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“Still...in the air...”

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Mountain Lake Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pembroke
Certificate of Excellence
hr1487
Level Contributor
157 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Still...in the air...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2014

My family and I traveled to Mountain Lake Lodge to spend a week late last month (June 2014). The resort has amazing potential but, sadly, falls very short of reaching it.

I'm somewhat conflicted on whether to go in to the problems we had during our stay simply because, in the end, the management made things right. I hope they make it through their "transition" phase of new management and renovations otherwise this amazing property is going to disappear. The vast majority of the staff needs to go. I'm all about supporting locals and local establishments but it seems that the area folk are extremely lacking when it comes to simple things such as cleaning and customer service (having said that a few good standouts: The entire staff of Outfitters especially Jess and Amanda whom we had the most interactions with, the guys at Treetops, and the staff at Harvest who despite being clearly understaffed and undertrained with NO apparent supervision, did their best to accomodate us during our week).

There doesn't seem to be any follow through: our cabin (the "famous" one and, based on the prices other people were paying to stay there, the most expensive one) was barely, barely cleaned the entire week and then a very poor excuse was provided, we never saw any management in the restaurant/bar area, the TV room in the lodge was filthy, filthy, filthy and NEVER cleaned the entire time we were there, and trash in the laundry room sat for four days. Its little attention to detail items that are going to drive this place out of business and, I know the GM is new, but she needs to hire some additional managers that hold people accountable ASAP. When our cabin was eventually vaccuumed on day 6 (yes, you read that right), we were told by the staff member that the other cleaning staff refused to come out to the cabins to clean. Come again?? There visible signs of wear around the property which are not huge issues to fix: trees infringing on staircases, worn out signs, informative papers being sundamaged and waterlogged (i.e. the story of the Lake stand and the towel sign in the pool area), trash and other items laying around (you had a wedding on Saturday....why are the tables, chairs, and other debris still apparent on Sunday and Monday??). Little things, yes, but easily fixed with some followup and backbone and given the cost of a stay should NOT be apparent.

I will agree with people that MLL is overpriced. In addition to the above staff issues they clearly need a Marketing person. Their website is misleading as it bills itself as a "summer camp" type of resort with many activities and a lake that fills as the season progresses. None of that is true. There were barely any organized activities for the kids (one in the afternoon on a handful of the days we were there) and the lake, a fascinating natural mystery, is anything BUT filling. That, coupled with the attention to detail issues, lends itself to reducing your prices until you can build yourself back up to your former premium price days. Lastly, if you are staying in either the Florida or Virginia cabin you should be provided a golf cart on checkin to move your items from your vehicle. There is no immediate parking and its a decent walk if you're hauling items for a family of six.

Now, if you can ignore some of the above minute details and you can get a great deal on the price (which, frankly I found out many people did by booking last minute....we seemingly got screwed by booking far in advance) I'd still say "Go for it" and here's why: The property is gorgeous, the trail system is awesome, the mountain air is clean, there's enough of a pond to spend a small amount of time kayaking or canoeing, there's a pool/hot tub, and the food is great. There is a Ziplining course, a Disc-golf course (on the old REAL golf course which has breathtaking views and the ruins of the old clubhouse), and abundant wildlife.

My wife and I would like to try MLL again but its guaranteed to be a final visit if the attention to detail issues aren't resolved and if they can't figure out a way to either reduce their prices or get more value out of what is charged.

I have no idea whether the management reads TripAdvisor but they have real opportunity in their grasp which I hope they don't squander. Best tips: Fire your current local staff and have some Europeans come in, hire an activities director (or put someone in charge of getting people together), change your name to Mountain Lodge and stop trying to bank off the lake (instead HIGHLIGHT its mystery on your website as opposed to duping prospective customers), and get people to follow up on attention to detail issues.

Room Tip: If you have small children and can afford it stay in either the Virginia cabin or the Florida cabin...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank hr1487
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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324 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (92)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2014

The most disappointing thing about writing this review is the fact that this resort has so much potential. The location and scenery are beautiful but that is pretty much were the positives end. My husband and I travel a great deal and have stayed at pretty much every type of lodging. We have stayed at very budget friendly hotels as well as splurged for upscale lodging experiences. The rooms and accommodations at Mountain Lake are extremely overpriced in relation to amenities offered and the rooms themselves. However, even being overpriced, what really ruined our stay was the staff. I have never experienced such incompetent and rude service workers. From the moment we booked, then paying the deposit, checking in, and throughout the weekend each time I had to speak to an employee I was astounded by the lack of courtesy and professionalism. Due to the overabundance of rude employees I would say that Mountain Lake has a serious management problem that needs to be remedied before I would ever recommend this resort to anyone.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank tbmoorefield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Heidi S, General Manager at Mountain Lake Lodge, responded to this review, 5 July 2014
tbmoorefield,

I, too, could not be more disappointed with our team. Considering the thousands of guests we host every year, it is rare to hear this kind of feedback. Thank you most sincerely for sharing your experience with us. The kind of attitudes you describe is not what we value here at The Lodge. We are commonly told that our staff could not be more friendly. This, I understand, was not your experience and you have my deepest apologies.

I am deeply committed to creating a comfortable, value-oriented experience that celebrates our pristine outdoors-- A place where folks can feel a million miles away from the pressures of every day life, and yet still really not be far from their own backyard. I assure you that your comments were taken to heart, not just by myself, but by our entire management staff.

I do hope that you will give our staff another opportunity to "wow" you and your husband. Please let me know personally should you decide to come this way again! I look forward to meeting you.

Kindest regards,

Heidi Stone
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Springfield, Ohio, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

We booked two nights here through Travelzoo and are very disappointed. The most "plain Jane" room we have ever been in.
To start with we drove around the building twice trying to figure out where to check in. The desk staff was not welcomeing at all. The toilet seat was all wet. What from we do not no. There is no soap for the sink. There was no pen or pencil in the room. Now that sounds pretty whinney but I needed one and none was provided. The bathroom looked like I might expect a prison bathroom to look like. No TV's in any room. Our Travelzoo voucher included a $50 activity credit. We asked about a Golf Cart rental which they offer for $35 to tour the grounds, but of course As we expected that wasn't included. We told them we're not using the second night. They didn't even ask why.
There big claim to fame is the this is where the movie "Dirty Dancing" was filmed. It must have been a lot better back then.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Loring W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Heidi S, General Manager at Mountain Lake Lodge, responded to this review, 5 July 2014
Dear Loring W,

Thank you for your review. We are committed to creating a comfortable, value-oriented experience that celebrates our pristine outdoors. I apologize that you were unaware that there was no TV in your room. We do have televisions in all of our accommodations except for the Main Lodge. Most of the folks that stay in the Main Lodge actually request it for that reason. Again, I apologize that this was not made clear to you. At the beginning of 2012, all of the rooms in the main lodge did undergo a major renovation. We were particular in making sure that all of the rooms were refreshed with new beds and bedding, new carpet, paint, art work, and decor!

Despite our best efforts to deliver the highest possible caliber of quality and hospitality following a dramatic revitalization and improvement of our property, things don't always go as planned. Again, thank you for alerting us to your experience. The management staff and myself do take these reviews seriously with our staff.

I do sincerely hope that you will give us another opportunity to exceed your expectations. Please reach out to me personally should you plan another trip to beautiful Mountain Lake Lodge. I look forward to meeting you.

Kindest Regards,

Heidi
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blacksburg
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 June 2014

Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembrook Virginia has undergone a remarkable transformation and their restaurant is outstanding! I live in Blacksburg Virginia less than a half an hour away from the Lodge and I go there when company comes for the food. November of 2013 we had the best Thanksgiving meal there at the Lodge. It was a buffet type dinner and the food was delicious! They also have a scrumptious Sunday brunch complete with mimosas and it is very reasonably priced. For wonderful food in a beautiful mountain setting, I highly recommend Mountain Lake Lodge.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank VirginiaColor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oldham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 June 2014

Having dreamt for many years of visiting the hotel where my all time favourite movie was filmed, I could have been disappointed. Instead it went above and beyond my wildest dreams.

The staff were truly amazing. They were so friendly and went out of their way to make our stay memorable.

As there were eight in our party, we stayed in a Blueberry Ridge Home. Again this cottage was beyond our expectations. It had plenty of space for our party and was well equipped with everything we could need. It was truly wonderful to be in the forest with deer wandering past our door.

The Harvest restaurant provided delicious meals. The food was top quality and everyone in our party was more than happy with the amount of choices that were available.

There was only one problem with our stay... It just wasn't long enough. Our group travelled all the way from England, Ireland, Toronto and New York. We thought it would be a once in a lifetime trip. But we are all determined that we will return to the Mountain Lake Lodge and next time it will be for longer.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Caz-Doda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Roanoke, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2014

My husband and I spent a night at the resort this weekend, and were terribly disappointed. We felt like we paid an astronomical amount of money for a second rate hotel. A Hampton Inn would have been much nicer, and far less expensive.

When we arrived, guests were four deep at the front desk and two employees were shooting the breeze in the back of the front office while one poor employee tried to keep up with everything on their own. We started out with a walk around the grounds. There were lots of scenic views, which were nice. There was a sad little building dedicated to pictures from Dirty Dancing. Fans of the movie who come to the resort for nostalgia will be disappointed. It looked as though most were printed off of the internet, and were low quality. Some shots of the filming at the resort and information about the filming would have been more interesting. Most of the cottages were in need of some repair, and the stone benches throughout the property were moldy and gross.

We stayed in a two-room suite in the "renovated" lodge. I use the term loosely. It did appear to have new carpeting and paint, but that was about it. The paint job was badly done, with bits of the old paint job peeking out from under the new. The ceiling had obvious water damage that should have been repaired in the renovation, but hadn't even been painted. The "whirlpool tub" that we were promised was nothing more than a regular-sized bathtub with jets so ancient I was afraid to use them. The stopper in the drain would not work, so I was unable to take the bath I had been so looking for. My husband had ordered as a surprise a "romance package" which included champagne, chocolates, and strawberries when we arrived. It included exactly three strawberries and three chocolates, and a mid-quality bottle of very dry champagne. My husband went down the hall at one point to get us some bottled water and ice, and found that the machines on our floor were out of order and appeared to have been for quite some time. Another surprise was that there was no air conditioning. It wasn't so bad, as it was a very chilly night and it was pleasant to have the windows open. Still, the humidity was high and made it somewhat uncomfortable.

We ate dinner at the HARVEST restaurant, and it was okay. Definitely not worth the price we paid for it. The food appeared to have been just thrown on the plates. The flatbread appetizer we ordered was delicious, but the rest was nothing to write home about. My pork chop was so thick I could barely cut it, and very tough. My husband's chicken was really not much better than a grocery store rotisserie chicken. Our waiter was good, but clearly frazzled. The rest of the wait staff was polite, but clueless. They attempted to give us someone else's dinner no less than four times. They could not keep track of which meals went to which tables.

Later that night we were trying to relax in our room, and at that point the need to keep the windows open became a problem. Outside were several people driving golf carts, honking the horns. They were clearly intoxicated and making a significant amount of noise. It was a large nuisance, and lodge staff did nothing to intervene.

In the end, we were only an hour from our home and so we left in the middle of the night and didn't complete our stay. Very disappointing, as this was to be a romantic getaway for my birthday. We will not be going back.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank April L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Goochland, Virginia
Level Contributor
237 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 June 2014 via mobile

On several occasions our expectations were not met. However, we experienced an overall enjoyable weekend. When we looked through their website no events were listed. Upon arrival we found that a very large wedding event would be taking place throughout the entire weekend along with a Virginia Tech Alumni event on Friday and Saturday. Our planned Friday evening "quiet" dinner was drowned out by a nearby loud group. We were expecting a quiet enjoyable "menu option" breakfast on Saturday. Well, sorry no. For the regular guests they had set up a mediocre buffet breakfast in a small room adjoining the main dining area. We had to clear away the mess from the previous breakfast guests on a table ourselves in order to have somewhere to sit. Saturday dinner was somewhat quieter however the loud outbursts from several large nearby groups were a disturbance. Although dinner was excellent we were disappointed in not having an enjoyable quiet dinner that we had expected. Moving to Sunday breakfast. Yes, in the main dinning area, however, an even more mediocre breakfast "buffet". On two occasions I saw adults taking the plates that they had eaten from back to the buffet for seconds. This is a Virginia Department of Health violation and should not have happened. It appeared to me that this practice was ignored. Needless to say, we did not return to the buffet. We did have a better experience with our accommodations staying in the "Chesterfield" cabin that is located fairly close to the lodge but is isolated from the other cabins. The cabin lacks a view but offers more solitude then others. The first night we had no heat in the living area, however it was repaired the next morning. The staff was attentive, knowledgable and professional. As most know the lake was almost gone, but is on a long-term come back. Overall, it appeared the the regular guests took a back seat to those participating in the events. If you are considering a trip here and looking for quiet solitude and first-rate service I'd recommend staying here during the week when there are no large events. If you are considering a weekend call ahead to see if there are any large groups.

Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Terry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mountain Lake Lodge

Property: Mountain Lake Lodge
Address: 115 Hotel Cir, Pembroke, VA 24136-3055 (Formerly Mountain Lake Hotel)
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Virginia > Pembroke
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pembroke
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Mountain Lake Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 101
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The newly renovated historic Mountain Lake Lodge features 43 Rooms in Main Stone Lodge, 16 in Chestnut Lodge, 9 Mountain Homes in Blueberry Ridge, 8 historic rustic cabins and 9 Front Lawn Cottages on 2,600 acres of preserved mountaintop property owned by the Mary Moody Northen Endowment. Mountain Lake Conservancy, a non-profit organization founded in 1989, serves to protect the land and wildlife resources on the property for future generations. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mountain Lake Pembroke
Hotel Mountain Lake
Mountain Lake Lodge Virginia/Pembroke

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