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Naniboujou Lodge
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Reviews (152)
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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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141 - 146 of 152 reviews
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.
Reviewed July 9, 2006

We stayed at the lodge for two nights recently. From the moment we got there until we left we were very disappointed. Unless you are just looking for a place to sleep (rather uncomforably at best) then this is NOT the place for you. The rooms were basically, a hard bed, a toilet and the worst shower ever. No TV, which we knew in advace so we were okay with that . The shower basically had two settings - icy cold or burning hot. The bed was SO hard and the rooms were very hot with no AC. Also the rooms were very small- like 2-3 feet on the side of the bed. The front desk girl was rather rude to us as well.

I would have been satisfied at $30 per night but we spend $80 per night for basically a bed and a toilet.

Did not try the restaurant although it looked good.

The view of Lake Superior out back was very nice.

I recommend this place to people that want complete solitude and a hard bed.

  • Stayed: July 2006
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3  Thank missann1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
madison, wisconsin
19
Reviewed May 23, 2006

I enjoyed my stay at the lodge although i'm not sure if i would go back.

the lodge itself is an impressive place - truly unique in it's decor. it's almost campy with all the bright colors and mural covered dinning room walls. it is clearly not "authentic" native american decor but that adds to its kitschy appeal.

the most important thing about the rooms is to reserve one with a lake view. otherwise you are facing the parking lot which is pretty unpleasant. the rooms are small (one of the beds in our room pulled out of the wall) but are charming nonetheless. it is a lodge and kind of rustic in its accommodations.

the most important thing to know about the dining aspect is that THERE IS NO ALCOHOL at the lodge! we arrived after a 6 hour drive and wanted to order a glass of wine and appetizer but were denied both. as for the appetizer we were told that we were "not allowed" to eat in the common room and that no appetizer type items were available anyway.

we were not that impressed by the food at dinner. passable but nothing special. the sunday brunch was very nice.

it is an impressive place with some real quirks but worth a visit

  • Stayed: May 2006
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9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2006

This is a drop dead gorgeous resort in the 1930s country club style. Admittedly, it's not for everyone-there are no telephones, radios or tvs in the rooms; but the real woodburning fireplace is so lovely (listen to it crackle and watch the flames). The quilts are handmade, the furniture handcarved, and the rooms are one of a kind (really). There are no pets allowed but well mannered children are welcomed and love the up north adventures they find. The food is fabulous with something for everyone-children's menu,exotic specials, vegetarian options, and good old steak or fish too. There is a tea served in the solarium in the afternoons that you really should try at least once. There are a variety of board games and books for your amusement. There is horseshoes, croquet, basketball, beachwalks,adirondack chairs to just sit and watch the waves, a bench swing,a sturdy hike up to the devil's kettle (truly worth the walk)and a mini hiking trail down by the brule river. This place is beautifully decorated in the Cree indian style. The dining room has what I believe is the largest stone fireplace in the state and the ceiling in that room will pop your eyes out- a cathedral ceiling in bright, mostly primary colors that you will never forget. The dining room uses real cloth tablecloths and the service is impecable yet friendly. Same for the other staff. Everyone really gives personal service and really wants you to have a relaxed get away from it all time. There are so many new resorts going in on the north shore that have all the amenities but no personality to the place. This place is the classy option-and real class too, real quality-not just a grand appearing facility where nobody cares and you're just this weeks customer. Naniboujou keeps many of the same employees year after year. It's obvious they care about their employess and the employees care about you. Go for a return visit and they remember your likes/dislikes- as already mentioned, kind of like going to the country club. If there's a room that you like-ask for it specially and they will keep it for you.It's a long ways up there but the staff really "goes the extra mile" too.We have been going there twice a year for about 20 years and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It's a step back in time for a magical vacation

  • Stayed: July 2005
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24  Thank ecwiii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Minnetonka, MN
19
Reviewed December 29, 2005

I stayed here last summer and enjoyed it to no end. It's on Lake Superior and just a few miles from Grand Marais. There's hiking and fishing nearby. It's a great way to get away from society for a weekend. The food is excellent. I would definitely recommend it for people who love the north woods.

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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