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“Poor service”
Review of Bear Creek Lodge

Bear Creek Lodge
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Bear Creek Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Mead
Reviewed January 6, 2013

I had two very negative experiences with the owner, Sam. When I called to cancel a reservation over the holidays, he was surely and rude. Later, he charged me for the entire amount of the room, even though he had enough time to rent the room to someone else, and didn't have the curtesy to tell me. I understand the cancelation policy, but found his manner entirely self-interest and uncompromising.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Service
9  Thank Jedediah F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SGD2, General Manager at Bear Creek Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2013

This customer tried to cancel a reservation between Christmas and New Year's on two days notice. The lodge cancellation policy, clearly stated on our website - and reiterated while the reservation was made via telephone - indicates a 45 day notice is required. We informed him that we would try to "re-rent" the two room family unit, but that it was doubtful it could be filled on such short notice. The lodge offered to rebook the room within a three month period as per terms of his reservation, but he declined to accept the offer. Next, the lodge offered to settle the reservation with a one time cancellation fee of $75, two days in advance of his reservation. Again he declined the offer. When the guest never checked in on the day of his reservation, his credit card was charged as a "Did Not Show" when the customer failed to honor the booking. The quality, facilities, and service ratings in this review are bogus as this gentleman never visited or stayed at our facility, and therefore is not in a position to offer an opinion of Bear Creek Lodge.

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Reviews (27)
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25 - 27 of 27 reviews

Reviewed August 20, 2011

I just got Married at Bear Creek Lodge(August 2011) and I must say it was a WONDERFUL experience.

(*Disclaimer* I did see the previous review before writing my own and so I admit I touch on the things she complained about- no disrespect but I just want to show its all in how you look at it/what you expect and every experience is different).

I too did the whole family weekend rent out which not only includes rooms but dinner Friday (if you do your rehearsal there), & breakfast Sat and Sun for 25 guests (and you can pay for more). You are told up front about the 18% gratuity and tax. I just went with what they had on tap so I cannot account for the corkage fees, but what they have on tap (mainly beer) is a HUGE selection and when they found out the drink I was enjoying was running low, they saved it all for me! haha so sweet!

I will admit that trying to determine who goes in what room and who shares with who is difficult (which is why the lodge asks you to take care of it-very reasonable). I made sure to visit the lodge and see all the rooms before planning which helped because I could clearly warn family and friends what they were getting into. I agree though the joint bathroom situation was a downfall but I just put family members in those two rooms (their website does describe them as "Family Suites"). So that was a hiccup for the moment but definitely not a show stopper.

From the moment my family started arriving Friday night till we left Sunday morning it was quite fun! I tried to run rehearsal on my own but Sam saw I was struggling and stepped in to run it much more smoothly. He has done a lot of weddings at the lodge and has a pretty good idea what works and what doesn't. But if you firmly say "no I want this", he kindly obliges. I would also like to point out that Sam does a lot of the preparation work and then lets his staff (a couple of LOVELY ladies and his son (the cook! w/Karen) take care of the actual wedding. He makes sure it takes off but then leaves it in his very capable staff's hands. I know he did get a little gruff(more like a husband responding to his wife's nagging with a "Yes Dear" that sounds nice but you can tell he's annoyed! NEVER ANGRY/ MEAN) because family and bridesmaids would not stop bothering him about details but I think who wouldn't when you have 4 different women asking the same question every 5 mins (love you girls for being such sticklers though! lol) but no one said it bothered them, if anything it reminded them that yes he knows and provided comfort in their concerns.

Back to the staff... The food they prepared was delicious and definitely the number one thing my guests loved! I really appreciated that the Bartender and the day of coordinator not only served drinks, chatted up the guests and answered questions but they cleaned! and took down outside decor and inside decor FOR US! WE ALL GOT TO GO RIGHT TO BED! Who else does that? They neatly arranged everything on tables so that the next day all we had to do was load up the car and go! They really were such a friendly bunch of people and lots of guests commented on how they liked that by the end of the night they (staff) too felt like part of the family, celebrating our wedding! The service was great. Despite preparing for the large 80 ppl dinner for the day of the wedding, the kitchen took orders and cooked lunch for everyone at the lodge(in a timely manner too).

The atmosphere/decor and overall aesthetics was the next high rating from myself and guests! The lodge is so woodsy, earthy and warm, everyone felt right at home and a lot of my guests enjoyed being able to go hiking before the wedding on Saturday. The rooms are small and quaint and only 1 person was sad about having no tv in their rooms but to me that was the point, lets get away from technology (there is no cell service-only wifi at the lodge because its in the mountains) and enjoy family with face to face conversations!

Honestly, the lodge is what you make it. Sam & Karen have done a lot with the place just in the year I worked with them. They make excellent food (especially the ribs! I had RIBS at my wedding in a white dress! Go ME!) and do try to accommodate you in anyway possible but they also know how to step back and let things run on whatever course that may be. I really appreciated the lodge and everything it had to offer/did for me! Thanks!

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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank mabie52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2011

I got married at Bear Creek this year (2011). Originally, I planned on writing a scathing review because of the hell I had been through dealing with the owners. However, there were changes on the weekend of the wedding that allowed for my opinion to change slightly. Here's the lowdown: I planned my wedding for one year prior to the date. My husband and I signed with Bear Creek after we were offered a family-reunion style wedding from Friday through Sunday that included 15 rooms, catering,and a ceremony and reception venue for $7500. Over the course of the next year I often felt like a huge annoyance because I sent so many e-mails to Sam (the owner) with questions about the venue to help me plan my wedding. Sam answered almost all of them in a very timely manner, however, a few times I was offended by the rude responses (he later said he was joking). Unfortunately, the problems started when I began setting up my family in the "15" rooms at the lodge that I was promised. It wasn't until a separate visit to Bear Creek that my mother noticed that a handful of rooms were connected by an open doorway and shared one bathroom. I almost lost some family members that were not comfortable with this arrangement. I was able to work it out myself but was very angry for the extra confusion. The next problems occurred when we realized that our overall cost was going to be a far cry from the $7500 we were expecting. It did say in our contract that there would be an 18% gratuity added but I hate to say that we assumed that would be within reason. The costs started really climbing when we began adding the 18% to the lodging (there is no turn down service), to the cost of holding our event at the venue, and each and every possible item we had to pay for. The best example I can give is the gratuity on corking fees. There is a $12 corking fee charged to every 750mL of wine that we brought in ourselves. I purchased 3 boxes of wine at WinCo for a total of $31. When you calculate the corkage fee and gratuity for those boxes it came to almost $300! That is an exorbitant amount for that amount of alcohol. The gratuity is also applied to any and all alcohol purchased from Bear Creek. It also became necessary to tell our guests to bring cash if they wanted to purchase anything other than what my husband and I had pre-bought for the reception because, if anyone chose to open a tab or use a credit card, an automatic 18% would be added to their cost as well.
My husband, maid of honor, and myself had a final meeting with Sam and his wife, Karen, a few days before the wedding to make final payments and make sure all the details were in place. At this meeting Sam told me that he had been reading my wedding blog (to be fair, it is a free internet). They tried backtracking about the problems I had faced with the connected rooms by telling me that their website clearly states which rooms are adjoined. I will swear on everything that, at the time I was planning the room set-up, the website said nothing of the sort. The good thing to come out of this is that Sam and Karen have changed their website so there is no further confusion.
At the same meeting Sam brought up some poor reviews that had been posted online about Bear Creek. Without being completely blunt, he blamed me and/or my maid of honor for writing the reviews which we had not done. He claimed that one of the reviews specifically mentioned the date of my rehearsal dinner. Later that evening, either he or his wife forwarded all the reviews to me in my e-mail. I don't know why they sent them to me but I did read them and I realized that none of them had reference to my wedding weekend. I felt extremely angered and stressed just days before my wedding. I had been lied to and was being forced to deal with their issues that had nothing to do with me. At this point, I gave up all communication with either of them and turned it all over to my father who was just getting into town for the wedding.
Now that most of the bad review is out I can explain why I have raised my review from 1 star to 3. My wedding weekend was completely perfect! I'm sure it was obvious to Sam and Karen that both my husband and I were very unhappy and that must have convinced them to try extra hard to please us for the weekend. Their efforts were obvious. The location looked wonderful and Sam was great to all my guests (I had read other reviews claiming that he can be kind of rude or short if people get in his way). The kicker came on Sunday as we were packing up to go. I had forgotten to leave my card with Sam to cover all the corkage fees as well as anything we would be charged for going a few people over on our rehearsal dinner or farewell breakfast. I told my mother that I was going to take care of it but she reminded me that my father was going to handle all the business dealings with Sam. When my dad came back from their conversation he told me that Sam had just said not to worry about it; that we were square payment-wise. It honestly saved me hundreds of dollars. I don't know if he did it because he was just relieved that the whole ordeal was over or because he was still putting in all that effort to make up for the past year. Either way, it was much appreciated. However, I wouldn't expect that regularly which is why I feel people need to be aware of the over-zealous 18% gratuity.
So, overall, it was worth it to me to have 1 year of hell in order to have the perfect wedding weekend. Would I recommend getting married at Bear Creek Lodge? No. I would recommend Belle Victorian Gardens. The nights I cried because I was having such a horrible time with Bear Creek I was wishing we had chosen Belle Gardens. It is an incredible place but, more important, Pam (the owner) is one of the best people I have ever met. I promise I don't know her outside of planning my wedding and I'm not advertising her for any reason other than that she was amazing even after I told her we had chosen a different venue. She always remembered me and was incredibly supportive.

Room Tip: Make sure you know which rooms are connected to another room by a doorway. These rooms share one bat...
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank sarebare68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bear Creek Lodge

Address: 24817 N Mt Spokane Park Dr, Mead, WA 99021-9740
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Washington > Mead
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Mead
Price Range: $85 - $87 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bear Creek Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bear Creek Lodge is a year around resort conveniently located adjacent to Mt. Spokane State Park, approximately 40 minutes from downtown Spokane. We specialize in weddings, receptions, family reunions, private parties, and corporate retreats. Summer activities include hiking, mountain biking, animal watching and huckleberry picking. Winter activities include snowtubing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing, as well as alpine and nordic skiing (nearby). ... more   less 
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