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“Terrible Stay” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant & Gift Shop

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Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant & Gift Shop
2.5 of 5 Motel   |   312 Paradise Lane, Ronks, PA 17572   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 14 hotels in Ronks
A TripAdvisor Member
“Terrible Stay”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2004

My husband and I were there with out 19 month old. It was awful. First we were assigned an "Efficiency" Caboose, that was not efficient at all. The A/C was not working (it was 90 degrees in July), the TV was not working. There seemed to be no power. We were moved to a less efficient room and were never offered the credit for the rate difference. We tried to have dinner there, but we were advised that the night time cook quit so there was no dinner at the Red Caboose anymore. We had to ask about the credit due us for the room change and to make a longer story short......we still have yet to receive the credit or even so much as a call from the manager. While the idea and concept of the Motel is cute, the place is being run down to the ground. It is not what it used to be. My advise would be......stay somewhere else.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2004

We took a rare weekend off and I thought it would be fun to take the kids to the Red Caboose Motel. No one told us that the bank had taken over the property and that it had been on the local news several times for problems!! Even the restaurant had been shut down several times...for what, I can only imagine!!

When we arrived, the room was dirty, the a/c was not working and there was no phone in the room. The entire place was run down with cabooses that were obviously closed up. I went to the office and they tried to give us another caboose, which looked just as bad and the bunk bed was so high, I was worried my 7 year old could get injured if he fell. My husband works in maintenance for apartments and figured out the a/c problem. So, we stayed in the original caboose.

We survived the first night, unhappily, but it was a place to sleep. The second night, after a fun day at Dutch Wonderland, we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. We arrived at the room around 10:00 pm, showered my 7 year old, and as my husband was just about to step into the shower, all the lights went out!! The kids began to cry, so I opened the front door to get what little light is outside in the room to calm them. I discovered my neighbor with 4 children was also without electric and their children were crying. We tried to help each other out to make the best of a bad situation.

THERE IS NO EMERGENCY NUMBER TO CALL TO GET HELP AND NO ONE IN THE OFFICE AT THAT HOUR OF THE NIGHT. The neighbor's husband walked to the office twice to double check for a phone number posted anywhere and we both looked at our check-in information and tried both numbers listed. In the interum, my husband began looking for an electric main for the rooms. When he climbed under the trains with our flashlight, he saw all kinds of electrical violations!! They had extension cords underneath everywhere!!!

There we were, 2 families, with frightened children and no help anywhere!! We got in our car at 11:00 on a Saturday night, after learning from making calls on both cell phones that all hotels were probably booked, and prayed to find a new place to sleep...anywhere with lights. We were lucky and found one. (Everyone I spoke with on the phone seemed to understand our plight when I mentioned where we were staying! They said, "Oh, you never want to stay there!") The other family stayed in the dark all night with their little ones!!

The next day, extremely angry, I called the Red Caboose to insist upon a refund. I was told by the same man that checked us in, Chuck, that the bank had taken over the property on Tuesday (he works for the management company the bank hired and knows nothing about the motel!) and they were not in a position to refund my money through American Express because they were not set up with them!!!!! The old owner's got our money...prior to the take-over because I booked the room 2 weeks ago!!!

Chuck knew when we got there 2 nights before that there were horrible problems at this motel and instead of being honest when I complained after first arriving....he kept it a secret!!!! Had we been told the truth, we would've found a more safe and suitable environement for our family.

We don't get away often, as we have to find a house sitter for our 3 dogs and 2 birds, so this was a rare get away for our family that we looked forward to for weeks! All these people cared about was hiding the dangers and the secrets of the Red Caboose from the public who do not live in that area. My biggest fear is that there is going to be a fire because of the electrical issues...and I guarantee...this place will go up like a matchstick! A family could easily die in this motel.


WHATEVER YOU DO...DO NOT GO HERE!!! There are many, many, many nice hotels/motels in the area where they care about their patrons. STAY AWAY FROM THE RED CABOOSE!!!!

As a side note, I will get my money back. I work in the housing industry and I had Chuck sign off on a copy of my motel receipt that we would be refunded, in full, through American Express with his management company name, phone number and the name of the bank. If Chuck does not follow through as promised, I will send this to American Express and have the charges taken off my bill. I refuse to pay for someplace we couldn't even sleep at!!!

I'm also going to contact their local fire officials and anyone else in that area who will listen and do something. I don't even know if the smoke alarm in the room was working...it didn't seem to be...and there were no fire extinguishers anywhere...not in the rooms nor in common areas!! If you've ever been to this motel, you will realize, as I did, that even though there are 2 doors out...it will go up so fast, you'll never get to them! The cabooses are very small and extremely flamable.

Whatever you do....don't make the mistake we did!!! Go somewhere else!!!!

Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, bank ownership representative at Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant & Gift Shop, responded to this review, October 12, 2004
The negative publicity surrounding the Red Caboose property is unfortunate. It should be noted that "the bank" did not come into ownership until Septemeber 22nd., via the County Sheriff's Sale. Prior to that, the Lancaster County Court installed a receiver to manage the property. This management company remains in place today, and is doing a very commedable job. The property has now been stabalized, and it is the bank's objective to keep this unique lodging experience open and operating, and to hopefully have satisfied guests.
Thank you for considering the opporutnity to stay at The Red Caboose Motel, in beautiful Paradise.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2004

If you are truly looking for the authentic country feeling and you are into the old style feeling of the trains, then this is the place for you. If you have small children it would be okay, but it is nothing fancy. I took my daughter to the "RED Caboose" about 5 years ago, and i thought it was WAY overpriced. I didn't make any kind of reservation, and when we arrived it was almost full. the only caboose they had left was what they called a "Couples caboose", which was one half of a caboose. Needless, to say it was extremely dinky and small. The bathroom and the shower stall was just barely enough for you to turn your shoulders around in. It had one double bed in it, right up against the wall, the linens were very worn, and i have to say that i was very afraid to sleep in it. The door had no kind of chain or security lock at all, and the door had about a 3 inch gap underneath, so you felt the cold air come right on in. We froze all night long!! Although my daughter thought that it was just great, i certainly would not stay there again. The restaurant in the Train Car did have excellent food, and that was about the only good thing that i can say about it. This place needs alot of work to get it into shape, maybe then i would spend the extra money to go back. Take my advice, it is way too overpriced for this kind of service!

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2004

We just returned from a mostly wonderful trip to Lancaster, PA. My two small children and husband had great fun at the Lake-in-Wood camp resort where we stayed in a double-decker bus and planned to finish up our stay with 2 nights at the Red Caboose Motel. I realized that we might actually need to stay 3 nights instead of 2 but upon our arrival at the Red Caboose, the man behind the desk said that they didn't have anything available for the 3rd night -- unless I wanted to upgrade to the box car, which he would give to us for the same price as the efficiency we were originally to have. I agreed, unfortunately, before checking the place out and allowed him to charge my card for the remaining night plus the additional night (I had already paid an $85 deposit for the first night). My initial thought was that they were very courteous and friendly - so I overlooked the fact that the office was very dark and dingy and really just plain dirty. We got to our room and my son was thrilled with the bunk beds - he didn't seem to mind the fact that the place looked like they literally slapped up some crooked pieces of brown paneling to walls and as an afterthought, threw up some dirty curtains to cover the windows (they actually looked as if they might fall off - the rods were bent in several places). There was also a dirty curtain in place between the bunks and the rest of the unit. I can't begin to describe the smell in the room (might have something to do with the fact that it is near the petting zoo and right next to the garbage bins). Normally, I would have left right away but since my son was sooo excited to stay at this place and sleep in a bunk bed, I decided I would suck it up. I unloaded all of our stuff from the car and THEN discovered the little bugs in the bathtub and the large pieces of food from the previous boarder sticking out from underneath the microwave. We couldn't sit down for more than a few minutes at a time without having to swat at flies. We made a trip to the grocery store where I actually purchased a can of Oust just so I could breathe in the room because the smell was making me nauseaus. There were dirty handprints on the bathroom door and many cobwebs in the place. The carpet looked like they NEVER swept in the corners or under the bed. In short, it was totally disgusting. I would have stayed at least one night for my son, but after my husband found a few TICKS in the room, we decided that it was not safe to stay. We would have told management that night, only they were gone for the night by 8:00 p.m. We had to load up all of our stuff and then try to dodge all the bugs outside our unit as ours was the only one with a bright light on above our door that we had no way to shut off! We went to the Amish Lantern Motel - a clean little place that for $59 per night weekday ($79 weekend) offered a room with 2 queen beds a couch, microwave and small fridge as well as a pool and free continental breakfast. Did I mention that it was very clean?! I am sorry to write this review but feel that I must as a warning to other parents of small children - the place is just not safe and it's a rip-off. Our restaurant bill came to $30+ for dinner that night for microwave reheated dinners (chicken parmesan and chicken fingers that were crunchy-chewy due to over-microwaving). While sitting in the restaurant car, we could see into the Gift Shop, a view that depicted displays with huge chunks wood ripped off of them leaving the jagged edges, as well as a window ledge that looked like it hadn't been dusted in years. It looked gross. Let me mention the outside - they have a little wooden train set up and swings for the kids - they are DEATH TRAPS! The swings tip over causing the kids to fall out. The train is painted - but all the paint is peeling, not to mention the top part where the "steam" would come out was literally just sitting on top of the train when one of my kids bumped into it and it fell off, exposing a lot of rusty nails. They have a converted silo with a lookout at the top, which is a nice idea but you have to pay 50 cents each person to go up in it. They also have buggy rides on the premise, but make no effort to clean up the poop laying all over the place from the horses. We didn't venture to the petting zoo. We felt the place was a rip off and now I fear that I will have to fight to get our money refunded after reading all the other reviews. My husband talked to Scott after several unreturned phone calls, who promised to refund the entire amount so we'll see. To be fair, I have to mention that when we checked in the man behind the desk did tell me that if we weren't happy we could look at other rooms (but they were regular rooms without a fridge or microwave). The concept of this place is cute, and it's a shame that it's sooo run down. If you really want to stay in a caboose, you would do much better to stay in the not-too-far-away camping resort, Lake-in-Wood, who also has a caboose that is done right - it's clean and cute. And they have a pool.

Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant & Gift Shop

Address: 312 Paradise Lane, Ronks, PA 17572
Location: United States > Pennsylvania > Lancaster County > Ronks
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 14 hotels in Ronks
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant & Gift Shop 2.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Red Caboose offers a unique Strasburg, PA lodging experience for families, couples, or train history enthusiasts. The Red Caboose Motel is located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We are surrounded by Amish Farms, The Strasburg Railroad, The Railroad Museum and many more Lancaster County attractions. The Red Caboose Motel features 46 rooms consisting of cabooses, a baggage car, and a post office car (many newly restored). Try our PA Dutch menu in one of our two authentic dining cars. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant And Gift Shop
Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant & Gift Shop Hotel Strasburg
Red Caboose Strasburg
Red Caboose Hotel
Red Caboose Motel, Restaurant & Gift Shop Ronks, PA - Lancaster County

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