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“Upscale camping cabins!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Retreat at Artesian Lakes

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The Retreat at Artesian Lakes
235 Chain-O-Lakes Resort, Cleveland, TX 77327 (Formerly Chain-O-Lakes)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Cleveland
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
131 reviews 131 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
“Upscale camping cabins!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

We were looking for a place to spend a weekend for our 29th anniversary and had seen Artesian lakes advertised on FB. It is in the small town of Cleveland, tx, about an hour north of our home. We looked over their website and reviews on tripadvisor and decided to try it. What sparked our interest actually were the such different reviews, the beauty of the pics and the seclusion, sounded like a nice way of spending a quiet weekend.
We booked for Saturday and Sunday nights, could not make it for Friday but the front desk was great and worked that out with us. Usually a carriage ride and buffet breakfast is included for Saturday a.m. But since we weren't coming until Saturday afternoon, they scheduled us an "in cabin breakfast" to be delivered on Monday.
Meals at the restaurant need to be reserved and we scheduled dinner Saturday night and the Sunday morning brunch, the restaurant is not open on Sunday night. Since we were on our own, we packed fruit and veggies with cheese, etc for Sunday dinner.
The directions were easy to follow and there was good signage as you got close, so we arrived easily around 3pm. The grounds are beautiful and quickly we felt lost in the wilderness! You check in at the lodge and that seems new and very nice inside, lots of wood and comfy chairs by a fireplace, small store with sundries and snacks, also ice. Some souvenirs and t's, also the front desk is here and a conference room. You can easily get wifi in the main lodge and sitting outside near there or the restaurant.
Here I must stop and say; whomever said if you think of this as a camping trip was spot on, it is not the Ritz, nor is it even a Holiday Inn, it is a retreat, a relaxing, outdoors type of place with gorgeous grounds, real wildlife (alligators, turtles,etc.) at your porch!! But you will not get room service, turndown service or any of that. Knowing that going in, you will enjoy yourself, but....make sure you note that.
Front desk staff are great, all staff we encountered were super polite, very friendly and helpful. We were upgraded to a romantic cabin in a secluded area as they knew it was our anniversary. They were very helpful in planning the meals, etc. I have to follow a gluten free diet and the restaurant was knowledgable and very helpful. The meals were tasty, see my restaurant review.
The Cabin we were in was in the more private area and needed a remote for the gate. Our cabin had a great view of the lake, and we used the porch swing a lot!! We were visited by many gators, turtles and a resident cardinal always sat on our table. He was so friendly we had to make sure he didn't come in the cabin!! The outside was dusty and did have some cobwebs, it added to the ambience for us. The inside was a great set up. A huge king bed, sat across from the door, there was a small loveseat, table and chairs, microwave/fridge/sink, and a two person jacuzzi. A small bath with shower stall and commode/sink. Towels were large and fluffy, nice, organic toiletries. Yes, there was some dust in the cabin, I even found a dead fly on the floor, but....this was a cabin....things happen...I've found dust on a high end hotel before...and dead flies!! It did not ruin our great, romantic time. Yes, there were kids at the pool, which was an awesome pool and hot tub, also lake area with slides. If we didn't want to see kids we went back to our cabin, they were just normal children. At dinner and breakfast there was a mixture of people it was fine. This is a family place, but we had a great time. The air worked great in our cabin, there was also a gas fireplace. We loved the swing on the porch! Lots of walking trails. No the wifi didn't reach us where we were in our cabin, seemed to work only by the lodge and restaurant area, but we were not there for wifi, but I can see it being an issue of you needed it.
All in all this is a great camping cabin type place.

Room Tip: Ask to be n the more remote section if you want a more quiet spot.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    11
    5
    8
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32
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5
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

My wife and I were looking to book something different for a last minute Anniversary get away. This retreat is close to home yes a very different environment than metro Houston.

To understand what it is, think of a campground with lots of lakefront cabins and abundant wild life. Now upgrade it with a nice common space in the lodge, and a very nice restaurant featuring herbs and vegies grown on site, and meals seasoned to perfection, with a very friendly and attentive staff.

Things to do on site are low key but interesting. Bike and kayak rentals. Horse shoes. Campground kind of stuff. The pool is very nicely done with fake rock formations hiding a hot tub in the shade. There were great walking trails and we even had a hot tub in our cabin.

If you are looking for a low speed, relaxing retreat, this is it.

Room Tip: Closer to the pool is more convenient to walking to the amenities. Cabins behing the gate are a long...
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  • Stayed June 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

I want to make sure that others can avoid the experience we had.

We had a MAJOR issue with roaches, wasps, and spiders inside our cabin. We debated leaving the first night but decided that because we had spent over $1500 and had a group it would not be possible to find other accommodations. There were over 20 roaches killed inside the cabin during our stay, including in the beds. It was disgusting and makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

I asked to speak with a manager both Saturday and Sunday, but he did not ever come by our cabin. Staff brought us bug killing spray after two requests, which we used to spray around the door where wasps were crawling into the paneling. I showed staff member the dead bugs on the windowsill (in the pictures) and was told the manager would contact me. We were credited $200 at the end of our stay for 'extermination.'

I was very frustrated by staff comments, 'they're just wood roaches' (... really? would you say that if one crawled on you?) and 'it was exterminated last week' (clearly not, but if it was then staff should have bothered to wipe up the dead bugs all over the windowsill - see pictures, taken of the windowsill by the door after we came into the cabin). I should have taken pictures of all the roaches too, but hindsight is 20/20.

Front desk staff tried their best with an inattentive manager who was 'away' most of the time. I am a pretty easygoing person, but I believe in customer service. An apology or a call from the manager would have gone a long way in this case. Hopefully this experience will not happen to anyone else.

We had a fantastic time with our friends, thankfully all of us are VERY easygoing and able to laugh about our experiences after the fact. The property is very unique with a lot of gators and turtles to look at in the lake. Canoeing and fishing were a lot of fun. We will not be returning because the bugs were too gross.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013 via mobile

We had planned to stay for the entire weekend, but left on Saturday. The cabins are dilapidated, have a musty smell and the bathroom on top of tiny, dirty. The breakfast which was included was average. I thought the carriage ride to the restaurant and the waitress was nice.

If you are looking for a getaway from civilization and want to "rough it out" then this is a great place. Like camping with a bed. But don't expect to be near any food where if you decide against their average restaurant then you are stuck!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
New Orleans, Louisiana
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

This is a wonderful place to get out in the country and enjoy the great outdoors. You can hike, fish, swim, play disc golf or just enjoy the beauty of nature. You can rent bikes and canoes and go horseback riding. Many facilities have kitchens or you can enjoy the restaurant on site.

Room Tip: Private homes for rent are great. Lots for families to do.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
pearland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

I have been coming to this property almost every year -with the exception of my college years- since i was a little girl. I was glad to see it updated and being added on to in recent years. I love the country out there and the wildlife. It is camping..not a beach resort...but i enjoy camping off the ground in a cabin and with a great restaurant on site! The staff is courteous and the breakfast plan is good. I only wish they had more consistency with the planned activities such as the hay rides, which get cancelled if not enough people sign up. Its hard to disappoint a child that has been waiting all week for their hayride..namely ME! Anyway, i hope we continue to get to go every summer as long as we can..

  • Stayed March 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
    • 4 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.
Houston, TX
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

We stayed there thankfully for only one night and that was challenging because the cabins were dark and musty. it's basically like camping inside a cabin. The good news is that each cabin faces a small lake. The restaurant was completely inflexible with their Friday night buffet - it was buffet or nothing and the food was terrible. Might be good if you're into quantity and not quality. Would NOT recommend this place.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
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Additional Information about The Retreat at Artesian Lakes

Address: 235 Chain-O-Lakes Resort, Cleveland, TX 77327 (Formerly Chain-O-Lakes)
Location: United States > Texas > Cleveland
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Cleveland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Retreat at Artesian Lakes (formerly Chain - O - Lakes Resort & Conference Center) is a uniquely designed, nature-focused facility ideal for family vacations, romantic getaways, weddings, group retreats and business conferences.Located on the edge of the Texas Big Thicket National Preserve, about one hour north of Houston, The Retreat at Artesian Lakes offers overnight accommodations in authentic log cabins, log suites, and private log homes. The Retreat at Artesian Lakes is also home to Hilltop Restaurant, a famous East Texas landmark founded by renowned herbalist and cook, Madalene Hill. Hilltop's exquisite cuisine is based on the herbs grown in the adjacent garden. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Retreat At Artesian Lakes Hotel Cleveland
Retreat At Artesian Lakes Cleveland
Chain o Lakes Cleveland
The Retreat At Artesian Lakes Texas/Cleveland

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