Just returned from 3 nights at Bayview Wildwood - their Canada Day weekend special - with our twin 6 year old girls. This was our first time at a family focused lodge so I wasn't sure what to expect, but what seemed like very balanced reviews on Tripadvisor had helped to make the decision to try it out.
Much as a lot of this review will seem negative, I will start by saying that the girls LOVED the experience, and that we will likely try it out again next summer. This was the beginning of the 'season' up there, and they were clearly experiencing growing pains, so we have tried to take that into account when finalizing our impressions. That being said, here's the lowdown:
ROOM: we had initially booked an end suite in the Sparrow View lodge because it seemed a little more recently updated, and because I'd decided that having a lodge room would be nicer than going for a semi-detached cottage. However, after having spoken with someone in guest services we changed to a "suite" in Walton House because we were told it had a better lake view. What a mistake! While it was a decent size, the room was old and dingy. The box spring in the bedroom was badly stained - which could have been hidden by a bed skirt. The bathroom wasn't fully cleaned after the last guests and we found a wet, used towel behiind the door. The so-called jacuzzi tub ended up being useless because it was so dirty that I wouldn't let the kids bathe in it. The balcony was wooden and would have been really quaint, but it needed a huge paint job and to be cleared of the millions of dead mosquitoes. In addition our bug screen was off one of the windows so by husband had to replace it.
RESTAURANT: all meals and non-alcoholic beverages were included in the package cost, which was very convenient. The food was just ok...nothing horrible but certainly nothing to write home about. The issue with the restaurant was that EVERY meal we found at least one dirty dish or stained linen.
AMENITIES: we used the recreation room - pool table, air hockey etc. - which was a fun diversion if somewhat outdated. There was also a small exercise room that looked fine. There was both an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as squash courts which we didn't use. Also horseshoes, badminton, tennis etc...basically what you'd expect to find up north at a lodge. The lake was a big recreational focus - swimming, boating etc as well as a water trampoline which was a big hit.
CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS: all I can say is what a success! The girls were in the age 6-8 group and there were 4 or 5 kids along with 2 teenage staff. They played in the playground, did crafts, swam in the lake, went around the lake on a boat...they loved it. And we loved the fact that there were 6 hours of these programs daily - 9:30 to 11:30, 1:30 to 3:30 and 6:30 to 8:30. It was nice because we got a break and the girls made friends that they could talk with during meals as well. There was also a kids' bedtime snack (milk & cookies) offered nightly at 8:15, which was a nice touch.
STAFF: everyone was very very nice, and given the various cleanliness/decor issues this was really what saved it. I called the front desk a couple of times - first about the dirty bathroom and then the next day when we didn't get the room cleaned - and the staff were both responsive and appropriately apologetic. I let most of the dining room issues slide, but the couple of times I did raise it e.g. I sent back a glass of milk that had something crusted on the outside of the glass, I got an appropriate response.
So, in hindsight, I'm not overly thrilled that we paid $400/night for as many problems as there were, but the positives were significant and overall it was fun. So even if we don't return to Bayview Wildwood, we'll defintiely do the lodge experience again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.