, Owner at Wapiti Woods, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
We recently added a quality, in-ground, stand-up charcoal grill at each cabin to make it easier for the outdoor chef. Grilling utensils are provided, along with mountain pie irons, hot dog & marshmallow cooking sticks, as well as a “Stoaker” for those wood burning enthusiasts. The Stoaker is a handy tool to tinker with the burning wood to get that “just so” fire!

Steve & Coleen K.
Wapiti Woods
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

They are clean and newly built but too isolated. No cell service. No sunlight. A little too much iin the woods. Plus you have to walk from parking area to cabins. Not good for seniors. Bed uncomfortable. No way to reach anyone in case of emergency. Just way too much money for the price of these cabins. Maybe if the price came down it wouldn't be that bad. These are located "on the way" to benezette.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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WapitiWoods, Owner at Wapiti Woods, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
No vehicles are allowed to drive past the parking lot onto the cabin grounds. There is a lighted, level, rolled, gravel pathway that is perfect for the large, covered hand drawn wagons. They have big pneumatic tires for easy pulling and have ample room to move personal belongings from the parking area to your guest cabin in one trip. If somebody happened to pack way too much stuff  (STEVE), they might have to help push! This improves overall safety for our guests as well as providing a more intimate, quiet and private experience.

No “local” cell service just means you disconnect if you so choose. If not, either go to the community cabin (the Shanty) that has a hard line phone for emergency and local calls or use our wireless internet service. If neither of those are an option, in an emergency, just come to the office and use ours.

The beds in the original six cabins come with a firm futon style and the newest four cabins with conventional mattresses…something for everyone.

There are nice grassy areas to catch some sun but the cabins are shaded to keep them cool in the hot days of summer and quiet without the drone of running air conditioners!

Steve & Coleen K.
Wapiti Woods
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Southbury, Connecticut
Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2012

There aren't too many nice places to stay in this area and with this said, I must say I was disappointed when I heard the price. We paid about $175 with tax and it was way too much for a cabin in the woods. The owner lives about a mile away and we were the only people staying on the campsite. There is no cell phone or internet service in the cabins. You need to go to what they call the "shanty" for either. My husband and I are both seniors and had no way of contacting anyone if there was an emergency. The path lights are turned off at midnight. We did find the cabin clean and neat, but very over crowded with furniture. The owner normally does not provide towels but since we were just passing through, they did give us towels. The bed was not comfortable at all. It was not worth the money.

Room Tip: There is a river near the cabins but the incline is very steep and difficult. Also, we had trouble g...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
WapitiWoods, Owner at Wapiti Woods, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
A stay at a cabin in the woods is an experience—a crackling nighttime fire, a creek streaming down the valley, forest creatures, hiking trails, wildlife watching…just enjoying mother nature. For those who want to experience some time in the woods…our guest cabins offer clean, modern amenities and quality furnishings in a quiet wooded creek-side setting.

The community cabin (the Shanty) has a hard line phone for emergency and local calls. Wireless internet service is actually available throughout most of the cabin grounds with 7 access hubs. In an emergency, for those who can’t call collect, don’t have a calling card or access to our wireless, you simply come to our home/office to use ours. Our driveway entrance is only ~ 300 yards from the cabin entrance…from the farthest cabin door to our home/office door it is a 1,100 yard walk/drive with a maximum walking distance of 900 feet on a level, lighted, rolled, gravel pathway.

The beds come with a firm futon mattress. This spring, we added four new guest cabins (including an ADA cabin within 100 feet of the parking lot) with conventional mattresses that will be another option for our guests.

Every cabin is equipped with motion sensored porch lighting. The path light timing can be extended as well as directions given to a mowed, easy-to-access creek entrance by request. We turn the path lights off late at night to avail our guests with some of the darkest night skies on the east coast. You won’t find a better place for your night sky app!

The cabins are completely furnished with a full kitchen, indoor wood burner, outdoor fire ring and charcoal grill, picnic table and porch swing. Every two person Romantic Cabin includes a whirlpool tub. The shanty has washer/dryers, games and movies also. Indoor & outdoor firewood is provided. There is also an on-site picnic pavilion, walking trail with creek access and horseshoe pitching / yard game area.

Steve & Coleen
Wapiti Woods
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Additional Information about Wapiti Woods

Address: 5186 River Road, Along SR 555 and the Elk Scenic Drive, Benezett, PA 15868
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Pennsylvania > Benezett
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Benezett
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6

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