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Review of Deer Lodge

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Deer Lodge
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Lake Louise
Reviewed March 24, 2013

We recently stayed at Deer Lodge and were not impressed with our stay. The "free" Internet that is advertised on the web site does not work so checking the snow report (the reason we stayed was we were snowboarding at Lake Louise) was not an option. We began our stay with being booked into the wrong room and having to come back to reception to get the correct room. When we got to our room we needed to charge our computer as we wanted to relax after a long day to watch a movie we brought with us (as there are no in room tv's), only to find that there was no proper power outlet in the entire room! We had to plug our computer charger into the bathroom as this was the only outlet with the 3rd round plugin needed.....the charger did not reach and the computer had to stay in the bathroom to charge. We also found out that the bathroom did not have a fan....with it being an extremely small 1 bedroom with no fan it was not pleasant when using the bathroom. The "climate controlled rooms"as advertised were overheated and required us to open the window in our room when it was -5 out in order to be comfortable...we could not even sleep with any sheets on it was so hot in the room.

Keep in mind we experienced this when exhausted and all we wanted was to sleep so we arrived and did not say anything until the morning as we just wanted to get some sleep before the next day and figured if all rooms were the same there would be no moving us anyways. The WORST part of our stay was when we mentioned politely the next morning how we were not happy with the stay and the female agent at the desk didn't even consider apologizing! We weren't even looking for a discount at the time, just a simple apology, but after her poor customer service we wanted more than an apology. When we advised the internet didn't work she immediately stated "my internet works fine". We explained that her internet may be working fine, but ours did not to which she replied "well did you say anything about it last night?" When we explained we had not she treated us like it was our fault for not bringing it to the attention of the staff at night, when all we wanted to do was watch a movie and fall asleep. We also mentioned that we had chatted with some people about their rate and had been told that as we had the Lake Louise ski cards we should have gotten a discount. She advised us that because we had not mentioned this at check in we were not eligible for this. We explained that most hotels will ask if customers have these cards like AMA, etc and she immediately said in a rude tone "there's nothing I can do, you have to let us know".

In all honestly you are better off staying at the Lake Louise Hostel. The staff at the Hostel are much nicer, they are also more accommodating (they gave us a discount in the morning after we had forgot to mention the Hostelling International card we had), the rooms are nicer and have proper power and the bathrooms have proper fans and is cheaper!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank treebeevancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 22, 2013 via mobile

We booked this place with a little trepidation due to the mixed reviews and I have to say I don't understand them. On closer inspection it appears the negative reviews mainly seem to be because of small hot rooms, intermittent wifi and lack of TVs in the room. This is not enough to write this place down!
It is a stunning place in a remote location near the lake and about 4km from the town.

Service was fantastic and we got upgraded to a tower room. The room may have been on the small side compared to a purpose built hotel in a town but this is a quirky character place in the country, the rooms may be on the small side but they are perfectly big enough. We didn't notice the heat as just opened the window and let the fresh mountain air in!

We didn't want a tv here so didn't miss it, we preferred to spend the evening having a glass of wine in front of the big fire in the lounge. But there is a snooker table and movie room if you really can't be without the telly.

Food in the restaurant was amazing and some of the best we had in Canada - we loved the lamb! If going at the weekend best to book a table as people come here from the fairmont!

As other people have mentioned the hot tub overlooking the mountain is fantastic - especially in the snow

I would highly recommend this place to anyone

Oh yes and the beds are amazingly comfortable - didn't want to get up in the morning!

  • Stayed: March 2013
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3  Thank becksupeverest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed at the deer lodge to do some snowboarding in March. We stayed in one of the tower rooms which I found cosy, my boyfriend found to small. I was fine with not having a tv in the room as I perfected to head down and sit by the fireplace with a book and a bottle of wine. My boyfriend is not a big reader and our evenings at the hotel went by slowly for him. We never did get a chance to eat in the hotel or use the hot tub as both closed a little early for night owls like ourselves. My only annoyance was the shuttle to the ski hill, we woke up in time to catch the last one and headed out side to wait, it did not show up, I went to front desk and inquired and I was told due to all the snow the bus was running lated, so we waited for another 30 minutes and still nothing, we eventually gave up and just called the cab. It is true what other reviews have said about there only being one in lake Louise, but the drivers are awesome and the wait isn't too bad. While I really enjoyed my stay at deer lodge I don't think my boyfriend will be coming back with me next time. If you like rustic and are fine with few extras then the place is great, if you need a tv and want 24hour room service maybe try the fairmont.

Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Goodie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

I happened upon this gem of a mountain lodge while on a trip to Banff National Park for some skiing in February. Deer Lodge is just five minutes from the shores of Lake Louise and the imposing (and much more famous) Chateau Lake Louise. Although I've never stayed at the Chateau, I'm certain I'd rather stay at Deer Lodge.

Deer Lodge is relatively simple and rustic with no tvs in the rooms and a bar and restaurant that shut down early (10 pm). However, tvs and late night bars and restaurants are NOT the reason to come to Lake Louise! Lake Louise Ski Area is just 10-15 minutes drive down the mountain (and the lodge runs a shuttle).

My "Heritage" room was a bit pricer than the room I had originally booked, but it was very nicely decorate and had an amazing view of the Canadian Rockies that made me regret I had only booked for one night! The restaurant on site was a bit on the expensive side and the service was less than ideal due to, what appeared to be, understaffing. However, the food (and wine) was excellent.

If you are on the fence about staying here, let me just say that the roof top hottub with a view of the snow capped Rockies should be the deciding factor.

Malcolm - nycityskier.com

Room Tip: Splurge for the Heritage room.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Malcolm_NYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We arrived at Deer Lodge at around 11 in the morning and were told check in not until 4pm but thankfully we were given our room earlier. The rooms are small and bathroom tiny but the common area's well and truly make up for this. We were not skiers so not a lot to do but soak up the character of this lodge. We had dinner in the restaurant, I tried the Carribou very nice.
Had a few red wines by the open fire and because no Television we got to meet some really lovely people and had some great laughs.
The hot tub on the roof is beautiful nice and warm with the snow falling around us.
Restaurant staff are very friendly.... .

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Susanna61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

This hotel has a lot of potential, but buyer beware.  There is a reason there is about an even split between good and bad reviews.  It truly seems to depend on what day you are there and what room they give you.  But overall, the property is very run down and can be left understaffed and thus is unable to reliably deliver an as-advertised product.  You might be ok, and you might have a nightmare.  Over two nights, we had both.  

I arrived at the hotel alone with the Brewster shuttle bus, with both my and my husband's luggage as he went directly to the ski hill that morning.  Unbeknownst to me until I arrived, the hotel entrance is not on the street, so the bus dropped me and my luggage off roadside where I was left to haul three large rolling bags plus a pair of skis up a snow covered hill to get to reception.   No hotel staff offered to assist.  There should be a golf cart or something to shuttle guests up to reception.  

I tried to attribute being left to fend for myself at the curb as an unfortunate glitch and went to check in, where I overheard the front desk clerk on the phone telling another guest that the ski shuttle wasn't running.   I asked what was wrong with the shuttle and the front desk clerk said the shuttle driver was off that day and he was the only one on staff with the proper class of driver's license to drive the shuttle.  Upon further inquiry, I learned the driver was scheduled off the next day too.  Apparently it's not a daily shuttle as advertised on their website, it's only a shuttle on the days that the one guy with the right driver's license is there to drive it.  She said that guests should call for a taxi and the hotel would pay for it.   However, there is only one taxi company that serves the Deer Lodge and no other transportation whatsoever, so the wait was horrendous (sometimes over an hour) whether the taxi was pre-booked or not.  My husband ended up having to walk up to the Fairmont carrying skis and stowaway on the Fairmont Chateau's shuttle to get back and forth to the ski hill during the entire stay.

I asked the front desk for change for a $20 bill and the clerk told me they had no cash.  Really - NO MONEY AT THE HOTEL?  I asked about use of the hot tub and the sauna that were advertised on the website.  The sauna was broken, she said.  No shuttle and now no sauna.  0 for 2 on advertised amenities so far.    We never even bothered to check the hot tub at that point.  

We had knowingly booked a small room in the older section of the lodge, seeking the "historical european charm" that was advertised.  However, this room was the farthest thing from "historical european charm".  If you interpret historical to mean old and tired, then I supposed the room was historical.  There was absolutely nothing charming about it.  Everything was just run down.  The ceiling had a bad repair across the middle 1/3 of it that we couldn't help staring at when laying in bed.  The bed was rock hard and had no mattress cover under the sheet - seriously gross.    Worst, however, was that it was easily 85 degrees in the room, if not more, and there was no thermostat or other way to regulate the temperature.   After a couple of hours we could no longer stay in the room due to the heat, so we complained to the front desk.  Maintenance came to the room and indicated that the choice was only to have the heat on or off.  In the winter.  Seriously??  Apparently he chose "off" because we woke up at 5 am so cold we couldn't sleep anymore.  It was 56 degrees in our room.  At least it wasn't african hot anymore, but now we were worried about our eyes freezing shut.  

Deer Lodge also advertises a wonderful restaurant, so despite all the problems the first few hours, we tried to have dinner in the hotel our first night there.  The dining room was empty and the lounge was only about 1/3 full - in other words, the place was not busy. Despite that, we waited 30 minutes just for someone to take our order.  We ordered from the lounge menu and not the main restaurant menu, effectively upscale bar food that any other kitchen would have pumped out in ten minutes. It took another 15 minutes just for our drinks to show up and 45 more minutes for the food to come.   My husband's soup never came and we didn't bother to ask after an hour and a half.  When asked, the staff said they were short handed - we saw only one server on duty.  To their credit, the food was very good - when it finally came.

Unfortunately we had the same experience at breakfast the next morning.  They advertised a breakfast buffet, but of course there was not a buffet when we were there.  We cringed realizing we were going to have to succumb to table service for breakfast after how ridiculously long dinner took the night before.  Wish I could say breakfast was different, but it took over 40 minutes after ordering for the food to come out - how long does it take to make eggs? - though again the food was very good when we finally got it.  We gave up and walked to the Fairmont to eat for the rest of our stay and were infinitely happier with the service in their restaurants.  

After breakfast we complained about the heat (or at this point the lack thereof) again.  This time the front desk immediately upgraded us to a room in the newer heritage wing, but we had to wait for it to be cleaned which tells me the only reason we were in the lousy room we were in the night before was because they had no place else to put us.   After being in our boiling hot/freezing cold jail cell of an icky old room the night before, the upgraded room was delightful.  At least it had a thermostat that worked so we did not have to freeze or boil intermittently for the rest of our stay.  The bathroom was also newly renovated and very nice.   Note however that they tried to charge us the increased rate for the upgraded room.  Inspect your bill closely at checkout.  

Our stay on our second day was a totally different experience than the first, and not just because we had a better room.  The hotel brought in considerably more staff on our second day, presumably because it was the first day of the weekend and the hotel was  fuller. With the extra manpower, everything seemed to run like clockwork.  For example, breakfast on the second day took only the 30 minutes it should (with table service) and there were several servers on duty.  The front desk was helpful and responsive.  Had the first day been like the second, the tone of my review of the service would be totally different.

There were a few bright spots of our stay.  First, I had called a few days ahead of arrival inquiring about how to get transportation into the village to rent boots for my husband so we could take a dogsledding trip.  The Deer Lodge clerk who answered brought in his own personal boots for my husband to borrow.  This was way beyond the call of duty and some of the most personal and outstanding customer service I've ever experienced.  His name was Paul, and he provided the high point of our stay at Deer Lodge.   Second, on the day of our arrival my husband went straight to the ski hill and found himself without transportation back to Deer Lodge at the end of the day since there was no shuttle operating.  An off duty staff member who also happened to be at the ski hill that day went out of her way to help him arrange transport to the Deer Lodge, even ordering him a taxi herself (she turned out to be our server at breakfast the next morning).  I wish we could remember her name. Finally, the front desk clerk who was in charge during the second day of our stay went well out of her way to try to remedy the problems of the day before, including arranging the upgraded room which was a vast improvement.  Her name was Jen, and she exhibited extraordinary patience in the face of having walked in to a hornet's nest of unhappy people.  I'm sure it's very hard to smile at a guest who is as frustrated as I was by the time she met me, but she perservered and had me smiling too by the time I checked out. When the Deer Lodge was fully staffed, they indeed offered extraordinary customer service.  

My husband booked the Deer Lodge for the last two nights of our trip as a special romantic treat, intending for it to be the high point of our week long visit to the Banff area.  Instead, the Deer Lodge was a borderline disaster, which was just heartbreaking for both of us after having really looked forward to this "romantic lodge stay".  You  get what you pay for, so if you want to stay in Lake Louise, spend a couple more bucks and stay at the Fairmont.  The Deer Lodge is a poorly run ramshackle and you really aren't going to know what they will provide you until you get there.  While I understand having less staff on duty when the hotel is slow, this hotel had so few people on duty the first day we were there that they couldn't even deliver the basic product they advertised. Adding that together with the physical condition of the hotel, it looks to me like this hotel's ownership just doesn't want to spend what it takes to run the place properly.  While some people may still get a good experience, there are many guests who suffer.   Book at your own risk. 

As an aside - I have read many, many of the other reviews and I see management's canned response to all the negative ones: "call before you book so we can get you in the right room, and complain while you're still here so we can fix it".  What an arrogant response- as if it is the traveler's fault that management can't deliver a respectable product.   As for calling first - a picture is worth a thousand words.  Your website borders on false advertising as all the photos are exclusively of the new rooms.  You cannot describe in words the poor quality of the other rooms which are the majority of what you are offering in the rest of the hotel.  And I DID complain while I was there.  While I did get a more bearable room for the second night of my stay, there was nothing that the staff could do about the fact that there was only about half the people needed on duty the first day to provide the products advertised - ski shuttle, wonderful dinner, breakfast buffet, etc.  

Some 50% of the reviews on tripadvisor are mediocre to just plain awful, and having been to the Deer Lodge now I can verify that those negative reviews are fully deserved.   If the Deer Lodge wants better reviews, stop blaming your customers for not asking enough questions and start spending the  money it takes to deliver the product you are selling.  You have some great staff, but they are only as effective as what they have to work with. We aren't paying just for location, and it's not too much to ask for what was advertised, as well as a few basic necessities like heat, sanitation, and service.

Room Tip: Do not stay here unless you can get a room in the Heritage wing. The rest of the rooms are so run d...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank kla122968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2013

Small rooms, small bathrooms and creaky floors. Perfect if you want to just unplug! This rustic hotel has lots of nooks and crannies for sitting in, enjoy the common areas where people chat, read and play boardgames. The restaurant is excellent and beautiful. A great place to enjoy long leisurely meals. The hot tub on the roof gives excellent views of the mountains, and is hot! Water pressure in the bathrooms will blow you away...rooms are warm so expect to open a window but the setting is so serene you will love the quiet and fresh air.
No TV's. Lake Louise is less than a 5 minute walk....shuttle to skiing...just come and relax.
This is not a modern hotel and this is just what makes it perfect.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Deer Lodge

Address: 109 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta T0L 1E0, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Lake Louise
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Lake Louise
Price Range: $93 - $308 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Deer Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 73
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Also Known As:
Deer Hotel Lake Louise
Deer Lodge Lake Louise
Lake Louise Deer Lodge

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