We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Not a very good stay.”
Review of Sylvan Lake Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Custer
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Sylvan Lake Lodge
Ranked #10 of 24 Speciality Lodging in Custer
Fitchburg, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
46 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Not a very good stay.”
Reviewed 31 July 2014

My wife and I stayed at Sylvan Lake Lodge for four nights in late July 2014. We had stayed there some 35 years ago and had a great experience but this time we did not. The room was small and on the first night the shower head flew off the wall when my wife turned on the faucet. They fixed it but there was no explanation of how this could have been just dangling there until it was turned on and the only person who offered an apology was the person who fixed it and he could not understand how the housekeeping staff could have cleaned the bathroom without noticing it. The staff was generally not very pleasant or helpful and I would not expect much from them. I think it was a management problem because they seemed not very well equipped to do their job. We went to the dining room for lunch one day and we were turned away because the staff told us that they were expecting a group of ten and they could not seat us at that time. We were surprised because there were only 3 tables occupied at that time. They were very much under staffed. We ended up never eating in the dining room. The veranda was very nice with a great view but chairs and tables were strewn everywhere and service was difficult to obtain.
The Sylvan Lake Lodge is an older building with a lot of charm and it is in a beautiful location and a short distance from Sylvan Lake and hiking trails. We had booked our room several months ahead and it seems like it is solidly booked well ahead throughout the summer. Unfortunately, it seems like it is not well managed and maintained. (For example, when my wife bought a candy bar, the staff person was literally not able to make change and had to be helped by a supervisor.)
It is difficult to see the lodge in this condition and difficult to believe that it will continue to operate in the future. I do not think our experience was unique. We met a family with small children and they said that their tv, air conditioning, and refrigerator did not work. We helped them because their room key did not work in letting them into the building. Needless to say they were very upset.
I would not book a room here until they can demonstrate over time that staffing and management have vastly improved.

Room Tip: We did hear that the cabins were a better value when staying at Sylvan Lake Lodge.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Marty Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

331 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    73
    113
    72
    50
    23
See reviews for
118
134
4
6
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Saint Paul, MN
Level Contributor
48 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2014

Sylvan Lake Lodge was a disappointment in every respect, except for the beautiful surroundings in Custer State Park. The facility featured poorly trained staff, lackluster dining, dingy small rooms and a reception hall which had the worst acoustics imaginable. Visit here, but don't stay here until a professional management team elevates the operations to mediocrity or beyond.

Room Tip: Pick a room at another hotel.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank baddersanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Custer hotels

Level Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2014

So while "rundown" might be a tad harsh for the cabin itself, it is spot on about the beds and bed linens. But I liked the little cabin anyway and the convenience of staying in the park is hard to beat. I did learn about some other cabins in the park that require you to bring your own bedding and I might choose that option next time if I was traveling with camping gear. Nice cabin touches included fire ring, outdoor table, plenty of toiletries, and screens in all the windows so in warm weather you can open them without bugs. Even though it was early July I need to use the old school heater - it worked. The water tasted terrible!! Iron. So bring your own water to drink. There was satellite TV although today's traveler would prefer Internet. But there was good Internet in the cafe. I had a fantastic egg sandwich at breakfast there.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dlpcyles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reston, Virginia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2014

We stayed at Sylvan Lake Lodge...It is the most beautiful location and so much to do in the area. The Lodge has nice size rooms and the rooms were very clean. We had a balcony overlooking the lake. .. The surrounding property is beautiful as it sits in Custer State Park. Location convenient for hiking and running trails, boating and swimming right there. The dining room is lovely.with white tablecloth. and the food was very good. The manager during the day , John, could not have been more helpful with suggesting places for my daughter and I to run trails...We stayed for two nights. Sorry we did not stay longer and use this as our base to do other things, like go to Mt. Rushmore. I recommend staying here. Ask for the newer rooms as the older ones are clean but very very small and I mean small...

Room Tip: As for a room overlooking the lake. You can see it through the trees...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kebjs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Anselmo, California
Level Contributor
29 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

While we were not impressed with our guest keeping cabin (very old, rundown, horrible, sagging mattresses; however, nice bathroom), it was functional enough, and so well-located just steps from gorgeous Sylvan Lake, that we would return (I'd try to get a newer cabin if possible). Besides the location, the other reason to visit this lodge is the lodge itself. The common room itself is the apotheosis of lodges: just the right amount and placement of taxidermy, fireplace, piano, overstuffed chairs and couches, bar, decks overlooking the park--the perfect ending to the day. I could have spent days lounging there. Decent restaurant, too. From this lodge, you have access to miles of trails all over Custer State Park, a beautiful alpine park that is infinitely worth visiting. Highly recommend!

Room Tip: I heard that the newer rooms in the lodge are much nicer, but I liked being in cabins near the lake...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank T M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
73 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2014

We stayed at a Sleeping Cabin at Sylvan Lake Lodge and had a few surprises. First and foremost, you have to know that the cabins and lodge are quite a ways up the mountain from the lake - a quick drive, but you will need to get through the State Park ranger checkpoint, which can take a little while. The lodge and lake are beautiful, and the store is well-stocked - although we preferred the store at Bluebell Lodge.

There is no table in the cabin, which was also a slight disappointment. If you need to eat in the cabin, plan to go outside to the picnic table or get creative with the beds or dresser.

Moths and flies, as others have noted, are a real problem. Plan to spend some time before bed - or in the middle of the night - hunting them down so you can sleep. We were as careful as possible going in and out, but there were always several of each in the cabin.

We would stay at Sylvan again, now that we know what to expect.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jpwest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spearfish, South Dakota, United States
Level Contributor
72 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2014

We have stayed in the one room housekeeping cabin and the 3 room housekeeping cabin and have enjoyed both. The housekeeping cabins are rustic but this is part of the charm. The units with kitches do have cooking utensils and dishes, though I typically still bring items in case the unit has missing items. When you have more than two coffee drinkers, be aware the coffee makers tend to be the smaller four cup size. Be prepared for "soft" beds but the linens on the beds and bathrooms are nice. They offer nice bath amenities too. The short walk to Sylvan Lake to fish, the convience of the store and the ability to cook inside or outside on the fire ring make this wonderful "camping" without having to sleep on rocks. The area views are breathtaking and the walk around the lake is invigorating. We have stay at 3 of the 4 in park locations, Sylvan, Legion and Blue Bell and Sylvan is our favorite. If you want to stay at any of the on site locations, plan early as the entire summer reservation system books early.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Susan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Custer
6.1 mi away
Holiday Inn Express Custer
9.6 mi away
Gold Camp Cabins
Gold Camp Cabins
#14 of 17 in Custer
4.5 of 5 bubbles 30 reviews
6.1 mi away
Comfort Inn & Suites Custer
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.2 mi away
Lodge at Palmer Gulch
Lodge at Palmer Gulch
#11 of 12 in Hill City
3.5 of 5 bubbles 175 reviews
6.2 mi away
Best Western Golden Spike Inn & Suites
7.6 mi away
Roosevelt Inn
Roosevelt Inn
#5 of 14 in Keystone
3.5 of 5 bubbles 259 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Sylvan Lake Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Sylvan Lake Lodge

Property: Sylvan Lake Lodge
Address: 24572 Sd Highway 87, Custer, SD 57730-5201
Region: United States > South Dakota > Custer
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 24 Speciality Lodging in Custer
Hotel Class:3 star — Sylvan Lake Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 66
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This accommodation is located on Custer State Park's Sylvan Lake. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sylvan Lake Hotel Custer

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing