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“Thanksgiving has gotten cold and hollow at the lodge.”

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Unicoi State Park & Lodge
Ranked #8 of 18 Hotels in Helen
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Thanksgiving has gotten cold and hollow at the lodge.”
Reviewed 29 November 2013

This review is coming direct from our lodge room using a cellphone to enter all this so hopefully not too many grammer errors .

Our family has been spending Thanksgiving here for that past ten years. Last year our only concern was that the formal thanksgiving lunch was moved from the Masters Hall area with white table clothes and linens (lots of holiday decor) to the inform dining area where every meal at the lodge is served on just plain tables and minimum effort. Just that change alone made the meal less "special".

This year it's worse. Same informal dining area but with worse food. The turkey.... Isn't what you'd serve at home. Used to be real whole turkey served up with "chunks" of white and dark meat like you would find at any family function. Not this year, looked like pressed white meat which was dry. And the gravy was hidden over on the salad area so no one found it until later. And who serves cranberry sauce hot and melty? Desserts were much worse this year with less variety.

This year they offered a Thanksgiving dinner buffet, not just lunch, so us and our two kids tried it as well, hoping for something better. Disappointment again. To start, the cashier ringing out a line of people should not also play hostess as to the fact you have to wait to be seated in a mostly empty area. We were then met with the exact same food from lunch but much less choices based on it being leftovers. I didn't think it could get worse but it did. Dry sticky potatoes. The roast from their carving station was now all cut up and dried out. Had to ask if they would bring out more rolls and dressing. The dressing can out after a few minutes but the rolls only made it out as we were leaving. What was left of the deserts choices were just sad. Besides seeing apple cobbler with no moisture in, the icecream machine was empty so you couldn't even help it if you wanted. There was one pumpkin pie and maybe 6 slices of dried out cake of different variety. My kids always love any deserts so its extremely sad when even they look and say no. Dinner definitely was not worth the price, which is sad because they used to have such wonderful food.

Also, the booming music flowing over from the new bar area installed didn't help the dinner experience.

All meals this year had 18% tip added. That was fine for the big lunch since service was good but the service wasn't so good for dinner and I would have tipped accordingly.

Paying for the big lunch... The server doesn't swipe your card, they pass that off to someone else who then mixes up the cards and charges the wrong totals to different family members. Some one else paid for my kids lunches. Bad service there.

Paying for dinner... You take your own bill to the register. Easy enough. However, watched the older gent in front of me try to pay and say he left the tip on the table to which the cashier charged him another tip and said its included automatically in the bill. After he complained for two minutes, saying he's not tipping twice, the cashier reluctantly got up to get the manager. Where was the manager... Hanging out in the bar area... which is less then professional. Then to top it off, its some young girl who partially shaved the side of her head. Again less than professional. I watch as she never appologized or talked the gentleman but simply voided his transaction and rerang it without the tip. All I can say is the lack of customer service means that guy isn't bringing back his family.

Ok. The lodge itself has no character anymore. It's now an empty shell. Used to have quilts and a special little gift shop that the women loved. All gone. Just some high dollar cheap looking cafe thrown in a little hole that has offers a few souvenirs.

The festival of trees this year... Looked empty. No holiday music and no large lodge christmas tree with bears as which has always been the tradition. Only have the gas fireplace was turned on. Very little holiday decorations. You can't just put out some red poinsettas and call it decorated.

The rooms at the lodge have always been run down but the lodge hospitality and inviting atmosphere have always made up for it. Don't stay here if you're looking for a nice room. These have always been subpar.

Humm... What else. Tried to check in three times but the staff couldn't do it because the power was out. They finally did decide later to check us in without power. Why couldn't we have gotten checked in earlier... Idk. Atleast offer free breakfast or something for making guest repeatly drive back over and over to see if they can check in.

Still have 2 more days here so a future post may still come.

  • Stayed November 2013
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Helpful?
3 Thank akinsfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (149)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2013 via mobile

It's not the fanciest but it's comfortable and has lodging options and lots of things to do. Convenient to Helen and the surrounding areas.
Plan on wearing comfortable shoes and check the weather and have fun enjoying north Georgia at its finest.

Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank jvmssi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
123 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 November 2013

Our family of four, both children under age 10, enjoyed the 2.5-mile walk on the Lake Trail! We really loved making this part of our weekend in Helen!

Helpful?
1 Thank Lisa F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kennesaw
Level Contributor
39 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 2013

Our recent stay at the lodge rooms was pleasant and comfortable. These rooms are spacious, nice size bathrooms, large windows with dark lined drapes for late sleepers, and the beds are comfortable. The lofts are meant for children and not adults, the ladders are perfectly safe, I would not let my small child climb a ladder unattended any where, so I would expect you would be cautious as they climb up or down. My 6'4" teen son slept in the loft and loved having his private area to watch his movies and sleep. Our room did not have any smells and was clean, we stayed in building "A". The best part about these lodge buildings are the common spaces. The large comfortable "living rooms" have a nice size card table, lots of comfortable chairs and a TV. Our family loves to play games, and cards and this is the perfect place to relax and play while watching a football game or movie. We also loved the upstairs area in the main building with the ping pong table. We had a very serious tournament going on and one of the staffers even came by and challenged our champion to a game. Very friendly and accommodating staff, from the front desk to the wait staff. We also loved the Sports Bar, we visited it late a few nights and the Bar Tender (lady) was more than willing to wait on us and was very patient with our large party of needy patrons. There is also a nice green space between the buildings with benches and porch swings and plenty of room to toss a frisbee or football. Over all you can't beat this property for the price when you compare it to the hotels in Helen, they are more than double the price. If your looking for a more expensive lodge try Brasstown Valley, but it will cost you considerably more. We are fortunate to have a State Park that still operates a lodge in this area.

Room Tip: Elderly should ask for floor on lower level. Only stairs to the upper levels.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Morristravels12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peachtree City, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 October 2013

The rooms were horrible and outdated. The entire hotel was outdated. Dingy smell, no artwork on the walls, needed painting badly. The only thing good was the breakfast. The mattresses on the beds were very thin, with wires sticking into your back, you roll to the center of the bed. We had a loft room and the climbing of the ladder attached to the wall I consider to be dangerous for children. The walls were very thin and you could hear people speaking. The room was not cleaned when we returned in the evening which we found odd as we saw the cleaning service in the hallway when we left. The hotel did return a little of my money, but we left there very tired.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank cn32714
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Helen hotels

Cleveland, Tennessee
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 October 2013

This is a comment on my previous
(not recent!)
experiences with Unicoi Lodge, based on my experience during the '80's to early '90's period (I guess ;)
My wife and I stayed at this lodge many times, over the years. We always knew what to expect and it always delivered...nice, clean (the loft for the kids!), no frills, no phone, no TV back then (a good thing), a quiet and refreshing environment, beautiful mountain setting (steep trail heads abound), awesome double sided fireplace in the lobby, the handmade quilts on the walls, and a good buffet that had really REALLY good fried trout!

I swear we'd take a day trip from TN on the motorcycle (without the kids and ~ 100 miles) just to get the awesome trout! ...erm...Just an excuse to stay overnight ;)

Having said that, I'm just concerned it ain't what it used to be, based on some other recent comments, I really want that fish!
But I'm encouraged by the response of the owners/management who address the fact they are in renovation, and have the courtesy and forethought to reply here.
Nice to see they are paying attention to the customers!

I'll retire soon and hope to re-visit some of the special places that have won and warmed my heart, made irreplaceable memories ... this place is one of them.

I'll be looking forward to that legendary trout!

I'd hit 5 stars from long time memories, but I'll wait til I get there again (God willing :) before I post my rating...

See you there, in the near future!

Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Scarecrow1701
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Palm Beach, FL
Level Contributor
32 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 October 2013 via mobile

For some reason, I didn't expect much when I booked this room. My husband and I actually just really needed a place to stay, as he was doing a bike race. When we saw the room, we were shocked! It was nice, clean, and better than any chain hotel! The best part - our room had an awesome loft! Even though we are two adults, we still had fun climbing the ladder! I would definitely recommend this hotel, especially for families. I hear the hotel has a delicious brunch as well!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tigs2699
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Unicoi State Park & Lodge

Property: Unicoi State Park & Lodge
Address: 1788 Highway 356, P. O. Box 849, Helen, GA 30545-2326
Region: United States > Georgia > Helen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 18 Hotels in Helen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Unicoi State Park & Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 130
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Unicoi State Park Hotel Helen
Unicoi State Park Lodge And Conference Center Helen
Unicoi State Park Helen

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