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“Very convenient & better than expected”
Review of State Game Lodge

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State Game Lodge
Ranked #7 of 17 Hotels in Custer
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago
Level Contributor
36 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Very convenient & better than expected”
Reviewed 7 July 2011

We stayed here twice, 2 different rooms and foun dit much better than expected for park lodging. A bit expensive, but close to wildlife drive (went on it 3 times), drive to Mt. Rushmore, Needles drive. Relatively quick drove from Rapid City and easier location than other lodges. We stayed in Creekside, lodge, which seems much quieter and nicer than original lodge (we did see and hear those rooms when we dined). Unfortunately, we did not get a balcony room and first stay was only parking lot view (but actually very quiet). Hallways were less quiet, as parents seem to think this is a good place for kids to run off excess energy for getting into the car. Second stay we also heard next door TV a bit.
Rooms are VERY large -- you could fit 3 NYC hotel rooms in), with coffee pot, microwave, and small fridge that was very useful for all our picnic food. Lovely massive counter at sinks, so whole family can spread out all their shaving, makeup, etc. paraphernalia. Abundant towels (big enough to wrap in!) and toiletries. Very clean, probably a challenge since most guests are picnicking and tracking in dirt.
Only drawback was the "gourmet" dining room. Good location , but overpriced and very ordinary. We skipped the dining room for a picnic one night; too bad we did not have microwavable food!
It was so decent & convenient that we stayed again on our way back to the airport. The bison herd finally did show up that time

Room Tip: Creekside is nicer, try for room on second floor with balcony.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank AlwaysPacked2Go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sglmanager, General Manager at State Game Lodge, responded to this review, 8 July 2011
Thank you for your recent review. Custer State Park the State Game Lodge and the Creekside Lodge Addition is a great spot to headquarter out of to see the abundant wildlife and natural beauty of Custer State Park and the Black Hills. I appreciate you taking the time to write the review and I hope you can make a return trip to the Black Hills and hopefully you can take our Buffalo Safari Jeep Ride next time and get right in the middle of the Buffalo herd.
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (91)
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San Francisco
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2011

Stayed in housekeeping cabin #34 with another family, making it 8 of us total. Had brought my own cooking/kitchen equipment expecting nothing more than a fridge, stove, table, and sink. Whoever left the plates, cups, utensils, cast iron frying pan, toaster, soap, paper towels and more really gave our group a pleasant welcome to our stay. We all felt very much at home with the flat screen TVs for the kids when it was too dark to do much outside, a common area for playing board games, close proximity to general store, laundry facilities, and Norbeck Visitor Center. We spent 3 days at CSP, but only stayed 1 night and wished we had stayed 2 more nights instead of at a standard hotel in a surrounding town (which incidentally was also very pleasant). After taking the CSP wildlife loop road (highly recommended if you drive onto the dirt roads available to the public...animal sightings in more natural rustic settings), we had lunch at the State Game Lodge Diningroom. Most of us ordered the lunch buffet (good value for hungry travelers) although my friend did order the Pheasant pasta which he said was the best meal during the entire Black Hills trip! Overall, staying at the SGL 8-person housekeeping cabin was one of the best decisions made while planning for this trip, just wished we had had more time.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GS2go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sglmanager, General Manager at State Game Lodge, responded to this review, 8 July 2011
Thank you for your recent review. Custer State Park and the State Game Lodge is a great spot to headquarter out of to see the abundant wildlife and natural beauty of Custer State Park and the Black Hills. I appreciate you taking the time to write the review and I hope you can make a return trip to the Black Hills in the near future and hopefully stay longer than one night.
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Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2011

I have been putting off writing this review for a couple of weeks since it is a hard one to write due to being disappointed. We feel like we got the bait and switch treatment & then found out the people staying in the cabin next to us had the SAME thing happen to them too!

Here we go~
First of all we were a group of eight all excited to stay at Custer State park. I called back in early March to book and had a hard time getting a room booked. I ended up giving the guy our dates in the area and he came up with one cabin for one night only that would work for us. I had wanted two cabins/rooms but he assured me the 3 room housekeeping BLUEBELL cabin would work and even gave me a virtual link to look at the room. I looked @ it while on the phone and booked it with him and was emailed my confirmation # . During the next couple of months I called 1/2 dozen times to inquire of any cancellations so we could at least stay 2 nights in the park...any place in the park and giving the reservation person my name & conf. # saying we were already booked @ Bluebell etc. and was always told nothing has opened up.

After a long morning/afternoon enjoying ourselves in C.S.P. doing the scenic highways etc. we drive across the park to Bluebell ready to check-in, eat and horseback ride & do chuck-wagon that nite....well we found out we WEREN'T booked at Bluebell but WAY back @ State Game Lodge cabins instead!

This is where all was wrong! The cabins were definitely smaller than the one I saw on the link given to me @ Bluebell & they were in need of a GOOD spring cleaning and 8 people in these cabins during a storm was very tight. There were about 30 dead flies in each of the window sills (had to clean clean them out so they wouldn't blow on us with the windows open). All the lights were also full of dead bugs & cobwebs here and there. I doubt these were used all winter but for $230 a night....they need to be spring-cleaned before opening!

Well on the positive side, we made the best of it and the kiddos LOVED after the storm we could get a fire started and roast marshmallows and have s'mores. We also had a buffalo very close to our camp that was fun to watch & the general store was nicely stocked and nice workers. We ate supper & breakfast at the State Game Lodge and it was very good.

Just disappointed that we ended up all the way over from the area we researched and planned our activities around. All in all Custer missed out of a lot of money from us......8 people horseback riding/ chuck-wagon dinners never got to happen.

I did call the reservation office and waiting a call back. Just be very sure you get what you book.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank luvthemtrips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sglmanager, General Manager at State Game Lodge, responded to this review, 8 July 2011
Thank you for your recent review. I am sorry that the cabin you booked did not meet your expectations. I remember visiting with you on the phone and I apologize again for the misunderstanding about your cabin. We do not do use the old bait and switch on our rooms. I understand how easy it is to be confused when talking to the reservations department and they are switching back and forth from one Lodge to a another and discussing one cabin type and then another. After we talked last I did more research into your situation and checked room availibilty at each Lodge when you confirmed your reservation which was April 8th. Blue Bell Lodge was 100% occupied at that time as well was Legion Lake and the State Game Lodge was at 70% occupied, with the majority of the open rooms being our Creekside Lodge along with the one 8 person cabin that you booked. I once again apologize for the confusion but as far as I could find you were never booked at Blue Bell Lodge and always booked at the State Game Lodge. We do are best to insure the rooms are clean and in good working order upon our guests arrival and we strive extremely hard to insure that each and every guest to our lodge receive the highest quality service and products, returning home with a very favorable impression of Custer State Park and our facilities. However, on occasion we fall short of the high standards we have set for ourselves and we appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to bring this to our attention. I have shared your review with the Reservations department as well as my housekeeping staff to help keep his happening again in the future. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
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Flemington, New Jersey
Level Contributor
125 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2011

We stayed in the Eisenhower Room of the State Game Lodge for four nights in June 2011. We enjoyed staying in the historic inn, but were disappointed that this "special" room where a president once slept had NO VIEW. It overlooks other rooms (probably added since his stay) ... hardly worth opening the shades.

In addition, the room has no place to sit to read or write. Basically, it is a room to sleep in and not much more. To watch television, you have to sit in bed. And the queen-sized bed is pretty high up from the floor, so older individuals may have difficulty getting in.

Still, it is quite elegant and I do not regret staying here. It is convenient to day trips in the park and surrounding area. We especially enjoyed driving the Wildlife Loop where we got close up views of bison, pronghorn, elk, and the begging burros.

The housekeeping staff was inconsistent. Most days they were fine, but one day they barely cleaned the room (except to throw the coverlet over the bed) and did not replace the shampoo, conditioner and lotion we exhausted. The front desk staff was friendly and helpful.

We ate most of our meals here at the inn, breakfast and dinner. The $11 breakfast buffet is OK, but scrambled eggs are the only egg choice and the buffet remains the same every day. You have the option to order off a menu, but that can easily exceed $11. At dinner, you can choose from salads, a few sandwiches, or entrees such as trout, elk tenderloins, or bison. Everything we had, we enjoyed. Dress is casual.

Bison roam on the front lawn ... where they also have weddings. The bison were enjoyable to watch from the rocking chairs on the front porch, but the wedding guests took the parking spaces and put a damper on our enjoyment of the facilities.

The inn has a nice gift shop which sells a variety of things from locally-made pottery and artwork to woolly bison hats.

Having given the negatives, I would still recommend staying here. The lodge is a memorable place to stay and Custer State Park is a great place to visit!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Route31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sglmanager, General Manager at State Game Lodge, responded to this review, 8 July 2011
Thank you for your recent review. I am sorry that the lodge room did not meet your expectations. The Historic lodge rooms at the State Game Lodge were built in 1920 and the the expectations of the traveling public were alot different than they are today.We strive extremely hard to insure that each and every guest to our lodge receive the highest quality service and products, returning home with a very favorable impression of Custer State Park and our facilities. However, on occasion we fall short of the high standards we have set for ourselves and we appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to bring this to our attention.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
687 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 317 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2011

My friend enjoyed his breakfast of the Strawberry French Toast, however my Bacon Spinach Eggs Benedict was a big disappointment. The eggs were hard boiled instead of poached, yuck. Our sever was so nice though, I couldn't bear to tell him my meal was terrible. The real star of our visit though was the Buffalo Jeep Tour. What a different way to experince the wild life of the area. Our tour guide Kathy was great. She knew her stuff and had a great sense of humor. Couldn't have asked for a better time!

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JGallagher28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sglmanager, General Manager at State Game Lodge, responded to this review, 7 July 2011
Thank you for your recent review. Custer State Park and the State Game Lodge is a great place to headquarter out. The Buffalo Safari Jeep Ride is a great way to see the interior of the Park and the wildlife. I'm sorry your poached eggs were not cooked properly, I will share your comments with my morning cooks to insure this doesn't happen to a future guest. We strive extremely hard to insure that each and every guest to our lodge receive the highest quality service and products, returning home with a very favorable impression of Custer State Park and our facilities. However, on occasion we fall short of the high standards we have set for ourselves and we appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to bring this to our attention.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
275 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2010

In May 2010 we stayed 3 nights at the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park. Unfortunately not in the beautiful and cosy old hotel but in a kind of motel room close to the old hotel. The bathroom seemed to be fitted for older or disabled persons and the sleeping room was pretty small. But the view was amazing: wonderful trees and we watched deer, mountain goats and ... bisons, four old bulls were slowly walking across the road towards our room, only 20 meters away from us, how thrilling! The pleasant service in the restaurant was done by people from outside the USA, in our case from Indonesia. They were very glad we could speak some Indonesian words and knew a lot about their kitchen (that's because Indonesia was a Dutch colony in the past). The food was decent, no more or less. Our main reason to visit the State Game Lodge was to do the Buffalo Jeep Safari (the start is from there), due to the heavy rain it was a bit disappointing but the nature is wonderful. We were very close to bisons and the driver was very friendly and helpfull. During our stay we enjoyed the splendid nature, I even had a very close encounter with a huge bull bison, I was only six meters away from him! When he started to become annoyed, I immediately took my escape route behind a lodge, then he became very quickly quiet ... and I had my awesome camcorder footage! We loved our stay at the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park (we also did two day trips in the park with ABS Travel), it's a very peaceful and clean place to relax and enjoy the lush nature and wildlife (I just missed a cougar a Park Ranger told me when I did one of my early morning walks). Recommended.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Neuteboom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sglmanager, General Manager at State Game Lodge, responded to this review, 1 February 2011
Thank you for your recent review. Custer State Park and the State Game Lodge is a great spot to headquarter out of to see the abundant wildlife and natural beauty of Custer State Park and the Black Hills. I am sorry the weather wasn't more cooperative for you during the Buffalo Jeep Safari Ride but it sounds like you enjoyed it regardless. I appreciate you taking the time to write the review and I hope you can make a return trip to the Black Hills.
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Connecticut
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2010

We stayed at Creekside - a new building of rooms a short walk from the State Game lodge. The room was very well appointed (Queen beds, flat screen TV, etc.) and looked new. Very clean and comfortable, with a little couch and sitting area. My experience of lodging in State/National parks is not great (typically expensive and not much to look at - you pay for location). In this case, the location was excellent and the room was very nice. It was not exactly cheap, but the value was good for what you get. We ate meals at the Game Lodge and the food was better than I expected - not haute cuisine, but quite good.

Access to the Park and the wildlife was outstanding (there were Buffalo grazing on the lawn when we woke up, and then a herd of antelope walked by). My kids (ages 11 and 13) absolutely loved the experience.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GK12650
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sglmanager, General Manager at State Game Lodge, responded to this review, 1 February 2011
Thank you for your recent review. Custer State Park and the State Game Lodge and the Creekside Lodge Addition is a great spot to headquarter out of to see the abundant wildlife and natural beauty of Custer State Park and the Black Hills. I appreciate you taking the time to write the review and I hope you can make a return trip to the Black Hills.
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 State Game Lodge

Property: State Game Lodge
Address: 13389 US Highway 16a, Custer, SD 57730-8351
Region: United States > South Dakota > Custer
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 17 Hotels in Custer
Hotel Class:3 star — State Game Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 101
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Custer State Park, this family accommodation once served as housing for the state's game keepers. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
State Game Hotel Custer
State Game Resort

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