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Reviewed October 9, 2018

When you want to get away from it all you should head for the hills.
But the Peaks of Otter Lodge is a strange mix. There is no cellular phone service so you will not be able to check in with family and friends. That in itself is not so bad and the marketing hype spells it out - the lodge is away from the cell phone world to promote the woodsy calmness of the blue ridge mountains.

There is internet service, but it's impossible to access - zero bandwidth. So there goes your second layer of connection to the outside world. You can't check your email or in my case you can't let ANYONE know you are OK. Normal, day to day activities like checking the weather or estimating the mileage to your next destination are impossible.

And there is NO PHONES in the rooms - no landline, your only alternative is to walk to the breezeway or the lodge lobby and use a guest phone. Which I did, but I had to wait fifteen minutes to get my turn at the phone.

This lodge is a popular destination for seniors. It right off the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway so you get the mountain setting without the hike. As a healthy and active older person I was shocked to realize that if I had an emergency in my room I had no way to ask for help without crawling down the stairs and down the breezeway to the phone.

OK... the view was nice and the room was clean but outdated and greatly in need of renovation. But the food at the lodge restaurant was terrible and there are NO choices unless you want to head out for a Lon long drive tot he next town over.

I think it's a pathetically average place to stay, but if you consider the safety concerns with no way to communicate it's a sketchy overnight. I climbed Mt. Whitney - the highest point in continental USA and I had cell service most of the time. I traveled in Kenya and there was a phone next to my bed most of the time. And I own and carry an emergency satellite beacon... which would have been the ONLY way to summon help if I was faced with an emergency (and yes I would need a clear view of the sky).

All in all this place could be so much more, but it's beat up and poorly maintained. And with no phones (wired or wireless) and no internet (wired or wireless) you might just be on your own...

Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank solohvs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amather2016, General Manager at Peaks of Otter Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2018

Solohvs, I do appreciate your honesty in this review and it certainly is something that we are working on.

Cell service is something that we have checked into but the cost is very prohibitive.

The wifi is a long story in and of itself with some potential resolutions hopefully in the near future, it is our biggest complaint, so I know your pain.

Phones in the rooms is something we are looking at as well or at least a more accessible way to contact the front desk.

As far as the rooms, they were renovated in '16, and the bathrooms have been done in building #2 with #1 and #3 to be done this winter. This property is owned by the NPS and we are only allowed to do certain things and that is with a lot of red tape. We must keep the historic fabric of the property, therefore the older style room, we have done all we are allowed to do.

I do apologize that we did not meet your expectations. We do take every review in consideration. Thank you.

Andrew

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Reviewed October 8, 2018 via mobile

Want a beautiful view? Want a quiet romantic place to reconnect with a love one? Want to go hiking? This is the place for you. The lodge is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway. We didn’t stay at the lodge but we did dine in the restaurant. They have a soup and salad bar, burgers, sweet potato fries, shrimp and crab salad with fruit and avocados (which I highly recommend). Chicken and cat fish. The full menu can be viewed on line. There are lounges with fireplaces and private rooms for meetings and reception.

Date of stay: October 2018
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank 128Dawn55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amather2016, General Manager at Peaks of Otter Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2018

Dawn, thank you for visiting Peaks, we so appreciate you choosing to come here. Thank you for the review and we welcome you back.

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Reviewed September 30, 2018

Four stars means the stay made us happy and we would return. Peaks was built in the 60's it appeared, with all of the 60's amenities which were expected- none. There was an open slot in the bathroom wall. For those not old enough, it was there so you could safely dispose of razor blades. It was still there. The best part of the room was the balcony overlooking the lake. It was very pleasant for after dinner wine and morning coffee.

The restaurant was more than adequate for both dinner and breakfast. The desk staff, Hannah, I think, was the most pleasant part of the stay in this Delaware North managed facility. She was welcoming, helpful and memorable. I'm not sure how these publicly owned and privately managed facilities are upgraded but I hope they figure it out soon.

Date of stay: September 2018
Thank RockyBuffalo_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amather2016, General Manager at Peaks of Otter Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2018

Rocky, thanks for coming to Peaks and for the review. Just as an explanation on the rooms. These rooms have been updated as far as we can go. I am not sure what building you stayed in but only 1 of them has had the bathrooms remodeled, the other 2 will be done this winter.
It is a process with the NPS as far as getting anything done being that the building is historic.
In 2016 we redid the bedroom part of the rooms with new carpet, paint and fixtures and that is all they will allow us to do. We have to be aware of the "Historic Fabric" of the property, therefore the keeping of the blue tile and razor slot in the bathroom, the block wall, the outdated table, dresser and side tables.
So glad Hannah did a great job for you, she is a nice friendly young lady.
Do come back and see us.
Regards,
Andrew

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Reviewed September 29, 2018

Before I tell you the ugly truth I want you to know that the local people who work at Peaks of Otter are kind, helpful, and truly eager to please. You also need to know that you are surrounded by natural beauty every month of the year.
Now...most of us have known and enjoyed Peaks of Otter Lodge as a very rustic, cinder block wall, bare bones accommodation. Fine. That was the deal, straight up. My husband and I had stopped staying there because things were run down, the food was terrible, and we could schedule the location as a "leg stretch" on car trips rather than an overnight. Then came the "grand renovation". Oh, my!
My husband opted for Peaks of Otter Lodge for his birthday weekend in September of 2018. I made reservations, SO excited to experience the "completely renovated rooms and lodge". We checked in and I mentioned our anticipation of the reveal. The sweet young lady looked at us and said she was sorry, we not in the wing with the complete renovation. What? But, but, didn't the website tout a COMPLETE renovation? I suggested we leave, my husband wanted to stay.
In order to get a king size bed, we had to take a Pet Friendly room.( no pets were with us). Upon entering our room we noticed new paint, new flooring, and a new chair. Yay! Then...the bedspread was COVERED in pet hair. I found housekeeping and they were very nice and apologetic quickly bringing a new spread- a new one had not been put on during room turn-over. Once the dust settled (or should I say pet hair?) we could see how big the lies were: our room was NOT completely remodeled, the 1980s vinyl floor in the bathroom was curling around the edges to reveal the original tile floor. The sink and toilet straight from the 1960's.The screened vents above the bedroom air conditioner were still the open style of the original 1960's construction, baseboard heaters were covered with rust, wiring and outlets had been strung out to accommodate 2018 electronics with several power strips in odd places.The "remodeled" room was simply lipstick on a pig.
Now, to the lodge dining room which has some nice new décor. Our server had 5 tables, mostly 2-tops. It took us 2 and a half hours to eat a simple dinner. We had to seek help from other dining room staff 5 times to get what we needed. The food was comparable to college dining hall food.
We can only conclude that perhaps wolves in sheep's clothing have bought the place and brought lies, a deceitful website, and slick marketing to a humble little stop over. Sad. Disappointing. Never going back. Dread to see what Delaware North ownership does to Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park.

Room tip: Did not appear to very handicapped friendly. We did not need those services but it would be more challenging than a hotel/motel chain.
Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank snowqueen55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amather2016, General Manager at Peaks of Otter Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2018

Snow Queen, I do appreciate your comments and want to share some info with you that might give you a better idea of what we have here. First I apologize for any misleading that was made and for the negative experience that you had.

This property is owned by the National Park System, as I am sure you are aware. These buildings are historic and therefore cannot be changed from the "Historic Fabric" of the '60's. They have to approve everything that we do.

DN spent $750k redoing the the rooms in '16, as much as we were able to, flooring, paint, fixtures, blinds, sheet rock on the headboard wall to help with the lack of sound proofing. All else had to stay the same, the heaters, dresser, table, side tables, closet etc.

The bathrooms are a different story. We redid building 2 in 2017 but we were not allowed to continue in 2018 due to some approval issues. We have finally gotten that approval and will be doing the other bathrooms this winter along with the approval to change out the heaters. Now when I say redoing the bathrooms, let me clarify, we lay new tile, new green toilet, vanity and sink, light, paint, shower head and extend arm, grab bar and amenity shelf along with paint and that will be it, again, this is all we are allowed to do.

As you can imagine with the govt, these things take a huge amount of time and red tape.

I do apologize for the dog hair issue, my staff are supposed to change those out after each stay.

I know this does not help your stay that you had and I do apologize that we did not meet your expectations.

Regards,
Andrew

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Reviewed September 16, 2018 via mobile

Had the pleasure to stay at the Peaks of Otter in August as part of our family road trip.

We arrived in time for dinner which was not disappointing. The food was excellent so unsure why there are negative reviews but, each to their own.

The hosts were excellent and showed the level of kindness to all.

Our waitress was great and couldn’t do enough for us as did the waiter during breakfast.

The rooms were big enough for our family of five.

Lovely walks around the lake.

All areas clean and well kept. Certainly would stay here again.

Thanks to all the staff at Peaks of Otter for making our stay with you pleasant ran enjoyable.

Date of stay: August 2018
Trip type: Traveled with family
1  Thank 511douglasd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amather2016, General Manager at Peaks of Otter Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded September 25, 2018

Doug, thank you for stopping at the Peaks. We do appreciate your review and I feel we have some great staff here who do a great job as well. Please come again.
Regards,
Andrew

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