Our stay at the Osthoff started off very rocky... We arrived on Sunday to find that the pontoon boat we had reserved for the full day Tuesday had not actually been reserved (although our account had been charged at the time of reservation, two months prior). When we arrived in our room, there was a message waiting via the phone in our room to say we couldn't actually have to pontoon on a Sunday, because of the no-motor-Sunday rule on the lake. Hmmmm, we knew that, which is why we called months ahead to reserve for TUESDAY. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a full day, but we did end up with a 3-hour rental on Tuesday and they gave us a discount for the trouble. Still, my husband verified the date several times when making the reservation, it shouldn't have happened.
Cleaning is subpar. When we arrived in our room the breakfast bar attached to the sink was filthy with lake sand! The bar was brown so I can understand how they may not have seen it, but they should be cleaning it before every new arrival whether it looks dirty or not! Bathroom was dirty too, hair on the floor and a glob of something dried on the floor -- they obviously had not been mopped before our arrival. Gross. I spent the first 20 minutes of our stay scrubbing and cleaning various surfaces.
That said, overall we did have a nice stay. The room was in a newer wing and quite lovely (aside from the cleaning issues), and our boys slept on the pull-out couch while we were in the attached bedroom. Comfy king bed. We overlooked the courtyard, don't bother to pay for a lakeview, courtyard is very nice.
Our kids spent each morning in the pool (one indoor and two outdoor pools) and afternoons at the lake. Outdoor areas were clean and well-kept. The beach is small, and there was one day (out of 5) where we had trouble finding a spot to sit. People apparently come down very early in the morning and put their towels over a chair for the entire day -- including hours and hours while they are away. It was disappointing to see so many chairs "reserved" but not nearly that many people actually using the beach. If everyone just played fair, there would be plenty of chairs for everyone at any given time. The marine rental has lots of fun options, we tried a paddle boat, kayak, pontoon boat and even hydrobikes (so fun!).
It's a nice, sandy, clear lake. Definitely sporting-focused, my husband was disappointed by the fishing options. Also, the marine rental opens late and closes early, so there's no way to get a fishing boat for the best fishing times of day. Teenager at the marine rental had no idea about good fishing spots on the lake, perhaps understandable given that most of their rentals are for sporting.
Staff was generally friendly. They seem to employ a lot of teenagers, especially in Otto's Restaurant. One server dissolved into uncontrollable (loud) giggles while flirting with her friends at the next time and finally did leave the dining area to get control of herself. Food quality was unimpressive, don't bother with Otto's! I'd say it's similar in quality to an Applebees. I know this is their more casual restaurant, but they have such an opportunity to do some creative, fun dishes! Ho-hum at best. Head into town for the Paddock Club for dinner (amazing!) and try lunch at the Off the Rails sandwich shop (this is the kind of mid-price food Otto's should be doing! creative and delicious).
Elkhart Lake is a sweet little town! We found prices to be very reasonable almost everywhere, from the resort gift shop to the Sissy's ice cream stand and the Two Fish art gallery. Easy walk from the resort to restaurants and a few shops, which is just what we wanted. We didn't move our car for the entire trip.
My husband noticed before our trip that there was a washing machine on every floor, so we brought alone some detergent. $1/wash and $1/dry per load. SO WORTH IT to be able to wash swimsuits after the lane and then go home with clean clothes! Machines were nice and newer. I didn't see anyone else using them the entire time we were there.
I had hoped to try the spa, but prices were inflated compared to my area. I figured I could wait until I was home and get a 90-min massage for the price of their 50-min service.
Overall, not fantastic but a nice stay. We'd consider coming back another year!
Skip the lakeview, courtyard views are very nice and lake is somewhat obscured by trees. "Woodl...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.