Like someone else, I was always a big fan of Mountain Lake, and it hurts that I have to write a bad review, but I always review places fairly.
My wife is a huge Dirty Dancing fan, and we've gone before to their "Dirty Dancing Weekends" up here at Mountain Lake. This year, is our 10 year wedding anniversary so I wanted to take her somewhere that we'd both really enjoy and I know would mean something to her. Luckily for us, their Dirty Dancing weekend fell on our anniversary, which was July 19th. We were both so excited to go, and get there.
The moment we got there, started being terrible. When we arrived, there were NO Dirty Dancing ANYTHING in the lobby. In years past, there has been a banner, pictures in the glass case, a cardboard cutout in the lobby, and other things mentioning Dirty Dancing. Nothing this time.
There was no power at the resort, which this is beyond their control I understand but it added to the list of things negative about the place this time. The power did come back on about 2 hours later. No biggie. I checked in at the front desk, and the lady said "I think your room is ready, I'll have to check".. What do you mean you think our room is ready? It's an hour past check-in, it better be ready! Oh well, on to our stay...
We get to our room, and start unpacking. I turned the TV on, and it's stuck on some radio station (yes, on the TV). Now, I have been working in the IT field for many years and am quite a technological savvy guy and can figure stuff out pretty quick. However, it took quite a while of messing with the TV to finally get it to a TV station. Moving on..
We received our vouchers for our meals and I was looking through our papers to see what all has changed with the "millions of dollars in renovations".. I noticed we're missing our lunch vouchers. I called the front desk, and they say that lunch isn't included in the package any longer. This really sucks because a simple cheeseburger in their dining room cost $9! So, on Saturday we had to drive off the mountain and go to nearby Perisburg just to eat lunch.
Now that the lack of Dirty Dancing memorabilia and no lunch being included has already fueled our fire to be displeased with the place, let's continue shall we.. We go to the gift shop, and there is one measly table set up with Dirty Dancing stuff on it to buy. While we looked at the 3 items they had for sale (okay, exaggerating a bit there), we hear the cashier tell a lady purchasing a shirt that "they were new this year".. No my dear, they aren't new. My wife purchased that exact shirt last year. I asked the cashier where did the millions of dollars in renovations go because we can't see the first renovation except new signs. She said that the resort was trying to focus on art and outdoor people and do away with Dirty Dancing stuff.
Now, talking about outdoors, this place has a TON of things to do outside. Tennis, hiking, corn hole, volleyball, etc. However, you can't do anything!!! The gnats are so horrible, you dread going from your room (if you're outside) to the main lodge. We went on the tour showing where parts of the movie were filmed, and left at the second stop because of the swarms of gnats. We tried outdoor act ivies but the bugs were just so bad. The front desk told us that it was because of the lack of wind that day. No sir, it wasn't because of the lack of wind, it's been like this for days! (as discussed with our new friends who had already been there for 4 days).. It's not nice to lie. We also tried to walk a trail, but it was so narrow and grown up, you couldn't go 500ft before turning around. So the whole "appealing to outdoor activities" is obviously just a ploy to get rid of the Dirty Dancing stuff. With millions of dollars of renovations, you would think they could actually take care of the yard. The grass was high, and what WAS cut, was blown into the mushroom lights and looked very tacky. Plus spray for bugs isn't THAT expensive!
Now let's move along... It's Friday night, time for a dance. Wait, a dance? Last year there was karakoke and a DJ, and the dance was a lot of fun. This year it was a jazz band called Ratatouille which if you're 85 years old, it's a great band. However for the crowd that was there, was horrible. EVERYONE (even the older women) at our table was complaining about it. We left at 10:30 and was some of the last people in the barn. We went to the bar which was closing because the bartenders road flooded and she needed to get home. We understood that though and had no issues. Well it's still early, let's go to the pool. Oh no, wait, the pool closes at 6 according to the sign. 6pm? really? whatever..
So Saturday comes along, we eat breakfast and drive off the mountain to have fun and get lunch and such. We pretty much kill the day off the mountain until dinner. I was so excited for dinner because last year it was so good. HA! I forgot, new ownership... The food was TERRIBLE. I got a salad and sat down to eat it. I asked my waitress for Ranch dressing. You know, one of the most popular salad dressings out there? "Oh I'm sorry, we ran out last night and don't have any"... You ran out? Walmart is 20 minutes away and you ran out LAST NIGHT? What sort of food establishment doesn't have Ranch dressing? The green beans were obviously undercooked and from a can. The bread was hard as a brick, the chicken was nasty, and it just was not good, period. I looked like a 10 year old as I had a plate of mashed potatoes 7" high, with 4 brownies on my plate. I had to eat SOMETHING though. (Fridays meal was good might I add, they had BBQ chicken, and Ranch for the salad. Dessert sucked though as it was something with pecans, or cheesecake. That was it).
We then headed to the barn for the dance, and got there early to play airhockey upstairs in the heated sauna. Well, nevermind, it's not even an airhockey table a couple can enjoy. It's a 6 person airhockey table, 2 people can't play! (you can, but if you hit it you score. What fun is that?) So we make it through the dance, all was good there. I even paid the $5 for a bottle of beer.
So Sunday morning rolls around, and we're on vacation. This is the last day. Let's sleep late, get up and leave. Not so fast! Breakfast is over at 9:30. Seriously? You're on vacation and you have to get up early just so you don't miss breakfast? So we get there to eat and guess what, THEY ARE OUT OF FOOD!! No pancakes, no potatoes, no sausage. They did fill it up, but only with a little bit so it kept running out. The line stayed long to get food because people had to wait on food!
Oh I forgot to add, we had a "DO NOT DISTURB" sign on our door Saturday morning. That obviously means nothing as housekeeping went ahead and came in anyway and cleaned the room. Good thing we didn't leave our valuables out or underwear on the bed. VERY disrespectful.
Thankfully, let's eat and LEAVE!
Now, I know a lot of people skim over reviews, especially long ones so I apologize for such a long review but I wanted to share my horrible experience with everyone. In a nutshell, if you're looking for somewhere to stay, I would HIGHLY recommend looking elsewhere. If you like bugs and want outdoor adventure, this is the place for you. I wouldn't eat or sleep here though. Since the new owners have taken over, they have put this place in the gutter. My family and I will never return here. It's not just me though, we met 5 other couples here who said the exact same thing, they won't be back either. That's just who WE talked to. We told our friends from last year and they said they wouldn't go back either with these changes. So I will sign off with these bulletpoints.
-No Dirty Dancing stuff anymore, except a small handful of stuff.
-Lunch not included in the Dirty Dancing package anymore.
-The gnats everywhere.
-Spa was at boiling point. Drop an egg in it, 10 minutes later it's done. Very hot!
-Heated pool was heated enough for ice to melt, no more. You could preserve a body in the ice pond they call a pool.
-Disrespectful cleaning service just goes right in.
-Dinner is not a good meal anymore. No Ranch either!
-Breakfast runs out after the first few guests.
-gnats, did I mention gnats?
-Unless you like "big band music", you're going to be highly disappointed in the music.
-Lack of knowledge from the staff, about the movie.
-I don't think the lodge has TVs in rooms. We were in a cottage though.
-No air conditioning. They've never had this though I don't believe.
-Rt 700 & Rt 613 to get you off of the mountain away from this place.
-The bartender. She at least knows what she is doing.
-The gentlemen who does the scene tours. He knows his stuff!
If you have been to Dirty Dancing weekend prior to 2013, then you have had a blast and can relate to this post. If you're thinking about coming back for a second time, save your money. With the new management this place is in the gutter now.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The newly renovated historic Mountain Lake Lodge features 43 Rooms in Main Stone Lodge, 16 in Chestnut Lodge, 9 Mountain Homes in Blueberry Ridge, 8 historic rustic cabins and 9 Front Lawn Cottages on 2,600 acres of preserved mountaintop property owned by the Mary Moody Northen Endowment. Mountain Lake Conservancy, a non-profit organization founded in 1989, serves to protect the land and wildlife resources on the property for future generations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mountain Lake Pembroke
- Hotel Mountain Lake