We recently stayed at 'The Loft' (i.e. #18) at PineTree for 2 nights. Our party included my wife and I, and our ~2yr old child on the first night, and another couple also with a ~2yr old on the second night. Our first impression was that the place had a bit of charm, but was in desperate need of some maintenance. When we checked into our unit, a number of deficiencies stood out. The unit had a BBQ which had to be 20 years old, it was rusting to pieces, and didn't even have a heat plate in it. The unit we stayed in had 2 balconies fortunately, and the balcony off the kitchen had a newer electric BBQ. I'm not sure why this other hunk of junk was sitting there - but it seems every unit has the same BBQ. The inside of the unit was clean, and the main living area was fine. The furniture was worn, but sufficient, with the exception of the giant hole separating the cushions on the couch that went right to the floor ... which a toddler could easily get their leg caught. There was also a cracked tile in the dining area, I was able to lift out a piece of the tile that jagged edges. I covered it up so our toddler would not pick at it, or step on it. The bedroom decor/beds/linens were outdated 10 years ago. The bedroom carpet was just deplorable. Not only had it nearly worn through in places, but there were multiple joins in nearly every room, as if the carpet had been taken from somewhere else, and simply laid on the floor. In between one of the joins, we found 2 nails. Our unit was multilevel, however, the door in the bedroom upstairs would not close (i.e. the latch would not grab), therefore having a toddler upstairs was a real hazard and require constant supervision. I'm not sure what was going on in the master bath, but it looks like the tiles/grout was laid by a 10 year old - and that isn't an exaggeration. There were places where the tiles still had grout smeared over them, that wasn't even washed off. I'm still not convinced it was grout to be honest - it looked like cement.
We ventured outside after getting settled - but that did not yield anymore positive results. The playground as shown in the pictures does NOT represent it's current condition. I suspect these pictures were taken after it was newly built/painted. Today, it's a hazard zone. Unpainted surfaces with splinters, holes in boards, shaky handrails, rusty metal, etc. We didn't have much interest in the mini golf, but if I were an avid mini golfer, that would be a huge disappointment based on it's appearance. We didn't venture into the 'Maze'. The pool was just being opened as this was early June - however, it seems in OK condition. There were a ton of weeds growing, but I assume these are cleaned up prior to prime-time season - however, the broken/uneven stones surrounding the pool are indicative of years of neglect. To entertain our 2 year old, we opted to travel to nearby Ken Diamond park in Glovertown on multiple occassions which has an awesome new playground.
The straw that broke the camels back for us was when we were settling down for the night, and we were running a bath for our little one, and the water was brown. I'm not talking about slight discoloration that is present in many small towns municipal water supply, I'm talking brown brown. I went to the front office to complain, and was fortunate to catch the owner, as opposed to the nice lady that worked at the front desk. Trying to keep my cool, I told her of all the issues that we had noticed, and told her we were checking out the next day, without penalty. I told her that the whole place wreaks of years of neglect and was a hazard zone for kids. She conceded that there were deficiencies in the units, and assured me units were being updated yearly, and that 'The Loft', had not undergone any updates, but was in the queue. She also informed me that the resort had a 30k water filtration system installed last year, so she was surprised that the water was brown. If we had anywhere else to go, I would have checked out that night, but as it was, our little one was ready for bed, and we were out of options. She gave us a $100 discount for the night and sent over some toys/treats later one for our little one - which I thought was a nice gesture on her part. She also informed us later that the water issue should be resolved - apparently one of the pumps for the filtration system was not running; so she said it should clear up within 24 hours. Given we had friends meeting us there, and accommodations in these parts were not in abundance, we decided to wait until daylight to decide whether or not to checkout.
The next day, we gave fair warning to our friends regarding the conditions, and as a group we decided to stay the Saturday night, as we were from out of town, and this was our only chance to see them. The owner gave us the same discounted rate for the Saturday night. They did, however, charge us an extra $10 per person for the Saturday night. This is just bizarre. The unit we stayed in sleeps 8 if I recall - yet the rate is based on dual occupancy? Couples do not stay in units like this ... it's designed for families - why the dual occupancy? This is just an additional money grab - the only time I've ever seen additional charges for guests is if you EXCEED the occupancy of the unit. Not only that, for a unit that sleeps 8, there was only 1 bath towel per room, so 3 bath towels for 4 adults, and 2 infants. We had to go to the front desk to get more, yet they knew the number of people staying there.
The rate of our unit was $269 per night (based on dual occupancy), but in peak season it's $370 per night according to the printout inside the unit near the door. They are charging a premium rate, but you will not get a premium product. Perhaps when it opened, and everything was new, this price point could be justified, but in today's condition, it should be half that price or less. The website is out-of-date and needs updating, the pictures/services are not accurate. Don't expect to get fed there, bring your own food, or find some local places to eat. The restaurant only caters apparently.
My wife and I have no plans of ever staying there again - unless I see some online reviews which indicate a significant financial investment was made to fix the place up. The owner, while a little defensive at first, was understanding, and seems to be coming to grips with the condition of the place. She made a genuine effort to please us, which is all she can do once you're there - and for that I'm appreciative. The owners need to step up to the plate, invest money, time and effort to get the place back into shape - and come clean with people who are booking. Speaking for myself, if I was warned of the conditions in an honest way, and that 'renovations' were underway - then fine, I made the choice. Currently, it's a giant false advertisement.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pinetree Lodge is a 4 star family resort, with 25 modern fully equipped housekeeping units with large heated swimming pool and various attractions on site. We are adjacent to Terra nova national park and just 30 minutes from 2 outstanding golf courses. ... more less