My husband and I just returned from a week at Taboo, a beautiful resort on the shores of Lake Muskoka. Check-in was a breeze, the girls at the front desk were friendly and helpful providing maps and explanations of the dining facilities, activities, nature trails, golf etc.
We arrived at 3:00 and our room was not ready so we walked around the resort until it was. It was a room worth waiting for, a premier lakefront king room 417. The view was breathtaking; it was exactly what we had hoped it would be. I’ve attached pictures to this review.
The room was spacious with high ceilings, a sliding glass door to a small glass balcony with two very old Muskoka chairs that were cracked splintered, wobbly and probably over 20 years old. Those chairs need replacing immediately. We stood most of the time to enjoy the view.
We proceeded to unpack and realized there was hardly any surface space. Other than a very small narrow desk area under the TV, there is not one other counter or table. There were two chairs that were more like office chairs, but no table between them, so we were forced to use the counter in the bathroom for our cooler and other items we like to keep out like my bum-pack, sunglasses, room keys, laptop, etc.
The bed was comfortable, the pillows a bit too soft for us. The room is equipped with a bar fridge, 2 cup coffee maker, electronic safe, blow dryer, 2 bathrobes, ironing board and iron, flat screen TV, 2 portable phones, a clock with docking station for iPhone 4, a fireplace, and rain-head shower with pressure to die for and free Wi-Fi.
Housekeeping was hit and miss, regardless of tipping, which I left on the pillow, some days we would get 2 complimentary bottles of water, but most days not. Some days the room was cleaned perfectly, but most days it was not. The worst day was when they left all the dirty glasses and never replaced any new ones. We called and they came up and brought glasses that were stained and dirty. We bought paper cups.
The do-not-disturb sign was a one time use only. Made of paper, it did not fit the door handle and would tear with each use. We had to go down to the front desk to get new ones all the time.
There was not enough choice of dining for a week’s stay. It would have been fine if we were there for a couple of nights, but not six. Most nights we were forced to get in our car and search for restaurants in the area. Here is a breakdown:
Elements – Beautiful fine dining with a view of the lake. Excellent food and service, good wine selection, elegant and comfortable atmosphere. The bill for 2 (with only one cocktail and a bottle of sparkling water) was $140. Although it was excellent (see more detailed review on Trip Advisor), it was too expensive to frequent more than once. That left us with one other choice, The Boathouse.
The Boathouse - an outdoor restaurant overlooking the docking area has an extremely limited menu with mediocre food. After eating there twice, we were out of choices, and those two times the experience was average. The service however was great, friendly, attentive wait staff with a smile. We even tried going back one night for a nightcap and dessert, but in the height of the season, they close at 9:30! Shocker!! So we were forced to go to The Lounge.
The Lounge - is an indoor bar, very attractive with 4 flat screen TVs . It’s comfortable for drinks, but the low tables do not make it conducive for eating, beside the dessert menu was so sparse, mostly fruit or ice cream, we ended up going into town and buying our own butter tarts (which seem to be very popular in Muskoka) and we brought it down to the lounge to have with our drinks. Both times we visited, the area was very warm there must be a circulation problem with that area of the hotel. One night there was live music, which was really nice only it got so hot down there, we left.
The Poolside Bar - again had a very limited menu. I wanted a cup of coffee and they did not have it, but the waitress was kind enough to offer to go all the way to The Boathouse to get me a cup of coffee. Really? Can’t put a coffee maker in there? She brought me a cup of black coffee and had to run back to get milk and sweetener.
Fireside - is the breakfast place. We had one buffet breakfast. The food was cold, pancakes had a hard rim, French toast hard and cold, potatoes bland. We had the omelet chef prepare eggs for us and both were not up to par. I asked for a well-done egg white omelet and my husband over easy eggs. How hard is that? My eggs were well done on the outside and runny on the inside, his yolks were smashed. The cold part of the buffet was good; cheeses, small pastries and oatmeal were excellent. The outside tables had ants crawling on them and the service was painfully slow. The waitress filled up my coffee ½ way each time and then was nowhere to be found for a refill. No water until we asked. Cutlery was at the buffet instead of on the table. We had to get up to find the waitress to get the bill and pay $24 per person. The rest of the time, we either ate cereal in our room or drove to the Sunset Grill in Gravenhurst for a real breakfast at a reasonable price, also overlooking the lake on the wharf.
Hiking - We took advantage of the hike to Otter Bridge – if you do any of the hikes bring lots of bug spray and regardless of the brochure saying there are different entry points to the different trails, the only entry point accessible by car is in the Taboo Golf parking lot. We drove aimlessly looking for the Farm Road entrance, only to realize you would have to walk quite a way on the road to get to it.
Pool - The main pool area is small, with comfortable lounges and umbrellas, but although there is a kid’s pool, no one uses it. The kids are all in the adult pool, which is quite small. There are 2 other pools on the resort, we thought we would check out. The one we went to near the Adventure Centre was uninviting, with a filthy bathroom inside. No wonder no body goes there. We didn’t bother looking for the other.
The Spa - We had a couples massage by two RMT and it was excellent. My facial the next day however was mediocre. The spa itself is beautiful, inviting, luxurious with amazing showers and steam room. Everything you would expect from a fine spa.
We loved sitting by the fire on the beach at night and for $3.50 you can pick up a s’mores kit.
We craved some munchies and there was no where to get anything. We drove to town to a convenience store. When I checked out, I mentioned there was no store or vending machine on the resort and the girl pointed out right beside her, hidden behind a wall were magazines and drawers with snacks. Who knew? A daily paper was available behind that wall as well. Once again, we had no idea.
All-in-all we found Taboo to be a beautiful resort but for a much shorter stay. They still need help with the “finishes” to make this one a 5 star. I would not hesitate to go back for a weekend, but not for a full week’s stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Taboo Muskoka Resort is located right on beautiful Lake Muskoka, only 90 minutes north of Toronto. A year-round retreat, Taboo is known for its personalized service, sleek modern accommodations and championship golf. This Muskoka gem is an ideal place to relax and have fun while enjoying dozens of activities ranging from tennis and golf to hiking and biking. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Resort Taboo
- Taboo Hotel Gravenhurst
- Taboo Resort Gravenhurst
- Taboo Muskoka Resort Gravenhurst, Muskoka District