I had been to Turning Stone many times before, staying in regular rooms in the Tower and hotel as well as a balcony suite in the hotel. Turning Stone's regular rooms are satisfactory, and the hotel suite was excellent. However, my most recent stay in a Lodge suite with a balcony and hot tub on the balcony topped these prior stays by far.
My brother, three friends, and I were spending one night (a Saturday in the late summer) at the Lodge at Turning Stone Resort and Casino. The regular rate for the room was $499 plus tax, but we came in under a package which gave us 10% off and (I believe) $50 towards the spa. If you are an AAA member, you can also get 10% off the regular rate.
From the moment we pulled up to the Lodge valet, we were immediately impressed. The regular hotel valet can sometimes be congested and busy, but we were the only ones checking in at that time, and the valet attendant and bellman immediately came out to greet us and take our bags. One of my friends and I went inside to check in while the others gathered their bags from the car.
The Lodge "lobby" area is not like most other hotel lobbies. First of all, there is no front desk. There were several individual desks on the righthand side of the lobby, and two "concierges"--I believe they're called--were each seated at separate desks. Furthermore, the Lodge is clearly designed to feel like an intimate "lodge" and not like a big hotel. The elevators to higher floors were located directly in the middle of the main lobby area, and the rest of this main room had seating and seemed designed to feel like a central gathering place rather than a check-in/check-out hub. I'm not sure it is totally my preferred style, but the design was effective.
Our concierge was very efficient and professional upon check-in. We asked if any room upgrades were available, but it seems like all of the superior suites (with the exception of the presidential suite) have only one king bed instead of two double beds. Thus, we stuck with what we had and proceeded to the room. I had requested a high floor (there are only four) with a nice view. We were not disappointed. Our room was on the third floor and was overlooking the Great Lawn, which was set up for a wedding later that evening.
Upon entering the room, there is a very large wraparound couch on the right with several ottomans and a large TV facing the couch. There was plenty of empty space in the middle of the room, and we felt very comfortable hanging out in the living room. The bedroom was to the left and featured two highly comfortable double beds. The closet had two bathrobes (which we of course used), and the bathroom connected from the bedroom to the living room with doors on each side. The bathroom itself featured L'Occitane bath amenities and contained a spacious shower and jacuzzi tub. The marble in the bathroom was beautiful, and you could easily tell that the quality of the materials used to build this suite along with the attention to detail in craftmanship was far superior to the standard rooms in the hotel and tower. Furthermore, between the bedroom and the living room, five young adults were very comfortable.
Finally, for the best part, our suite featured a beautiful and tremendous balcony (overlooking the Great Lawn). I'm not good with actual dimensions, but the balcony was big enough to hold a party for twenty to thirty people. The view was beautiful; we even saw a wedding party taking pictures in the lobby below. The only down side is that there is not much privacy while on the balcony. Our balcony could be viewed from above, below, and the sides. However, it didn't bother us, as we were waiving to the wedding party below. The balcony also featured a hot tub which comfortably fit four.
We checked out the Lodge pool, which is much nicer than the hotel/tower pools, but didn't use it. My brother and I did, however, get massages at Skana (the spa). Apparently there is a day spa at Turning Stone as well (Ahsi), but for a little more money, Skana is really quite beautiful and worthwhile. This was only my second massage experience, and I have nothing but good things to say. The facilities themselves are excellent, including a co-ed spa pool and other amenities you don't find at your run-of-the-mill spa. The therapist was excellent as well. Spa services here, however, are on the more expensive side, largely due to the luxury facilities. In my opinion, however, it was totally worth it.
I gambled before my massage and a little bit after, and we prepared for dinner at Pino Bianco--my favorite Turning Stone restaurant. Pino was excellent, and everyone agreed. We ordered a few appetizers and split some different entrees. I don't remember what everyone got, but I do remember that there were no left-overs. Even with appetizers and drinks, everyone ended up paying less than $20 per person because of comps. I think Pino is probably the best restaurant at Turning Stone for quality (better than Forest Grill IMHO), value (cheaper than some of their other restaurants), and atmosphere (Pino has the upscale feel of a nice restaurant without the stuffiness of some of the others).
After dinner we went back to the room for awhile and then gambled for the rest of the night. I ended up winning a little, but everyone else lost. Overall, the Lodge truly enhanced our experience and enjoyment to a much greater degree than a regular room could have. The tower rooms are nice, but having a beautiful Lodge suite just made the trip so much better. A few negatives/observations about the Lodge and Turning Stone in general:
- The Lodge is connected to the rest of the resort through an aboveground indoor walkway. You can also walk outside to get there. The walk is not all that far (especially if you compare it to one of the rooms in the hotel on the opposite end of the building), but it is not as close as the Tower. While this would never be a breaking point for me, it is something to keep in mind. I would say that it took us no more than four to five minutes to go from our room to the casino, and we even made several trips back and forth. If you have difficulty walking, however, this might be something to consider. I do believe, though, that the Lodge was intentionally built separate from the rest of the resort to provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of the casino, which it certainly does.
- The privacy issue I noted earlier on the balcony--this is not a big deal, but it might be a point of concern for some.
- We had a regular suite, but not all of them come with balconies. And even some of the balcony suites do not have hot tubs on the balcony. Make sure you distinguish between jacuzzis (the tubs in the bathroom) and hot tubs (on the balcony and outside). The balcony and hot tub cost extra but were totally worth it. Also, some of the balconies are completely closed off in the winter, so make sure you ask if you really want this.
- Turning Stone has become more of an overall destination--rather than just a casino attracting truckers and college kids--with the addition of Lava. However, they really need to add some nightlife venues aside from the nightclub. It would be nice if they had one or two bars on and off the casino floor which would have music and a good atmosphere but differ from the club environment.
- The hotel balcony suite was very nice, but it lacked the hot tub and had no view of interest. I also believe the hotel balcony suite usually costs more than a Lodge suite like this, which I don't understand. The Lodge offers a better environment in general--including the room--than both the hotel and Tower. Also, the hotel balcony suite was comparable in size to the Lodge, but the Lodge suite felt newer and a bit nicer.
In sum, our stay at the Lodge was excellent, and we will definitely return.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC