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“What a jem of a find”

Black Bear Cottages
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Black Bear Cottages
los angeles, ca
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“What a jem of a find”
Reviewed 14 March 2011

We had to leave a different cabin rental (whole other review) late at night and were looking for a place to stay other than a motel. We stopped at Lakefront Cottages, but they had just rented out their last cabin. She gave us the number to Black Bear Cottages. I called desperate for a warm bath, a glass of wine, and a good nights sleep as it was 10pm on a cold Saturday night. Sharon let us know what was available and with what ammenities. The rate she gave us was very reasonable! When we got to the cabin, we were very pleasantly surprised! We were in Cabin #1. It has a nice jacuzzi tub for two, full kitchen, and rustic fireplace. It was a great weekend and the best we've slept in weeks! It is right on a road with cars zipping by at 40mph, but it didn't keep us up. The kitchen had some ants, but nothing too bad. Water pressure was low, but that's pretty universal for Big Bear. I would highly recommend this place for people who want a cozy romantic getaway for not too much money. Thank you, Sharon of Premeire Properties!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank easyguytoughwife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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13 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2010

Black Bear Cottages is actually pretty amazing. First, the office is pretty easy to find and the staff is actually quite friendly. Their office is not the most up-to-date in looks, but the staff was professional and very helpful! Check-in was extremely easy - we were in and out in 5 minutes. They provided the address for the cabin a very helpful map to help find the cabin. When we arrived at the cabin, we were amazed. The cabin was really nice from the outside and the view was spectacular! The trip was in March, and there was no snow, but it was spectacular nonetheless. When we entered the cabin, we were very pleased. Sitting on the counter was a nice little container with chocolates and a note thanking us for our business. There was coffee there for us as well. The cabin was extremely clean! There were plenty of clean blankets in the loft and the beds were clean as well. The only thing that kind of sucked was that the description upon booking said there was cable, and when we tried to turn on the TV it didn't work. However, they offer DVD's at their office so we went an rented one for the low price of FREE! I am extremely content with Black Bear Cottages. Also, you have to dispose of your own trash :) but it is extremely simple process and the nice little map they give you at check-in really helps. I will definitely do business with them again!

  • Stayed March 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JeskaS05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LA, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2010

This trip was such a disaster I barely know here to begin. The first thing to know is that John (manager/owner?) is a complete nightmare. He has ZERO customer service skills and has no idea how to run a hospitality business. Following is an overview of our experience: My boyfriend and I went to Big Bear to ski over a long weekend. As we were driving up to the mountain (from LA), we got a call from John telling us that the pipes were frozen and he didn't know if we would have water. He said that he was working on it but wouldn't guarantee anything. Since we were already more than halfway there, we decided to go for it. We popped into the Black Bear Cottage office when we got into town to check on the status of the cabin (as John asked us to do). John said that the repair person had not yet gone to our cabin and asked us if we would take the key to the cabin and wait for him. This seemed a bit odd to us...weren't we paying for this place? Why are we responsible for waiting around for the repair person? When we told John that we were actually hoping to go grab some food, he said "Listen, do you want running water in your cabin or not?! The office is really busy today and I don't have time to drive to the cabin and give him the keys. I'm trying to help you out!" Um, ok. So we drove to the cabin and waited for about 2 hours until the repair person showed up and fixed the problem. At that point, we thought the problem was fixed so we were happy. The next day, however, when we tried to shower, we realized that the problem wasn't fixed. The water pressure in the shower was barely more than a drip. After a long day of skiing, all we wanted to do was take a nice hot shower. No such luck. We called John to let him know about the issue and he responded with "well, there's nothing I can do about it now. I'll see if I can give you a discount on the room." This was unacceptable to us and we told him so. He shot back with "I am eating dinner with my family!! There is nothing I can do about the shower now! If you don't stop talking about it I am going to hang up on you!" We couldn't believe it. We were incredibly disappointed. We weren't able to shower the entire weekend. The cabin itself was decent but a little run down and there were ants all over the kitchen. Also, the TV was tiny and didn't work very well. (The cabin wasn't cheap by the way). What makes all of this all worse is that we got engaged over the weekend, so one of our happiest days will always be a bit shadowed by a black cloud. I know that there are a lot of great reviews about this place. I wouldn't be surprised if John wrote them himself. His guilty conscience is so apparent in the lengthy "owner responses." I'm sure he will try to justify this one as well. My advice is to book with another company.

Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank lucite22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 February 2010

My friends and I rented two cottages this past Friday for one night and we wanted to stay longer!!!!!!! We were very happy with how cute the cottages were and how there was immaculate attention to detail. Everything was really clean and pretty and the beds are amazing. My friends and I had a great time. Thank you Cher!

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SGLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
twentynine palms ca
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2009

Everything was better than what was advertised. We stayed there for my husbands pre deployment leave & the management went above & beyond to satisfy my family. The cabin was spotless, beds were amazing, & the location was more than ideal. We were walking distance from nearly everything you could want. John even gave us a great deal for my husband being in the service! I can't express my gratitude enough. I will be going back this summer & I am absolutely booking thru this company again.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lola29palms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2009

I found Black Bear Cottages online after researching for my families trip to Big Bear California. I liked what I saw on the website, so I decided to book a cabin from them. The transaction went smoothly over the phone, but when I got there it was a different story. First of all ,their office is dirty and small and the employees are not very pleasant. After I signed the many forms they require, I was told that I should put the chains on my car because the cabin is on a steep hill. When we got to the street our cabin was on, the road was full of ice. We tried to get our van up the hill, but it was too steep and the turn into the driveway was too sharp. We ended up sliding and hitting a snow bank, damaging our car. Mind you my two small children were in the car when this happened. I called the office and told them what had happened. They sent their maintenance guy out to help us. After about 15 minutes we got out of the snow bank and drove back to the office. When I went inside the guy very rudely said "well what do you want me to do?" I told him I wanted another cabin that was not on such a steep hill. I also told him that it should have been disclosed on the website that the particular cabin I booked was on a steep hill and a 4 wheel drive might be needed to get to the cabin. He then said : "Ma'am you are in the mountains in the middle of winter. What did you expect?" I told him had I known the cabin was on such a steep hill, I wouldn't have booked it in the first place. I know that I am from San Diego and am not experienced driving in the snow. Then he went on to say that he could put me in another cabin, but it would cost me more money. By this time I was fuming and wanted to cancel my cabin altogether. We couldn't though because we would have been out over $400. So, I reluctantly paid the extra $100 for another cabin. He also made another rude comment about how they were working on the original cabin all day to get it ready for us. Anyway, the original cabin I had booked was within walking distance of the village. The new one he put us in was in Moonridge. It is not too far from the Village and lake, but you can't walk to it, you have to drive. The cabin itself was nice, clean and neat. The only thing that bothered me was the website boasted of thick towels and gourmet coffee. If that is what you are expecting don't hold your breath. We got scratchy hotel towels and Maxwell house coffee. Oh and don't ask for extra towels or toilet paper. You will get a rude comment from the employees about how all of that should be in the cabin already. They also make you take your own trash away to a dumpster. Not sure if that is a regular practice for renting a cabin, but I thought it was ridiculous. They also charged us almost $100 more for taxes and cleaning fees when we made the reservation. I would not recommend renting a cabin from this place! There are many other companies to choose from that will probably treat you better. We talked to a few locals about Black Bear Cottages and they said they hear bad stuff about them all the time. Try somewhere else, you will probably be happier.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank SoCalFamily0475
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Black_Bear_Cottages, Owner at Black Bear Cottages, responded to this review, 27 February 2009
This guest originally booked a different cabin on a flat street but called us back because they wanted the least expensive cabin we had that would fit her size family. Even though she booked it just the day before arrival and we specifically told her of our cancellation policy which states that there are no refunds for reservations made within 72 hours of arrival and that includes no room changes, we still changed cabins for her just hours before their scheduled arrival. The cabin we moved them to was on a short but relatively steep street. Knowing this can be difficult for anyone who is not used to driving in snow or ice, we put a specific notice on the web page for this cabin that clearly states “This cabin is located on a steep street that is not regularly plowed by the city. Access can be difficult in winter conditions. Four wheel drives or chains may be needed.” We also include a notice on our confirmation Emails that we send to EVERY guest warning them about winter driving conditions and also include a highlighted link to road and weather conditions. We do this because we don’t like to have our guests encounter unexpected problems. And please keep in mind that most other rental agencies don’t include specific warnings like this in their descriptions.

In order to do as much as possible to help this guest get access, 2 of our maintenance people spent several hours each on that property earlier that day doing nothing but snow and ice removal. The driveway and all walkways were completely cleared of all snow and ice. We cannot be responsible for the public street but we wanted to do as much as we could.

The guest arrived after dark. This can make it even more difficult because the snow melts all day long, then the runoff freezes after dark making it slippery. As far as our office being “dirty and small”, I plead guilty to having a small office. Our business has grown and we have nearly outgrown our current space but in this tough economy we are trying to save as much money as possible (and passing that along to our guests) so we are staying in our office. They arrived at the beginning of one of the busiest weekends of the year and we had just received a shipment of supplies, some of which were stacked in the guest reception area. Not dirty but perhaps a little cluttered. I’m surprised the guest said our employees were rude because I overheard this guest being checked in and both the guest and our employee who checked her in were enjoying a pleasant conversation. As far as the “many forms” the guest referred to, we have only one form plus a receipt that we ask guests to sign. I doubt it would be any different anywhere else she might have stayed.

The cabin was just around the corner from our office and not long after she left, we got a call from her saying she was having trouble getting from the street into the driveway and was literally screaming at our check-in person (I could hear her voice over the phone from 6 feet away) and accusing us of “jeopardizing the safety of her children”. I immediately sent over our maintenance supervisor who luckily had stopped by our office for another reason. He went right over and did what he could to help but the guest did not have chains on both drive wheels so he was unable to get her van onto the driveway. We notify all guests that chains may be required during winter months and this guest only had them on one wheel which is not adequate for winter driving in the mountains. She returned to the office and I was the one who helped her at that point. The only other cabin I had available was a little bit more expensive than the one she rented. I explained that it was not our policy to switch cabins unless there was something mechanically wrong with the unit they had originally rented. I further explained that driving in the mountains in winter can be difficult which is why we posted several warnings in places the guest could not possibly avoid seeing. However, even though it is against our policy, I offered her this other cabin but she wanted it at the same price as the smaller one she had booked. Since the reason for the switch was not our fault, I did not offer to discount the other cabin. If we had a cheaper cabin available, I would have been glad to switch the guest to that one but we did not have such a cabin available.

The guest claimed the coffee was Maxwell House. I’m afraid she is mistaken. We provide free Starbucks coffee in each of our cabins. I have cases of it in my office and we don’t stock or use any other brand. I know the Starbucks coffee was in the cabin because I personally inspected the cabin earlier that afternoon. The towels we use are thicker than any I have seen in other rental units. I have to admit to being confused at this guest complaining about them since she stole several of them.

I sincerely apologize for the guest feeling any of our employees had been rude. I am the owner of the agency and I overheard the conversation with my employee and there was no rudeness at all. When the guest returned, I was the one who helped her and I am the one who mentioned that driving in the mountains in the winter can pose difficulties but the guest again accused me of jeopardizing the safety of her children. I am not perfect and we all make mistakes, but I would point out the other positive reviews we have had where more than one individual pointed out that our customer service and personal attention was just as good as the quality of our lodging. We enjoy a solid reputation among locals here and for this guest to say that anyone said anything negative about us is simply unfair unless she can point out who said it. The guest complained about having to take her trash to one of the public dumpsters set out specifically for that purpose. That is common policy in Big Bear and in fact is mandated by City ordinance.

I feel we did everything in our power to satisfy this guest. We switched cabins for her twice. I spent over $100 in labor to have 3 different employees clear snow and ice and even try to park her van for her. We did everything we could to tell her what to expect. We posted warnings on our website. We sent her an Email that had information about winter driving as well as a link to road and weather conditions. Unfortunately, this guest apparently chose not to read these warnings and as a result, she did not take reasonable precautions and had problems dealing with the elements. She accused us twice of jeopardizing the safety of her children when in fact she was the one who jeopardized the safety of her children by not reading the many notices we provided and not checking road conditions before she set out to come to the mountains in the winter. We understand that folks like to come to the mountains in the winter to see the snow but some of them fail to realize the challenges the snow may pose. This guest is one of those people and would probably be better off not visiting the mountains in the winter.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 February 2009

We (10 of us) stayed at one of their properties name Adorable Castle. It is a gorgeous place with very comfortable beds. Everything including the kitchen is in good shape. Directions as to what the property manager expects from customers are clear. There was more than enough space for all of us. We had lots of fun at the place except I wish the property manager was more clear about the BBQ grill. We spent $250 on ingrediance for BBQ and only to find out that the grill was out of gas. When we called the manager, he said they don't guarantee the BBQ grill would work in the winter time............. that was a big disappointment for us. I was not happy with his answer, but we moved on cause everything else was great about this place. We ended up cooking everything in the kitchen and we still had fun.

Recommandation#1 : If you are staying during time of snow, make sure you have a 4WD vehicle due to the extramely steep drive way. Not any 2WD vehicle would make it

Recommandation #2: Try to fit everyone in 2 cars cause the drive way only fits 2 cars. There is no street parking available and the next public parking is about 4-5 miles away.

  • Liked — Cleanliness
  • Disliked — Only has enough parking for 2 vehicles
  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jitjet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Black_Bear_Cottages, Owner at Black Bear Cottages, responded to this review, 2 March 2009
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I also want to thank you for opening my eyes to a policy of ours that needs to be changed. From now on, we will do our best to make sure barbecues are available all year-round because we know many guests like to grill outside even in cold weather!

Don't forget your 'return guest' discount next time you want to come to Big Bear - just call us!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Black Bear Cottages

Property: Black Bear Cottages
Address: 42440 Moonridge Road, CA 92315
Region: United States > California > Big Bear Region
Hotel Style:
Ranked #34 of 45 Speciality Lodging in Big Bear Region
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Black Bear Cottages Hotel Big Bear Lake

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