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“Dining Room Staff Young and Inexperienced”
Review of Couples Resort

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Couples Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Dining Room Staff Young and Inexperienced”
Reviewed September 20, 2013

My husband and I spent 2 nights at the Couples Resort this past week for the sole purpose of peace and quiet. We chose a Junior Suite, knowing this was the least expensive, but still a fair bit of money. The room was very cozy, spacious, comfortable bed, great fireplace, etc. Not much to complain about there.

Where we were disappointed though was the dining room staff. The staff all seemed quite young, which is not a crime, but they also seemed pretty inexperienced. The first night we asked for help in choosing a wine and didn't really find the young gentleman that knowledgeable. Also, once he uncorked the bottle and poured our glass, we never saw him again.

The second night was no better. When we greeted the waitress and asked how come we hadn't seen her the night before, she told us she just had 4 days off. I said, great, you are well rested! She said, "not really, I'm tired, I have been here since 11 AM ... when we have days off we are expected to work long and hard hours"...? We didn't need to hear this. She seemed rushed and not interested in being there.

All in all, it was a nice getaway. The food was good and accommodations were nice.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank hella16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darlene_O, Public Relations Manager at Couples Resort, responded to this review, September 25, 2013
Thank you for enjoying your time with us and having a nice getaway. There are other resorts in Ontario that are less expensive than us and we ask guests to always not spend more than they can afford on a vacation destination. Spending more than one can afford can lead to more stress than the vacation provides relief, so always plan within ones yearly household budget. Thank you for commenting on our serving staff. With an average age of 42 for our morning servers of which many have been serving for decades and an average age of 31 for our evening servers of which most have been serving for more than 5 years we apologize that they look younger than us, perhaps something to do with the good fresh Algonquin Air, or something to do with us getting older each year, sigh. Here at the Resort our serving staff that must work less than 44 hours a week in their profession, do not think they are working long hard hours. We must remember that it is a professional career that is harder than most and very few people like to work at night, so we honour those that take on this profession to take care of us. After the last email from the other gentleman we have corrected the pouring of wines by our Wine Stewards and if you purchase wine from us we now definitely keep your wine glasses 2 fingers full. Sorry you were here before the correction. Both Wine Stewards have been serving customers for over 10 years, and both look young, their experience will only improve, thanks. JohnS-Owner
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Rating summary
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English first
Toronto
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed September 17, 2013

We stayed in a chateau for three nights and this was the finest Ontario resort accommodation, we have ever experienced. The setting was tranquil and serene. Either sitting on the deck overlooking the lake (or in the hot-tub) with champagne or relaxing in the living room with a roaring two-sided fireplace, this was a wonderful experience. The unit even included everything imaginable, a sauna, a bedroom jacuzzi, a large shower/steam room with multiple jets and comfortable furniture. The service was first class all the way. If anything needed attention, one phone call and it was quickly taken care of.

The dining experience, however, did not quite live up to the above rave review. The dining room is very pretty and if you stay in a chateau, you are guaranteed window seats, which can make the evening extra special, overlooking the lake.

The entrees were quite varied and some better than others. On our first night, we had the pasta special (tiny Digby scallops with smoked salmon in a rose lobster sauce). The dish was overpowered by a very strong smokey taste that made it difficult for us to finish. On our second night, I had an amazing Angus steak while my wife had the chicken, which she described as shake-in-bake! We both had the Walleye fish on the third evening and it was quite good. The deserts on all three nights were consistently very good, while the appetizers were just OK.

This resort has a wine spectator award of excellence wine list, which gave high expectations for both the list and the wine service. The wine list did not disappoint. The night before arrival, I called and spoke to someone in the dining room inquiring if they had any French burgundy wines. I was trying to decide whether to BYOB (at a reasonable $15 corkage) or order off the list. I was informed they do not carry any wines from burgundy, even though they had quite a few whites and reds on their eight page wine list (surprise, surprise). The free sommelier service that is included with the chateaus (value $40 per day, plus corkage) seemed non-existant. Upon arriving for dinner, the wine steward opened the wine, or decanted it upon request, and was never seen again, on any of our three nights.

If you go to Couples Resort looking for five star accommodation and a good dining experience, you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank drphil58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darlene_O, Public Relations Manager at Couples Resort, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
Thank you for your review. We are so pleased that you found your tranquility and serenity and had such a wonderful romantic time. A quiet place for Couples to spend with each other is 100% why we exist, so thank you. This is probably why Trip Advisor rates us as #1 (out of all hotels, resorts, inns, casinos) in Ontario for Romance.
Sorry to hear we missed on the Sommelier Service, this will be corrected immediately. The dining room is of 5 Star Experience - including the linens on the tables, to the comfortable cushioned arm-rest chairs, silver plate cutlery, fine European China, crystal glassware, upscale wool carpets and American oak paneling. 3-4 star dining experiences would not have any of these things that we offer and I am sure you would not want us to take all of those things away on your return trip. In our 5 Star Dining experience we also prepare each meal to order using only the finest ingredients, with organic vegetables from our own gardens, and we do this with a full kitchen brigade of chefs. Compare this to many 3-4 stars that use frozen to plate to save on chef costs. Thank you for saying the service is 1st class all the way, as without them in the dining room you would have had a true 3-4 star experience or worse. The Dining room offers Gourmet, 1st Class, 5 Course and yet we understand that food is a subjective fare, as everyone’s tastes are different. We are sorry that the dinner was not perfect for you in all areas. The Dining will never be 100% perfect in all foods to everyone’s tastes and we are very glad you still found many items on our very extensive menu to enjoy. We look forward to your return so that you can escape again.
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Newcastle, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2013

My husband and I spent this past weekend at the couples resort. It was wonderful. We had an upper floor junior suite in the main building. We loved our large balcony overlooking the lake. We were room 15 and the only problem we found was the front door banging whenever someone entered or exited the building. We saw this as a complain back in August and it wasn't fixed. We spoke to the front desk and the lady there said she would get maintenance to look at it. Well they never did the whole time we were there. Luckily on the last morning the door was propped over so we didn't have to hear the banging.

We loved the meals. We dressed up and enjoyed a 5 course dinner both nights. Lots of selection and the servers were great. Breakfast was also good. The waffles are delicious.
They have a huge garden on the property so most produce is fresh and grown on site.

We took the bikes out on Saturday morning and many people were enjoying the canoes. The pool and hot tub we closed for the season.

Overall it was a wonderful weekend. Hope to go back soon. Too bad it's so much money for a weekend.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cejl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darlene_O, Public Relations Manager at Couples Resort, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
Thanks so much for the review. I have sent the owner to fix the lobby door(s), and John assures me that they are now fixed (screws needed adjusting). Truly Sorry we screwed up on this simple problem. Great to hear that you loved so many things about our Resort. If you can sneak away midweek starting the first week of November to the beginning of June prices are 70% Off and from $76 per person per night with those delicious meals included, also a great time to use the wood-burning fireplace with the cold nights . Hope to see you again soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2013

We booked a 3 night stay for our honeymoon in August. We had seen the pictures online, and were quite disappointed by the Jr. Suite. They boast a lot of upgrades, but I don't think this includes the lower end rooms. The rooms are wood panelled, which gives a rustic feel. A bit odd to have the shower wood panelled as well; they were mouldy. This wasn't the problem, though.

We were awake all night with the noise of the jacuzzi above us, as well as the couple above seemingly running back and forth across the room. The next morning, we mentioned at the front desk that we weren't overly impressed. The woman at the desk even had a name tag entitled "Customer Relations". All she had to say was "That couple is checking out today " (which I think they did), or "how can we make your stay better?". Instead, we got "Well we don't usually let people check out a day early. But if you insist, we'll allow it. We'll expect you out in the morning".

We later heard another employee tell guests that they were welcome to enjoy the grounds for the day following checkout. We were made to feel as though they didn't care much about people staying in the less expensive rooms. $400/night is still a great deal of money. We expected a bit more consideration, especially on our honeymoon.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank Michelle R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darlene_O, Public Relations Manager at Couples Resort, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Thank you for your comments. It is very unfortunate that you were kept awake at night on your honeymoon. I am not sure why someone would be in their Jacuzzi all night long as we remind all people to shut down noise at midnight in consideration of others. Sometimes we are called in the middle of the night to help correct the situation of noisy guests.

I am glad to hear the properly finished all-natural cedar wood planks were Not mouldy in your bathroom and around your Jacuzzi. Cedar planks are great for their anti-mould properties and their ability to withstand water. We have used cedar wood in parts of our accommodations to represent the Algonquin Nature around us and remind us that we are not downtown some big city. The Jr Suites you were in had many upgrades ($10,000 each room last year) and I am sure you enjoyed the fresh look with fresh linens, walls and carpets, marble floors, 50” plasma TV, new furnishings and private deck with 2 padded chaise lounge chairs onto the lake. I do know these rooms meet or exceed 5 Star and 5 Diamond standards in quality, size and amenities so at least you were ok on this front. I am also glad that you enjoyed the All-Inclusive with the Gourmet meals and all the sports. I am pleased that Mary with many years of experience in Guest Relations was able to provide you a quick departure from the Resort as you seemed very eager to leave and not spend a cent more. As a great recommendation we remind people looking at marriage not to get married in the most expensive part of the year for travel purposes. Our best example is our owner who got married in November so every year he and his bride can take advantage of great discounts in travel, and they have been married for a long time. There are many times of the year where prices are far less expensive for travel, and couples planning a marriage should plan for the long range and the money saved if they like the idea of travel. We wish you many happy and wonderful years together as a couple, it is a blissful moment that can endure forever.
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Lively
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2013

If you like screaming, unsupervised kids then the Couples Resort is NOT the place for you. Just peace and quiet. We stayed in one of the chateaus and it was so quiet it actually took some getting used to. We estimate there were about 15-20 other couples there, but the only time we noticed them was when we were in the lobby reception area or in the dining room. When we were at our cabin there was no sight nor sound of others, even while sitting on our deck. How nice it was to be able to sit in the hot tub on the deck and look out over the lake while sipping champagne in such a peaceful atmosphere .

In the early evening, we would be serenaded by the nearby "wolves" (which actually turned out to be huskies at feeding time).

The reception staff did an admirable job and were ever eager to please. No problem was too trivial for them to handle immediately and with gusto. For example, one day after it had rained, we stopped by the front desk and asked to borrow a broom to get rid of a small puddle on our deck. The receptionist said she would call maintenance and it would be fixed right away. How many times have we all heard that but "right away" actually means two more calls to the front desk and a few hours later? Ain't nobody got time for that! Not the case here. In fact, the maintenance guy even beat us back to our chateau. Now that's service, I don't care who you are!

We never actually met the cleaning staff but they really did an amazing job. What we thought was really neat is that they seemed to clean our cottage almost immediately after we put the cleaning request sign on the door handle. We'd leave for a couple of hours and the place was all nice and tidy upon our return. Not the case in other places we've stayed where you end up having to kill a big chunk of time so that you can return to the room you are paying for.

The spa is a great feature of the resort. A real treat was to be had when we went for a pedicure - my first. The ladies who did the treatment were a real delight and wonderful conversationalists (thanks Adele, Anita and trainee Chantal).

I'll let you know up front that I'm no food critic but I do know the difference between good and bad food. The food here is exceptional. The dinner each night started with an amuse bouche, which was different each evening and a wonderful way to wake up the palette. This was followed by a choice of two appetizers - we particularly enjoyed the baked brie in phyllo and the tequila-glazed wild boar. The entrees were varied enough that we weren't running out of things to order by the third night and were supplemented daily by chef's specials. To end, there were a variety of tasty desserts. The dining room was elegant and well appointed and the alternate option of having the five-course meal delivered directly to your room - complete with linen napkins and real silverware - for no extra charge was a much appreciated luxury touch. The only complaint we have about the food is that my wife says now we'll have to do double work-outs daily for the next two weeks just to recover from the extra calorie intake!

I read the reviews on Trip Adviser before our trip and noted the negative ones and, as a result, I actively looked for such things as rude staff members. What we found was the complete opposite. Everyone we met, from the receptionists (thanks Amber) to the breakfast waitress (thanks Nancy) and everyone in between seemed to be happy at their job. A wise man once said, "If you truly enjoy what you do, you will never work a day in your life" and the attitude of the staff here seems to embody that.

I did extensive research on Ontario resorts with regard to cleanliness, cost, friendly staff, etc. where Trip Adviser came in very handy. In calculating the many variables, the Couples Resort won hands down when considering the bang for the buck. We have traveled quite extensively in the States, where, among other places, we have stayed at a luxury resort that caters to the Chicago crowd and which has some famous regular patrons such as John Travolta, Harrison Ford and Jimmy Buffet, to name a few. The Couples Resort even rivals this five-star resort. They really mean it when they say
"Let Us Spoil You."

Thank You All..!
- Dan & Cathy -

Room Tip: Thanks to all staff members. YOU'RE THE BEST..!!
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dann390
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darlene_O, Public Relations Manager at Couples Resort, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Love the title of your review. We are definitely all about getting away from the kids. So glad you enjoyed your stay with us so very much. The staff will be very happy to read this. Although we are all human and occasionally have a bad day, our staff is generally quite happy to help in any way they can. Please come back again.
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Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2013 via mobile

We stayed 1 night next time it will be longer. The Jr. Suite was well appointed. Fire place, hot tub, king bed, large flat screen TV, wi-fi, balcony looking out to the lake. We enjoy being active and they accommodated us with mountain bikes a trail and we were gone great ride. We also took on the hiking trail that starts at the property a nice afternoon hike. Followed by a gourmet dinner that was beutifuly presented and tasted as good. Friendly staff willing to accommodate .

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Arnie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

My wife and I had a very nice 2 night stay at the resort. It was our first time and we will be back.

We were very happy with our Master's junior suite. It was a large, comfortable place to be. The pictures don't do the room justice. The furniture of excellent quality and OVERSIZED so it is difficult to appreciate the size/scale of the room when looking at the pictures. You have just about every amenity you could want from the steam shower, in room Jacuzzi, private deck with hot tub and loungers, fireplace etc.

Our meals (dinner in particular) were excellent. Service and food quality were top notch. The menu may lack a bit of "inspiration" for some tastes (don't come here expecting molecular gastronomy) and the style of the dining room may not be to everyone's liking, but there is no mistaking the fact that everything is of a very high quality and the staff/management work very hard to provide a fantastic fine dining experience. We really enjoyed our dinners.

As for activities, we took the paddle boat out for a bit and also took a short 15 minute drive to do one of the Algonquin Park hikes (Booth' Rock) which was great fun. Otherwise we spent our time on the deck enjoying the view of the lake.

We weren't sure what to expect given some of the negative reviews and some of the responses posted by management and came away very satisfied with our stay.

Pros:
-Fantastic Room with every amenity imaginable
-Excellent Food & Fine dining experience
-Professional Staff
-Quiet and Relaxing
-Close proximity to some great hiking trails

Cons:
-A total of $1400 tax in for a 2 night week-end feels a bit steep. The high price and the high expectations that come with it probably account for many of the more negative reviews. We will be back, but will try to book when rates are a bit lower. We had tried to book a stay at a couple of competing resorts in the region that were lower priced and they were fully booked. Nevertheless we were very pleased with our week-end.

Recommendations to Management:
-This is a nit, but the lack of "cord management" and the exposed AV components under the nice flat screen TV distract from what is otherwise a wonderful room.

-The grounds could use some TLC, there are several areas where dirt, gravel have washed out over paths and there is quite a bit of overgrowth in and around the flower beds.

Room Tip: Know what you like and pick what you like. We prefer a more traditional luxury hotel environment so...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Nelson A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Couples Resort

Property: Couples Resort
Address: 139 Galeairy Lake Road | Algonquin Park, Whitney, Ontario K0J 2M0, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Whitney
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Whitney
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Couples Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
It is here that couples celebrating birthdays and anniversaries as well as honeymooners and recently married couples come to relax, embrace love, enjoy the organic spa and find the time to share an adventure. This is quite literally the hottest place to be in all four seasons, with 10 saunas, 27 walk-in steam rooms, 21 walk-in euro-showers, 23 outdoor hot tubs and 48 in-room Jacuzzi tubs each in front of a wood burning fireplace. All accommodations at the Couples Resort Exceed 5 Diamond standards, North America's toughest standards. Ontario's Couples Resort is situated on the shores of Galeairy Lake and the Madawaska River, with Algonquin Park as our backyard. The village of Whitney, Ontario is a short 15-minute walk away. We are surrounded with breathtaking wilderness, pure fresh air, secluded forests, pristine waters, an abundance of sunny days and a blanket of stars at night. This priceless peace and tantalizing tranquility is all yours for the taking.Those of you who need to escape from the bustle will find us calming and rejuvenating. There are many ways to do nothing if that is your wish. On the other hand, unlimited activities will keep the adventurer active all year round. Ontario's Natural Algonquin Park is ideal for the sport enthusiast or avid adventurer who will be delighted with the extraordinary activities available. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Couples Hotel Whitney
Bear Trail Couples Resort
Couples Resort Ontario/Whitney

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