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“Loved it with a few reservations”
Review of Grand View Lodge

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Grand View Lodge
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Nisswa
Certificate of Excellence
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Loved it with a few reservations”
Reviewed September 2, 2011

This was our first trip to Grand View Lodge and we loved it. A couple of notes though:

Overall:
Generally when we travel we stay at The Ritz. the Four Seasons, etc. This was the type of experience we were looking for in Minnesota, but on a lake with lake activities. This was the only property we could find that seemed like it may be close to matching our expectations, however, many of the cabins, rooms, etc looked rather dated online. Therefore, we didn't know if it would be worth the $250+ per night so we waited and booked a last minute deal at $99 per night for two nights to give it a try. At $99 per night, we loved GVL and felt it was a great deal. I don't think we would have felt the same way had we paid $250+ per night. We will definitely go back if we can book a last minute deal again, but would probably not go back if we had to pay full price.

Pros:
1. We stayed in the main lodge as it looked to have the most updated rooms. Our room was incredibly large with a nice sitting area that contained a leather couch, chair and armoire. There was also a small seated table for enjoying morning coffee and a large very comfortable king sized bed with nice linens. The room was clean, modern, nicely decorated and spacious. There was also a small kitchenette type area with a Keurig coffee maker. I loved that they offered both Keurig coffee and tea cups. I would be very careful and look at the online photos before booking your room as it was our impression that some of the rooms/cabins are updated and others are not. Ours was updated and was lovely.
2. The service was top notch. Everyone was friendly, attentive, kind and helpful. I would definitely rate the service as 5 star. For example, our Keurig coffee maker didn't work so we called the front desk and they brought another one within 20 minutes. While sitting at the beach, the sun started to come out and immediately the hotel staff walked the beach asking guests if they would like complimentary umbrellas. We said we would and within 5 minutes they set up a large umbrella in the sand for us.
3. The activities are outstanding. Many of the activities are free such as bonfires and smores, pontoon fishing, pontoon stargazing, etc. The rest have very reasonable charges. I went waterskiing which was only $20 and horseback riding which was only $30. The staff overseeing the activities were professional, helpful, patient and kind. In addition around the property there are additional activities such as shuffleboard, checkers, etc. One night we were tired and were able to simply check out a complimentary DVD from the front desk to watch in our room. We couldn't decide which DVD to check out so the front desk let us check out three for free. Absolutely loved all of the activities. This would be the main reason we would return.
4. The golf courses are top notch. I'm not really into golf, but my husband absolutely loves golf so the first day we played the Garden course which is a 9 hole course. It was beautiful, well maintained, and extremely inexpensive (only $30 including a cart). The Pines is a gorgeous 18 hole course; be sure to play it.
5. The spa was small, but fabulous. We regularly visit spas and really enjoyed this one. During the course of our three day stay we each had two massages and a facial. My therapists were fantastic. One of the best massages I've ever had (ask for Jennifer D.). My husband loved his facial, but felt the second massage therapist he had was not very good. The relaxation room is cozy and the locker rooms, while small, have all of the amenities needed. We loved the spa so much we ended up just sitting on the porch holding hands and chatting for about an hour after our treatments.
6. The chocolate ox is the onsite candy shoppe/ice cream parlor. It is a must do. Some of the best ice cream we have ever had. And very affordable. We each got a single scoop which was only $2.50.
7. We ate at several of the restaurants on the property and loved the Italian Garden. It's a must eat at while at GVL. The food was delicious, reasonably priced and plentiful and the service was fabulous.
8. Free parking. We're used to paying $25+ a day for parking at a resort, so this was a nice change. Plus, the parking is incredibly close to the lodge, cabins, etc which is convenient, especially if you have children (we don't).
9. Breakfast at the main lodge. I really enjoyed the breakfast each morning although my husband wasn't the biggest fan. There was a wide variety of items and each morning they switched up a few items so it always seemed new and fresh. All of the food was hot, fresh and much better than at most hotel breakfast buffets. Be sure to try the waffles - they are delish!
10. This is really an ideal place for families. If we had kids, we would come here several times each summer as the kids activities seem wonderful and are included in the price when you pay the full normal rate.

Cons
1. We came during the week at the end of the summer and the resort was almost empty, which we loved. While we had made reservations for dinner each evening, we were able to simply walk in early and get seated. However, had we come during a weekend in the summer, I think the resort would have been incredibly overcrowded and that we would not have enjoyed our experience nearly as much.
2. You have to sign up for activities the evening before at 5:30pm when the activity reservation sheets are put out for sign up. This is problematic as it means that you have to make sure you are at the front desk at 5:30pm on the dot and wait in line to sign up for all of the activities. We didn't know that the first night and had really wanted to sign up for the pontoon stargazing the second night. Unfortunately, our massage appointments were at 5:30pm. We explained this to the front desk, but they said they couldn't sign our names up for us and that we'd have to check back after our massages. Unfortunately, by the time we got back to the front desk at 7pm, the star gazing was already full. For most of the activities they only take 4-10 people so they fill up very fast, and the resort was almost empty when we were there. I would be concerned that it would be hard to actually reserve any activities if the resort was full. I wish that for really popular activities that they had more spots available or offered them several times per evening.
3. We ate at Cru, which is their newest restaurant and is touted as their "best" restaurant. We were not impressed. The decor is nice, although it's in the basement of their conference center, which leaves a bit to be deserved. I expected it to have a lake view, given the property is on the lake. Regardless, the food was mediocre at best. We love small plate restaurants and ordered 8 plates to share. None of them were impressive. We would not go back.
4. The walls between the rooms are paper thin. We could hear the conversations of all of our neighbors. Fortunately, we are both very hard sleepers, but if you're looking for a quiet romantic weekend, I would perhaps look at one of cabins instead of the main lodge.
5. The game room was gross. We thought it would be fun to play air hockey, ping pong, etc after dinner one night, but took one look at the dirty and old game room and left. It looked like it had not been cleaned in months and reminded me of the frats on campus in college. It is in desperate need of a deep cleaning and updating.
6. Overall the resort could have been cleaner. The windows were rather dirty and the main lodge building was pretty outdated (other than our rooms) with worn carpet, etc.

Overall, we came for the activities and that's what we enjoyed the most (the golfing, spa, water skiing, etc). We picked our room carefully to make sure it was updated and had a great experience at a very good price ($99 per night). We would come back again, but only at the last minute rate at an off peak time. With those things in mind, I think we would have another fantastic stay, although this time we might bring ear plugs and try some of the restaurants off property that we have heard are good.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank HataFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (158)
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English first
Minnesota USA
Level Contributor
213 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2011

We were here for 3 days. It rained the whole time. It made for a good opportunity to check out the spa. Great massage at the glacial waters spa. We had a cabin with 4 bedrooms view a lake view. The area is quiet. I would recommend bringing a flashlight as walking back in front of the cabins at night is dangerous. There are no lights on the path and no street lights. The only lights are on each cabin's porch (if turned on).
The rooms were comfortable and the cabin had a kitchen and living room with fireplace.

I recommend eating in your cabin as None of the restaurants we tried we tried were good. We ate in the bar at the main lodge and found the window ledge inches from our dining table coated in dead bugs. The food was just as appetizing.
We also ate at the upstairs restaurant. It was decent , but we had a buffet. There we NO options that resembled healthy.
The third place we tried was the Italian restaurant on property. Again, it was decent but nothing I would recommend.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mlovett88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarkTine, Public Relations Manager at Grand View Lodge, responded to this review, September 2, 2011
We thank you for staying with us this summer. It is sometimes trying when it rains, but fortunately we have a lot of indoor activities available also to keep the children and adults busy from kids camps to wine tastings. The Roy Lake Cottages where you stayed are a highly requested area because of their size, quiet beauty and the private beach. We are adding lighting to the walkways through this area this Fall to help enhance the lakeside view. The cabins on Grand View’s Main Property have lit walkways also leading to the restaurants, indoor waterpark and activities and are widely used by everyone .

We are glad you were able to enjoy a couple of our eight restaurants. We have an extravagant breakfast buffet every morning in the Grand Dining room and the menu changes in the evening. The only times buffets are served here for dinner is if you are here on a business trip and your coordinator selects the menu options. Otherwise our newest restaurant, Cru—features incredible dining and an abundance of wines. We are also working on some heart-healthy options for all our restaurants and should be previewing those next year, but we do carry a variety of salad and menu options which are very healthy and many made with locally raised and grown meats and vegetables.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2011

Let me start by saying even the most beautiful location and experience can be ruined by poor service. Our family and another stayed at the Roy Cabins this summer. The gent at the check-in desk seemed bored and lifeless. We expected to have some sort of explantation of services or activites, but he offered nothing. It was really disappointing to walk into this kind of environment. The service at the lakeside grill was the same. The server was rude and disinterested. My husband made the mistake of leaving his overnight effects bag in the pool changing area. Unfortunately it had a breathing medication prescription in it. We made several attempts have the bag returned, but were routed to the lost and found and had to leave a vm every time. I later found out this is only open for an hour. Eventually I just talked to the manager at the front desk who said we needed to pay for shipping!!! I was apalled. We spent a great deal of money and I thought this was the most tacky business practice I had ever heard. She proceeded to tell me the lodge would lose money if they returned all lost items, and then said she was not our babysitter. Unbelievable. I have worked in the hospitality industry in Minneapolis for close to 20 years, and have never encountered such a rude and inappropriate person. I actually feel a little sorry for the staff, as they all seem so miserable. We had a lovely time with our close friends, but next time will stay as far away from this resort as possible. My advice is some serious customer service training.

Room Tip: don't book a room here. not worth it. perhaps give Cragens a try
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank harringtonbrid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarkTine, Public Relations Manager at Grand View Lodge, responded to this review, September 2, 2011
We strive diligently for great service and train our 500+ service personnel quite extensively including building a new training center for this use. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you will try us again. We assure you the experiences you may have encountered with a couple staff will be dealt with in an appropriate manor and are by no means customary as you may have experienced throughout your stay. Each of our employees truly aims to create a great guest experience and each of our staff strives to help each guest with all their requests no matter how unique they may be.
Because of the diverse and multitude of activities we have at Grand View, each guest receives the Northwoods News at check-in, our Activities Newsletter, which denotes all activities and times available throughout the property. The Newsletters are also available on-line and have a digital link in our pre-stay confirmation emails. These activities sheets can also be found in over 12 locations on the property.
As for lost items, we work diligently to return Lost and Founds articles as timely as possible. With over 900 guests on our property on a busy weekend, the amounts of items lost—are immeasurable. But we still try to get all items to each individual in a timely fashion and hopefully during their stay. We hope that you will reconsider and truly find out why we are one of the best resorts in Minnesota.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, MN
Level Contributor
111 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2011

People rave about this place, and it is very nice, but I don't quite see what all the fuss is about. We had a villa with whirlpool tub and a lakeview, which was all good, but not great.
The spa is outstanding though-about as nice as any I have visited!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gracie99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Grand View Lodge because our friends hosted a wedding there. We arrived on a Friday morning and we were amazed not only with how beautiful the resort was, but how big it was, too!

The main lobby/registration was a little confusing to find, since there are several buildings spread out throughout the resort. We arrived a before our check-in time, so we had an hour or so to spend at Looney's Bar & Grill, which is lakeside. We sat down there for a few drinks and just enjoyed the scenery, looking out onto Gull Lake. The resort was full of guests, but not to the point where it was crowded. Many families were vacationing at this time, indulging in various water sports and playing on the beach. For those who are weary of the lake, the resort has an indoor pool, as well (with a big slide- great for the kids!).

When we got to our room, we were surprised with how HUGE the rooms are! We stayed in the Pines and had a lovely view of the golf course on that side of the resort. Our room was large enough to sleep 7-8 people! The living room was spacious with a leather couch and Murphy bed. A small kitchen is in the corner of the room, with a small fridge, sink, and microwave. You walk down the hallway and you find the bathroom- had a standup shower, as well as a jacuzzi tub. Very spacious bathroom with lots of cabinet space! And finally, the bedroom had 2 queen size beds and a sink/mirror, which was convenient if you didn't want to walk out to the main bathroom to brush your teeth, etc. The whole room was super clean and we were very satisfied!

I had time to use their workout facility- it had 3 treadmills and 2-3 ellipticals. Also had 2 TVs facing the cardio machines. There was also a full set of weights and exercise mats if you wanted to do sit-ups in the corner. It was not very big, but it was clean and had what you needed for a workout.

As I mentioned our friends had a wedding here and it was absolutely beautiful! They held the actual ceremony along the main stairway leading to Gull Lake. The reception was held indoors at one of the halls up the street from the main lobby area. Their wedding photos came out beautiful with the scenery and especially love the shots of the wedding party standing on the pier with the lake behind them. Just beautiful!

The staff was very nice- everyone at the front desk made us feel very welcome.

There is a great little coffee shop in the building next to the main lobby area- great frozen coffee drinks!

I can go on and on about this resort- my husband and I enjoyed every minute of our stay there. We definitely recommend this place, especially for a nice family vacation with the kids, and we hope to return soon!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank chitowngal22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, Minnesota
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2011

We stayed here for the first time and love the place. Will go into more detail below but overall I would give it 4.5 stars. Let me first state that my wife and I brought our 13 month old twins and 2 year old daughter and for us to walk away happy, relaxed, and refreshed is quite the statement after a one week visit. We plan to return on an annual basis since this place is ideal for families with very friendly service all around.

LOCATION
We stayed in a Gull Haven cabin in unit 703 and plan to return to the same area next year. We loved the cabin feel, especially the screened in porches, and enjoyed having a getaway place to retreat (see photos). Our friends stayed in the Bay Colony units and while they are nice, they will also move to Gull Haven next year. The Bay Colony units are upstairs and downstairs attached units that feel more like a large hotel room as opposed to your own cabin. We also looked at the Interlachen units and while they are newer, some with gas grills compared with the charcoal grill at Gull Haven, they do not have screened in porches. For us, this was where we spent most evenings winding down after the kids were in bed and this was the most attractive feature at Gull Haven. When our kids are older, we will probably stay on the main campus so they can enjoy all of the activities but for now, Gull Haven will be the best spot for us. As someone who grew up with a family cabin, I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to rent a cabin with daily maid service, a jungle gym for kids, a decent beach with boat lifts and kayak’s and life jackets etc. available, yet be able to walk away and not have the ownership issues. In the future, we will try and stay in units 704 or 705 which are closest to the lake.

GOLF
We played at Deacon’s Lodge. Beautiful course with nice facilities. The map made it look about 5 minutes away but it was actually a 20-25 minute drive. Will probably try the Pines next time since many of the T-shots were blind at Deacon’s Lodge. If you do play there, definitely get a yardage book. We did not since they advertised GPS in the carts but this was not the case.

BOATING
Another attractive feature at Gull Haven is the ability to rent a boat lift. Our friends brought their 25 foot bow rider ski boat and booked a lift. This is where we encountered problems: About 1 week prior to arrival, our friends received a call from the boat guy confirming the arrival time. The “boat guy” promised our friends that he would be there at check in to help launch the boat and get it hooked up. Well, upon arrival our friends found out that the boat guy was not working that day. They were told someone else would show up and 3 phone calls and 90 minutes later, another boat guy showed up at the drop in marina. The next day, it turns out that the boat was too heavy for the lifts and the cable snapped (luckily when we were around). A call to the boat guy revealed that there were no other available boat lifts capable of holding the boat short of putting the boat in a different lake. This is when our friends contacted the manager and explained how disappointing this was since we specifically chose Gull Haven for the access to a boat lift. I have to say that the manager did all he could to remedy the situation; he checked to see if some of the larger boat lifts at Interlachan were available (they were not) so he arranged for the boat to be stored at a marina 10 minutes from Gull Haven and offered to provide transportation whenever needed. Kudos to GVL for making a bad situation tolerable although we missed probably 3 boating outings due to the fact that it took 45-60 minutes to drive to the marina, uncover the boat, and drive it back to Gull Haven. We also rented a jet ski for 4 hours ($200 + gas) which was a blast; rentals (including boats/pontoons) are available through a service on the main lodge beach.

SPA
My wife loved the spa. She has been to Kohler, WI and Four Season’s spa in Hawaii and stated that her facial was the most relaxing one she has ever had. Thus, I had to try it out and booked a massage which was outstanding, expensive but outstanding. The facilities were 4 (out of 5) stars and the men’s locker room had a steam shower and sauna.

FOOD
Our best meal was at Cru which we went to after the wine tasting class on Wednesdays. I would highly recommend this. The wine tasting is from 6-8pm and don’t show up late like we did…The pub also had better than most pub food. The Italian place was kid friendly with mediocre food. We also enjoyed grilling right outside the cabin.

BABYSITTING
This is available through the main desk. With our kid situation, we were a little concerned when our babsitter was only 16 years old and while she was a little overwhelmed at times, it was quite nice to have some peaceful time away. It was only $12/hr for 3 kids.

WHAT TO BRING
Everything is casual. The cabin we stayed in had a fully stocked kitchen and a washer/dryer. There is a grocery store close by when needed. Next time, we will bring a fly swatter.

OVERALL
We love this place. It is a perfect lake getaway for families with a number of amenities for adults to enjoy.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MN_Sesame
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix
Level Contributor
105 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2011

Hadn't been here for over 45 years, and much had changed, but the Main Lodge is still the same ! Lovely rooms, and gracious staff. The food was just wonderful ! We took advantage of the Monthly Chef's Choice dinner with wine selections, and it was terrific ! The Beach is just as pretty as always .. a great family resort!

Room Tip: We enjoyed the lodge, but cabins would be more private,
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bayfieldbelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand View Lodge

Property: Grand View Lodge
Address: 23521 Nokomis Ave, Nisswa, MN 56468-2711
Location: United States > Minnesota > Nisswa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Nisswa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Grand View Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 202
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Create a lifetime of memories at Grand View Lodge Golf Resort and Spa, located along the beautiful shores of Gull Lake in Nisswa, MN. The Historic Grand View Lodge offers deluxe accommodations, exceptional dining, 45 holes of championship golf, the world-class Glacial Waters Spa, full-service meeting, events and wedding facilities, and activities galore on 2,500 feet of beautiful sandy beach. Grand View's lodging facilities are immaculate, convenient and comfortable, accommodating up to 900 people. Spread across several hundred acres, Grand View provides the maximum privacy, enjoyment, and scenic views for guests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand View Hotel Nisswa

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