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“Almost 5 Stars”

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Taboo Muskoka Resort
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Gravenhurst
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
52 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Almost 5 Stars”
Reviewed July 19, 2014

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.

Room Tip: Premier Lakefront room had a breathtaking view and incredible sunsets
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank RoadtripTraveller08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anne W, Public Relations Manager at Taboo Muskoka Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2014
Roadtrip Traveller08 Thanks so much for sharing your super-detailed review of Taboo Muskoka, our "beautiful resort," with the TripAdvisor community. Your area-by-area notes, especially about dining options and details, have been shared with all our hotel departments to take action. We take seriously your overall desire for more options when staying more than a couple of days. And we agree "finishes" are important. We continue to work on them.

As a side note I did want to let you know the door locks/ handles were replaced with a better tap-to-open system the week you stayed with us. That's why the do not disturb signs were not an ideal fit.
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423 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (131)
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2014

My husband and I stayed for 4 days and 3 nights over a weekend in July and we felt that it was a very nice hotel but it's definitely not 5 star quality. However, it appears it's one of the nicest hotels in Muskoka so we really didn't have a lot of high-end options. Anyway, here is my breakdown of Taboo:

Elements Restaurant - Exceeded my expectations. The food was delicious and the wine selection was expansive and reasonable.
Culinary Theatre - Totally exceeded my expectations. I would stay at Taboo just for this experience again. Jesse Vallins is so talented and his food was amazing. This was one of the best meals I've ever had. Marcus chose excellent wines for the pairing, although his taste is a bit on the sweet side, but that's just a preference thing. He was so helpful and informative. The two of them together really made the experience so enjoyable.
Elements Lounge - Although I love the bar/lounge area for the view and the drinks, the food was really lacking. The menu is small and uninspiring with similar items from the boathouse restaurant, which is much more casual. I ordered the signature salad with hemp seed dressing and although the barman did warn me that the recipe had changed slightly, he only mentioned that they added tomatoes to the salad. He did not mention that the also added radishes and fennel (neither of which I like) and the omitted cheese and several other ingredients. Basically, the salad was not at all as described. The margerita flat bread was essentially a tortilla with a sprinkling of cheese. Also very uninspiring.
Fireside - We came here for breakfast every morning (which was $60 for 2 guests). Although the continental buffet is nice and comprehensive, the hot buffet was bland and stale. The restaurant should offer an a la carte menu if you're going to charge $25/guest. Buffet food is tacky and ends up getting stale and cold or melted. We chose to sit outside for 2 of the 3 mornings we ate there. The outdoor tables and chairs were dirty and covered with debris and bugs and the cushions were still damp from the rain the day before. The service outside was slow and it took 20 minutes just to get a check. When we wanted cappuccino, we were told the only option was coffee because the machine was broken. Although the waitresses were pleasant, they were a little too attentive stopping by our table what seemed like every 5 minutes to check on us.
Boathouse - The boathouse food was pretty casual and simple but not really outstanding. A quick storm arrived while we were eating lunch and the wind was blowing hard. I asked if we could move but they don't have an indoor space for this restaurant so we couldnt move inside. The outdoor area is covered but the wind was so strong it was blowing over objects on the table. It would have been nice if they let us take our food up to the Elements lounge to eat inside instead of having to tough out the storm on the deck.
Pool bar - My husband and I went to the pool for about 45 minutes to lounge for a bit. No waitress ever came up to us to offer us drinks or a menu. We had to go up to the bar to be served. I did see waitresses walking around serving other guests but they didn't seem to be offering wait service. This is disappointed for a high end property.
Golf – Highest ratings all around. My husband said that the course was one of the nicest and also one of the hardest he’s ever played.
Spa – I had a sports massage with Adrienne and she was fabulous! Very strong hands and she really worked out any tension I had. The spa itself is a really nice facility.
Rooms – Our king signature view room had a fabulous view of the lake. The bed was comfortable and the robes were to die for. However, when housekeeping came in to clean, they simply touched up and didn’t really tidy anything that was on the floor. In a high end place like Taboo, I would expect the room to be completely neat and tidy and for our clothes to be kept off the floor. Also, the chairs and table on the balcony were not wiped down so there were dead bugs everywhere.
Activities – We did a lot of kayaking, hiking, and the astronomy class, all of which were wonderful (except for the bugs which were relentless).

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Laura C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anne W, Public Relations Manager at Taboo Muskoka Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2014
Laura C, Thanks so much for investing the time in a very detailed review of your Taboo Muskoka summer stay and for sharing it with all TripAdvisor readers. Specific comments like yours help us to improve and fine-tune our guest offering. We do appreciate your husband's "highest rating all round" on our Taboo golf experience and that you found Spa Taboo to be "a really nice facility." We now have a new Food & Beverage leadership team and the dining comments you made, ranging from the espresso machine response to the breakfast buffet offerings and salad mix-up have all been individually addressed in detail. We want to make sure we are delivering a getaway that lives up to and exceeds our "potential" every day. Know that the feedback shared here is valued and acted on.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2014

My husband and I decided to book Taboo for a two night getaway as we had heard good things about the resort. We usually stay at The Marriot - Red Leaves, but decided to try something new.
For a 5 star resort, we were both very disappointed! Felt that it looked a little run down - the elevator was not working and we had to use the stairs to get to our room which was on the third floor. I understand that these things happen, but there was no apology! The few times we went to the lobby bar, (which is quite small and has no outside access) the two person staff at the bar were engaged in conversation. We had to get their attention to be served, the bar itself needed to be cleaned, which it was not. After asking for some nibbles, we were told the bar does not offer any. The outlets in the bathroom did not work; rooms were not cleaned until after 2:00 and finally, included in our cost, we were entitled to 9 holes of golf. When we went to the Taboo golf course, we were told that we were only allowed to use a different course, a short distance away. That was never clarified in our confirmation. Would definitely not return - very over priced!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Frances K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anne W, Public Relations Manager at Taboo Muskoka Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2014
Frances K, very sorry to read you were let down by your Taboo Muskoka experience. From the lack of an apology about the elevator disruption to the poor response in the bar, please know that is not the way we generally treat our guests. The service misses you experienced have been specifically addressed. I've also sent you a message via TripAdvisor asking you to tell us what would make it right for you, in hopes that you will consider giving our hotel a second, better chance.

One thing, I did want to mention is that the inclusion of the Sands golf course, a Stanley Thompson 9-hole, in every Taboo resort stay in-season is clearly noted everywhere from the website to the guest room key packages. We truly regret your misunderstanding and the less than ideal way it was handled. The "other" course is less than a 2-minute cart ride away, and we are always happy to shuttle guests there, or anywhere around the resort.
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Vaughan, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2014 via mobile

The resort is nice situated on the shore of Lake Muskoka. Lots of included amenities including a rough but nice 9 hole golf course. The 18 hole course is challenging but not severe. You will lose some balls! The food is good but very expensive. $120 for lunch salads for 4 with a drink each. We stayed for 1 night with free room and golf voucher and the food bill for the 4 of us was $600.00. 1 lunch, 1 dinner, one breakfast. Staff is friendly and attentive and they take very good care of you.

Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank John R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anne W, Public Relations Manager at Taboo Muskoka Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2014
John R, glad you enjoyed Taboo's location on Lake Muskoka and that our "friendly and attentive" staff did indeed take good care of you. Also pleased you were able to enjoy access to our 9-hole Stanley Thompson golf course, which is now included with every Taboo Muskoka stay in-season. Sorry you found us pricey and wanted to let TripAdvisor readers know summer 2014 breakfast is $12 for continental and $24 for the full hot buffet. Taboo also offers a number of seasonal dining features and specials like a Sunday prime rib dinner special for $27.95 pp and a 9 (holes) & Dine special daily, with the Taboo golf course and a 3-course dinner in the Boathouse or ELEMENTS restaurant, for $99 pp. John, thank you for taking the time to post a review for everyone here.
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Thornhill, Ontario
Level Contributor
119 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2014

We decided to stay at Taboo in order to have a close point to go to the Bala Cranberry Festival. We were first put in a more modern room at the end of the hall facing the parking lot but we were not happy with it and asked to be moved to the more traditional rooms with a balcony, facing the lake. The room was average and slightly dated but it was comfortable and the bed was good. We ate in the bar area the first evening and it was casual and quite good. On night 2 we ate in the dining room. Food and service was good, a little pricey. We consider it to be an average stay. Overall service was adequate.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cmikey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anne W, Public Relations Manager at Taboo Muskoka Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2014
cmikey, thank you for choosing to stay at Taboo Muskoka while you were enjoying the Bala Cranberry Festival events last October. We appreciate you taking the time to post a fall weekend getaway review for everyone on TripAdvisor. Also glad we were able to accommodate your room move request. And wanted to advise we now have larger images of our accommodation and the views on our new website. If there is anything specific we can do to move from two "goods" to great and encourage you to return, please let us know via email, social media or a call. We want to do our best for you and all our guests.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
88 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2014

I am an owner at Taboo and decided to review the resort as I spend a lot of time here. The location is excellent and the staff do try hard.
However, there are some things that can be improved. The waterfront should have more canoes and kayaks available to guests and owners.. Many of the rental condo units need repairs and upgrading. Near my condo unit there is a rental condo that has had smokers in it and believe me, it is very irritating to have that horrible smell around the outdoor grounds. The pools do get grungy by the end oif the day but that is mostly because guests do not shower at all when coming straight from the sandy beach for a swim. It is time to get some comfortable beds at the beach area. These white plastic junky beds have no pads and have seen too many summers.
On the positive end, Taboo is relaxing, generally peaceful and a great spot.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Gingey67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anne W, Public Relations Manager at Taboo Muskoka Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2014
Hello gingeyToronto. As a condo owner at Taboo Muskoka your feedback means a great deal to us. And we appreciate you taking the time to share it with other TripAdvisor readers, whether they are staying in the main hotel or a rented chalet. We're glad you find Taboo a "relaxing, generally peaceful and great spot." We do strive to do better each day and season. Please know that your specific comments about additional summer watercraft to borrow and new beach loungers are already under consideration. Have a great summer here with us!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 2, 2014

Taboo was more than expected. I'll be back again. Stayed in the Premier room on the balcony side which large, very modern and clean. Beautiful view. Pool with bar have a tropical resort feel. Restaurants are very nice with excellent food. Overall great experience. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Premier Rooms are large and very modern with a fireplace. Choose balcony side over looking lake.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Chris D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anne W, Public Relations Manager at Taboo Muskoka Resort, responded to this review, July 29, 2014
Chris D, thanks so much for sharing your feedback, "Taboo was more than expected," with TripAdvisor readers. We strive to offer all our guests the "overall great experience," you enjoyed. And we do look forward to welcoming you back to Lake Muskoka. Meantime, happy travels!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Taboo Muskoka Resort

Property: Taboo Muskoka Resort
Address: 1209 Muskoka Beach Rd | RR 1, Gravenhurst, Ontario P1P 1R1, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Muskoka District > Gravenhurst
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Gravenhurst
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Taboo Muskoka Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 100
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA so you can book your Taboo Muskoka Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Resort Taboo
Taboo Hotel Gravenhurst
Taboo Resort Gravenhurst
Taboo Muskoka Resort Gravenhurst, Muskoka District

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