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“Relaxing and beautiful resort”
Review of Tamarack Resort

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Tamarack Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Donnelly
San Juan Capistrano, California
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Relaxing and beautiful resort”
Reviewed 28 July 2011

We spent a few days here in mid-October just as the leaves were turning. The air was crisp and perfect for hiking, walking, and golf. The Lodge at Osprey Meadows is perfectly situated to take advantage of beautiful views of Lake Cascade, the Tamarack Resort ski mountain, and the pristine golf course. Golf course view rooms are most desirable but the other side of the building is fine too. Rooms were good sized and clean. Morels restaurant, on the premises, has very good food but is not open every day. In Donnelly, about 10-15 minutes away is a great restaurant called Buffalo Gal, not to be missed.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank JaneSJC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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98 reviews from our community

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English first
Boise, Idaho
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 July 2011

My family stayed in a gorgeous, well-stocked and comfy Tamarack townhouse for one night during the 2011 Fourth of July weekend. We chose Tamarack over McCall in order to avoid the McCall crowds during this busy summer weekend and because the Tamarack townhouses were available for one night rentals. (All McCall rentals I found online had a 2-night minimum stay.) After driving up from Boise and spending the early part of the day on Payette Lake, it was an easy half-hour drive away from the hustle and bustle back to Tamarack for a quiet and serene afternoon and evening.
We found that the financial problems of the Tamarack Resort didn't affect our stay at all. Everything in the townhouse was in perfect working condition and was immaculate.
We were very satisfied with the level of service provided by Valet Vacation Rentals, including their cheerful and professional response to my request to have someone double-check the townhouse BBQ for propane before our arrival, since we were planning a special birthday dinner.
We enjoyed the beautiful lodge swimming pool overlooking the golf course and lake during the afternoon, margaritas and steaks out on our private townhouse deck overlooking the forest in the evening, the private hot tub on the patio at night, and a walk with the dog along the resort trails the following morning.
Perhaps one of the reasons we had such a lovely quiet relaxing time at Tamarack is because it's not operating at full steam right now and, as such, it wasn't very crowded. We definitely recommend it to like-minded travelers who also want to get away from the madding crowd.

Room Tip: Valet Rentals has a great website with detailed discriptions of each townhouse. We chose the one tha...
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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1 Thank happycushycamper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boise, Idaho
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2011

Staff and owners of the restaurants and ski rental shop were wonderful to us. Top rate service for a wonderful price.

It's too bad they are linked to the lodge. We were told the lodge had internet access. The next day we learned that only a few rooms have access and there is no WiFi nor access to other visitors except 8-4 at the ski area restaurant when the IT guy isn't working on the lifts.

We were told that we could cross country ski right from the lodge. We found out that the snow removal equipment made a 5' X 10' wall of snow making it impossible to get to the "trail" even if there had been one.

We took the lamp shades off the lights in order to get enough light to read and used shopping bags to suppliment our room's one, tiny trash can in the bathroom. The cracks in parking garage wall with water flowing through them and over an electrical outlet probably wouldn't pass a state safety inspection.

When I asked about the lack of services, I was told that with a 20% unemployment rate, this was like a third world. For $125/night, plus $65 maid clean fee, I expected better amenities than I got at $8 - $20/night hostels.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank LNoletZuckerman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Austin, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 2010

Tamarack is a curious place these days as it continues to struggle to find a buyer and at the same time trying to stay open as a resort – sort of. It is bankrupt, in every sense of the word, but still hoping to survive more or less intact. The degradation of facilities at the resort over the last year was truly amazing. The resort, which is about a 2.5 hour drive (in summer) from Boise airport, is located in a beautiful location and the scenery is spectacular. The original plan was for an “all things to all people” resort: Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, golf, zipline, disc golf, hiking, dirt biking, a marina, restaurants, hotel and all sorts of accommodation – you name it. Sadly however this very ambitious concept was poorly thought out, lacking woefully for competent management to execute the plan and then, poor economic times hit. The result is that today the place is a shell of what is was supposed to be with property owners and locals holding their breath for the last 1.5 years in the hopes of a buyer coming along.

The houses, townhouses, and cottage are high quality residences and are keenly priced to rent. However there is a reason for these low prices – the place is a virtual ghost town with few of the original resort facilities available – and those which are available are suffering from an obvious lack of investment. The whole infrastructure of the place screams “we need some investment and professional management” as can easily be seen from: the unfinished buildings with bare Tyvek barriers flapping in the breeze; the massive crane over unfinished building works which has laid dormant since about March 2009; leaking roofs and windows on the unfinished buildings; streetlights and other lighting in common parts burned out for extended periods; abandoned home foundations; foreclosure notices posted, roads needing resurfacing; a reduced proprietary Tamarack Internet and TV service; an information website that is woefully out of date and; various vehicles just parked for months in open lots suffering from a lack of any type of attention over the seasons. However one of the bright spots at Tamarack are the members of the security force who are on duty and are attentive, friendly, and very helpful.

The main features of the resort are in varying states of play including but not limited to:
• Food - There is no place to eat at Tamarack. Someone tried to open a small facility with a very limited menu in the Lodge in August. However that was open limited hours for a few weekends and then closed later in the month and then opened for a couple more weekends and then closed until the winter – when it hopes to open again - maybe. This means the closest places to eat are only a coffee shop and one restaurant (which is not open all week) in Donnelly (20 miles round trip). Otherwise you need to go to McCall which is 44 miles round trip. For food shopping you must go to McCall. One rental agent does not tell you this ahead of time so there have been many renters unpleasantly surprised upon arrival in the area. (Comically the printed information Valet Vacation Rentals provides upon arrival at your rented property states and I quote, “There are no services at Tamarack currently open so make certain you do your grocery shopping in Boise”. That is not a lot of help considering you probably just came from the direction of Boise and in any case the first supermarket in the Boise area is roughly 210 miles round trip away from the property at Tamarack back to Boise.)
• Skiing - closed down 19 months ago and as of early September 2010 there had been no maintenance done on any aspect of these facilities. This summer some of the resort maintenance equipment (such as Sno-Cats) was repossessed and there is/was even a possible repossession fight going on regarding some of the lifts. A group of homeowners are going to reopen (on 12/20/10) a portion of the mountain (not the whole mountain or all of the lifts) to skiing this winter but it will be a “shoestring” operation with the place only open 4 days per week. They plan to also have some limited food service. The decision to open the skiing is not one founded in the altruism of the homeowners - as they readily admit. It is motivated by their desire to try to stem the devaluation of their property values as well as try to make the whole resort a more attractive proposition to a potential buyer.
• Golf – the golf course is a stunning layout and when it opened in 2006 received awards and accolades. As is the case with so much of the resort it has suffered also from a lack of investment, attention and, professional management. There are less than flattering reviews on Trip Advisor and other places online that pretty well (albeit bluntly) sum up the 2009 condition of the course. The course lost its ranking with Golf magazine this summer and perhaps will lose its ranking with Golf Digest. This past summer there was a full time grounds crew of only 6 people to take care of this expansive course (compared to a staff of 14 I am told were working the year before and compared to about 20-24 people a course like this would normally employ). One manager from the firm managing the course summed up the situation by saying, “We only have 6 full time people and couldn’t afford fertilizer until early August so there was only so much we could do”.
• Hiking – there is/was an extensive network of trails, of varying degrees of difficulty designed into the resort and that plan should make Tamarack a great place for hiking. However again the trails have not been maintained, a number of them this summer were overgrown or blocked by fallen trees to the point of impassable and signage has fallen or has been damaged. Nonetheless once you find the open trails this is a wonderful place to hike.
• Dirt biking – obviously there are no operating downhill dirt biking activities now as there were taking place in the past. Likewise the structures at the Bike Skills Park have now all fallen apart and are unusable.
• Disc (Frisbee) golf – This has just been abandoned to the elements and visitors struggle to even find the course let alone the next hole as they try to go round the course. No one seems to be able to supply a map of the course so ironically the only people using the course are “local residents” who have kept their maps from years gone by.
• Zipline – the zipline is the one bright spot at the resort as it is privately managed and well run by no nonsense owners. They have a variety of cables on the mountain and combined with various canopy tours, a very friendly staff and proper training, this makes for a really exciting and fun experience.
• Accommodation - is excellent if one rents a cottage, townhome or house. The Lodge seems to be a different story as there is literally no staff working there and individual accommodations vary radically. The front desk is haphazardly staffed a limited number of hours by a member of the staff of one the local rental agencies (VVR) and if one is not renting through that agency then they are reportedly of very little help to Lodge guests. If you check in during evening hours there is no one there and guests are greeted by a sign which disconcertingly asks them to sign a book in the lobby so the Fire Department can find them in the case of an emergency. Numerous guests this summer nicknamed it “The Shining”. Cleaning is patchy in the various Lodge accommodations as is Internet service. The cottages, townhomes and houses are almost entirely privately owned. The financial well being of the owner and, whether or not they are financially “underwater” on the property, tends to be the predicating factor on the maintenance status of the property. (This is understandable as practically every property, if not all the properties, are worth now much less than their original sales price.) It is not unusual to find hot water, heating or appliances not working upon arrival (and that was just my 2 visits).

There are two main rental agencies handling Tamarack Properties – Idaho Resort Rentals and Valet Vacation Rentals - with at least two smaller companies trying to make inroads into this game. Idaho Resort Rentals has a smaller stable of properties but seems to be more an actual property management company and thus there are few guest complaints about the condition or cleanliness of their rental property. Valet Vacation Rentals is a really just a rental agency with a large compliment of properties – it seems too large for their staff and capabilities – and thus rentals from them are most charitably described as a “hit or miss” proposition. They appear to try hard to please initially but their only interest is to get you into a property by any means possible so they get their commission. You are then left to your own devices. Cleaning fees are very high and others have complained of even further cleaning fees being deducted from deposits. A number of the properties being rented are, or have been in foreclosure proceedings and this summer season more followed. (Whilst I was staying there two neighboring properties were posted for foreclosure auction – one of the properties having a family renting and staying in it at the time when the papers were served.) If you are thinking of visiting you should ask the status of the property which you are considering renting as needless to say those in foreclosure are not receiving sufficient investment for even the most essential maintenance work. Also be aware that if you call the number of the Tamarack Resort web site for lodging you are getting connected directly to Valet Vacation Rentals – not the actual resort or any other agent – and thus you will be limited to VVR services and properties only.

Going forward most property owners and people living in the area are quite excited about the prospects of a buyer. There is reportedly now a firm offer from one buyer (although his credentials have people concerned) and most homeowners are confident that with the opening of the ski season more buyers will be knocking at the door. If they get lucky and get a qualified buyer, who actually wants to make this a resort, not just a property play, then Tamarack has the potential to be a quite pleasant place a few years down the road.

In the interim, caveat (renter) emptor.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled solo
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Helpful?
6 Thank bluemouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
1 review
Reviewed 7 September 2010

My wife and I recently stayed at one of the town homes at Tamarack Resort and had a fabulous time. Portions of the resort are closed and some of the amenities are not available, but the low prices for high quality accommodations and the fabulous atmosphere more than made up for the current reorganization. Our unit had a brand new outdoor hot tub, high quality finishes, a huge fully stocked kitchen, and fabulous views. All this for less less than the cost of a standard room at motel 6.

It was great. We had almost the entire resort to ourselves. No crowds, lines, or traffic. The pool at the club house has wonderful views and we had it all to ourselves. It was a very relaxing weekend and we look forward to going back. For the price, this is probably the best mountain resort in the country to vacation at. Last year, we went to Vail, and spent about 3-4 times as much and got a standard hotel room without extra perks like our own 6 person outdoor hot tub. We hiked, biked, played golf, swam, and just relaxed.

Some of the amenities are open, but the village is not finished, so we just drove to Mccall to do our shopping and sight seeing. I understand that some investors are trying to buy the resort now. Once it finishes the bankruptcy process and the village opens, the prices will never be this low again, so I would not wait until then to experience this truly fabulous resort. I was impressed with the quality of finishes in the lodge, as well as the private residences. I saw that some people were renting out huge custom homes for only a couple hundred dollars a night. Truly a great deal.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Broderick-123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2010

Very little good to say about our experience here. It appears that someone wanted to build a complete Whistler Village (Like Vancouver, BC) in just a few years. Way too ambitious, not enough money. They couldn't make it happen, but got too far to tear it down. Picture lots of large buildings, partially constructed, everything halted when money ran out. Bankrupt, but pretending like it is not.

A 5-star Trent Jones golf course and a beautiful lodge, and their website says they are open, so we thought we'd give it a try. Our credit card was charged immediately at booking, which was not disclosed. We then received an email giving us the details, including one big one: no food service was available. What they didn't say was that no food of any kind was available within 7 miles. The closest real grocery store was nearly 20 miles. We drove into tiny Donnelly and bought Subway sandwiches for dinner and a box of Hostess doughnuts for breakfast at a Stinker gas station. Yuk!

We knew that resort facilities were closed because of financial reorganization, but the lodge continues to advertise (and charge for) luxury accommodations. Well, our "luxury" was a simple king-bed hotel room, with inadequate amenities: just two towels, one bar of soap (to share between sink and shower), no shampoo, a thermostat that was locked to prevent adjustment, moldy cold coffee in the pot and keys still on the desk from the previous occupants. We did check and believe that the bedding had been changed. We expected, from the online advertising, more condo-like accommodations. For what we were charged, it should have been at least a suite with a view and a balcony.

We arrived about 5 pm, and it seemed that the last employee left the lodge by 6 pm. All the parking lots were totally empty. We did not see or hear any other guests. There certainly was no one to call if we needed anything. As night approached we were eerily reminded of the old Jack Nicholson movie, "The Shining." It was NOT a good feeling. There was a sign in the lobby that said guests were requested to sign in and out at the request of the local fire department, and that in the event of an emergency to call 911!

For golf the next morning, the pro shop employee was quite friendly. We were provided with complimentary bottles of water, tees, etc., which is expected at a quality course. But...the starter's booth was completely overgrown, obviously unused for a very long time. The greens were literally covered with sod patches, the fairways were clearly in need of a good mower, and large areas were covered with dead grass. This may have been a great course at one time, but it is way overpriced in its current condition. We saw just one other group on the course during the entire four hours we played.

We felt deceived by the advertising and were very disappointed with our experience at Tamarack.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank MrsMaestro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodrow,Texas
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 29 September 2009

We did not get the cottage shown in the photo, but realistically, we came here knowing there had to be a mistake, it would have been too good to be true. The cottage we did get, more than met our needs and is oh so nice! Everything we needed was here to cook the fish we caught right here on Lake Cascade. The town (Donnelly) lacks a grocery store, so if your planning to cook much, you need to stop in McCall or Cascade before you get here, but all the utensils and pots and pans and table settings and coffee pot and kettle are here. Nice cozy fireplace that lights with the flick of a wall switch, DSL and Cable in every room. Oh, and a hot tub all ready fired up when we got here.

Now the sad side, the Resort is incomplete and landscaping neglicted so at first glance you may think, "oh no". Really, it's no big deal because it is so quiet, you can just over look that as you relax and say,"ahhhhh". The beauty of God's nature over rides any negative here. The Golf Course is still operational as is the Zip Line.

Bottom line: Best Place two old grizzled professionals ever slipped off to for relaxation!

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Duckhuntergal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tamarack Resort

Property: Tamarack Resort
Address: 311 Village Drive, Donnelly, ID 83615-5014
Region: United States > Idaho > Donnelly
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Ski-In / Ski-Out Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Donnelly
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Tamarack Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 62
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tamarack Resort is a four-season ski resort located in Donnelly, Idaho just 90 miles north of Boise. Tamarack is the Treasure Valley's closest mountain resort with snowmaking abilities and is centrally located in the heart of endless recreational opportunities. During the summer, the resort is home to mountain both cross-country and lift-serviced downhill mountain biking, as well as hiking, whitewater rafting, zipline tours, watersports on Lake Cascade, and more. During Prime Summer & Winter Months, Tamarack offers a wide array of amenities from multiple restaurants, a local market, hot tub in the Lodge, and endless recreational activities. During Off Season, Tamarack is a great place to visit if your looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. This is a great place to enjoy the quiet, sitting by the fire, and just relax. There isn't many amenities available so be sure to rent a unit with a full kitchen or make reservations at your favorite restaurant in McCall. Guests can enjoy all the hiking trails, beautiful scenery, and ample wildlife. During off season, the hot tub in the Lodge is only open on weekends. Swimming pool is closed during off season. Tamarack has several lodging options available for you to choose from. Our Hotel rooms are available for 1 night stays and you will have access to the Hot Tub in the Lodge, also there are several condo's available with kitchens to choose from as well. If a cabin in the mountains is more your style, then we have several that range from Small Cottages, to Ski in/out Townhomes, to Large Chalets, and even Custom Estate Homes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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