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“Yuck! Never judge a lodging website by its 'cover' (website)”

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Silver Rapids Lodge
Ranked #33 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Ely
Duluth, Minnesota, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Yuck! Never judge a lodging website by its 'cover' (website)”
Reviewed April 7, 2013

On an early April, Friday morning in Duluth, MN, with cabin fever in full effect at home and a weekend ahead with no plans, my wife hatched an impromptu escape for a day or two in Ely, MN. She quickly searched online and found many options. The first one caught her eye: Nice, 'woodsy' website, nice pictures, separate cabins with lofted bedrooms, jacuzzi, kitchenette and gas fireplace. As otherwise frugal travelers, we're really not experienced with such amenities but we were excited about the possibilities and thought, "Who knows, call up and see if they are offering any 'late winter' deals". And so I did - I scored! Instead of $180 for each night for a cabin, Gary, the owner or manager offered it to us for $100 for each night. Wow!...or so we thought. We quickly packed our bags and hit the road, Ely...here we come!

Upon arriving, we opened the door to our cabin and got a smell of something...not exactly sure yet. First impressions pinned a stark contrast to what the 'woodsy yet sophisticated' website described & intoned. The floors were shabby (old vinyl floors in the kitchen inordinately chipped & gauged), elsewhere, the carpet was worn and stained, the outdated couch cushions were torn and foam was protruding in an unsightly manner. The tour through the bedrooms revealed beds in a curious state of expiration. Also, a quick scan of the bathroom left us wondering if we had read the website correctly, we thought towels and linens would be provided and packed accordingly - that's right, not a single towel, no soap on the sink basin either?! ...I will say, upon first inspection, the Jacuzzi 'looked' solid! (btw- as of 4-7-13, the website does indeed promise towels & linens)

We refused to be disheartened, due to our general budget constraints, we had actually stayed in worse and made it fun; we were determined to have a good time. So, like many overnight rentals, the thermostat was set a touch low, awaiting our arrival so we turned it up and the LP fireplace came to life, albeit, very slowly. With it came a a familiar but much stronger odor, the same we had caught only a whiff of upon entering. It became obvious that we were smelling gas...it was an immediate health concern. Not good, right? It got stronger & stronger. Initially, I said nothing of it nor did my wife but the kids meandering up the stairs to the loft where the odor was just as strong, instantly told us how badly "it stinks" and that they weren't feeling to well. With visions of spontaneous fireballs in our minds, we opened the only window in the cabin that could open, turned on the ceiling fan and stepped out. We had Gary check it. He said everything looked fine.

We left for town, hoping to air out the cabin for our return. However, when we did return, several hours later, the smell was even stronger. We tried making lemonade out of lemons with the use of the Jacuzzi. We filled the tub then hit the 'jet' switch. The whole cabin vibrated and the motor was louder than any reasonable conversation level - ridiculous! We still wanted to endure. We turned down the thermostat so the gas fireplace would go out and slept with no heat (god forbid we go up in flames while sleeping here!); we kept the one functioning window open..mind you, this is early April...in Ely, it snowed all night and the entire next day (temps during our stay in Ely ranged from the low 20's at night to low 30's during the day).

We awoke the next morning with a serious chill in our bones. My Wife turned on the electric burners in the kitchenette hoping it would generate some heat. The good news?...at this point there was no gaseous smell! The bad news? This place, when added all up, was terrible. Funny thing is, we're really quite tolerant folks, we would have actually put up with everything else quite well, but the Gas problem was not only stinky, it was downright unnerving...scary.

We got our things together, turned up the thermostat so it would be warmer upon arriving back, then headed into town. Hopeful speculations unfurled, "Maybe the cabin hadn't been used in some time and it was an initial issue which would dissipate...in more ways than one?".. See, we really wanted this to be 'okay' and invented reasons which excused the initial dilemma & gave us hope for improvement. That said, we had earnestly hoped these 'wrinkles' would iron themselves out so that when we returned all would be improved. Well, regrettably, we were very annoyed when the place smelled even worse. We quickly made new plans for our day and left the cabin, then called Gary. I could not reach him and had to leave a message. In my message I asked if he'd step into the cabin and check things out and I politely encouraged the possibility that he'd simply move us to another cabin - we were the ONLY guests for any of the cabins the entire weekend, he had told us upon arrival. He never called back.

When we returned several hours later, we went into the office, which is also, ahem, the bar. I spoke to the bartender who confirmed that Gary was not present but that he had checked out our cabin, caught a little whiff of gas, had the 'gas company run tests' and gave us the "all clear". We returned to the cabin, turned up the thermostat for the last time and immediately could smell that 'propane' odor spilling from their gas fireplace.

We packed up our things and hit the road. When we dropped the keys off, the bar tender, rather than apologize and simply move us or offer us a refund on NOT staying the second night, instead wanted to contest us. We left angry. They could have so easily made us happy, even downgrading us to a less 'luxurious' cabin with simple baseboard heat (or whatever) would have been acceptable. I have never, ever written a single trip adviser review before, I had to write this. In the end we spent over $200 on a cabin we were afraid to spend more than a few hours in.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Max M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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99 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Duluth, Minnesota
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Let me start by saying this, we (my family and I) are budget travelers. When we camp, we stay in tents. When we go to Mexico, we stay in hotels without A/C. When we go to Wisconsin Dells we stay at the Pink Flamingo...you get the picture. We have put up with mold, bugs, filth, noise...I have never, ever wanted to write a bad review before now.

I stumbled across the Silver Rapid website while searching for something fun for my family to go over the kids spring break. It was a little out of our price range but I had my husband call to see if maybe they had a low season special. They did! We were so exicted. A jacuzzi! A private cabin! A gas fireplace! These are not things we usually splurge on. We excitededly packed our things and were out the door within two hours of making the reservation.

When we opened the door to the cabin my heart sunk. This was nothing like what I had expected. The website was very misleading. It was very run down, the carpet was thread bear and very stained, stuffing was falling out of the furniture, there were no towels (the website said these would be provided), there was only seating for two people (on a couch full of rips). But...we were still excited. This was still salvageable. It would just be like our average vacation and not the 'splurge' we were all expecting.

Then...we turned on the gas fireplace - the only way to heat the cabin. Immediately I could smell gas. I asked my husband to go get Gary. Gary came over right away, fiddled with the fireplace and assured us it was fine. Ummm...fine? I was getting dizzy and feeling nauseous from the gas by this time. My five year old daughter was also complaining that she "felt like she was going to barf". We decided maybe it was just the initial firing up of the fireplace and opened the only window that would open, turned on the ceiling fan and headed to town while the cabin aired out.

We had a great time in Ely and I was feeling high spirited when we returned several hours later. Then...we opened the door and were met with a very strong gas smell. We decided to turn off the fireplace and keep the door open to really get the air moving. Once the gas cleared we decided to try out the jacuzzi. (I admit I half expected the place to go up in flames when I pushed the 'on' button). Ha! When we started the motor the entire cabin started shaking and we had to yell just to be heard. We couldn't help but to laugh about the National Lampoon nature of this 'vacation'.
We tucked the kids in and settled into the 'master suite' on a rediculously uncomfortable and squeaky bed - so much for the privacy. Of course I couldn't sleep because 1. I was afraid we would spontaniously combust in this [--]. 2. I was freezing my butt off. At one point, tired of being able to see my breath, I turned on the fireplace thinking I just wanted to warm the place up a little. But...within minutes it smelled like a death trap and I had to turn it off. In the morning I tried to warm the cabin by turning on the electric burners in the kitchenette.

Long story short...the next day we tried to solve the problem. We very kindly asked them to address the issue, or move us to a different cabin or room. We didnt care where they moved us we just wanted to sleep somewhere that didnt smell like explosive gas. Mind you there was NOBODY in any of the other cabins. They did absolutly nothing to help us. Matter of fact they argued with us, trying to convince us it was all in our imagination. At one point he said there is no way you can smell natural gas because the cabin is heated with propane - as if it matters to us WHICH explosive gas is leaking into the cabin! The employee we spoke with told us they had the gas company check it out while we were gone. I asked for the name or contact info for this gas company - of course he had no idea who they were. They basically told us "go back to your death trap, sleep there and like it. Good bye." We left - no refund for the second night. No apology. Ely is a great town. Go there. Have fun. Do not stay in this [--].

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Saraism
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Ely hotels

Minneapolis
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2012

We have a seasonal @ Silver Rapids Lodge and we love this place! The place is well kept and the staff are all friendly and accomadating.

We get up as often as we possibly can and it's Gods Country. I

It's amazing people can always find something to Pi** & Moan about!!

Yes the sites are small and the motel & cabins are older but when you're in Gods Country who gives a Phubck!!

I saw one person whine water dripped on his head when walking to the bathrooms boo hooo hooo!

Keep up the good work Gary & Suzette

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Capntrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rosemount, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

We stayed in cabin #1 and even though it was outdated it was clean. The staff was great and very helpful with anything that we asked. The lodge food was great and the bar staff was fun! We did see the camp sites and they are very tight and on gravel, but the cabins were great! We will stay there again for sure!

Room Tip: Pick the two story cabin that is next to the boat docks! It has a great view!
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kendra B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Twin Cities, MN
Level Contributor
42 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

This review is based only on the jr suite motel rooms and restaurant. NOT the cabins or campground. Stayed 2 nights with my mom.

Restaurant- decent offerings and prices. Chicken dinner entree ($12) that I had and the shrimp entree ($16) that my mom had were both good. Nothing super special, but a good portion and a nice salad with a variety of greens, not iceberg. Mom's shrimp were HUGE! Breakfast buffet ($10) was very good. Fun blueberry drink specials (for the Blueberry Arts Festival running that weekend). Restaurant and bar were hot- one wall unit AC for the whole place and no ceiling fans; nicer outside than in.

Jr. motel suites- while we did have comfortable beds, a functioning AC unit, and the rooms were kept clean, these units are in desperate need of updating. I don't need to be in the lap of luxury when going up north, and I don't care about the age of a place as long as it is well maintained. These rooms are not well-maintained. First thing we noticed were the sidewalks and steps leading to the rooms. There are large chunks/sections of concrete completing missing from the sidewalks as well as the steps. I'm surprised the the steps aren't crumbling away; they will be soon if they are not replaced or repaired. Very unsafe. Within the room itself: numerous cracks, paint chips, and scratches in the walls. (how hard would it be to touch these up?) Heat register in the bathroom was split (yes, the metal was split!) on one corner, pulled away, and rusted. Many of the panels of the suspended ceiling were uneven.

Maybe the cabins are better; I don't know. Seems like all of the lodgings here are spaced very close together... between the campgrounds, cabins, and motel there is not a lot of space or feeling of privacy.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MsChris1221
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Champlin, Minnesota
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2012

Stayed in a deluxe hotel suite. Very dirty and outdated. No air conditioning and it was really hot and humid out. No TV. Food at restaurant was good. Staff was friendly. Views of lake were nice. You can stay at a much nicer place in Ely for $129.00. Luckily we were only there one night.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank UpNorth30328
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stewartville, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 4, 2012

My wife and I stayed in the campground June 23-29 2012 on site L14 in our 27 ft 5th wheel. Sure it might seem a little tight backing into your site if your used to pull thru sites but it can be done. Our level site was big enough to be able to use our slideout and also unroll the awning with room for a campfire also. From the minute we pulled up with the pickup-5th wheel-boat combo hooked together, we were made to feel welcome. We were greeted in the lobby with smiles and an offer to take my boat to the parking lot and to unload it in the lake when I was ready after setting up the camper. The vault toilets are just that-vault type toilets, they are going to smell, so get used to it or use the showerhouse bathrooms. It is a short walk up to the showers that were very clean and yes you do have to cross a paved county road but there is ample visibility from the left and the visibility from the right is 72 yards. I stepped it off after reading it was reported at only 20 foot. We had a sausage pizza at noon on a Wed and the breakfast buffet on the Sat we left- both very good. Dont take my word for it, go up with a open mind and try it yourself.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Silver Rapids Lodge

Property: Silver Rapids Lodge
Address: 459 Kawishiwi Trl, Ely, MN 55731-8194
Location: United States > Minnesota > Ely
Hotel Style:
Ranked #33 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Ely
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Silver Rapids Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 11
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Also Known As:
Silver Rapids Hotel Ely

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