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Reviewed April 15, 2007

As part of a yearly points/time share package, my fiance and I stayed at Fairfield Bay with his 8 year old son and my 14 year old younger sister. Even though we went in a very deserted season, and even though the group comprised of a TEENAGER, we had a WONDERFUL time!

The condo itself was by no means state-of-the-art, but it was very cozy and appropriate for the area! It was quite spacious with two bedrooms, a big deck, two bathrooms, big living room, dining area, fireplace, and kitchen. It was immaculate and everything was in working order! The staff was VERY warm and welcoming.

What anyone who stays here needs to know is that it is NOT a typcial resort... as in, it isn't bustling with activity. As a young family who isn't into golf, Mary Kay makeovers, or stores closing at 8:00, we were prepared ahead of time with activities we knew we wanted each day.

We went on a cool trail ride on horseback, explored Blanchard Caverns, and rafted for hours down the White River! In our "downtime", we played mini-golf, swam in the indoor pool, and my fiance and his son made good use of the basketball court. The weather was cold and wet but we still had a BLAST.

So, if you're not expecting moment to moment activiites all laid out for you like a theme park, and if you're not afraid to go off the beaten path, Fairfield Bay and the surrounding areas offer so much for you and your family to reconnect (or connect) with nature.

Date of stay: April 2007
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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8  Thank kimguillot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2006

We returned yesterday from a week's stay after exchanging through RCI but would not go back. The condo's are really nice and spacious but there were far too many negatives to not go back. I'll start with the room. We had a 2 bedroom with the master being downstairs. There was a tv in each room with a 27" in the living room along with a VCR and DVD player. The dining room was plenty big and we had a dishwasher, microwave, icemaker in the kitchen. You get all the basics for cooking/eating in the kitchen but I'd definitely bring my own skillet if I went back, there's was too small and wasn't not stick. The condo was in a very woodsy setting with lots of trees around. We were on the lake but couldn't see it at all because of the trees. Master bedroom had a jacuzzi tub with a handheld shower that turned out to be quite a challenge to use. THere is a stackable washer/dryer in a closet off the bedroom. Also, there was a sliding glass door with a patio off the master.

We could walk to one of the pools but was a real pain coming back as it was straight uphill. It kind of levels off in the parking area before going uphill again and our room, was at the top of the hill. The pool was nice but did have a ton of trees surrounding it. If you wanted to sunbathe it was kind of hard on the pool deck because of the trees. The biggest problem was what appeared to be all the locals showing up and using the pool. I knew they were local because they talked about having to go to work that day, etc. They came for the whole day and brought all their kids plus the neighbors. The were loud, crude, and not very considerate of others. They had all these very young children that didn't have the swim diapers on and just let them go in the pool evidently. They were all over the place and one teenager went around and climbed on the roof of the bathroom and was acting really wild. Finally the mother told him he needed to come down. There wasn't a phone anywhere around to call the office to let them know what was going on. The bottom of the pool had some questionable stuff in it and didn't appear to be cleaned each day, or else this stuff reappeared every day. One employee told us they had trouble with the locals breaking into the pool at night and tearing up the playground there.

Everything else at the resort was at least 3 miles away along VERY windy, hilly, roads. It's not bad once in awhile but for everything you do gets to be a real pain. The marina is 5 miles away and is straight uphill or down the whole trip. I was really glad we put new tires on our car before we left. Also, everything pretty much closes by 8:00 and several things aren't open past 5, like the rec center office and they're not open on the weekends either. We had two teens that didn't have much to do the whole week and thought they could do the teen activities but found out most that went were only 13 and they were 17 and 18. They signed up on Tuesday for the teen cruise on Thurs. evening but we were told they had to have at least 8 signed up or they wouldn't go. I thought that was weird especially since they made you pay $15 per person. The pool party was $3 and was pretty lame. Guess they charged since they gave them a bowl of ice cream.

The marina is nice but it's real expensive to rent a boat. The cost is $80 plus tax AND gas for 2 hours on a ski or pontoon boat. THey charge if you want a tube like $10. We ended up renting two different days. The first time the gas was $20 which I didn't think was too bad. The second day the gas was $40 which I just about had a cow over especially since we had it the same amount of time and did the exact same things with it, if anything we drove slower. By the time it was all said and done it cost $140 to rent a boat for 2 hours but since everything and every town was such a drive we figured we weren't too bad off.

This resort is mixed in with an actual community and even the locals I talked to said there was nothing to do, there or in town. They do have some activities but like I said it's all over so early. The putt putt golf place is supposed to be open till 10 but we drove by there at 9:15 two different times and it was already closed. Another night it was closed at 9:00. SO much for having something to do till 10. Also, the resort charges for everything. If you want to play tennis it's $3 if you have your own racket. If not, it cost more. The rec center has games you can check out but they charge $1 for each game. I've never stayed anywhere where they try to just suck every cent you have out of you.

We went through an entire tank of gas in less than 5 days getting around the resort. We did go to Heber Springs one day but it was only 30 miles away. This is a resort to go if you don't have teens that like to DO things or you want to sit and do nothing at all. It would be fine if you have little one's that don't take a lot to amuse. Don't think we'll be going back.

Date of stay: June 2006
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24  Thank Krim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2006

Date of stay: 5/29 – 6/3/06

Our recent 5 night stay at Fairfield Bay was quiet and enjoyable. As the original resort in the Fairfield group, this vacation spot still remains a natural beauty, although the widely spread community boasts 2500 permanent residents. This city is governed not only by a mayor and elected officials but also by a long-standing community board. There is currently some disagreement about the placement of a proposed hotel, but residents realize the importance of new growth.

Our two bedroom unit was close to the tennis courts, which are being redone. The four Cliffside buildings are three stories high with access at the second level, which we were glad to have requested. They are roomy and include a fireplace and a 10 x 10 master bath with an enormous Jacuzzi. To our disappointment, the view was of trees and the lake was some distance away. While visiting the Bay, we bowled, played mini golf, attended the weekly two step dance at the senior center, went to the library, listened to karaoke performers, viewed the museum, the marina, and the two highly-rated golf courses. We also drove throughout the surrounding scenic areas; note – all roads are hilly and full of curves. Check your brakes, take your Dramamine, and beware of logging trucks. Even Highway 65 south from Branson is primarily 2 lanes. We were delighted with the Downtown Cafe and the Shitake mushroom grower in Shirley; and Bentley's Restaurant in Greers Ferry. Also, Heber Springs and Mountain View are worth the drives.

Our overall impression was that this Fairfield must have been a top of the line facility about 15-20 years ago; the staff is certainly friendly and efficient and the residents are well pleased with their community. However, the convention center is shuttered as are most of the shops in the on site mall. Only one computer was available in the office and no dial up service. Units are beginning to show their age; can they be modernized? Can we? The addition of a first rate fitness center five years ago is a huge boost, but the area must attract more visitors, more families, and new businesses. Meeting this challenge will determine the course of this lovely Fairfield resort.

18  Thank bettyt9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2005

I've been to Fairfield Bay several times and was never disappointed. We've had family reunions and just little getaways for me, my wife and kids. Mountain Ranch is a wonderful golf course experience any time of year, and the natural ampitheatre overlooking the other course is a MUST SEE. I would be suspicious of anyone's opinion who calls it a 'golf cource'.
I have recommended Fairfield Bay to many. There is a restaurant at the Tennis Center which has a lounge that stays open fairly late, but maybe just on weekends. I'm not sure. The bowling lanes aren't bad. There used to be a little mom and pop restaurant right on the village square that served great breakfast. I guess it's still there.
Anyway, if you plan to drive from F. Bay to Hot Springs, it's about 2 1/2 hours, so plan a full day for that. If you go to F. B., though, you may as well stay there because there's plenty to do if you're fairly active.

Date of stay: October 2002
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17  Thank OnAir15961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2005

This was a good place to visit as long as your not a night owl.

Let me start off by saying that the condo we stayed in was very nice. We stayed in a two bedroom unit and there was plenty of room for five adults and one child. I don't know if they have smaller or bigger units because I didn't plan the trip. My wife worked with a lady who had already set up and paid for the trip but then couldn't go, so we got to stay for free. That was the only draw for us to visit Arkansas. We usually prefer the beach.

The resort is located well out of the way from any major cities but we made the hour or so drive to Hot Springs to see the tourist stops. Hot Springs is a very nice place to visit. My wife wanted to have a spring bath and message but with our limited time the wait would have taken up most of the day. If we ever go back to Arkansas this is probably were we will go. We also took a day to travel to Branson, MO. This is a real tourist town. Outlet malls, put-put golf, go-carts. It reminded me of Pigeon Forge, TN. But the drive through the foothills of the Ozarks was nice.

The resort does have two golf courses within a couple of miles of each other. Both are nice courses but I would recommend the summer months if you want to play. March was just not late enough in the year for most of the grass to be grown in. Mountain Ranch is probably the nicer of the two courses, but since Indian Hills is Fairfield Bays private course and was less crowded. Forget about twilight rates here though. Both course close up tight at 5:00 P.M.. Even the driving range. The restaurant at Indian Hills was very nice.

There are also stables accross from the main entrance. The people are very nice and helpful. There flyer said no children under five, but we asked and that only ment that they could not ride without an adult.

The resort is really good place if you own a boat. The slip rental fee wasn't badly priced and I hear the fishing is pretty good there. I didn't notice the boat rental fee.

My only real complaint about Fairfield Bay is that everything closes very early. Fairfield Bay is basicly a community, I think a retirement community, and everything but the Pizza Hut down the street and the gas stations close at 5:00 P.M. or 8:00 P.M.. You will want to drive or rent a car if you come because everything is out of the way.

Date of stay: March 2005
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41  Thank Freddie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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