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Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre
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Reviews (422)
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All reviewsgolf coursepinestone resortoutdoor poolpro shopwingsgas fireplacethe salt water poolcomfortable bedstennis courtsnice resorton sitequiet at nightgreat spotbit datedlarge groupoff seasonhaliburton highlands
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Reviewed March 17, 2014

We booked a queen room for two nights in early March, 2014, so that we could go dog-sledding at Winterdance Dog Sled Tours. The hotel is a 45 minute drive (in good weather) from the start of the dog sledding tour. There is not a surplus of hotel accommodation in the area. The front desk was helpful and the check-in was smooth.

The queen room (the resort's least expensive room), was a 'standard" queen room with one queen bed and a pull-out bed-sofa. The room was clean, the bed was OK. The resort was built in the mid 1970s and our room could have used a refreshing, as it did not appear to be changed much from when originally built. The large screen TV in our room was at least 20 years old.

There is an indoor heated pool, but no hot tub. There is an exercise room just off the pool area.

We booked with the resort directly by phone, told them that we were coming up for dog sledding, and received a good discount off the rack rate. We up-graded to the B&B rate for $20 more (for two adults) per night, and received an OK breakfast buffet in exchange. One can also order off the menu for the B&B rate.

The Heatherwood restaurant at the resort is billed, and priced, as upscale, but is not exceptional. There is also a pub on the property. You will have to drive back into Haliburton, or out into the "country," if you do not want to eat on the property.

There is not much to do on the property if you did not bring snowshoes, cross-country skies, or a snow mobile (or your golf clubs in the summer).

The area is full of hills, lakes and curvy back roads, and hence is very pretty. Motorcyclists would like these roads in season, especially if one had a dual-purpose bike.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Richard A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matthew_Phillips_GM, General Manager at Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2014

Dear Richard A:

First and for most thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback about your experience here at Pinestone, without constructive comments we are unable to prioritize the necessary improvements to turn an ok guest experience to an exceptional one.

Although we love our "Cottage-Country Escape" and a lot of our guests and repeat guests enjoy the cottage retreat feel this is one consistent comment we are receiving and have started to purchase flat screen televisions for the resort.

I am sorry you felt our Heatherwood Restaurant was priced as upscale, but not exceptional. Our Executive Chef goes to great lengths as I have mentioned before to source out the best ingredients for our dishes, as we prefer to us as many local ingredients as possible for our dishes. Using local meats and produce provides a better meal, but the cost of local food is often more than lower grade meats and produce shipped in or previously frozen. I will certainly continue to pass these comments onto our culinary team so they can continue create great dishes but be aware of our valued guests concerns.

Outside activities this time of year are always weather dependent, and can be challenging. We are thrilled you enjoyed your time with Winterdance Dog Sledding, it is only one of the many activities available through out the beautiful Haliburton Highlands! Here on site we are continually looking for ideas to increase the activities available here on site, including our outdoor skating rink and tobogganing hill.

100% guests satisfaction is our ultimate goal and to exceed each guest expectations at every opportunity, thank you again for your invaluable comments and I sincerely hope you contact me directly so we can have you back as our guest.

Sincerely,

Matthew Phillips
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2014

Stayed in one of the villas. Very clean. Great space. Could use some updated amenities but didn't need anything that wasn't available. Food was fantastic. New chef. New menu items were fantastic. Ate dinner and breakfast in restaurants. Fantastic service all around. Looking forward to going in the summer.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
Thank Jack B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matthew_Phillips_GM, General Manager at Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2014

Dear Jack B;

Thank you so much for your fabulous review! Our new Executive Chef has brought many new items to our menu that have been well received and we are glad you were able to enjoy them during your stay. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am very fortunate to have such a great group of people to work with at the resort. We have 100% commitment to guest satisfaction.

Please contact myself directly at gm@pinestone-resort.com so I can thank you personally and I can get even more feedback from your stay with us!

Sincerely,

Matthew Phillips
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

Stayed at Pinestone for the first time for a snowmobiling trip. The resorts we usually stay at in the area were fully booked, as it was valentine's day weekend. The only vacancy they had for the entire weekend was the 1 bedroom villa for $369 per night (plus tax). Beggars can't be choosers, so we booked it for a 3 night stay. Upon arrival, we were highly disappointed there was no kitchenettes in the villa, as we brought all our own food to cook. As you can see from the pictures, they have more than enough room to accommodate some sort of cooking facilities in the "kitchen" area, but nothing. They even have lots of pull out drawers and cupboards to accommodate a full kitchen, but everything's empty. They have a small bar fridge, a microwave and a coffee maker and that's it. For $369/night, something to cook food with would go a long ways. We actually went into Haliburton and bought a single burner, some pots, pans, cutlery, plates etc for around $75 at the bargain shop to cook all the food we brought = problem solved. Next, the place as a whole is very outdated and in need of a full upgrade. The layout of the villa was very strange, but spacious. They provide 2 love seats which are very old and uncomfortable in the living room. The TV's are small 19" tv's and the old box style (not that I went here to watch tv, but you get the picture). The lighting in the villa was a problem. Showering at night, you could barely see anything in the shower, as the lights were burnt out. The lighting in the day is great, as there's a skylight for natural sunlight, but at night, a miner's cap with a light would be very useful to see your way around. Maybe they could provide them upon checking in? The lighting in the "kitchen" area was very poor as well, but again, great during the day. There's a large dining room, but not sure why? They don't provide guests with cooking facilities, so I'm not sure why they provide a dining room. We cooked all our own food and still never used the dining room. There's also a lovely gas fireplace in the living room. It doesn't actually throw any heat (pretty sure it was broke), but looked nice. We went to the restaurant (Heatherwood) on Saturday night around 7pm and were told that if we had no reservations we could only eat in the bar, as they were slammed busy. My girlfriend and I looked at each other and started laughing, as there was barely anyone in the restaurant. We went into the bar and it WAS packed. We waited 15 minutes for a waitress to give us menu's and take a drink order, but it never came and we left. I'm in the restaurant industry and can honestly say they were short around 5 waitresses in the bar. Only seen 1 girl bussing around 15-20 tables, some with large groups of 6-10 people. Everyone in there had very frustrated looks on their faces. Sorry, but I can't comment on the food, as we couldn't get any in a reasonable amount of time. No room service available either. Positives - rooms were clean, beds were comfortable and pinestone is right on the snowmobile trail. Biggest negative - probably the worst VALUE I've ever experienced on a vacation in my life. In my opinion, this villa was worth around $179 per night max for what they provided.

Room Tip: Stay elsewhere, your bum will hurt on the way out after paying your bill for what you received.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Jeff K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirGstSvcs, Director of Rooms at Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre, responded to this reviewResponded March 2, 2014

Dear Jeff K:

I want to apologize for failing to exceed your expectations on your most recent visit with us here at the Pinestone Resort & Conference Centre. Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback as without this we are unable to make our resort the best it can be for all of our guests. Even though your review was not a positive one, I still thank you for taking the time to give us the opportunity to improve. Your feedback is invaluable to us.

I want to be sure to address all of your points you mentioned in your review. First in regards to the price, our rates (as is with all hotels worldwide) fluctuate with business demands. The Family Day Long Weekend that you joined us for was a sold out weekend and therefore our rates were higher than normal for that weekend. We do shop our competition and are sure to price our resort accordingly, not being the highest (but usually the lowest) of comparable resorts in the area as our property is a few years older than many of our comparable resorts and we want our guests to feel that they are getting value for their money. You are correct that our Villas and Chalets do not have kitchenettes (at this time) as this was not a popular feature when the units were originally designed and built. I agree with you that this is no longer the case and we are currently looking at the feasibility of adding cooking facilities to these units for guests such as yourselves that require cooking facilities. In keeping with this thought, we will immediately begin adding cutlery and dishware (and we will increase the glassware) in each of our chalets and villas beginning next week. As for the furniture in the units, I am surprised you found the love seats uncomfortable. I was able to identify your room number as the reservation was in your name, so I assure you I will personally tour this room myself to ensure that the couches are in good repair and comfortable, and that all the lighting is working. We have a fantastic housekeeping team that ensures the rooms are spotless as you mentioned, and they always report any issue to our maintenance team such as any lights that are not working, so I’m surprised you encountered this. This will be immediately rectified. Furthermore our Maintenance team will look at the fireplace and ensure it is in working order.

For your dining experience you again are absolutely correct. What I am about to share with you is by no means an excuse, but rather an explanation as to why things were delayed in the bar and restaurant. We did have several large groups joining us for dinner in the Heatherwood restaurant and therefore they had reservations, so you may have seen an empty table or two however, these were reserved for parties coming in shortly after your arrival to the restaurant. Furthermore, we had staffed for a full resort however, typically most guests will use the facilities over the span of a few hours and not all at the same time. On the night in question there was an outage for the local cable company that resulted in over half of the resorts televisions not having cable. We were on the phone with he company as soon as the outage occurred however it took them a full day to get the issue repaired. This resulted in many guests coming down to the bar (which did have cable) to entertain themselves and their children. This is why we were taking longer to service our guests. I as the GM was on site and personally working to expedite all orders to ensure people were getting their food as fast as possible, but you are correct, it did take longer than it should have for you to be served. For this I apologize.

Jeff – It is of the utmost importance to me that each of our guests that stays with us feels as though they get good value for their dollar and this was far from the case for you. I will be contacting you outside of Tripadvisor with the contact info you gave us at time of reservation in order to do whatever it takes to make this experience up to you. 100% customer satisfaction is our #1 goal, and unfortunately not every guest is 100% satisfied and when this is the case, our team and I will do whatever it takes to make you satisfied. I will be inviting you back for a complimentary 2 night stay with us so that your most recent experience is a positive one. I hope you accept my sincerest apologies and give us another opportunity to exceed your expectations.

Sincerely,

Matthew Phillips
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

Pinestone was the first night for five of us on a four night snowmobile ride. This place really understands snowmobiling which isn't always the case for our other accommodations during the trip. Good supper in the pub and an excellent full breakfast which was included in the snowmobile package as well as secure lock-up for the sleds.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank RAP705
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirGstSvcs, General Manager at Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre, responded to this reviewResponded March 2, 2014

Dear RAP705:

Thank you very much for your excellent review! I truly appreciate when guests take the time to post reviews for us, as your feedback is truly invaluable. It’s your feedback that directs us to best serve you our valued guests!

We are thrilled that we were able to exceed your expectations on your recent stay with us! We have been working hard to appeal to the snowmobile community as we do offer as many snowmobile amenities as possible including our secure lock up on our tennis courts, gas on site and we always have lots of hearty food to fill you up after a long day of sledding! I was also glad that you enjoyed the breakfast included with your snowmobile package!

Please be sure to contact myself directly at gm@pinestone-resort.com so I can thank you personally and also so I can get even more feedback from you on your stay with us!

Sincerely,

Matthew Phillips
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2014

Winter weekend with a group of friends. Hotel is clean, but is in great need of updating; decor is quite dated and the rooms are well used and noticeably 'patched'.

Spa service was average and adequate, although the prices seemed high for the spa experience offered. Salt water pool was lovely, and the small fitness area was appreciated.

Dining experience was lack lustre. Foods at the pub were hot and tasty, and the service was pretty good. The pub could do with some live music to add a bit of 'pep' to the experience. Dining Room menu was expensive, and the food was average.

Breakfast was a huge disappointment. We arrived, having reviewed the breakfast menu earlier, and found a limited buffet. Server advised that 'there's the breakfast' over there; $12.95., help yourself. When we inquired if we could order from the menu, we were advised both days that there were '180 guests in house and one cook in the kitchen. You can order off the menu if you want, but it will take more than thirty minutes'. We were puzzled, as traditionally a full house of guests is viewed as a good thing in a resort, and not as an impediment to getting a made to order meal. First morning we partook of the limited breakfast buffet; expensive option for what was offered. Second morning, same story on ordering from the menu, so we gave up and drove to town to actually get a hot breakfast at a reasonable price.

Housekeeping staff were pleasant, helpful and approachable. Some staff seemed to be a bit unhappy.

Overall, it was a mediocre experience. Expensive for what it was, and a bit disappointing for what it could have been. Perhaps in the summer when the golf course is open it may be a better experience. Overall, we gave it a try and will move on to try another resort next time.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Bikerbelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirGstSvcs, General Manager at Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre, responded to this reviewResponded March 2, 2014

Dear Bikerbelle B:

I want to apologize for failing to exceed your expectations on your most recent visit with us here at the Pinestone Resort & Conference Centre. Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback as without this we are unable to make the necessary improvements to serve you our valued guests better.

Our resort provides a “Cottage-Country Escape” and is purposely not made to be an ultra modern resort, as many of our guests and repeat guests, enjoy the rustic cottage retreat feel that our resort provides. I am sorry that you didn’t enjoy the décor as much as some of our other guests however I will continue to monitor this to ensure we are providing all guests with a pleasant experience. We do have a new spa operator, “Alberto’s Salon and Spa” that provide all of our spa services to our guests. We have done an analysis or “shop” of all other resorts in the area including Muskoka, and we have found our prices to be on the lower end of the spectrum. When visiting a resort spa, you will find that the prices can be slightly higher than a spa you will find in an urban area with increased competition. This is strictly due to the increased costs to run a spa at a resort. I will however be happy to speak with our operator and have him reach out to you if you feel that you didn’t get value for what you received.

I’m thrilled you enjoyed both our salt water pool and fitness areas! As for the Food and Beverage, I’m sorry you found our food to be expensive with just average food. Our Executive Chef goes to great length to source out the best ingredients for our dishes, even going as far as bringing in Wellington County beef from here in South-Western Ontario as we prefer to use as many local ingredients as possible in all of our dishes. Using local meats and proteins provides a better meal, but as you are aware, the cost of local food is often more than the lower grade meats and produce shipped in or previously frozen.

I am very surprised that our service staff would suggest that there would only have been one cook one when we have 180 people for breakfast, and deter you from ordering off of the menu. This is not professional nor appropriate, and I will be sure to review with my F&B Director. So you’re aware, we do offer a full breakfast buffet as our guests have indicated through feedback that this is preferred for them. We do offer an expansive buffet including scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, pancakes or french toast, an egg frittata, yogurts, cereals, toast, danishes and croissants, coffee, tea and juices. As for only having one cook on, this could not have been the case as one person can’t cook for 180 people even if it is on a buffet. Regardless this should not have been communicated to you in any way.

It is of the utmost importance to me that each guest feels they got good value for the money they spent. I would like to make this experience up to you and welcome you to contact me directly at gm@pinestone-resort.com so that we can work to rectify this immediately. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction, and to exceed the expectations of our guest at every opportunity. When this is not the case I will do whatever it takes to make it right with you.

Thank you again for your invaluable feedback and I truly hope you contact me so I can have you back as my guest.

Sincerely,

Matthew Phillips
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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