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Naniboujou Lodge
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Reviews (151)
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All reviewsdining room isstate parkrooms are smallno alcoholdevil's kettlelake superiorwild rice burgerstopped for lunchthe french onion soupnorth shoreroad scholar programsun roomstone fireplacewalls are thingrand portagecell phone receptioninternet access
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136 - 141 of 151 reviews
Reviewed July 21, 2007

I read about Naniboujou in a NY Times travel review. My family and I understand that it was different (small rooms, no TV, etc.), but were really looking forward to family time on Lake Superior. We had booked two adjoining rooms so that the kids could have their own room.

Maybe it was just bad luck on our part. In the 4/5 days that we spent at Naniboujou, the weather was unseasonably HOT. The average high for mid-July was 69, and we did not experience a day that failed to hit 85. We are from the Midwest, and can handle temperatures higher than that with humidity to boot . . . but Naniboujou does not have air conditioning. Our second floor room was above the kitchen, and there was no cross ventilation through our rooms. We cooked. We left the lights off in our rooms in the evening in an effort to keep the rooms as mild as possible. The staff did provide us with oscillating fans for the rooms, but that did not come close to making the rooms comfortable. First floor rooms that faced the lake might have been more comfortable, but I would not know.

Sunday brunch in the dining room was outstanding. The lodge is attractive, and has been kept up relatively well. The grounds were nice, and we enjoyed walking along the Lake Superior shoreline. Be forewarned: the mosquitos are thick, especially near dusk.

We thoroughly loved the Grand Marais area, despite the temperatures. I realize that northern Minnesota tends to have mild summers. We are vacationing in the area again this summer. This time we are staying near Lutsen in a cabin directly on the water, where we can control the ventilation if necessary. We will stop by Naniboujou for Sunday brunch.

  • Stayed: July 2005, traveled with family
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3  Thank DK1_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2007

After reading about the Naniboujou Lodge in Midwest Living magazine, we decided to stay one night while on our Lake Superior circle tour. This is a very unique lodge, with an interesting history. The diningroom is stunning, and the food was good. We did have to wait awhile to get our food at dinner, but since the surroundings were so beautiful, it wasn't a problem The next morning at breakfast we were served our food quickly. After reading some of the reviews, I was a little worried about how our room would be. Well, I thought our room, which was on the second floor facing the lake, was charming. I agree that the room was not large, but how much room do you need when you probably won't be spending that much time in the room anyway?? If you are traveling with children, the rooms may be too small. If, however, there are only two of you, the size is fine. The room was very clean, bright, and the view from our windows was gorgeous. We slept with the windows open, so we could hear the waves during the night and the birds in the morning. There is plenty to do while staying at the Naniboujou. You can stroll on the beach, or sit on the chairs provided at the beach or on the upper deck. There is a solarium with lots of games, puzzles, books, a piano, and for those who must have TV, there is one with a collection of videos to watch. The lodge even provides wood for a campfire on the beach. There is also a state park very close to explore. I'm so glad we were able to stay at this historic lodge and enjoy a true north woods experience.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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5  Thank toried
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2007

Naniboujou is a lovely place where to enjoy a peaceful, welcoming atmosphere, out of the crowd, out of the daily life, and most of all out of the usual hotel-styles. There is a magic here that is hard to describe. I do not necessarily love the interior decorations of the dining room, but I cannot deny that the place has a special touch. The view of the lake is marvellous, the food is excellent, the Sunday brunch itself is worth driving for 4.5 hours from Minneapolis: nice music in the background, the best home-made food you can dream for a brunch, kind people that serve you.

I read some of the "bad" reviews on this place, and I was surprised by how different sometimes our perspectives of things can be ... The bed was extremely comfortable, and I had one of the best sleep in my life (finally a firmer bed!!! I hate soft mattress, they are not any good for our spine...), I loved the shower (so much that I thought I would like a similar shower for my place!), and I do not care at all of air conditioning. Actually I dislike air conditioning that freeze people, and especially here it would be a simple waste of energy. You don't need any, since the lake itself cools down the temperature. Rooms are lovely, cosy, nicely decorated. A little small, it is true, but do you really need huge rooms? No TV, no telephone, thanks God! Only a very small detail, just to be completely fair. I thought that the carpet on the steps to reach the rooms was old and a little smelly (it is not surprising, since here people arrive with dirty shoes from long hiking). But this is such a small detail that does not affect my full rate at all.

The prices of the rooms are extremely fair. You don’t pay for the TV or internet access (who needs this when we have it in our daily life already?), but you pay what is fair to pay to be in a special, natural and untouched setting. Location is just perfect, few steps from one of the most beautiful state park in Minnesota, the Judgey Magney State Park, with the unforgettable Devil's Kettle fall. Try to wake up very early in the morning, and start your day by enjoying the lake at the sunrise. You will not regret it...

People working here (they are a family owning and running the place) are the kindest you can find, always helpful, smiling and nice. Nothing you can want more. The crowd I saw was variegated and interesting, from young family with little kids, to older couples enjoying a peaceful week-end.

Just go, relax yourself and enjoy nature.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled solo
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7  Thank chipu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2006

My father and I fish for a week in Canada every spring, and for many years in the past had stayed at the casino near the border. After many bad dining experiences, we decided to stop into the Naniboujou Lodge (we had always just driven by and figured it would be too pricey) for some information. We booked our stay for the following year, and were so very happy with it! It was a more expensive than the casino, but still reasonable and worth the money. We had an excellent dinner the night we arrived, and the brunch in the morning was excellent as well. It's a little pricier than we would have liked...however we felt it was well worth it. We loved their breakfast sausage (a turkey and wild rice sausage) so much that we asked our server about it. They purchase the sausage from a local sausage maker, and they gave us directions so we could purchase some for ourselves to take home. Beyond the restaurant, the location is fantastic and it is a cute and quaint lodge. We went for a long walk along the water in the morning, and enjoyed the beautiful view. The only negative thing I can say is that we had very volatile water temperature in our shower...hot to cold to hot. The rooms were basic, but comfortable and just fine for a good night's sleep.

  • Stayed: June 2006, traveled with family
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6  Thank kernel832
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2006

I have mixed feelings after my recent stay at Naniboujou. I love the idea of the old private club right on the lake, but something is missing. Many of the things that make the lodge so attractive are also the same things that detract --like the location. It's great that it's remote, but plan ahead because if you get up there it's a long haul back to town. We picked it because we wanted something really special and it just wasn't.

What I love is:

1. The view--it's vast and unobstructed. If you love grabbing a blanket in the Fall and sitting in an Adirondack chair while you stare at a magnificent body of water--this is the spot.

2.) The dining room--it's historic, it's interesting, it's worth stopping and checking out.

What I didn't love so much:

1.) The guest rooms--we were fortunate to have a room on the upper level with a partial lake view. However, Naniboujou is a natural stop for tourists and there is a fairly steady stream of people stopping by and walking out to the beach. If you want to get the breeze (rooms don't have air conditioning), you have to leave the blinds open. From what I could see, none of the room had really good views of the lake--a shame. Unfortunately, they don't make it easy for you to see the lake from your room--our best view was sitting on the toilet in the bathroom with the door open. In short, the rooms aren't comfortable, the decorating is inconsistent with the rest of the lodge (which is such a pity), and the views aren't what you'd expect.

2.) Lack of owner presence--It's expected that a lodge on the National Register should have people on site playing host/hostess. It's the difference between a corporate chain hotel and a grand experience. The little touches are missing.

The front desk staff was young, had limited local knowledge, and seemed generally indifferent. However, when asked, she performed tasks with a smile so perhaps it's just that she's young and doesn't quite "get it" yet.


3.) As I mentioned, quick trips into town aren't going to happen. Make sure that you stop at the visitor center in Grand Marais to pick up hiking maps, make a last trip to the convenience store or liquor store, and be sure to pick up a good beach blanket--you'll want it to sit on the rock beach or for those cool nights.

NOTE: I think it's important that people know there is no alcohol there. I don't want to debate the pro's and cons of not having a liquor license (perhaps it's not even possible for them), but the idea of not being able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or have a happy hour drink is simply ridiculous. My husband and I felt like kids in high school making cocktails in our room. So, you might want to bring a cooler and stop at the liquor store on the way. Same goes for food--make sure you bring snacks or you'll be driving to Grand Marais every day like we did. After hiking all day you'll want some food.


I guess I wrote so much because I really believe in the concept of Naniboujou. Naniboujou was never fully built-out and its personality never really developed. That is reflected is the mixed feelings that we had--there's no sense of community (even though many people are repeat customers) like you get at other North Shore lodges and it's just flat. For the full North Shore experience there are many smaller, less expensive places with equally beautiful stone beaches. You need to see the fireplace and the dining room, but you don't have to stay there to enjoy the beach.

12  Thank WayzataMN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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