Just because things aren't perfect by traditional societal standards doesn't mean that they aren't gosh darned close. Onwards!
Location: 4 out of 5
Not in downtown Rapid City, but still closer to RC than Keystone. Once you pass the main strip, you drive till you see the water tower. If you are driving from Rapid City, the water tower will be on your left. Turn right when you see Calvary Baptist Church. It's a little service road, and turn right again after you get on the road (two quick turns). Backtrack just a little bit on the service road, and you'll find the lodge.
Customer Service: 5 out of 5
They absolutely shine. The 'new' proprietors are absolutely excellent, and the people they have chosen to help them run this local gem are equally as competent, friendly, and professional. The reservations process was seamless, and although you can't make a reservation online, there's something to be said about a local business owner who takes your calls and speaks to you in a mild-manner, casual, and completely calming manner. I arrived and my hand-written reservation slip was ready to go. I was able to check in a bit early as my room was ready. Alicia was there to give me a map right away, and highlight some of the sights. Interestingly, she outlined the Central Hills Loop motorcycle road (which I was going to do anyway). She literally dropped whatever she was doing and talked to me for about 5 - 10 minutes about my travels. Meanwhile, I didn't realize it - but I had seen Jay already coming towards the lodge. I thought he was just a local walking his two dogs, but when I saw him later in the picnic area of the lodge, I realized that was the man I had spoken to about the reservations. They have two dogs: an older retriever named Scooter and a smaller dog named Gracie. Gracie is nuts, you should see her "puppy" sprints. Jay also spent many minutes speaking with me about my travels, and about where I was from, where I was going, if I enjoyed my time here, etc. Truly - Jay and Alicia are two of the warmest-hearted people I've met.
Amenities of room: 3.75 out of 5
I was Room #107, a one bed room. Everything was quite satisfactory. The towels weren't of the finest Egyptian cotton, but they were comfortable and adequately sized. They even provided a separate dyed towel to wipe off things that may stain. The room was small(ish), yes - but it was perfectly adequate and it had a little mini fridge and microwave in it. Contrary to what others have said, I found the beds to be quite comfortable. The bathroom, although older was very well maintained, and the room was very pleasant. The TV doesn't have many channels, but that's ok - you're there to take in the sights of the area, not watch TV. There is no telephone (who are you going to call locally when you have a cell?), and the toiletries are non-boutique but more than adequate. The only "complaint" I would have is that if you have a room that gets afternoon soon (overlooks the picnic area), the air conditioning unit may not be able to keep up with the heat that gathers in the room. Even set at the coolest setting, the AC still stopped intermittently. I mean - it wasn't terrible, but just something to think about if you really can't stand the heat.
Cleanliness of Public areas and Room: 5 out of 5
Absolutely gorgeous grounds. The picnic area was nicely maintained, my room was very well-kept, and the office area was clean as well. I took a peak at the breakfast area, and although small by traditional standards, it looked to serve its purpose just fine. I don't eat breakfast, so I can't speak to the quality of the food.
Price: 3 out of 5
D'oh...perhaps the low point of my trip, but given the fact that I stayed on two consecutive evenings on June 17 and 18 of 2011, I can't really complain. The discounted rate for my type of room (one bed) was 69$, and with tax, it came out to be right around 150 for both evenings. I think this is commensurate with other inns and motels in the area, and probably a bit cheaper too than some of the chains. Considering that K Bar S Lodge was 143 per evening, I think I got a pretty good deal. And yes - of course K Bar S would be a different experience altogether, but given then limited amount of time I spent in the room, I think I fared well. I mean - 69$ isn't exorbitant by any means, but it may be a little higher than what I would have paid if I had to guess at how much a room would cost (53.99). But again, when you think about what you get in terms of customer service, it's not that bad.
Scenery and Ambiance: 4 out of 5
I had one of the rooms that gathered heat in the afternoons. It overlooked the picnic area. I did not mind, as I got to see Gracie and Scooter run around and play sometimes. I did not walk around the building to the hot tub to check out the Rapid City view - once you see the Badlands, a cityscape isn't that intriguing.
Overall: 4 out of 5. Highly Recommended!
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- Also Known As:
- Big Sky Hotel Rapid City
- Big Sky Motel