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Canoe Bay
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Reviews (258)
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Reviewed March 23, 2010

I am not certain what it is I am missing about this resort but since returning I have struggled with the excellent reviews it receives. The food was some of the worst I have ever had. Between my husband and myself we sent our tenderloin back three times and finally gave up. He ate his raw, I used the microwave in the room. The next evening another totally uneventful meal. Be prepared for one and only one choice for dinner. The second night was room service so we did get to eat later than 7:15. Room service is delivered once the main dining room is taken care of. The only reason I can think that they put a price of $75.00 on the meal is to collect the mandatory 20% tip. Trust me the rest of the meal is no better than the entree. Once in the room expect to walk to the front desk for anything you need. (Including ice) Cell phones do not work and there is no way to communicate with the front desk. Breakfast (eggs) was about as ordinary and tasteless as they come. If you want to sleep in and get breakfast prepare to have it delivered no later than 9:15. No getting up when you want and oredering when you want. The baked goods were good, however. If you do not drink wine expect a beer selection worse than the corner bar. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served according to their hours, Prepare to pre plan your meal times. The attraction must be the up north feel, stand alone cottages, some with car ports. Nice bedding and sheets, etc. but frankly for their price point, all the above should be standard. I still am having difficulty understanding how they can charge what they do and we did not pay rack rate. But the other reviews rave about the place so it must be me. Maybe this is because of having the opportunity to stay at other resorts both large and small with the same or higher price point and having service be superior. Do not order flowers, our charge was $100.00 for about $20.00 worth of flowers. Extremely high even for florist prices. My husband had specifically requested "different or unusual" flowers. Other than for a yellow flower nothing unusual in this arrangement. Nicely arranged however. The other thing I do not understand is they asked if we were celebrating a special occasion. The last time we were at a hotel of this "caliber" there was a little extra in our room. Wine or a small gift basket. Not here. They must collect the information for their own marketing. I simply do not understand the rave reviews. If the price was about $350.00 a night with dinner, sure. But not what they charge. I just cannot recommend Canoe Bay unless you get a great deal.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank lassfrommn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LisaDobro, Owner at Canoe Bay, responded to this reviewResponded March 31, 2010

We are dismayed and truly sorry that this couple was frustrated by certain aspects of their stay. We strive to convey all key aspects of the experience in advance and during check-in, so guests can very quickly relax and enjoy the property’s peace, quiet, beauty and comfort. The information re: the various ways to reach the Front Office has been moved to the very first page of our in-room Guest Directory. And the restaurant service charge information has been clarified; certainly it is not a mandatory fee. Our hope for every one of our guests is that they will create treasured memories here. Thank you for your feedback.
--Lisa Dobrowolski, Owner, Canoe Bay

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2010

My husband treated me to a weekend away for my January birthday. We decided not to fly anywhere, so researched retreats within driving distance. Canoe Bay seemed to have everything we love: great food, an extensive wine list,. in-room massages, and cross country skiing, and top-notch quality in everything. So, we booked the Romance Package, and Canoe Bay did not dissapoint. The dinner and breakfast (try the oatmeal and scrambled eggs with lobster) were outstanding, eveything from the architecture to the robes and slippers wereof the best quality. And the library is stunning - we could hav spent a whole day marveling at the beautiful view through the floor to ceiling a-frame windows, and the extensive book collection. The service was impeccable: attentive, warm and inviting. A perfect place to pamper yourself for a weekend - or longer.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Travel_Junky64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2010

We have stayed at Canoe Bay many times (we would say not enough)-our first visit was well over 10 years ago. It is hard to say enough good things about this lovely spot in the Wisconsin woods; it is a true getaway where you feel completely spoiled! Lisa and Dan have created a very special place, it is very hard for us to decide whether we like it better in the winter or the summer. We have enjoyed both seasons, love the canoes and swimming in the refreshing lake in the summer...but there is something about the winter quiet, snow, fireplace, snowshoeing, and for the first time this year, a wonderful sleigh ride through the woods!
We love the Treehouse accomodations, and have stayed in many of the houses, hard to say, but this one is our favorite! The steam shower is perfect, the view is perfect over the lake. We loved all of it! Our winter package included dinner both nights, and we know the menu will be fantastic and the portions perfect.
Again, we have booked our next stay in December, but wish we could return sooner! thanks to all of the staff for making this a very special splurge!

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank allygirl60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2010

From the assistance we received when we made our reservation, to our check-out three days later, the service we received was outstanding. This was our second trip to Canoe Bay and each time we stayed in Lookout Cottage. As the name implies, the view from the cottage is beautiful. We love the huge fireplace and the in-room hot tub. The bed is so comfortable that both times we've stayed, we've purchased a set of the sheets! Having dinner at The Inn at Canoe Bay is truly fine dining, with each course something delicious and special and we love the breakfasts delivered right to our cottage. This trip also included a sleighride through scenic woods and a snowshow hike.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank gopherfanWoodbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2010

First off, in response to the few, but emphatically espoused, reviews portraying Canoe Bay as anything other than a truly phenomenal respite from the contagions of every day life I will simply say this: know what you are getting into. This Inn is serene, peaceful, quiet, romantic, slow paced, and tranquil. This Inn is not active, metropolitan, busy or electronically connected. Therefore, if you are looking for an establishment with attributes of the latter you should, by all means, look elsewhere.

That being said I find the lack of universal praise for Canoe Bay most indicative of the truth that you simply cannot please all of the people all of the time. Yes, there are no phones in the rooms. Yes, staff are conspicuously absent. Yes, the facilities are remote. Yes, there are limited "activities." Yes, there is no 24-hour Wolfgang Puck's on premises. What is present are spectacularly designed Frank Lloyd Wright inspired accommodations, harmonious surroundings, pleasant isolation, and a welcome quietude that beckons relaxation. The beds are large, extremely comfortable and covered with exquisite linens. The bathrooms have 2 person jacuzzi tubs and walk in showers with double shower heads. The floors are covered in plush carpeting and rich hardwoods. A cozy fireplace adorns the living space. Sitting areas and breakfast nooks lie in front of floor to ceiling windows that afford a view of the lake (quaintly referred to as a "pond" by a negative reviewer). Although there is a TV in the room you'll likely find no use for it. If a couple is unable to occupy their time in a room such as this then clearly Canoe Bay is an inappropriate choice. Then again if a good bottle of wine and a room such as this don't afford the romantically inclined a means of passing the day then there are clearly larger issues at play.

Service: Yet again your evaluation of this service here will depend on your expectations. Is the staff conspicuous by their absence? Yes, most certainly. But that is the point. Guests are left to enjoy the Inn free from interference. Take breakfast for instance. Since the Inn is designed more like a compound with a dozen or so separate buildings, breakfast is delivered by car at a time specified by each guest the day before. When it does get delivered you simply hear a knock on your door and a car driving away. That's it. No interruptions. No waiters waltzing into your room as your wife hurriedly seeks refuge in the bathroom. No awkward moments trying to find your pajama bottoms before rushing to the door. The entire mission statement is one of solitude. For this reason there will be no housekeeping services unless you specifically request it. No need to place a "Do Not Disturb" placard on the door to avoid inconvenient maid arrivals. Rest assured, however, that should you wish to receive assistance it is certainly available.

Rooms: Spectacular. Seriously, they're just beautiful. If you enjoy design then you'll adore the set up, both in terms of architectural lines and textural choices. Then there's the feel of the rooms, the feng shui if you will. My wife and I stayed in the Lookout and simply love it, but I doubt that there would be less appeal in any of the other accomodations.

Location, Amenities: Remote. Seriously remote. The drive to the facility takes you through the rolling farm country or northern Wisconsin until you happen upon a lone driveway leading up to the Inn. The property itself is beautifully wooded with the various buildings located peripherally around the aforementioned lake. Yet again, if you are looking for an Inn within walking distance of a strip mall you'll be rather displeased with Canoe Bay. If you want to get away from the proverbial hustle and bustle, on the other hand, then you'll mostly likely fall in love with this place. We stayed there in the dead of Winter, and the property just shines under the blanket of snow covering it.

Food: Great. I read other reviewer's comments suggesting otherwise, but our experience was wonderful. The breakfasts were phenomenal, and piping hot despite the sub-zero air temperatures during our stay. The oatmeal specifically was just ridiculously good, and I don't even like oatmeal. The pastries were equally delicious, the juices freshly squeezed and the breads rich and flavorful. The price fix dinner was equally delightful, and we're notorious food snobs so that's saying a lot. Would I be singing its praises if it were located in downtown Chicago? Or Napa? Probably not, but it's not located in those notorious culinary pinnacles, it's found in the middle of nowhere farm country Wisconsin, and combined with the ambiance and tranquility of the location it becomes an astoundingly good dining experience.

Conclusion: Canoe bay is a quiet, peaceful and utterly delightful location for a romantic getaway, and if you can't enjoy yourself here then there is seriously something wrong with you. The caveat, however, is that you have to be looking for this type of quiet getaway. There is no world class spa, no promenade of high end shops, no 24-7 matrie d at your beck and call. It's not the Burj Al Arab, it's not the Carlyle, and it's not the Peninsula, nor is it meant to be. It is what it is, and if you spend a night or two there with someone whose company you enjoy then you'll be amazed at the experience it offers.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SFPainDoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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