Avoid Mallard Bay Resort in Big Bear, CA! The owner is in the hospitality business, but is not at all hospitable! He promises you a resort stay, but gives you the boarding school treatment. Why:
1) Maybe he has some prejudices that caused him to worry about renting the room to my family.
2) Maybe he is indifferent to providing good customer service.
3) Maybe he is more concern about his property than he is about his customers.
4) Maybe he feels entitled to treat customers any way he wants because he owns the place.
Either way, spend your money and your vacation time somewhere else!! You don't want to be staying somewhere that you are always held in suspicion for no reason. There were so many favorable Tripadvisor reviews. I was surprise by my negative experience.
The owner was administratively unorganized: He failed to send me reservation confirmation after asking over the phone on 3 occasions. I decided to go up earlier, but could not process the reservation for the additional days over the internet. He said he would take care of it and took my credit card info. I asked should I consider my additional reservation confirmed. He said he would call back in 1 hour to give confirmation. He never did. I called back 5 hours later. He said he got busy and he wasn't sure if I wanted it anymore. Okay... I had a bad feeling. Maybe he was indifferent to getting my business or maybe it was something else? I had no idea. I tried to give the person the benefit of the doubt.
The owner was overly protective of his property: Over the phone before arriving, he kept telling me there are rules. He repeatedly told me (3 times) the maximum occupancy for the room. He said he knows he seems like a stickler for rules. That was fine. I said that I understood. During the check-in, the owner is not necessarily friendly, but he again reminds me (2 times) of the maximum occupancy rule. His rule reminders were excessive.
On the 2nd day, I brought my nephew and 2 nieces over from where they were staying to swim (in the empty pool) with my kids. We weren't causing a disturbance or trying to sneak in. The pool is right across from the office. Apparently, in the contract (2nd page in small font), unregistered guests are not allowed to use the facilities. You can’t have any visitors. Period. There were no signs stating this rule. It was an honest misunderstanding! From his office, the owner summons me to come over, wagging his finger like he is the principal of a school and I am a schoolgirl who just got busted. He was being very rude! I ignored him. He came to the pool area, pointed his finger at my family in the pool and curtly interrogated me about who are the children in the pool. I told him. He condescendingly said, "I wish you asked for permission. Now you are going to have to disappointment them." I calmly complied and instructed the kids to come out. He came back a minute later and told me to let them swim as long as we watch them. He didn't want to have them "disappointed", but made sure I knew I was at fault. I was in disbelief of his disrespectfulness. There are rules posted everywhere for this place. But there was no sign saying that the swimming pool was for guests only. He told me that it's for "insurance purposes" and that it's in the contract. The contract he failed to send me even after 3 separate requests. Bottom-line, it was an honest mistake and there was no justification for his heavy-handed manner.
On the 3rd day, my family changed rooms and moved into the original room I secured over the internet. My husband was to join us. We did the paperwork for the bigger place. The owner again reminds me of the maximum occupancy rule. He showed me the contract (a reservation made months ago) and asked if the contract was accurate in reflecting 4 people. I said “no”, but before I could explain, he snapped at me and said, “That is what the contract says.” I curtly respond, " I can read!!" I explained to him that there will be 5 people. The maximum number for this room is 6 people. He proceeded to ask me exactly how many adults and children will be staying each day of the remainder of our stay. We never intended nor did we ever break this rule during our stay. There is nothing my family did to warrant this high level of suspicion and paternalistic approach.
After my husband joined us, the owner started to talk “nicer”. Instead of being condescending, he tried to now be patronizing. One night, my husband was dropping me off at the lodging place and there was no parking. So my husband blocked part of the driveway. The owner immediately came over and said, “You can’t park here.” We informed him that I was getting dropped off. He responded, “Oh, I was just looking out for you." I did not sense sincerity in his remarks or body language. For my family's sake, I was determined to make the best of it. We were spending most of our time with the rest of our family at the house rental down the street. We only slept at the Mallard Bay Resort. I did not feel comfortable spending our time there.
He acted prejudicial throughout our stay: I confronted the owner during check-out about how appalled I was with his unwelcoming and suspicious behavior throughout my family's stay. He made no apologies for not following through with email confirmations or calling me back when he said he would. He tried to tell me he treats all his guests the same way. I'm thinking that is not good and wondering why he is in the hospitality business. I told him that I thought he was prejudice. I told him the excessive rule reminders and entitled demeanor were unwarranted and disrespectful.
On more than one occasion, I saw he and his wife nicely conversing with other guests. My family didn't get that welcoming treatment. Our welcome was filled with rule reminders about occupancy for the room, parking, dock usage, etc. The unequal treatment there is disgusting.
He didn't see anything wrong with how he disrespectfully handled the swimming pool incident. I am a grown adult and a mother. He spoke to me and treated me like a child. It was futile talking to him. Based on my family's experience, he thinks, talks and behaves in an entitled, disrespectful manner towards his customers or at least, maybe only certain customers.
Please do not spend your money here. Your memories will be undeservedly tainted.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC