A colleague booked our accommodations based on TripAdvisor reviews. As a fellow hotelier, I acknowledge that I might notice details overlooked by the average guest, but that is part of my job. There are some really great aspects to this hotel experience, and also a few things that need some work (which is true of any hotel).
**Front Desk/Lobby/Check-In Experience:**
We arrived at check-in time to find one of our three reservations was missing. This was slightly concerning, but quickly remedied by a supervisor who aided the front desk agents in getting me a room, plus complimentary upgrades for our party to the Executive King room type.
I would like to encourage management to encourage the front desk staff to let guests know of hotel amenities and hours. There was no mention of breakfast (which is a complimentary hot buffet), internet access codes (also complimentary), pool hours, nor restaurant (on-site) information communicated.
My colleagues and I wandered around the camp-like lobby. We noticed an odd-looking elevator (see photo) but wasn't sure this was for guests, as it looked like a service elevator, but couldn't find the stair case, at it wasn't labeled. Eventually, we found our way to the stairwell and to our rooms.
We were in an upgraded Executive King room (highly recommended). It was easily one of the largest hotel rooms I've ever stayed in and was an exceptional value for the price we paid. The living room was expansive, with a pullout sofa, wetbar with [very dated] microwave and large mini-fridge, work desk, and flat screen TV. I was a bit surprised to see there was no chair for my desk. I had to call down and a very friendly housekeeper supplied me with a chair...from the vacant room adjacent to me.
There was a large private bedroom area with an additional TV and separate door, which would be great for anyone traveling with kids. The bathroom was VERY clean (though I had no shampoo/conditioner/lotion). The toilet water was yellow, but this was clearly from rust in the pipes - not uncommon for an older hotel. I appreciated the shaving mirror, which I tend not to see in hotels of this star level.
One thing I must point out was the amount of dust in the room (see photos). The hotel is older and dust is to be expected, however it was in visible places that was almost impossible to ignore. Given this hotel is clearly a seasonal lodge, it is likely some rooms sit vacant for extended periods of times, so I was able to overlook this.
The hotel is quite large, and the hallways are very wide, if not a little humid/musty smelling. While everything was clean and well maintained, there was very little signage to direct guests, even on doors leading to the lobby/stairwells. A washcloth was used to prop open the door to one wing, which is not acceptable under the best circumstances (see photo). I also noticed a ton of banquet props blockading an ice machine on the second floor, which surprised me.
The fitness center (which I used) had a nice flat screen TV and a decent amount of equipment. Treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and a weight machine. All machines were in very good condition. The pool area looked nice, but I did not get to take advantage of it during my stay.
The on-site restaurant and bar provided my group with dinner. Service was quite slow, but staff was friendly and attentive. The menu was quite diverse and the turkey burger I ordered was very good, as far as turkey burgers go. Some nice views overlooking the grounds out back, including the giant orange moose (look up the local lore) and pond.
Breakfast the next morning was sufficient. Scrambled eggs, sausage links, biscuits/gravy, cereals, danish, and some rather bland coffee. But it's complimentary. One doesn't complain about free.
Overall, I would recommend the hotel for anyone looking to stay in the heart of Wisconsin. The outdoor recreation in the area looked to be great. Despite it's age, with a little closer attention to detail in housekeeping and front desk departments, this Northwoods-themed resort hotel could easily be worthy of a five-star rating. It is older, but a great value for the money paid with a ton of amenities included.
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Arrowhead Hotel Black River Falls
- Best Western Black River Falls
- Black River Falls Best Western