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“Rustic shouldn't translate into dirty and rundown-very disaapointed!”

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Christopher Creek Lodge
Ranked #1 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Payson
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 10, 2009

My wife and I went to Christopher Creek last month as part of a week-long vacation of Arizona. I consider the stay at the CC Lodge to be the only disappointment on an otherwise great trip. While the little community and outdoors surrounding Christopher Creek are lovely, the accomodations at the Christopher Creek Lodge were unacceptable. What looked like a charming quaint rustic getaway on their web site did not translate into reality. It was a dump.To list some of the complaints:1) the bedsheet on the main room (we stayed in the Pony Express Room #20 had hairs and a blood stain on it when we checked in. After discussing the matter with the on-site attendant who insisted that he had placed clean sheets on there that morning, he gave me new bedsheets, blanket and bedspread, which I put on myself. 2) The shower stall's shower curtains were filthy-most and mildew were running down them. 3) The shower mat was a single piece of paper with the "Christopher Creek" on it-no mat really functional. 4) The toilet had to be plunged, and only with moderate success-the attendant had to come in and pour some baking soda solution in as not to harm the septic tank. The toilet then would not stop running after it was flushed-it would only stop if you lifted the tank cover off and adjusted the float arm-this got old very quickly, after having to adjust after every single flush. 5) The pipe under the sink leaked-the hotel's solution was simply to take a towel and throw it on the floor 6) There is no electrical socket in the bathroom-my wife had to use an outlet in the bedroom w/ no mirror to plug in her hairdryer. The recepticles are either too old and too worn to hold the appliance's prongs in place-I had to physically hold the plug in to get electricity, and then I saw an occasional spark. There is another area in the room that has been taped over with green plastic tape as a "solution" to another electrical socket situation....We did not bother to stay the second night we reserved because the place was so deplorable. They would not refund our money back. My credit card company is refunding the second night to me, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I got and asked for a refund for the first night as well. My response from the manager was in my opinion less than respectable, and they insinuated that I was someone who was just looking for a free ride. My advice-DO NOT STAY AT THIS PLACE until the owners and staff get their act together. It has great potential and is in a beautiful area, but it is a dump.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank HawgJowls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CCLodgeOwner, Managing Partner at Christopher Creek Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2009

I would like to respond to this review point by point about the stay in Pony Express (motel room #2). For a quick summary just scroll to the very bottom of this detailed response:

A) "Not as advertised on the Internet" - I believe that we are more forthcoming and honest about what we are and are not than any other hotel or lodge in the world. There may be one out there, but so far I have not found a hotel or lodge that even comes close to level of candor that we do. As an example we say right on the front page that we were "founded in 1950 and are the original business in the area". We further go on in the Terms and Conditions to say "this is not the Phoenician or Caesar's Palace", that is is "rustic" and this Terms and Conditions is shown 3 times throughout the online reservation process as well as customers have to click a checkbox at the end stating you've read them. It is also a link right on the main page. All of the pictures on the site are fairly recent and relevant. And should someone talk to us on the phone we are very open and honest.

1) "Bed sheet" - My on-site manager called me immediately after the customer brought this up with him about this to give me the heads up. He informed me that he went down there immediately and asked the customer to show him the "blood stain" and "hairs" on the sheets and that the customer was unable to point anything out to him. As a precaution he still gave out new linens. Notice there is no picture of the claim made by the customer.

2) "The stall's curtain" - Since I did not see it myself all I can say is that if there was a problem we would have cheerfully and immediately remedied it by re-cleaning it or replacing it altogether if that is what it took to make our guest more comfortable. Admitedly the picture does look alarming and I am having it looked in to immediately.

3) "The Shower Mat" - The shower mat is actually a cute little disposable floor mat that has a nice topical picture of a cabin and trees on it (some people even ask us for an extra as a souvenir). We have plenty of the standard cloth shower mats available and although we've had no requests for them we'd have been happy to provide that to the guest instead.

4) "Toilet not flush properly" - From time to time toilets will get jammed (usually due to someone trying to flush something down that shouldn't be), but it is not an overly common occurrence. When it does we simply plunge or use a septic safe mild version of drain-o. I understand that he made sure it was working fine before he left our guests with their room. In the case of the float/water run noise - this can happen with any toilet, but we haven't really had that as a problem up there. This would only come in to play after a toilet was flushed in which case it can be stopped until used next. Again, if this was a huge issue we could've tried a more permanent remedy and/or replaced the float (although the one in there is pretty new). Actually, if you look at the picture closely you'll see that the toilet assembly and toilet are all new.

5) "Pipes under sink" - there is only one "pipe" underneath the sink so I'll have to assume it was the p-trap that was leaking a little. I'm sure a towel would've been a sufficient stop gap and made no noise, but again we have extra plumbing gear on-site and replacing a p-trap takes but a couple of minutes. This is also the first I have heard of this as it relates to your stay and that room. Based on the picture I now see it does appear their was a slow leak. It must've been noticed and fixed by our staff quickly because the next guest in that room raved about their stay.

6) "Electrical outlet" - I'll have to double check what connections are are not available in that particular unit. If memory serves there is a 2-prong plug at the base of the bathroom light. The units on this property vary as to when they were built (from 1950-1990). The units are all priced and positioned accordingly. These particular units were built in the 70s. We do have 3-prong adapters we keep in the front office for use and people have seemed pretty happy when they've used them. The socket is outdated by today's building standards, but at the time of construction I can assure you it was up to code. It is grandfathered in and been pretty much a non-issue and while we have made some updates and improvements to the property we've tried on purpose to temper that with keeping it's rustic and historic appeal. On the "green plastic tape solution" - Actually that connection used to go to the fan portion of an old propane heater that was used. We replaced them due to safety concerns among $250K of other improvements we've made in the last 14 months. The "solution" of green tape over the outlet was an attempt to serve as a "does not work" sign for the outlet, but it is harmless as there is no live feed to it any longer. We should however just put a plane-faced plate on it so that there is zero confusion.

In dealing with this customer I was not trying to insinuate anything, but as someone running this or any business how can I possibly ascertain whether this is legitimate or 'someone due to living far away who will never be back anyway' just wanted a free ride. I have tried and tried, but I cannot reconcile in my mind how the place could be so "aggravating" and "horrendous" yet the guest stayed the night anyway. I cannot reconcile how when being asked to show the "blood stains" and "hairs" that were claimed and then not being able to produce the evidence immediately thereafter...and then given fresh new linens anyway (right into the guests hands) someone would still sleep there if it was so bad. Why stay the night at all? The guest asked for a full refund only after staying for an entire day and nights stay.

This place is not for everybody, but some people really love it (including the people that stayed right before and right after this guest in the exact same unit).

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328 - 334 of 354 reviews

Reviewed June 5, 2009

we decided to go for a weekend getaway, and this was perfect... very close to phoenix and yet very different once you reach there. The hotel staff were very nice and helpfull. We had a great time grilling and enjoying the BBQ. The climate was perfect too and the rooms were clean with a kitchen which was perfect for us...

Stayed: April 2009
Thank divi10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2009

I agree with all the travelers comments. Very rustic setting, the stream was great, the scenery was beautiful.
My first concern was when I initially called to make reservations, an older woman answered the phone, she quoted the wrong price and I reminded her of the website price. She was very nice, apologized and said I was right. My other concern was the the older gentleman (i think he is the manager) does not have good phone manners. I audit companies for a living and although I was not auditing this company, the man answered the phone the first time a week prior and he acted like I was bothering him. Maybe he thought my questions were stupid.. I dont know, he was very short and abrubt with me. I will agree that the older woman and the young woman( black hair) were very nice. And the older gentleman WAS NICE when we ARRIVED, but he almost made me not want to call back.
However, my main concern is it costs $19.00 per dog per night to stay there. I love my dogs and I was only able to take one with me because the cost is so high. Other cabins we have stayed at either have a refundable policy or the price isnt so high. So unfortunately, due to the fact that I take my pets on vacation, I could not go back. However, I enjoyed it, the cabins were clean, the walks were great, but not worth the price for my pets. Sorry!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank alnjudy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CCLodgeOwner, Managing Partner at Christopher Creek Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 16, 2009

Hello. I'd like to respond to your review in the same order that you mentioned things.

I believe the woman who answered the phones was a "emergency stand-in" so I am quite sure she did not have a strong grasp of our rates and policies. She was likely there to answer the phone and take messages. I'll double check for sure.

As far as how you were treated on the phone as to your questions, I want to really apologize for that. Because I've heard that same complaint before and I can tell by the tone of your review I definitely do believe you. The person of which you are speaking is being replaced as of June 15th. We expect all phone calls to be handled in a polite manner (regardless of the questions). So, again we/I am sorry for that.

I think you were misinformed on the costs of pets. We pride ourselves in being pet-friendly. In fact, we put in a dog park a few months back. The cost for 1-dog is $19 for the entire stay. For 2-dogs it is $29 and for 3-dogs it is $39. That is a one time fee. This helps us to cover the extra cleaning. It is our goal to always provide an affordable getaway!

I truly appreciate your feedback and should you have any concerns you can email the managing partner (me) directly off of the (contact) link on our website. Those emails go directly to me. Take care!

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Reviewed April 26, 2009

My husband and I came up to the lodge for our 20th wedding anniversary. The cabins were rustic and had a very historic feel. The bed was very comfortable. I loved how the creek was right in front of our cabin.
I guess if I had one request it would be to have a sofa couch in the living room area. The picnic table and benches were the only furniture in the living room area and they were hard wood. Not so comfy. Our cabin had the bed in a separate bedroom. I know some of the units had the bed in the kitchen/living room area, so I guess you could sit on the bed in those for seating. It would have been nice to be able to kick back and relax in there near the fireplace on a sofa.
The grounds were very nice and clean. The cabin was clean. If you go and stay make sure to bring paper towels, spices for cooking even salt and pepper.
Also, You will be required to clean the fireplace out, dump the ashes, and sweep the floors. I think that for the price of the room you shouldn't have to clean out the fireplace.
All and all I would give Chistopher Creek Lodge a good rating. We enjoyed ourselves and that is all that matters. The owner was nice and helpful. I would stay there again.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank tnj89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CCLodgeOwner, Managing Partner at Christopher Creek Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 16, 2009

First of all, I'd like to say thanks for the review. We are in the process of looking at some sort of "cabiny" love seat or something small that can fit in the creekside cabin units. It is on the "to do list" for sure. We've had difficulty in finding the right piece (affordable, durable, "cabiny", etc), but it is our plan to have those in the individual cabins before 2009 is over.

We do not include any kitchen consumables that is true. Not everyone uses them, it is just one more thing to maintain and it represents an additional cost and inventory concern. We've made the judgement call at this time to include the "essentials".

As far as cleaing the fireplace, dishes and other minor housekeeping that we ask from guests. It is really a matter of costs control and trying to keep the place as affordable as we can. Not everyone uses the fireplace or dishes so for them it is a non-issue and of no extra work for us. This has been something that we've thought about a lot, for now we've decided to keep our costs as low as we can and pass the savings on to the customers.

Thanks again for the feedback and I am glad you had such a nice time. Best wishes!

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Reviewed January 3, 2009

We stay in AZ cabins often, and have seen a variety of different styles, but this one definitely wasn't for us.

On a budget, when we discovered our favorite New Year's cabin was booked, we found Chris Creek Lodge on-line & decided to give it a try. Their website is great & the cabin was easy to book, but I wasn't thrilled with having to pay the full amount up-front, non-refundable. When our favorite place had a cancellation & offered us the cabin, it wasn't an option because we were locked in to our "Plan B".

On the positive side, the location is beautiful, and having the rushing stream right out our back door was fantastic. Negatively, "Rustic" means different things to different people, but our perception of Cabin 5 was "run-down". I would hate to have seen it before the renovations.

We planned to do all our own cooking for our entire 4 day-3 night stay. When we looked under the counter in the kitchen to see what cookware options we had, our expectations were not high to begin with. After all, it's an inexpensive, rustic cabin. But what we found was fairly repulsive. Most of the "pots" were filled with dank, foul smelling (or maybe just the whole cabinet was foul-smelling??) water that was apparently leaking from the exposed pipes above. I'm not sure because I really didn't want to look that closely. The plates, cups, silverware, etc. weren't in much better shape. We fortunately had brought all our standard camping gear with us, and were grateful to have our own cookware, plates, and utensils to use.

The bathroom was another major negative for us. As other reviewers have mentioned, it was tiny, dark, run-down, and didn't "seem" to be very clean. All the bleach & cleansers in the world probably wouldn't make a dark, tiny, old bathroom look clean. Not management's fault, just the way the cabin was built (bathroom may have been added in after the cabin was built?). I believe we were in one of the older cabins, so the newer ones may have better facilities.

The loft area is FANTASTIC for kids, but probably not for adults, and definitely not for anyone who doesn't want to navigate a ladder (steep stairs) throughout the stay. It wasn't the cleanest area, and the fan was really disgusting, but again, it's an inexpensive cabin.

Probably owing to a cheap load of firewood, fires were exceedingly difficult to start. If not for my pyro-tendencies and a helpful dash of lighter fluid, we likely wouldn't have had fires in the evenings. I know for a fact that other folks were extremely frustrated with the same issue & never did get a fire going.

Management was great. Very friendly, helpful, and honestly seemed to care whether or not their guests had a good stay. We checked out a telescope for our stay, and it was a nice touch. The only problem we brought to management's attention was the failure to get our firewood on the 2nd day. The girl in the office was genuinely sorry it happened, and offered to load it up & bring it down herself. I just asked her to point me to the wheel-barrow and with her gracious help, loaded up the wood we purchased plus a little extra for the effort.

I wouldn't tell anyone NOT to stay here, but I would definitely make sure they understood what they were getting for the money. It is a decent value for what you pay, but a little more investment into the kitchen & bathroom might have made us more likely to return. For some, this may be their ideal getaway or fishing cabin, but for us, we'd rather spend a few more dollars for a nicer place, or wait for the thaw & go tent-camping. The place was full when we got there and full when we left, so obviously it works well for a lot of people.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank hidden1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CCLodgeOwner, Managing Partner at Christopher Creek Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2009

Hello. I wanted to repond to this review. First of all I did want to thank the reviewer for the kind words regarding our pricing, office help, location, stream and cabin loft.

1) The reason why we have a "no refund" policy is precisely for the "Plan B" reason. We often turn away customers who love the place because we are already full. If we allow people to cancel and get a refund at the last minute we lose revenue and someone else that would've loved the place is out. For this reason we explain this on our website as well as "coach" people over the phone if they sound a little iffy to be sure this is what they want and that the dates are okay. Many hotels are adopting this policy.

2) The Fisherman's Cabins are older and are the most rustic units we provide (thus the lower price). There is only so much we can do with limited square footage and the older construction. Having said that the renovations on those units are not totally complete, but getting there.

3) We did end up finding a small leak in the unit underneath the kitchen sink, which has been rectified. As far as dishes and utencils go...that is a big challenge for us because we have to try and combine durability with them looking nice, but not too nice so that they don't get stolen or used by kids for play toys. We do our best to outline rules for people and to provide usable items (but they are more camping like). Having said that we are nearly finished with the process of making sure each room has more suitable dishes and silverware.

4) You are correct about the bathroom being small in the Fisherman's cabin. You should have seen it before we took over. They had a big wierd sink in there making it nearly impossible for the thinnest person in the world to use it. We replaced the sink and toilet in the unit not long ago and it is much improved, but yes it is still a small bathroom.

5) We try hard to keep the units clean. It is particularly difficult being that we are right in the middle of the forest without a paved road on the property. Having said that the cleaners are human and sometimes a smaller item is accidentally overlooked (which we'd happily rectify if informed). We do work very hard to try and provide a clean and comfortable atmosphere.

6) Ah yes the firewood issue. We actually got three bad batches in a row, which caused us an unbelievable customer service nightmare and a lot of extra costs. We tried desperately to help people start their fires, try to find better wood, etc. It was a pain. We have gone with a much better (albeit more expensive) supplier.

7) Glad the office help was so great. That is good to hear. Providing firewood is much easier now as we sell it already pre-bagged and simply load it in peoples vehicles when they arrive. It is much more convenient and seems to have improved things a lot.

8) The cabin you stayed in is the most rustic. On the bathrooms, all have new toilets, most have new sinks and plumbing, with the final renovations slated for October. It is a million times better than when we took over to be sure, but we still are not quite at the "vision". Thanks for your stay!

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Reviewed November 3, 2008

My family has been visiting Christopher Creek for over 25 years, it is trully one of the most beautiful places in AZ. We were unable to stay at a family members cabin on a recent visit and decided to stay at the Christopher Creek Lodge. We arrived pretty late, but the manager was so kind and even came out to make sure we had plenty of fire wood for the night, he even let me use the office phone to call and check on my son in Phoenix, as I had no cell phone reception. My husband, our daughter and myself had a most wonderful time all weekend, the property was great, and beautiful, it even had a small play area outside for my daughter to play on, and our cabin (one of the 9 tandem ones) was wonderful, very clean, had all the necessities to do some cooking, bedding was clean and comfortable and we had a nice little places to have a fire outside. Our trip was great and we will visit the lodge again, actualy we were planning our next visit before we had even left.
Wonderful and caring management, Beautiful and pleasant property.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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Thank AZLisaJane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2008

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful 2 day stay at the Christopher Creek cabins....the cabin was rustic, had all the amenities, refrig, microwave, stove but mostly importantly a beautiful view of Christopher creek from the kitchen window. The patio was right next to the creek allowing the sound of the flowing water and falling leaves to be heard..the management was friendly and helpful, supplying firewood for the fireplace as soon as we arrived...very relaxing and peaceful

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Alice099
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Christopher Creek Lodge

Address: 1355 E Christopher Creek Loop, Payson, AZ 85541-2218
Location: United States > Arizona > Payson
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Payson
Price Range: $60 - $82 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Christopher Creek Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The original, largest and only lodge right on the banks of Christopher Creek. We hope you'll be a part of the history! "Had a rough day...or a rough week? Get away from it all.. relax on the creek!" New Ownership April, 2008. ... more   less 
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Christopher Creek Hotel Payson

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