We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“This place is really struggling”
Review of Tamarack Resort

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 2 more sites!
Tamarack Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Donnelly
Reviewed October 7, 2010

Tamarack is a curious place these days as it continues to struggle to find a buyer and at the same time trying to stay open as a resort – sort of. It is bankrupt, in every sense of the word, but still hoping to survive more or less intact. The degradation of facilities at the resort over the last year was truly amazing. The resort, which is about a 2.5 hour drive (in summer) from Boise airport, is located in a beautiful location and the scenery is spectacular. The original plan was for an “all things to all people” resort: Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, golf, zipline, disc golf, hiking, dirt biking, a marina, restaurants, hotel and all sorts of accommodation – you name it. Sadly however this very ambitious concept was poorly thought out, lacking woefully for competent management to execute the plan and then, poor economic times hit. The result is that today the place is a shell of what is was supposed to be with property owners and locals holding their breath for the last 1.5 years in the hopes of a buyer coming along.

The houses, townhouses, and cottage are high quality residences and are keenly priced to rent. However there is a reason for these low prices – the place is a virtual ghost town with few of the original resort facilities available – and those which are available are suffering from an obvious lack of investment. The whole infrastructure of the place screams “we need some investment and professional management” as can easily be seen from: the unfinished buildings with bare Tyvek barriers flapping in the breeze; the massive crane over unfinished building works which has laid dormant since about March 2009; leaking roofs and windows on the unfinished buildings; streetlights and other lighting in common parts burned out for extended periods; abandoned home foundations; foreclosure notices posted, roads needing resurfacing; a reduced proprietary Tamarack Internet and TV service; an information website that is woefully out of date and; various vehicles just parked for months in open lots suffering from a lack of any type of attention over the seasons. However one of the bright spots at Tamarack are the members of the security force who are on duty and are attentive, friendly, and very helpful.

The main features of the resort are in varying states of play including but not limited to:
• Food - There is no place to eat at Tamarack. Someone tried to open a small facility with a very limited menu in the Lodge in August. However that was open limited hours for a few weekends and then closed later in the month and then opened for a couple more weekends and then closed until the winter – when it hopes to open again - maybe. This means the closest places to eat are only a coffee shop and one restaurant (which is not open all week) in Donnelly (20 miles round trip). Otherwise you need to go to McCall which is 44 miles round trip. For food shopping you must go to McCall. One rental agent does not tell you this ahead of time so there have been many renters unpleasantly surprised upon arrival in the area. (Comically the printed information Valet Vacation Rentals provides upon arrival at your rented property states and I quote, “There are no services at Tamarack currently open so make certain you do your grocery shopping in Boise”. That is not a lot of help considering you probably just came from the direction of Boise and in any case the first supermarket in the Boise area is roughly 210 miles round trip away from the property at Tamarack back to Boise.)
• Skiing - closed down 19 months ago and as of early September 2010 there had been no maintenance done on any aspect of these facilities. This summer some of the resort maintenance equipment (such as Sno-Cats) was repossessed and there is/was even a possible repossession fight going on regarding some of the lifts. A group of homeowners are going to reopen (on 12/20/10) a portion of the mountain (not the whole mountain or all of the lifts) to skiing this winter but it will be a “shoestring” operation with the place only open 4 days per week. They plan to also have some limited food service. The decision to open the skiing is not one founded in the altruism of the homeowners - as they readily admit. It is motivated by their desire to try to stem the devaluation of their property values as well as try to make the whole resort a more attractive proposition to a potential buyer.
• Golf – the golf course is a stunning layout and when it opened in 2006 received awards and accolades. As is the case with so much of the resort it has suffered also from a lack of investment, attention and, professional management. There are less than flattering reviews on Trip Advisor and other places online that pretty well (albeit bluntly) sum up the 2009 condition of the course. The course lost its ranking with Golf magazine this summer and perhaps will lose its ranking with Golf Digest. This past summer there was a full time grounds crew of only 6 people to take care of this expansive course (compared to a staff of 14 I am told were working the year before and compared to about 20-24 people a course like this would normally employ). One manager from the firm managing the course summed up the situation by saying, “We only have 6 full time people and couldn’t afford fertilizer until early August so there was only so much we could do”.
• Hiking – there is/was an extensive network of trails, of varying degrees of difficulty designed into the resort and that plan should make Tamarack a great place for hiking. However again the trails have not been maintained, a number of them this summer were overgrown or blocked by fallen trees to the point of impassable and signage has fallen or has been damaged. Nonetheless once you find the open trails this is a wonderful place to hike.
• Dirt biking – obviously there are no operating downhill dirt biking activities now as there were taking place in the past. Likewise the structures at the Bike Skills Park have now all fallen apart and are unusable.
• Disc (Frisbee) golf – This has just been abandoned to the elements and visitors struggle to even find the course let alone the next hole as they try to go round the course. No one seems to be able to supply a map of the course so ironically the only people using the course are “local residents” who have kept their maps from years gone by.
• Zipline – the zipline is the one bright spot at the resort as it is privately managed and well run by no nonsense owners. They have a variety of cables on the mountain and combined with various canopy tours, a very friendly staff and proper training, this makes for a really exciting and fun experience.
• Accommodation - is excellent if one rents a cottage, townhome or house. The Lodge seems to be a different story as there is literally no staff working there and individual accommodations vary radically. The front desk is haphazardly staffed a limited number of hours by a member of the staff of one the local rental agencies (VVR) and if one is not renting through that agency then they are reportedly of very little help to Lodge guests. If you check in during evening hours there is no one there and guests are greeted by a sign which disconcertingly asks them to sign a book in the lobby so the Fire Department can find them in the case of an emergency. Numerous guests this summer nicknamed it “The Shining”. Cleaning is patchy in the various Lodge accommodations as is Internet service. The cottages, townhomes and houses are almost entirely privately owned. The financial well being of the owner and, whether or not they are financially “underwater” on the property, tends to be the predicating factor on the maintenance status of the property. (This is understandable as practically every property, if not all the properties, are worth now much less than their original sales price.) It is not unusual to find hot water, heating or appliances not working upon arrival (and that was just my 2 visits).

There are two main rental agencies handling Tamarack Properties – Idaho Resort Rentals and Valet Vacation Rentals - with at least two smaller companies trying to make inroads into this game. Idaho Resort Rentals has a smaller stable of properties but seems to be more an actual property management company and thus there are few guest complaints about the condition or cleanliness of their rental property. Valet Vacation Rentals is a really just a rental agency with a large compliment of properties – it seems too large for their staff and capabilities – and thus rentals from them are most charitably described as a “hit or miss” proposition. They appear to try hard to please initially but their only interest is to get you into a property by any means possible so they get their commission. You are then left to your own devices. Cleaning fees are very high and others have complained of even further cleaning fees being deducted from deposits. A number of the properties being rented are, or have been in foreclosure proceedings and this summer season more followed. (Whilst I was staying there two neighboring properties were posted for foreclosure auction – one of the properties having a family renting and staying in it at the time when the papers were served.) If you are thinking of visiting you should ask the status of the property which you are considering renting as needless to say those in foreclosure are not receiving sufficient investment for even the most essential maintenance work. Also be aware that if you call the number of the Tamarack Resort web site for lodging you are getting connected directly to Valet Vacation Rentals – not the actual resort or any other agent – and thus you will be limited to VVR services and properties only.

Going forward most property owners and people living in the area are quite excited about the prospects of a buyer. There is reportedly now a firm offer from one buyer (although his credentials have people concerned) and most homeowners are confident that with the opening of the ski season more buyers will be knocking at the door. If they get lucky and get a qualified buyer, who actually wants to make this a resort, not just a property play, then Tamarack has the potential to be a quite pleasant place a few years down the road.

In the interim, caveat (renter) emptor.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank bluemouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (103)
There are newer reviews for Tamarack Resort
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

92 - 98 of 103 reviews

Reviewed September 7, 2010

My wife and I recently stayed at one of the town homes at Tamarack Resort and had a fabulous time. Portions of the resort are closed and some of the amenities are not available, but the low prices for high quality accommodations and the fabulous atmosphere more than made up for the current reorganization. Our unit had a brand new outdoor hot tub, high quality finishes, a huge fully stocked kitchen, and fabulous views. All this for less less than the cost of a standard room at motel 6.

It was great. We had almost the entire resort to ourselves. No crowds, lines, or traffic. The pool at the club house has wonderful views and we had it all to ourselves. It was a very relaxing weekend and we look forward to going back. For the price, this is probably the best mountain resort in the country to vacation at. Last year, we went to Vail, and spent about 3-4 times as much and got a standard hotel room without extra perks like our own 6 person outdoor hot tub. We hiked, biked, played golf, swam, and just relaxed.

Some of the amenities are open, but the village is not finished, so we just drove to Mccall to do our shopping and sight seeing. I understand that some investors are trying to buy the resort now. Once it finishes the bankruptcy process and the village opens, the prices will never be this low again, so I would not wait until then to experience this truly fabulous resort. I was impressed with the quality of finishes in the lodge, as well as the private residences. I saw that some people were renting out huge custom homes for only a couple hundred dollars a night. Truly a great deal.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Broderick-123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2010

Very little good to say about our experience here. It appears that someone wanted to build a complete Whistler Village (Like Vancouver, BC) in just a few years. Way too ambitious, not enough money. They couldn't make it happen, but got too far to tear it down. Picture lots of large buildings, partially constructed, everything halted when money ran out. Bankrupt, but pretending like it is not.

A 5-star Trent Jones golf course and a beautiful lodge, and their website says they are open, so we thought we'd give it a try. Our credit card was charged immediately at booking, which was not disclosed. We then received an email giving us the details, including one big one: no food service was available. What they didn't say was that no food of any kind was available within 7 miles. The closest real grocery store was nearly 20 miles. We drove into tiny Donnelly and bought Subway sandwiches for dinner and a box of Hostess doughnuts for breakfast at a Stinker gas station. Yuk!

We knew that resort facilities were closed because of financial reorganization, but the lodge continues to advertise (and charge for) luxury accommodations. Well, our "luxury" was a simple king-bed hotel room, with inadequate amenities: just two towels, one bar of soap (to share between sink and shower), no shampoo, a thermostat that was locked to prevent adjustment, moldy cold coffee in the pot and keys still on the desk from the previous occupants. We did check and believe that the bedding had been changed. We expected, from the online advertising, more condo-like accommodations. For what we were charged, it should have been at least a suite with a view and a balcony.

We arrived about 5 pm, and it seemed that the last employee left the lodge by 6 pm. All the parking lots were totally empty. We did not see or hear any other guests. There certainly was no one to call if we needed anything. As night approached we were eerily reminded of the old Jack Nicholson movie, "The Shining." It was NOT a good feeling. There was a sign in the lobby that said guests were requested to sign in and out at the request of the local fire department, and that in the event of an emergency to call 911!

For golf the next morning, the pro shop employee was quite friendly. We were provided with complimentary bottles of water, tees, etc., which is expected at a quality course. But...the starter's booth was completely overgrown, obviously unused for a very long time. The greens were literally covered with sod patches, the fairways were clearly in need of a good mower, and large areas were covered with dead grass. This may have been a great course at one time, but it is way overpriced in its current condition. We saw just one other group on the course during the entire four hours we played.

We felt deceived by the advertising and were very disappointed with our experience at Tamarack.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank MrsMaestro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2009

We did not get the cottage shown in the photo, but realistically, we came here knowing there had to be a mistake, it would have been too good to be true. The cottage we did get, more than met our needs and is oh so nice! Everything we needed was here to cook the fish we caught right here on Lake Cascade. The town (Donnelly) lacks a grocery store, so if your planning to cook much, you need to stop in McCall or Cascade before you get here, but all the utensils and pots and pans and table settings and coffee pot and kettle are here. Nice cozy fireplace that lights with the flick of a wall switch, DSL and Cable in every room. Oh, and a hot tub all ready fired up when we got here.

Now the sad side, the Resort is incomplete and landscaping neglicted so at first glance you may think, "oh no". Really, it's no big deal because it is so quiet, you can just over look that as you relax and say,"ahhhhh". The beauty of God's nature over rides any negative here. The Golf Course is still operational as is the Zip Line.

Bottom line: Best Place two old grizzled professionals ever slipped off to for relaxation!

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Duckhuntergal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2008

I had bad customer service from Tamarack from the first time I contacted them to book. We wouldn't have stayed there, but we went for my nieces wedding that was being held there and I have two kids under age 3 and there isn't anywhere else to stay in a 20 mile radius.

So, first off, the reservation agent was down right rude when I questioned the rates (we were told that wedding guests were getting a 20 percent discount, but it turns out it was only 15--they basically did a bait and switch on my niece). They also require that your whole stay be paid in full 30 days prior to you coming--pretty bold since they are bankrupt. How are you guaranteed they'll still be in business when you arrive?

Nevertheless, we looked forward to our stay--should be beautiful and it is a resort, after all. But when we got there our reservation was wrong--my husband and I had to sleep in TWIN BEDS, despite paying $350 a night. We called and asked to be switched, but they could only accommodate us on the other side of the resort, which was strange since there were several empty units right around us. We decided to stay put since I had my mother on crutches and my little ones with me, so needed to be as near the wedding as possible. Really was a lame sleeping in twins, when your used to sleeping a King and that's what you reserved, it makes your stay less pleasurable to say the least.

Futthermore, the outside light to our cottage was burnt out and my elderly parents (and mother who just had hip replacement surgery and on crutches) had a very difficult time navigating the rock stairway in the dark, not to mention my little kids. It took maintenance a good 24 hours to replace the light. Also, our cottage didn't have a BBQ or DVD player, despite the manuals living in the guest guide.

Overall, I never got the sense that the Tamarack staff wanted to be customer service oriented, which is a huge bummer since I had hoped I would fall in love with the resort and want to return every year since I have family in the area.

The independently run Sante Spa, however, was great. I had a wonderful massage and friendly service from the staff, what you normally expect from Idahoans. I'll make sure to visit their McCall location next time I'm there.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank SVmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2007

We had extremely high hopes for our wedding there, and we ended up being extremely disappointed. The guest services department is a mess! They don't have people to take reservations during the weekends and evenings, so you have to leave a message. Not a big problem, but they never called anyone back! There was extremely high turnover- we went through 3 banquet coordinators and 2 wedding planners. We ended up hiring our own wedding planner, and it was the best money we had spent.

The resort charges a premium price, but it doesn't provide a premium service. The rooms, chalets and chapel are amazing, but when we were there, we paid $869/ night for an estate home. The construction workers took out a power pole, and we had no electricity, (no heat, no jacuzzi, and the house was 55 degress). We still paid the full price...

Our wedding day was amazing, but the planning was terrible. We were married in March, and we just got the final invoice last week (the end of August)! If I had to do it again, I would go to another resort.

  • Stayed: March 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank kalliek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2007

Summer vacation nghtmare at Tamarack Resort. The area is certainly picturesque and the resort will be beautiful but it's far from completion. It's basically a resort in the mountains that is starting from scratch and eventually will be a nice place to stay, but right now all you hear in this beautilful mountainous area is hammering and the beeping of bulldozers from dawn to dusk.

There are several activities available in a very limited way. There's a chairlift that takes you up the mountain from Thur-Sun only, a miniscule waterfront where you can rent equpment for the pristine Cascade Lake but there is no food as advertised, and there's no village or town to speak of. There is a very limited menu at the Lodge which is the only spot that may be spared the construction noise.

I would highly recommend waiting at least a year or two before stayng here, especailly in the summer. The 4 bedrm chalet we rented is extremely comfortable with many high end amenities but the construction has put a major damper on our stay. Not to mention that there is no air conditionng in this luxurous 2800 sq. ft. house!

Rates are good now but there's a reason. Try Tamarack in another year or two.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank madoctex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Donnelly
15.7 mi away
Holiday Inn Express & Suites - The Hunt Lodge
15.4 mi away
Best Western Plus Mccall Lodge & Suites
11.2 mi away
Ashley Inn
Ashley Inn
#1 of 5 in Cascade
265 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.3 mi away
Long Valley Motel
Long Valley Motel
#2 of 2 in Donnelly
8 reviews
15.4 mi away
Super 8 McCall
Super 8 McCall
#4 of 8 in McCall
346 reviews
4.2 mi away
Boulder Creek Inn
Boulder Creek Inn
#1 of 1 in Donnelly
37 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Tamarack Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Tamarack Resort

Address: 311 Village Drive, Donnelly, ID 83615-5014
Location: United States > Idaho > Donnelly
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Ski-In / Ski-Out Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Donnelly
Price Range: $132 - $213 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Tamarack Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 62
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tamarack Resort is a four-season ski resort located in Donnelly, Idaho just 90 miles north of Boise. Tamarack is the Treasure Valley's closest mountain resort with snowmaking abilities and is centrally located in the heart of endless recreational opportunities. During the summer, the resort is home to mountain both cross-country and lift-serviced downhill mountain biking, as well as hiking, whitewater rafting, zipline tours, watersports on Lake Cascade, and more. During Prime Summer & Winter Months, Tamarack offers a wide array of amenities from multiple restaurants, a local market, hot tub in the Lodge, and endless recreational activities. During Off Season, Tamarack is a great place to visit if your looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. This is a great place to enjoy the quiet, sitting by the fire, and just relax. There isn't many amenities available so be sure to rent a unit with a full kitchen or make reservations at your favorite restaurant in McCall. Guests can enjoy all the hiking trails, beautiful scenery, and ample wildlife. During off season, the hot tub in the Lodge is only open on weekends. Swimming pool is closed during off season. Tamarack has several lodging options available for you to choose from. Our Hotel rooms are available for 1 night stays and you will have access to the Hot Tub in the Lodge, also there are several condo's available with kitchens to choose from as well. If a cabin in the mountains is more your style, then we have several that range from Small Cottages, to Ski in/out Townhomes, to Large Chalets, and even Custom Estate Homes. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity so you can book your Tamarack 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:
Tamarack Hotel Donnelly
Tamarack Resort Idaho/Donnelly

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing