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“Christmas bells are ringing”

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The Wilderness Club at Big Cedar
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Ridgedale
Certificate of Excellence
Kansas City
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Christmas bells are ringing”
Reviewed December 20, 2008

Oh how I love Big Cedar! This was the 3rd year my family and the in-laws stayed the week before Christmas at the Wilderness Club at Big Cedar. There were 13 of us total. My Husband and I….. plus my side of the family ….plus his side of the family. We both have siblings that are not fully grown: 14, 12, 11, and 8. It’s hard to find a place where all ages (including parents) can enjoy themselves but everyone is happy at Big Cedar. With so much to do (even in the winter) it’s hard to find time for it all.

Of course the indoor pool is a big hit with the little ones but there are also the outdoor hot tubs (3 different ones on the property), the free movie and game rentals, the Lincoln Log and puzzle tables, and mini-golf on a nice day. Big Cedar goes the extra mile to make sure you have a Merry Christmas with family Christmas craft nights, storytelling with Mrs. Claus, photos with Santa, gingerbread house making, holiday wagon light tours, a Christmas Tree lighting and even Elf tuck-ins (that’s right an elf will come tuck-in your children). The ambiance of Big Cedar during the month of December is marvelous. All the buildings and cabins are lined with lights, the Truman house looks like a giant gingerbread house, and amazing decorations and Christmas trees fill the clubhouse, registration buildings and restaurants.

Us girls were excited about shopping at the outlet malls and quaint boutiques. Even driving through Branson with all the Christmas lights at night was fun. Branson always has great Christmas shows and Silver Dollar City is amazing lit up with millions of lights.

All around Big Cedar is our favorite place to relax during the Christmas Season. Staying here in the spring, summer and fall seasons is a whole other conversation. There are even more things to do and try at Big Cedar and in Branson.

I’ve seen other review complaining about a few things that I’d like to address.
The price of Big Cedar: Of course a 5 star resort is pricey! If you are looking for a cheap place to stay don’t even bother with Big Cedar. Almost everything about Big Cedar is high on the price scale. The gift shop, the marina, the restaurants, the spa and even some the extra activates are all top notch and have premium prices. (Note: If you are traveling from California, New York, Texas, etc. these prices may look normal to you.)

Lodge Accommodations: We learned early on that the lodges can be noisy especially if you have loud people above you. Of course Big Cedar can only ask them to be quieter. We started booking well in advanced in order to secure rooms on the 4th floor. With the luggage carts and elevators it’s a breeze to unload and load the whole bunch of us. To have complete seclusion you should book a cabin!

Big Cedar Lodge vs. Big Cedar Wilderness Club:
This is a bit tricky… Big Cedar Lodge and Big Cedar Wilderness Club are actually two different entities but they are on the same property. Big Cedar Lodge is the renters’ side of the property and the Wilderness Club is the timeshare owners’ side. If you are staying on one side you can use the amenities on the other side with no problems. The main difference is the actual rooms that you stay in on the owners’ side may be roomer with a full or mini -kitchen.

  • Liked — Big Cedar feels like home away from home
  • Disliked — There in no wi-fi in available in the rooms
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank luvrach247
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 (96)
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English first
Goose Creek, SC
Level Contributor
79 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2008

My husband and I (both in our early 50s) are Bluegreen owners and booked a vacation to Big Cedar Wilderness Club combining bonus time and points for a 1 week stay. We arrived on August 22 and departed on August 29 -- just before the Labor Day weekend rush and the rain from Hurricane Gustav. We had beautiful weather while we were there and the only day it rained was the day we left! Temperatures ranged from mid-80s to low 90s but the humidity was not as high as where we live (Charleston, SC).

This is one of the best resorts we have experienced through Bluegreen. We actually stayed in two different lodge rooms (2447A and 2635A). The staff informed us that they would do a "room move" for us so that our stay would not be disrupted by the room change. I was a little skeptical but it worked out great. On the morning of the move, we packed our stuff, left our keys in the room and departed by 10 am to rent a boat at the marina. When we returned to the check in desk that afternoon, we received keys for our new room and when we arrived all of our stuff had been moved and everything was in order.

The rooms were identical and very large; however, we preferred room 2447A over 2635A because it had two private balconies whereas 2635A had one balcony without the privacy wall so you had full view of your neighbor's balcony. Fortunately, no one was ever on that balcony for our stay in the room, so it worked out okay. Room 2447A was also on the top floor and had a better view of the lake. Room 2635A was on the third floor so there was more noise from upstairs and the view wasn't quite as good. Both rooms were very well furnished and very tasteful. Having a jacuzzi with a separate room with a shower was wonderful! The beds in both rooms were comfortable but we preferred the mattress in room 2635A the best -- not quite as firm.

Other amenties we enjoyed on the property were the pool, hot tub, lazy river and shuffle board. The 9 hole miniature golf course wasn't very well laid out but I'm sure kids enjoyed it. We took advantage of the free movie rental but most are older titles. We also enjoyed the free coffee in the clubhouse every morning. We used the free internet access in the clubhouse and my husband used the gym (however, the elipitical machine was broken). We didn't eat at any of the on site restaurants but visited the Buzzard Bar one evening. I thought it was a bit claustrophobic and the drinks a little pricey. We rented a boat at the marina on two different days and thoroughly enjoyed the lake views and tubing. Their set up is great but the gasoline is very pricey -- $5.15 a gallon. We don't regret the experience, though. The shuttle service throughout the property is great and we never had to wait more than a few minutes for a ride. Most of the amenties are within walking distance.

We visited Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and highly recommend the 2 hour tram ride. Apparently we got lucky and visited during the off season because there were only 2 other people on the tram ride with us, so we got extra special treatment from our very knowledgeable guide. We saw (and fed) rainbow trout, saw beautiful waterfalls, learned about Indian caves, visited the chapel, and crossed over into Arkansas where we saw elk, deer and buffalo. This is a nature lover's paradise. It was a very relaxing experience.

We visited Silver Dollar City and got a great deal on tickets -- 2 days for the price of 1. The first day wasn't crowded and we did not wait in line at all for any ride. We also had some great southern food. We took in the free concert that evening in Echo Hollow and had a good time. The second day was the beginning of their Southern Gospel Picnic and was a little more crowded. We had to wait in line for the water rides but heard some great talent. This was a very clean, wholesome experience and we highly recommend this park for any age.

We did not visit any shows in Branson but went to the historic district of Branson one afternoon. We milled around the old shops and had lunch at a farmhouse restaurant. The food was excellent and it was fun to visit the old 5 and dime. We enjoyed two other restaurants while we were there. Lambert's in Springfield (home of the throwed rolls) and Landry's seafood. Both were great.

We expected to see more mountains since this is called Ozark Mountain country, but we mostly experienced hills. We didn't venture far from Branson or the Big Cedar resort so maybe there are higher peaks elsewhere.

This was our first visit to this part of Missouri. Everyone we met was very friendly and the whole place was clean and wholesome. We had a great vacation and highly recommend Big Cedar Wilderness Club.

  • Liked — Size, view, jacuzzi tub, shuttle service
  • Disliked — Non-private balcony
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank cindyrobinson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, AR
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2008

We just returned from our trip to BCWC. It was our first time staying at Big Cedar. I will certainly stay here again! We had a two bedroom lodge overlooking Table Rock Lake. The views are spectacular! I didn't have any problem w/staff. Quite the opposite in fact! I found the staff to go above and beyond what I have experienced in other resorts. The cookie lady was a huge hit w/my small children! We even rented a boat and played on the lake one of the days we were there. Everyone in our party admitted that not only was the place gorgeous and the staff friendly, but it was the best time that they had all had in quite some time! We will certainly plan another vacation here! It's not too far away from the main hubbub of Branson and we avoided the traffic for the most part. Keep in mind, this is owned by Bass Pro Shops and thus the decor reflects it. If you have ever been in one of the Bass Pro Shop Stores, you understand the rustic lodge and stuffed & mounted animal decor I'm referring to. So if you don't like that look, you probably won't like this resort. My only negative would be that the kitchen in the lodge (bigger side) is a little smaller than I have been in w/other condo resorts. However, we spent very little time in it so it wasn't a big issue. Overall, I think it is a gorgeous resort and my husband and I even bought a timeshare here because we loved it so much!

  • Liked — The setting/views as well as the accessibility to area attractions
  • Disliked — size of the kitchen in the 2 bdrm lodge
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank tokelley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis, MO
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 6, 2008

This place was MUCH more amazing than we expected! We had a studio in Building 2400 and didn't have much of a view, but we liked the room. The only things I'd change would be to get better pillows, add more lighting in the bathroom (it's also very small...just the toilet and tub/shower) and to have the TV on something that you could pull out and turn towards the bed because you can't watch TV from the bed very well. We never heard people talking while we were in the room, but hearing doors close and people walking down the hall were a little annoying.

The grounds were absolutely goregous...I couldn't believe all of the beautiful flowers they had. The indoor decor everywhere is fabulous too so even if you don't use the restaurants or other facilities, you should at least walk thru to check them out. The food prices were reasonable, I thought, for a big resort. Service at Devil's Pool Restuarant and Buzzard Bar was not great, but maybe that's because we were there on Memorial Day weekend and it was busy. They had a HUGE fireworks display on Sunday evening that seemed to last forever. It was a nice surprise.

The newspapers (USA Today) in the morning and the cookies in the evening were a plus. We used the miniature golf (nothing special except for the GIANT fish on hole 9), paddle boats, and the Lazy River. They have free shuttles available, but everything is within walking distance along nice paths.

We loved this place, it's been one of our favorite trips and we will definitely return in the future. I would highly recommend it!

  • Liked — The beautiful resort grounds
  • Disliked — The pillows
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank SaintLouie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrison Arkansas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2008

I stayed one week in a two bedroom lodge in the St. James Lodge in a corner unit. Overall, it was a great experience with just a few complaints. I have to say that I agree that the beds are hard and I couldn't sleep well at all on the king mattress. The jacuzzi tub is very small, but it was very relaxing. One thing I really did like was all of the drawer and closet space! I didn't have to trip over any of my luggage or belongings as I had enough room to put everything away and not have things cluttering up the counters. The fireplace was nice, but did notice that the gas smell lingered after you used it. The views were very nice. I did have some noise with people above us as you could hear every step, but nothing too drastic. I had requested to stay on the top floor when I booked my stay months ago and that request wasn't honored and I wasn't told why, but all in all it was a good experience. I did purchase this vacation as part of the sampler and when I called to reconfirm, I was asked to take another tour, but I had recently lost a family member and told them that I really just wanted to rest with my family and not be bothered and they were good as gold. They had my parking passes and everything ready for when I checked in and they never called or bothered me in any way and just let me have the peace that my family and I needed. The cookies are wonderful and we looked forward to those every night. The washer and dryer worked really well and I used them often. The lodges were well equipped with dishes, etc for our stay. There were 3 tvs and dvd/vhs players in our two bedroom unit, so everyone could watch what they wanted without any trouble. The parking lot can get a little tight as some of the lines are faded and people parked too far over and it can be a tight squeeze sometimes. Also, if you arrive at night, it can be a little hard to read some of the signs as they are not lit very well. I probably won't buy another sampler or stay there again, but not because of the property as it is beautiful, but just because of the expense. It was a nice, one-time getaway with great rooms and a peaceful setting. The Wilderness Club has many amenities that I didn't use that I'm sure are wonderful and I wouldn't have any problem recommending this to someone else.

  • Liked — Very clean and mostly peaceful setting
  • Disliked — just the beds
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank latkinson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Battlefield
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2008

My wife and I stayed at Big Cedar Wilderness Club for our honeymoon and we loved it! The staff left a basket that had chocolates, champagne glasses with a signed card!
We have stayed at BCWC for 5 years now,, and with a little flexibility on weekends have never had a problem getting into any studio or 1 bedroom, we have always had such beautiful rooms! Just try to book a room on the 2nd to 4th floors for a better view of the lake. Peak red season is always tough to book, but sometimes with 3-4 weeks notice, a studio might be left on the bottom floor, but even these rooms are nice!(Request buildings 24,25, 26, 27, or [29-the newest]. Building 23 is still nice, but the oldest).
We always try to bring our boat and have such a great time on Table Rock Lake. It brings much more activities for a relaxing time, and its available right at the resort!
As far as problems go, we have had maintenance fix anything immediately with just a quick phone call to the front desk. Only once had we heard loud children(not after quiet hours) running up and down the hallway, but security took care of it within a short time. Balcony views are awesome, especially the sunsets!
As far as the updates go, just say no. You don't have to go, and don't feel obligated! If you do, then time them for the 45 minutes(thats what they tell you) and take the $100 Bass Bucks, good for anything on the property, including food at the restaurants and gift shops. It is not worth the time taken on a nice day. Our weather was cool and damp, which was perfect for doing nothing, or an update.
The most anticipated thing each day is the cookie lady, who delivers cookies every evening. If you are not there, she puts them in your room on your bed so you don't miss out(she also has hot chocolate packages if you need them!)
I have read reviews talking about the hard beds. My wife & I have stayed in every building on the Wilderness Club side, and have always had an awesome bed(includes studio, and 1 bedrooms). They are huge king beds and are so comfortable!
As I have written earlier, I have a set number of points that I try to spread out throughout the year. We stay in a studio throughout the warmer weather months because we are not in the room much, only to sleep. The 1 bedroom is best booked when the cooler weather comes, because of the fireplace and jacuzzi(don't need them when its 90 degrees outside!).*Little known plus, even though the studio rooms have a small refrigerator and have very small ice trays, you can go to the Brushy Creek Club house and ask for a complimentary bag of ice each day for free!*
After school starts in the fall is a great time to book, plus all the tree colors around Branson and the lake.
If the restaurants are too pricey for some(they have come down on prices, and have slightly smaller portions), just ask the staff where a good place to eat off property is. A convenience store just a few minutes away has a vendor who smokes some of the best awesome ribs around!
I like to run, especially on trails. The resort has several paved trails, but some of the best challenging walking/running trails start near the horse stable (Be ready to walk in a few places-rocky, even for seasoned marathon runners). They are varing distances, and all loop into each other.
Big Cedar is a beautiful place, at any time of year. We highly recommend it to anyone.

  • Liked — Always very friendly & helpful staff at check in/out, rooms very clean, very good restaurants on property.
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank PandraMartin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Overland Park, KS
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 9, 2007

Loved the lodge. We have a 4 and 5 year old and they rode horses and swam in all the pools. You must visit a nearby park called Dogwood Canyon--it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. We will deffinately be back next summer.

ONLY complaint--the beds are hard as rocks--next time I'm bringing some kind of foam or something. It was not a great nights sleep.

  • Liked — Awesome activities, fun for the kids, gorgeous setting
  • Disliked — the rock hard beds
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank spectacularone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Wilderness Club at Big Cedar

Property: The Wilderness Club at Big Cedar
Address: 1285 Estate Dr, Ridgedale, MO 65739-4311
Location: United States > Missouri > Ridgedale
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Ridgedale
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Wilderness Club at Big Cedar 3*
Number of rooms: 129
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Also Known As:
Big Cedar Wilderness Club Hotel Ridgedale
Big Cedar Wilderness Hotel
Big Cedar Wilderness Ridgedale
Big Cedar Wilderness Club Ridgedale

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