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“Great family resort”

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Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge
Reviewed September 1, 2013

The plus of this resort is the appeal for multi-generation family vacations. There is a great beach with "toys" for young to older children,planned daily activities for the younger children,an indoor pool and exercise room when needed, a good restaurant for those of us who enjoy food, and boats and pontoons to rent. The price is reasonable but don't expect up-scale decor. It is rustic as in 1940's charm. I would like them to remodel the bathrooms but otherwise the cabins are comfortable and clean and the staff pleasant and helpful. We have stayed here several times with our entire family and find this the best resort in the area for appealing to all age ranges. The resort is on the edge of Bemidji so it is an easy drive to all the activities in Bemidji when you tire of lazing on the beach.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank ColleenG993
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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40 - 46 of 82 reviews

Reviewed August 31, 2013

Our visit to the Birchmont this last week was just amazing. We'd originally wanted to do a big road trip, but with a 3yo and a 10yo, and a really exhausting summer behind us, I just wanted to hang out with my family by a lake and have someone else do the cooking. We chose the Birchmont because of a referral from a friend, who'd loved it. I checked out the reviews here, and they were mixed, but my friend is a pretty good judge, so I gave it a shot, and I'm so happy I did! A few of the reviews seem really off base, so here, at great length, are my impressions.

I called at the last minute, and we wound up in a 2-bedroom, two bath lake cabin (#24). Because it's near the end of the season we were able to get a good deal for three nights - I guess during the heavy season you can only rent for a week.

Main points -

-The cabin was _spotlessly_ clean, with lots of immediate hot water and functional kitchen appliances. The bathrooms had been redone fairly recently, one perhaps in the 90s and one in the last year or two. The carpeting looked new, as did the kitchen table and chairs. The only problem I found with the whole place was that the screen in the screen door was pushed out on one corner, but it would have been a small, quick fix, and it didn't bother us, so I didn't report it.

-The cabin was well-appointed. Lights where there should be lights, functional heating (a nice gas fireplace) and good air-conditioning. We used it all.

-The bed we had was squishy and springy - if my husband rolled over, it swayed like we were at sea. Not the worst hotel bed I've had, but I'd really prefer something more solid and firm. The twin beds in the other room seemed better.

-Officially, there's no housekeeping service, but the very friendly housekeeping came past every single day after lunch to see if we wanted new towels or sheets or our trash taken out.

-Every staff person I interacted with was friendly and helpful, including the many teenagers that were doing housekeeping, manning the boathouse, and the like.

-I saw reviews that complained about the tap water. It's well water, people. Smells a little sulphury at times, but tastes fine. I drank plenty of it.

-Other reviews complained about being "nickled and dimed." I didn't feel that way. Breakfast is free, wifi (kinda slow) is free, kayaks and canoes are free. Okay, firewood was $8, but they delivered it to your door. It's vacation.

-Food was good, decent range, standard Minnesota restaurant, nothing to rave about, but competently done - we were never served anything cold or odd or badly cooked or spiced. Service was friendly and pretty quick. And you could eat either in the dining room, with big windows overlooking the lake, or on a truly beautiful patio.

-Seriously kid-friendly. You could have a lovely dinner on the patio with a glass of wine, and the children could play 15 feet away on the beach. No worrying about whether people would look at you funny because you had kids. All the children when we visited were well-behaved, probably because they were so tired out from running around. (Your mileage may vary!) The sandy beach (and the collection of hotel beach toys) kept my 3yo occupied for hours on end, while my husband sat on the lawn in the shade of nice big trees and read books and watched him. There were several fire rings right by the beach, and a couple times we watched the twilight fall over the lake while making smores. There's lots of room around the cabins & villas to set up games or throw a frisbee, with huge old shade trees.

-Pet friendly. I was NOT happy about this, since I don't like dogs much. But all the dogs we met there were, like the children, well-behaved, probably because they got to hang out outside all day with their people. It ended up not being an issue.

-Nice beach, raked every day. The beach runs the whole length of the resort, so we could play on it right next to our cabin, as well as at the main lodge.

-The main floor of the lodge is CHARMING. Old fashioned and pretty well kept up. (I never did see any of the rooms upstairs, so I can't comment on those.)

It's not perfect, but nothing is, and we had a fabulous, fabulous time. We did nothing but hang around as a family, playing games, swimming, kayaking, lounging under the trees, doing craft projects at the picnic table. Neither of my kids wanted to leave, and neither did I.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Isaberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

Enjoyed the historic main lodge and our rustic quiet cabin. Lakeshore was clean and so was our cabin. I thought their continental breakfast was good and although they had to serve many people, you never felt crowded as the layout was spacious. The service was great as we called the lobby asking for different things and they always were quick to attend to our needs. We didn't luck out on having great weather so were very happy to have the indoor pool area.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Renae J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2013

We love Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge and have been going for over 50 years. It is like home to all of us! Besides the great location, inviting and beautiful lake, delicious food, ambiance outside on the deck overlooking the lake, charming dining room, comfortable cabins, lodge,and lofts, and the attentive staff; we find this place the absolute best! Randy and Tina Ruttger, along with their son, Ryan, take a personal interest in all of their customers...cocktails and cheese parties every Monday evening, super menu for Lunch and Dinner, free breakfasts, boating and bike rentals, free children's program; all sorts of activities and things to keep you busy. Lake Bemidji is a nice, clean lake with awesome Muskie, Walleye and perch fishing. (this year was not as good as winter did not end until mid-May) Amazing place, staff, owners, chef (Chuck)!! Love it!!!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Lise G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

Run down rooms, nickel and dime on everything, no extras. My friends and I make an annual fishing trip to Minnesota every year. We have been to several resorts and are continuing to explore new lakes and areas. This one is by far the worst!

The staff are very nice and friendly, the location terrific, there's alot of potential. HOWEVER, the owner seems more interested in keeping up his collector boat then investing in the resort. We spent close to $1,000 for three nights in room 38. There was no air-conditioning, and no windows to allow for cross ventilation. The "kitchenette" is pathetic, out dated, barely functioning and the utensils are circa 1983. The mattresses were completely worn out with no support and smelled funky. You know its bad when an 11 year old athletic boy wakes up with a stiff back and would rather sleep in the recliner chair. Their version of "Continental Breakfast" is an absolute joke and they should be embarrassed. I have seen better versions at a Holiday Inn for 60 bucks a night! Seriously, purchase a service toaster rather than miss matched K-mart specials, put some oatmeal or other warm food out, and for goodness sakes how can you mess up hardboiled eggs?

Bottom line there are thousands of options in the great state of Minnesota for an "Up North" experience, nearly all offer better value and respect for their patrons. I left feeling like they had just taken my money with no intent to earn my return business. Do yourself a favor and spend your money elsewhere.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Frank L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

We were visiting the area for a funeral and were able to get a room last minute in the main lodge. Even though the rooms are smaller than most hotels yet priced similar, we enjoyed the charm of this old lodge built in the 1920's. The bed was a bit worn out, but we slept well. The view from our lakeside room was spectacular and it was fun to wake up to loons singing. It was fun to learn the history and look at several pictures of the resort through its years of operation. We ate a delicious hand-made burger at the restaurant and also enjoyed a nice selection of items at their complimentary breakfast buffet. One of the best and most-appreciated parts of our stay was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge can pride themselves in great customer service! If you are looking for upscale, modern ambience, look elsewhere. But if you enjoy a step back in time with a down-home friendly atmosphere, give this place a try! You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Efam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

I read some of the negative reviews...yes, this is an old resort but I don't believe it's neglected. The out-datedness adds to the charm of the place and it really is like stepping back in time when families could truly relax and get away from it all. The staff is always friendly and helpful. The food is really good too. I miss the outdoor pool on a hot summer day, but overall this is a great place for families. Everything is close together and it's an easy walk from a cabin, to the restaurant to the lake.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Deborah P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge

Address: 7598 Bemidji Rd NE, Bemidji, MN 56601-9576
Location: United States > Minnesota > Bemidji
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Bemidji
Price Range: $68 - $118 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 67
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Also Known As:
Ruttger`s Birchmont Hotel Bemidji

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