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“Would have felt cleaner staying in my car” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Forest Lake Motel

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Forest Lake Motel
Ranked #7 of 11 Hotels in Grand Rapids
Metro Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Would have felt cleaner staying in my car”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 11, 2011

So many things wrong with this place...showed up to check in and there was a bunch of kids with a mattress from their motel room sitting in the middle of the parking lot laying on it. Also, our family had 4 rooms booked and were charged different prices for the same "type" of room. When confronted the staff did NOT correct the prices that were quoted incorrectly and said "consider yourself lucky" to the family who received the lowest price. Once we finally got to the rooms, the water did not work for about 4 hours, the coffee pot was dirty, Towels had hair on them, there were toiletries and dirty socks under the sink (that belonged to the previous guests), MAJOR spider webs in every corner of the room and used Kleenex and other trash underneath the beds.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank 845KStraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nelsoncf, Manager at Forest Lake Motel, responded to this review, September 13, 2011
We do have exchange students for two months each fall and they don't always do what we expect. When I returned Saturday afternoon I did talk to them about not taking the mattress outside and their sense of modesty is a little different than ours. It was one mattress one time and not what's done regularly.
When we take reservations we give people a quote if they request. The earlier people reserve a room the more likely they are to get a lower price. Even though we were full Saturday we honored all the prices we had quoted and the difference in prices was $5 per room.
We had a hot water line that burst(it always happens when you're the busiest)and it did take about three hours to get parts and get it fixed.
I'm sorry about the cleanliness bit. That is not our practice. We work hard at keeping our rooms clean and I have addressed the comments with our staff. That is not the way we operate.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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26 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    10
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New Prague, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 11, 2011

I called Several months ago to make a reservation and was never asked for a credit card # to make the reservation. We were staying there because my cousin was getting married and there were a lot of relatives coming from out of town. Between all of us we had a bunch of rooms reserved. Upon arrival we pulled into parking lot and across from office was 6 or 7 young college kids with a mattress from a bed pulled out into the parking lot and they were tanning on it. I immediately said something when I checked in. I asked if this is what they let guests do with beds and then I get to sleep on that? The lady at the counter told me not to worry because they weren't in my room. I said excuse me, how do I know that they weren't doing that in my room. She then told me that the college kids are exchange students who live there for 3 months and they will get rid of the beds when they leave. She told me thanks for the concern and she would tell them that that is not acceptable. FYI: they never said anything and it was still out there.
So we get our keys and go to our rooms. The first room we enter and it smells like a kennel and its hot in there. There are someone else's toiletries under the sink and dirty socks. There are used kleenex's under the bed, spider and webs all over the room. Go to the bathroom and there is no water also one on the towels had a long hair on it and we never used them yet.. What a great start! I go into the second room, it stinks like smoke and I asked for anon smoking room. Also there is no water and there are lipstick marks on a pillow case that were from someone. Glad we brought our own pillows! Called the office and said, "oh something broke with the water and they are fixing it." So had to leave if needed to go to bathroom or anything. Paid for our room and some of us were charged one thing and others were charged more. When confronted they said some were given the wrong price quote. Very dirty gross place to stay. They over charge for there rooms that are disgusting. I wish I could get my money back. They lost a lot of customers because all the rooms we took up for this wedding with all the problems and none of us will ever be back. We have told everyone we know and I hope a lot of people read these reviews and stay at the Country Inn Suites, the Americ Inn, or the Saw Mill. This place is horrible!

Room Tip: There are non here. Stay somewhere else!
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 802newps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Level Contributor
29 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2011

We spent a pleasant several days here. The room was clean and large, and was on the lake side where we could hear occasional loon calls. It's walking distance from a beach, a grocery store, and downtown. There was occasional noise from other guests, but it was quite quiet all the nights we spent there, which is the most important thing to us. There were large trucks parked alongside the hotel, but contrary to previous reviews, they didn't start up at 4AM.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mn_daytrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Donnelly, MN USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 20, 2011

We had made a reservation for a room with three beds about 3 weeks before our trip for $73 night, arriving Wednesday, leaving Sunday AM. We called before arriving and were informed the room was given to someone who decided to stay longer. After expressing our dissappointment we were offered 2 rooms for the same price, this was acceptable to us. At check in we were given 2 rooms but at a much higher price. We explained the situation again to the owner Charles, he now had little regret about the reservation and said he could not do 2 rooms for the same price. We negotiated the price down to $50 night per room and decided to stay since it was already late in the afternoon.
As this was not bad enough, we had another problem when we decided to check out a day early. Charles had charged me for the full stay at check in, at check out he credited me just $50. When I asked him about the credit for the tax, he said "forget it, he did one credit and he wasn't going to do another". Granted the $4.44 is not a big deal it just shows the poor attitude of the management.
The motel was very nice overall for a drive up and was in a nice location with adequate parking.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank enterprise1914
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2010

I have been staying at the Forest Lake Motel in Grand Rapids several times a year for at least 7-8 years now (and a time or two before that too) and sadly the quality of the place is going steadily downhill. Let's make it clear, this is NOT the Hilton's finest but in most ways, for a place to sleep, it is a decent enough place, that is, when you get your room. The rooms at the bottom of the hill ("lake view" they call them but it's through the bushes and weeds) are actually nicer rooms than most but if you need internet service don't expect the wifi to work down there, at least not reliably. The motel is old and maintenance is, well what you'd expect at most for the money and more appropriately less than what you'd expect. It's not a dive but it's patched together. If you are alone, you'll get fewer towels - even if the room had more in them so be sure to make a note of informing them if you need more than one set and don't want to be accused of taking them. The usual housekeeping gals are nice, but there are ones who try to take shortcuts like not making the beds, skipping a wastebasket or not refilling supplies. Bring some coffee with you and plan on washing the coffeemaker yourself. I question how often they change sheets. Never if you're staying there another night and I've never seen them bring sheets out of a room! The office has a small ice maker if you want a few cups worth of ice. There's not a lot there so don't expect to fill a large cooler.It's essentially a no frills place. Has tv and cable, coffeemaker, microwave and refrigerator in the room. Sometimes you'll get an extra one that doesn't work. But there's no radio, no wakeup call or things like that. Furnishings vary a lot and in the older rooms it's like garage sale put together. Functional, but certainly not fancy. The rooms that were redecorated have a wildlife motif and are fairly nice. But keep in mind you're across the highway from railroad tracks and the occasional middle of the night trains DO blow their whistles and you WILL hear them.

My first stay with Forest Lake made me vow to never go barefoot in the rooms. My feet and socks were black from dirt in the carpet. They don't vacuum the rooms and apparently don't shampoo the carpets either. With that experience, I also now carry a can of disinfectant and spray everything in the room before I stay there. Now I will say, things have improved in the different rooms I've been in, but other things are going downhill.

16 days before my arrival I reserved a room by phone. I had read these reviews and had a bad feeling as I talked to this guy on the phone. When I told him I wanted to check availability for certain dates, he didn't even check to see if they were available until I gave him a credit card number! I wanted a certain room because it has a shower stall instead of a tub, which I prefer and the wifi works better closer to the office. He couldn't understand the difference between a tub and a shower, then finally said "they all have showers, but some have tubs too". I knew I was getting nowhere with him on that point, he said the internet works everywhere and he wouldn't give me a firm rate. When I inquired about available discounts, was told it'd be $40-$45 depending on the room I get and I might not get the discount if they were busy. He refused to commit to giving me a certain room number, though the previous year I got kicked out of the room because someone reserved that particular room. They gave me another room but it's still the hassle of having to move everything. After I hung up I really got a bad feeling and became concerned that I might arrive to no room so I decided to call back and get his name so I have that much just in case, but there was no answer when I called back. I then emailed to confirm. Never received a response, however when I inquired years ago it took weeks to get a response. Apparently they're not very tech-savvy.

Since I have dealt with them for years and never had outrageous problems, I guess I forgot about it until I arrived to check in whereupon the girl informed me that I had no reservation and they had no rooms. I asked about my reservation, she looked again, (they use scraps of paper for reservations) and called a manager who then said they only had room #27 at the bottom of the hill. This closet-sized room was not great. Had one window facing the building next to it and a full sized refrigerator planted right in front of it. Wifi didn't work, nor did the telephone (reliably). For this they wanted $45/night. I told them that I needed internet access since I was staying four nights and was told that I could come and sit in the office and use the internet there! Not acceptable so I decided to call another place, but couldn't use the non-working phone. Good thing I had a cell with me. Another motel I had stayed with previously had a room, would commit to a price and I knew it was a pleasant place to stay so I went and demanded a refund and left. I didn't want to get irate with the girl at the desk. It wasn't her fault so I asked when the manager would be in. "He's usually around, but not today". He should be back by 4". I'm not sure what this stunt was all about, because my sister arrived the next day and they had a room for her, but not what she requested either. She was on the lake side and the wifi didn't work for her either! She checked out a day early. FWIW, the vacancy sign was on from the time I arrived all through the time I was in Grand Rapids.

I'll share another experience with the Forest Lake Motel. Construction workers run their diesel trucks outside the rooms for 1-2 hours before leaving, starting at 4AM (whether summer or winter!) so if you're close to those trucks, don't plan on sleeping at those hours.

And as far as the Forest Lake restaurant, I've eaten there twice and will never go there again. Their main cooking appliance is apparently a microwave. The place is expensive and the food is, well, microwave quality at best. My first visit there had a bill of nearly $80 for two of us. My last visit was about $30. The cuisine? The "twice baked" potatoes were a 1/2 a potato shell with some soupy mashed potatoes poured in them, about 6 slivers of shredded cheese on top and reheated in the microwave which also prepared the baked potatoes. The chicken wild rice soup sounded good but the microwave couldn't heat it through to the center which was still cold. They didn't bother to stir it. Ribs had membrane on it and if it wasn't for that there'd be little meat. I wasn't there on their "all you can eat ribs night" but I had all of those ribs I could eat anyway. Country Kitchen is far better and I'm going to try Clementine's next trip up.

This one horrible experience won't totally sour me on ever staying at Forest Lake again, but they're going to have to satisfy me that this incident won't repeat. I'm not sure how they can do that since this seems to be more common than one would think. So, be advised and be aware. I would conditionally recommend it with warnings of what to expect, however I couldn't in good conscience recommend it unconditionally to someone and get blamed if they lose their reservation too. Happy traveling.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wxwraith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nelsoncf, Owner at Forest Lake Motel, responded to this review, November 18, 2010
I would like to respond to "It happened to me too!" We appreciate it when clients mention to us things that need to be fixed or when something is not right about their room. I would like to respond to several criticisms that I feel were unfair. We have about 8000 quests in our 34 rooms over a years time, so we are not a dilapidated motel out in the woods. Our motel is made up of several buildings built over the years. We keep them up and they have all been updated. The quaintness is what attracts people to us. We have a combination of overnight guests and construction workers who may stay several days or even weeks. They like our rates and that they can park in front of their door with their tools and equipment. I would like to clear up several points made that I feel were not accurate.

1.The shoreline of the lake across the road from us is city owned and we have no control over what grows there. The public beach is about a block up the street and many of our guests use it when convenient.

2. We always put two sets of towels in each room and give extra sets to our guests when more than two people stay in a room. They are changed daily. We also make the beds, empty trash, replenish supplies, scrub the bathroom and vacuum. If a client is here for several days and hangs a "do not disturb" on the door, we don't touch the room. Sometimes clients take the sign down later in the day, but our housekeepers have gone home. If they let us know we supply what they need.

3. We change sheets after each client leaves as do most motels. Long termers we change weekly. If a client wants sheets changed more often, we'll do that.

4. We have an ice bin outside with bags of ice for sale. We keep some inside for clients that want less than a bag.

5.Each room has a frig and microwave. We do not store extra refrigerators in the room.

6.Wake-up calls are available if we are asked. Phones work fine if you dial "9" to get out.

7.Yes, there is an occasional train but everybody in town hears them. In four years we have had very few complaints on the noise issue.

8. Room 27 described as a "closet" is 12' X 16'.

9. We have no relationship with the restaurant next door, but it is the most popular restaurant in Grand Rapids and in four years I have never had a guest complain about the food or the price

10. We do not take reservations unless we get a credit card number as do most motels. We have had too many who make a reservation and then don't show nor do they cancel. If we have credit card number they will call and cancel. If they don't call or show and we could have rented that room to someone else then they will get charged for one night. In four years we have never had to do that.

Thank you
Manager, Forest Lake Motel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2009

I have stayed at Forest Lake for many years. Last year, I made a reservation to stay this year, Nov. 6-9, 2009 in room #23 (kitchenette unit). Last month, I stopped by to double-check and was told he had no reservation for me. Then, after I started getting angry, he conveniently managed to "find" it, then said he could not guarantee my reserved room choice because of construction workers staying there. "If I can get $1200 for the month, why wouldn't I?" That was his explanation. No apology. No amends. Only that he would have a regular motel room available IF that one was not. Reservations mean nothing, because if someone else comes along willing to pay more, your reservation will be tossed aside, without the courtesy of notifying you ! So, make a reservation at your own risk !!!

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank huntingsisters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nelsoncf, Manager at Forest Lake Motel, responded to this review, November 18, 2010
I would like to respond to "Make a Reservation at your own risk". She had stayed here previously and I did find her reservation. When we take a reservation we fill out a card and write the name and date in a book. My partner had taken the reservation, filled out the card and had not written it in the book. When she stopped in a month before the date, I didn't see her name in the book, but I did find her card in our file.

We never guarantee a specific room to a client because we have lots of people stay for extended times and if they are in a room we had promised to someone else, we'd have to kick them out for that reservation. Our policy is to promise a room and give them the room they want if it is open, but if not we'll put them in another similar room.but people don't understand that. When she stopped the room was not taken, but I explained that the town was filling with pipeliners looking for rooms for the entire winter. I said if I can put a family in there for an extended time i would do that but have another room available for her. She called back a couple of weeks later and canceled her reservation. I did not fill the room until after the dates of her reservation. When we take a reservation we write down their preference if they have one, and we try to accommodate,but we can't always please everyone.

Manager, Forest Lake Motel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
on the beach, SF
Level Contributor
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2009

Sweet spot on the trip across the N. Country. They showed us a room, "down the hill.." it was spacious and neatly laid out with pretty motif of bedspread, hangings etc. BUT the best was the location away from the road and a hundred feet from a lake with a heady forest song of birds, bugs and frogs. Another note: the proprietor recommended the fancy schmancy restaurant next door -"best restaurant in town..." I think he owns it, but another guest chimed in that the BBQ joint directly across the street (Clementines) was also good and maybe cheaper: well, BEST BBQ I EVER HAD -THAT'S ALL!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank amordelejos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Forest Lake Motel

Property: Forest Lake Motel
Address: 1215 NW 4th St, Grand Rapids, MN 55744-2207
Location: United States > Minnesota > Grand Rapids
Amenities:
Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 11 Hotels in Grand Rapids
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Forest Lake Motel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are located on cross country Highway #2. Forest Lake Motel is under new ownership and has been renovated and redecorated. Each room has a fridge, microwave, cable TV and wireless internet service. We cater to Canadians, tourists, business travelers, and construction workers. We offer daily, weekly and monthly rates. Our goal is to offer friendly service and maintain a clean establishment. A restaurant is next door. ... more   less 
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