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“We enjoyed our rustic experience-hiking, kayaking and cooking under the stars.”
Review of Zaca Lake Retreat

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Zaca Lake Retreat
monterey,ca
1 review
“We enjoyed our rustic experience-hiking, kayaking and cooking under the stars.”
Reviewed December 6, 2009

The accommodations were not luxurious, but the cabins were quite comfortable and clean-lovely large and well heated bathroom. The area was as beautiful and special as I remembered it from 20 years ago. The staff is continuously upgrading and renovating as funding allows and were quite responsive to our needs. We definitely plan on returning.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank pew09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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English first
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 3, 2009

i have never bothered to write a review for TripiAdvisor but this place is ripping people off.

I had been to Zaca Lake Resort about 5 years and loved it. The setting was beautiful and I was excited to go back. But now this place has gone so far downhill that it is not worth going back to until they hire new management and actually hire a real staff (not "volunteers") who seem to care only that you pay for your room.

We planned on staying 2 nights but left as fast as we could.

We arrived at night. I knew that you had to bring food but was shocked that there is only limited refrigeration for all the guests in the main lodge cabin. Kitchen facilities consisted of a microwave and a toaster oven. There was NO SINK. No dishes. No glasses or flatware in the community "kitchen". (Years ago there was a huge fully stocked restaurant style kitchen for all the guests to cook in).

We stayed in a cabin with no kitchen. There were no glasses or cups in the cabin. We managed to find a guy (rather stoned but nice enough) to give us some cups. Others' descriptions of the cabins are accurate and so I will not bother to describe the carpeting again. But will add...the screens on the doors were ripped so you had to keep the doors shut. About half of the windows did not open. There was no where to sit inside. Outside there was only a rotting picnic table. So, you could only sit on the bed. The sheets and towels had a strong (bad) smell of cheap laundry detergent that filled the place. we had an electronic MOUSE repellent noise thing next to the bed to address that problem at least. The faucet in the bathroom sprayed water all over the place. And as stated in the other reviews, we had NO HOT WATER. The tub/shower looked dirty and the drain was clogged with something GROSS that floated out. We were not able to shower.

We packed our bags first thing in the morning and just wanted to get out of there. When we politely explained to the staff the issues about the lack of facilities (we were not warned when we made the reservation) and LACK OF HOT WATER. They responded with "Well we heard the water running" and "Your towels were wet."

The staff kept staying that the place was run by a "Foundation" and "Non-for-Profit Organization" And they were all simply "Volunteers" and gave us the impression that they were doing us some kind of favor. They were very mean about it and made it seem as though we were lying to them and trying to get away with a free room for the night. It was clear that in spite of the RIDICULOUS PRICE of $169 a night to sleep in a dump... this place was no truly staffed retreat.

The location is beautiful but, in spite of the hot summer weather and guests in all cabins, there was only one person in a kayak on the lake and no one swimming. There was an old row boat. The swimming area was off a tiny strip. (There used to be a platform in the lake, sailboats and many kayaks the last time that I was there. It WAS fun).

I would love to see someone take over this place and clean it up. Until then and especially at the current rate for this place, you will be very disappointed. The place in the current state is not just "roughing" it...it borders on disgusting.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Trvl4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Los Olivos hotels

California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2009

Do not stay here if you want any value for money. We spent $300 on a cabin with a kitchen, to find it dirty, inside and out, and to discover mice staying with us. They were under the stove, but came out happily and ate on the counter while we were there. There were fresh droppings on one of the beds in the morning. Yuk.
Even for $50, this would have been unacceptable, but when we complained, and we did so politely, we were met with no apologies. I even wrote to the company, but heard no response so feel compelled to warn others.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NashCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County
Level Contributor
34 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2008

We booked Cabin #18 at Zaca Lake to stay two nights because we love nature and are campers at heart. We do, however, have two small children (aged 3 and 6) so we require some comforts until they are bigger...like heat and comfortable beds. Unfortunately, these were hard to come by. Our cabin was dingy and run down and one of the bunk beds was broken. The other had two futon mattresses on them which were stained and rock hard. Our girls slept on the king sized bed, which had a real mattress on it, but it was older and firm.

The toilet in the bathroom would run every few minutes and was quite noisy. The bathroom door wouldn't shut and was made from a shutter.

The carpet (brown shag from the 60's) had holes in it and huge brown stains) The cabin had a fireplace and thankfully we brought our own wood (You can purchase it at the office though). The cabin was freeeeezzzing at night. The place wasn't insulated and we had two tiny space heaters (from the 60's??) which we had to run on low or else we were told we would blow a fuse. Once our firewood was used (within 90 minutes, the cabin was back to freezing again all night. Perhaps if we'd gone in the summer, it would have been more comfortable.

We chose our cabin because it was more isolated than the other cabins and we had small kids. There was an abandoned old cabin next to ours full of debris and trash. We were told to keep our door closed in case critters wandered in.

We saw the inside of another cabin (#14), which our friends stayed in and it was nicer inside (walls were painted white, carpet was green, low pile, but still old and stained and torn) and their bathroom was large, but their heat was also inadequate and they had no hot water.

The lake was beautiful with lots of noisy birds (which we liked the sound of) and we hiked around the lake and up to the gazebo, which had a great view.

The staff (3 people) there are volunteers so didn't seem too concerned with things. Things clearly needed updating at the retreat. The lodge had a small microwave and a community fridge and was on the lake. There were no kitchens in the cabins so if you brought food, you had to keep it down the road at the lodge.

There is NO cell phone coverage in the area, but there is a pay phone which only uses calling cards (no change.) The road to the retreat is five miles of driving over hills, creeks and cattle grates. You need a code to the padlock to get in the front entrance. You are pretty removed from everything while you are there.

We went out to eat one night in Los Olivos at the Los Olivos Cafe and it was good food and kid friendly too.

We were really looking forward to going out on the lake in a rowboat (I was pregnant so I didn't want to take a canoe). We were told to hike around the lake and we'd find them on the shore somewhere. We did and they were half full of water. The metal rowboat was old and had no place for oars to sit so we took a metal canoe and grabbed two oars. It was tough with four people in one boat and so we didn't go out far. (There is supposedly no bottom to the lake, they say.) There were life jackets that had been lying out in the elements for years and were missing pieces to them, which we put on.

This is a place to stay if you want to be alone with nature and you don't mind roughing it. If you have a family, you may want to bring along a few comforts to make your stay more comfortable and go during the warmer months.

There is a 24 cancellation policy, but the way. And no dogs are allowed. We paid about $180/night for a cabin that slept 6.

  • Liked — Beautiful setting
  • Disliked — No Comforts.
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank SanClementeMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zaca Lake Retreat

Property: Zaca Lake Retreat
Address: 8000 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos, CA
Location: United States > California > Los Olivos
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Los Olivos
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Zaca Lake Retreat Hotel Los Olivos

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