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“The best restaurant and hotel in Lava.”

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Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 4, 2011

My son and I ate frequently at the Riverside Inn last winter while we were temporary residents of Lava. Being a picky eater I found it to be the only restaurant in town that I really liked. Early this fall we returned to Lava and stayed at the Inn while I was recovering from surgery. We were treated like family by the staff and owner who went out of their way by not only being hospitable they were genuinely kind. Our food was always done to perfection as well. I highly recommend patronizing the Inn if you are looking for somewhere safe to eat and drink. I found the Riverside to be the only civilized establishment where alcohol was served as well. Being able to use the private tubs for soaking greatly relieved my after surgery pain and I'm pretty convinced the water sped up my recovery process. I highly recommend this Inn for anyone looking to experience the gentler side of Lava.

Room Tip: If using a laptop you may want to see where your signal is the strongest.
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank mariannvv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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153 - 159 of 184 reviews

Reviewed September 11, 2011

Our family rented the "apartment" for the weekend. I was under the impression that there were 2 bathrooms - it only had 1 and you had to get through it by walking through the bedroom. We had three children, 10, 11 and 13, with us and were immediately told upon check-in that they needed to be quiet (though they weren't making much noise), which we agreed to. They were charging us $10 extra/night due to one additional child. Dinner on the first night was relaxing by the river, however, the food took a long time and was warm, at best, though the servers were nice. The bedroom was very hot (no fan or air), only a window that barely opened but, if you left it open you could hear all of the people and smell cigarettes. The mattress in the main living area was so saggy in the middle that you could see the indentation through the bedding and the workers there have had many complaints throughout the YEARS and were aware of it, as was the owner, Gale. The workers felt that we should be compensated and they already knew the mattress should be replaced. There was no way two people could sleep on it so, eventually, I ended up on the "sofa sleeper" with two girls. The mattress for that was terrible, as well. The second day, we complained and were told that the workers would mention it to Gale and that we should really tell her when she comes in and maybe they could give us a separate room or free night stay, or something. Throughout that day, we tried several times to find her but she wouldn't come talk to us to see what she could do to rectify anything, even though we were told she was there at one time. At about 8:00 p.m., after we kept going to the "lobby" area throughout the day to see what was going to be done, we were asked if we thought the mattress would work by putting it on the floor, off of the springs. The mattress was so bad, there wasn't any way that was going to work. At around 10:00 p.m., we were brought a single person air mattress to put on the floor, a sheet, pillow and blanket. At around 11:00, other guests pushed the door open to our separate bedroom entry (the doors didn't latch tight) and came into the room. We screamed, they screamed, shut the door and they went across the hall to their room. While they were trying to open their door, there was a lightswitch on the opposite side of their door (down the hall from ours) that they started flipping. It started turning our lights on and off in our room! We couldn't believe it! The guests went back out for the evening, came back, and played with the light switch again, waking us up, even though I had opened our door the first time and they knew it was our light. Around midnight or so, the sink faucet started sounding like a very loud jackhammer. The water pressure was pushing the water in the pipes and we had to turn the main water line off under the sink. The stove was a fire hazard as one of the burners was broken but connected. Several lights were burned out. On the second (and last) morning, we awoke to find two extra food vouchers for breakfast (BIG DEAL!), especially since we didn't want to eat there! Gale never once contacted us or compensated us in any way and if I owned this business, I would maintain the facilities better, talk to my guests addressing any issues they may have and make some sort of mutually agreed upon compensation. Gale is totally lacking of respect and customer service and we're appalled at the way she chooses to run her business! We will never go there again! Run the other way!

Room Tip: Stay in a different hotel/motel/inn or even TENT!
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank Debi D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HistoricRiversideInn, Owner at Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded January 1, 2012

Thank you for your review. On behalf of the entire staff, we are saddened that the guest room(s) you and your family stayed in were not a good experience for you.

I was not able to meet with you during your stay, as I was working the graveyard shift to cover for an employee that had a critical health issue and was in the hospital. However, working graveyard shift, I was well aware of the lady that accidently walked into your room. She was a bit tipsy and opened the door to your room that was left unlocked. Her door was the one next to yours and her judgement was a bit imparied. She was just as surprised as you were and was very apologetic for doing that - I had caught up to her just as she was closing your door. We have made a correction to the light switch so that it does not turn on in two locations - we take full responsibility for that issue. In addition, the mattress that you spoke of has been replaced.

Understanding from the correspondence that you left for me to review upon your departure, you own or manage an appliance or parts store of sorts and appliances are critical to you. We did have our maintenance department check all of the appliances in the apartment.

Sometimes an experience starts out on a bad foot and then negative experiences attract negative thoughts and experiences, until it is not reversible. Our sincerely apologies for your experience and will make all efforts to not have this happen in the future.

Sincerely,

Gail Palen
Owner

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2011

We stayed only one night and that was enough. A frieght train line runs 150 yards from the property and as late as 11 p.m and as early as before 7 a.m. we were awakened by the train.While the main staff were very attentive, the property has seen its best days 20 years ago. While the bed was very comfortable the property itself left a great deal to be desired. Unfinished ceilings in spa rooms (only one room was suitable for guests) dust in dining areas, dirty floors, aged carpets. labeled as a Bed & Breakfast, they failed on the breakfast part, with better breakfast's at Farifield Inns. The only hot items were coffee/tea/ hot chocolate. There were pastries, bagels, yogurt, cold boiled eggs. I love B&B's but this one will be skipped.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Ralph R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2011

We were so excited for our trip with our Daughter, her husband and 3 of our grandchildren. We rented the "Apartment" which was large. The Bedroom does not have a door so it is hard to change clothing if you are all together. The bed in the living room was horrible with a huge sink hole in the middle. After reading some of the reviews this complaint goes back more than 2 years. Obviously the owner does not care and the front desk staff that does care can do nothing about it. We were finally given an air mattress which my daughter slept on, on the floor. The kitchen is not well stocked, we only had butter knives and the knife block was empty. The dishwasher does not work for more than 9 minutes, the refer made a rattling noise until we figured out that the ice maker was on with no water to it. When we shut that off the noise finally stopped. The oven is nice but the temp is off about 100 degrees. While all of this is manageable for the most part, the woman bursting in our door at 2 am drunk was a lot to take. The water pressure in the kitchen sink sounding like a bomb going off in the middle of the night until we turned off the water was a bit much. The people in the hall way turning the lights on and off in the middle of the night because the switch is located in the hall by the front desk is also a bit disconcerting.
We did try to see the owner but she avoided us like the plague. We paid way too much money to have this many problems and then to be avoided at all costs was just a little more than we should have had to bear. I guess the final straw was the longhaired gray maintenance lady, that lied to the front desk and said we had 11 people in the room. Not sure what she had to gain by saying that but it was just the icing on the cake.

The building is really old and quaint, the restaurant does have some good food but they are overwhelmed with a long wait for the food. The hot tubs in the basement were nice and we did use one the first night. All in all I would maybe try this venue again but I would never, ever, ever stay in the apartment and I would have to lower my expectations significantly.

I would say stay somewhere else and save yourself the headaches!!!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank rostockd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2011

We stayed here for a night on our way up to Yellowstone from Salt Lake City. It's a sweet place located on the town's main street.. Our king room was very comfortable and clean, and included two $7 vouchers for breakfast, which we ate outside on the patio. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and while the menu is basic, we were pleased with the quality of the food. The inn has its own private indoor tubs fed from the hot springs, so we soaked there the night we arrived (you get robes and extra towels at the front desk) and went to the public outdoor springs the next day (they're fabulous!) The inn has a lovely lobby with lots of seating for hanging out or reading, as well as a sitting room upstairs off the hallway. Everything has that old-fashioned look which I love. There's free Wi-Fi. Room prices are reasonable, and the owner is very nice and accommodating.

The town is small and the primary reason to visit is to soak in the springs and go tubing on the river, which you can see people doing as the river flows right through town. The town is 2 1/2 hours from Yellowstone, so if you are planning on visiting the area, I do recommend a visit to this town and I would definitely stay in this hotel again.

Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
1  Thank ChelseaGirl98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2011

The staff was very attentive and the main floor sitting area and porch were the best parts of the hotel. The room looked all it's years. Rugs old and stained. Ceiling fan noisy and we left window up since it was hot and no AC. Trains come thru valley all night, so noisy. However, the creek looks great for tubing and you can get an inexpensive good massage during the week.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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Thank lauraindy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2011

The owner, Gail, who purchased this 90 year old property three years ago, is a really beautiful and gracious person. She works 7 days a week from morning to night making sure her guests every need is taken care of. I give her credit for taking on a large property that was run down and closed for business. The owner is in the process of renovating and upgrading this once grand old hotel built in 1917 which used to received stage coach passengers who came, as today, to enjoy the hot springs. Please be aware before you book a room at this old hotel in the summer that there is NO air conditioning in the hotel or rooms. There is one small room in the bar area downstairs that is air conditioned. The private hot spring pools are quite old and in need of updating. The hot spring pool room that we were given was still being renovated - the dry wall and ceiling were under construction. The very LARGE ceramic tiled pool (Room #3 only) was in good shape and had the advantage of the bathers having the freedom to adjust your own water temperatures (hot & cold). The private hot spring pools are FREE to guests - included in the price of your room. Pool room #3, the one we were in, had an open window to the outside which was refreshing and not claustrophobic. Room #1 is dark with no windows or sky light and didn't look like it had yet been updated. Room #2 was a very small pool with plants and a window. I am not too sure that the pools are pristine in terms of being sparkling clean and seem to need some work. Be CAREFUL not to go underwater in the pools as it will hurt your eyes. It took me two days to recover. I wasn't sure if it was the pools or the towels that caused me so much distress with my eyes. The towels may have had too much soap left in them which I am highly allergic to. So far, the hotel is still using old faded synthetic linens on the beds, and the pillows are not comfortable at all. You should bring your own pillows for a good nights sleep. The hotel is located right on the river, so you may want to request a room that faces to the river so you are cooler in the summer. The room we were given was probably the hottest room in the hotel facing the parking lot on the sunny side of the hotel. You definitely do NOT want to stay on this side in the summer. Even though the room had a ceiling fan, I could not sleep because of the heat & humidity on July 4th. You can watch fireworks from the balcony of the hotel and that was a lot of fun. Be prepared for LOTS of mosquitoes when visiting Lava Hot Springs in the summer. I was eaten alive while there. Just be prepared when you are visiting this aging town that you will NOT find high end anything there. The dinner at Riverside is average at best for the higher price, but there really are no other decent places, that I could see, in which to eat. The Riverside guest "continental breakfast" is as basic as it gets....commercial sweet rolls, dry cereal, oranges, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and coffee. The commercial public pools in Lava Hot Springs looked GREAT, so if you are booking lodging, you may be able to save yourself some money.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank WorldSprinter18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa

Address: 255 East Portneuf, Lava Hot Springs, ID 83246
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Idaho > Lava Hot Springs
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Lava Hot Springs
Price Range: $83 - $131 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa is a historic, full service adult boutique hotel, spa, restaurant & lounge located in downtown Lava Hot Springs, ID. Features: 18 guest rooms, onsite hot mineral springs & massage therapy by reservation, the acclaimed Portneuf Grille & Lounge (reservations highly recommended) which is open nightly for dinner, meeting facilities, free wifi & complimentary Continental breakfast. The Riverside features 24 hour staffing and service. The hotel is located within 2 blocks of the Foundation hot mineral soaking facilities. ... more   less 
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