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“Could not recommend”

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Stout's Island Lodge
Ranked #1 of 3 Birchwood B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 24, 2012

The boat house is "rustic" and ready to collapse into the water. I thought it was an oversight that we were not given a key to our cabin (Harry's lower level). I went to the office to get the key and was told there are no keys and that this is the Island of Happy Days and nothing bad has ever happened here. I said what about my purse?. I don't want to carry it everywhere and don't want somebody to steal it. I was told to hide it under the bed. I feel this is a very bad policy. It should be my right to have a key once I pay for the room and my choice to lock the door or leave it open. It is incomprehensible to not care about the guest's property or safety. Anybody could get in your cabin and steal stuff or worse. Our one and only meal that we ate there (braised beef) was burnt and dry. It looked and tasted like leftovers. The salad consisted of spring greens with no additional veggie, croutons, cheese, etc. It was just like they shook it out of a bag and didn't even bother to pick out the bad leaves. This place could star in an episode of Chef Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Perhaps they need somebody like him to straighten this place out. There were three water bicycles when we were there at the end of June. Only one was usable. One of the other two had no handle bar to hold on to and the other one's seat was loose and rocked too forward or backward. Our cabin had burnt out light bulbs that should have been replaced. The office was notified and nobody replaced them during our stay. The white chairs have green mold/moss growing on them and coming through the wood slats. What would it take to clean them? The tennis court is a disaster. I call this poor maintenance and not "rustic." On a positive note I liked the decor. We gave ourselves a tour of the unoccupied rooms and cabins since there are no locks. We actually thought of "upgrading" our room ourselves on our last night and thought nobody would know because there isn't any staff around and nothing is locked. I kind of wish we would have done it and let them wonder who used the room. Upon returning home everybody that I told about the "no key" policy was dumbfounded. I could never recommend this place because of safety issues and the lack of caring one iota about them from the establishment.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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14  Thank wispyspirit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 18, 2012

My wife and I are looking to reserve a room here this September, perhaps our 6th time in last 10 years. The combination of peace and quiet plus the delicious food can not be beat. Leave the cell phones, laptops, and electronics at home and instead bring a book or three that you've been meaning to read. We've stayed in the main lodge, Allison's cabin and several of the more modern 4 units. They all are great, with different advantages. A great place to fish, kayak or canoe , plus so much more. Our kids have been asking us to bring them here, but we have not yet - it is still our own special place for the two of us. Many of our vacations are chock-ful of activities and timetables, especially when we travel to someplace new. Stouts Lodge however is the perfect antidote for times when we are feeling frazzled.

Room Tip: they are all good - go back again and again to try different rooms and cabins.
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank M B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2012

We selected Stout's Island Lodge as the main lodging for our close family and friends for our wedding weekend and are extremely happy that we did! We were not married on the island (our ceremony and reception took place at The Enchanted Barn, which is about 45 minutes from the island), although I know that they do host weddings on the island. It was the perfect space for all of us to gather and the variety of accommodations worked well so that groups of friends could stay in cabins together.

Everyone commented on the beautiful grounds and the variety of things to do while on the island - croquet, canoeing, swimming, tennis, hiking and just lounging around! We also enjoyed s'mores around the fire in the evenings (they sell small bags of s'more fixings in the main office), providing a perfect end to each great day.

The Gardener House was perfect for larger gatherings with a kitchen and a nice screened in porch and picnic table on the grass out front. This is a great place for a larger group or family to stay as it has several rooms, a decent kitchen and is close to the main lodge, but feels private.

The rooms in the Shore Lodge have gorgeous views of Red Cedar Lake and are very spacious. The beds are very comfortable and the sitting areas by the main windows are perfect for relaxing. In a desk in one of the rooms my friend found a tin with pastels and a sketch pad, which was a nice element as the view does inspire the inner artist! My bridesmaids and I gathered in one of the Shore Lodge rooms for hair and makeup and it was wonderful sitting in front of the windows looking at the lake while getting our hair done. The bathrooms in the Shore Lodge rooms are wonderful, with large bathtubs and a separate shower. There was also a great assortment of books in the Shore Lodge rooms and in many of the rooms in the main lodge.

The bar and lounge area in the main lodge has tons of great games and the perfect Northwoods ambiance. If you're looking for the quintessential Northwoods experience - this place is it! If you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation with a larger group, Stout's Island really has what you need. I do recommend that if you're planning an event there that you go visit and take a tour of the grounds and the rooms. We were able to hand select each room and cabin based on our friends and we could also determine what spaces would be best for those of our family and friends who had difficulty walking (they provide golf cart service from the boathouse to your rooms and will handle your bags for you, which was especially great for my grandparents and when we arrived with our wedding crowd with our loads of bags)!

The staff at the boathouse was wonderful and willing to help out in any way they could. They would get 10 stars if the tripadvisor rating went that high! They were always very calm and positive and helpful, which was a great thing for us on our wedding weekend! The trip from the landing to the island just takes 10 minutes and was amazing in the evening. As the boat approached the island it was sparkling with the glow of lights.

We did have some issues with details related to reservations and it did not always appear that the staff in the office communicated with each other. This is the main reason we rated the service average. Some of our guests were told they did not have room reservations when they called to leave their credit card info to book their rooms, when in fact we provided a spreadsheet with information to the staff on several occasions. We let the management know about our issues and they were very apologetic. We had several special needs that they were willing to accommodate, although sometimes we had to come up with solutions for certain things that we felt they should have been able to work through.

The Gardener House was being reroofed and most unfortunately the roof leaked over one of the beds in the house and when our guests staying in that room returned from the wedding their bed was soaked. When I reported this to the main office they apologized, but did not immediately offer a discount, which I thought should have been offered. We asked them to give a discount to guests staying in that room, but we are not yet certain if a discount has been provided.


The food was good and the buffet-style continental breakfast had a nice assortment of cereals, yogurts and breads. The lunch menu was small but nice. The wait staff seemed a bit inexperienced and given the quality of everything else on the island this stood out a bit more than it might have if the rest of our experiences hadn't been so good! We had the island cater a BBQ dinner for us and reserved the Ice House on the island for the BBQ. The food was fine and the service for the dinner that night was great. We really appreciated the chef's help with the A/V equipment! We did not dine in the main lodge for dinner, so I cannot comment on the dinner menu.

If you have questions about our stay, please don't hesitate to ask. I use reviews on tripadvisor regularly to help plan trips and the reviews have always been helpful to me.

Room Tip: Rooms in the Shore Lodge are very private and the bathrooms are excellent. If you're looking for...
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Reganhr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2012

Accomodations are great. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Perfect spot for our family reunion we have had our group of 30 or so there every year for 15 years. While you are there be sure to hike the whole little island (this will take just about 40 minutes!) and go around the island by waterbike or kayak or both. The swim dock is awesome- the water is so clean that is smells like fresh clean laundry. Happy hour on the front lawn with a game of croquet also highly reommended. The complimentary breakfast is really nice served in their beautiful dining room with views of the lake on both sides of the room. Their restaurant is great forlunch and dinner- just reserve ahead. If you have a ski boat- you can bring it- the lake is awesome and not very crowded, just ask the staff ahead about room to dock and they will accomodate that. At the end of the day, your whole groupcan relax in the great room with a glass of wine, chatting, board games and a nice fire if weather dictates or you can enjoy the outdoor campfire with smores! Have fun!

Room Tip: If you want to host your whole family gathering for a meal, Katherines 29 F has a very room kitchen...
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank chrysa63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2012

We spent a weekend June at Stout's Island lodge. The staff was great - from the moment you boarded the ferry, you got the impression that they were here to make you happy. While on the ferry, the staff checked everyone in (no keys, but the island doesn't have a problem with theft) and when docked, told everyone to leave their bags as they would deliver them to the room. The ferry driver then took the group around and dropped everyone off at their rooms. Bags were dropped off within 5 minutes (with everything intact). We were in Gardener's House room 20 - great room! It has a spacious bathroom, bedroom and a kitchenette. We were able to make dinner ourselves Friday night, which was relaxing. The kitchen has an oven, stove, coffee maker, fridge, microwave, dishwasher and pots/pans/dishes/silverware/glasses.
The restaurant on the island is amazing. You do have to make reservations and do so for both lunch and dinner. The wait time is a bit long as there is only one chef, but the food is worth it. We had lunch and dinner there on Saturday and everything was perfect. Well worth the time and money spent. The breakfast is a basic continental style, so don't expect omelettes and fancy things. It's enough to fill you up until lunch.
Activities - there are so many things to do! You don't have to check anything out, and there is no time limit - it's first come first serve. From hiking to kayaking to canoeing to fishing to swimming, there is so much to keep you busy if you want. There is a clay tennis court as well. The best thing to us were the hydro bikes - it was fun to pedal our way around the entire island! The entire island is beautiful and so scenic.
There is a bar in the lodge and the prices are the same as a majority of on-shore bars. Great selection of beer and wine available, as well as classic cocktail options. There is also a game room, which is where the bar is located.
The wooden boats in the boat house are HEAVY, but are amazing once in the water. That was probably a highlight of our trip. Also, there are chairs and benches at the edge of the boat house - that is a perfect place to watch the sunset. We were surprised more people weren't out there at that time.
All in all, we would go back in a heartbeat and are trying to make it happen for the fall time!

Room Tip: If you want to make your own food, check out Gardener's House room 20. It helps keep the cost do...
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank luv2travel8814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2012

I purchased the internet Crowd Cut coupon for a 3 day/week day stay in June 2012. We loved it! I was not ready to leave. You go back in time when life was relaxing and peaceful. Listen to the loons call at night while sitting around the campfire. (even had a racoon join us one night) Watch the stars and satellites and jets pass over head in the night sky. We stayed in the Shore Lodge and our room faced the south side of the island. Loved watching the rain storm come in. We used the canoe (first time I have done that in 30 yrs!). There is fishing galore if you like that. Walked the small island across the bridge and enjoyed the flowers and plants. Not too many staff - although we counted 12 when we were there during the week. Plenty to meet your needs and very very friendly and talkative. The WI people love to talk about the area. Meals were pricey but consider that EVERYTHING is brought over by boat. Brings snacks and drinks with you-although you come by boat so consider you have to carry it. The Shore Lodge is newly remodeled. Didn't miss tv and internet does work on your phone if you need it. We missed all the day lilies opening by a few days so I'm sure it is lovely. The gardener comes twice a week and everything is beautiful. Fresh flowers on the tables. Love the oldness of the main lodge. Some things need repair, like the old boat house, but I think it adds character. I don't think really enough to keep kids entertained, but great for adults or wedding parties. Enjoy the photos and please give it a try. Hope to go back some day soon.

Room Tip: Each building has it's own unique quality. We stayed at newly remodeled Shore Lodge. Very clean...
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank blondie5355
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2012

What a great discovery Stout's Island Lodge was for us. Beautiful, quiet setting, with friendly and helpful staff and lots of historic character. We stayed in Room 6 in the main lodge on a hot June weekend and were very pleased. The room has a private screened porch with a nice northwest view of the lake, as well as afternoon sun and evening breezes, and the room was very comfortable. A lot of our fellow travelers had children in tow, but there's plenty of space and the grounds are peaceful and everyone seemed to get along fine. There are lots of things to do on the island, and we never felt compelled to take the ferry back to shore. We were content to read in the sun on the dock and take a swim when it got too hot, but we also paddled a beautiful wooden canoe, and a kayak, and rode the Hydro-Bikes. We're enthusiastic cooks and diners, and the on-site restaurant was terrific. We enjoyed whole roasted trout, grilled bison strip loin and grilled pork chop with outstanding accompaniments. It's not inexpensive, but the chef really knows what he's doing, If your priority is feeding a family cheaply, though, you might want to choose from among some nearby options onshore. A really nice getaway less than three hours from Minneapolis.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Flybynight68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Stout's Island Lodge

Address: 2799 27th Street, Birchwood, WI 54817-9242
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Birchwood
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Birchwood
Price Range: $149 - $319 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 43
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stout’s Island Lodge sits proudly in the center of Red Cedar Lake – an 1800-acre lake in northeastern Barron County, Wisconsin. There are two island connected by a 100 ft. walking bridge (given to Frank Stout by Andrew Carneige). The two islands have a combined acreage of 18 acres. All lodging is located on the western of the two islands; the East Island has walking trails as well as a small picnic cabin on the northern tip. Red Cedar Lake is known for its water quality, its fishery and for its relative quietude. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Stout`s Island Hotel Mikana
Stout Island

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