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“UGH! Horrible experience at Sylvan Lake Lodge Custer SD”
Review of Sylvan Lake Lodge

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Sylvan Lake Lodge
Reviewed 29 June 2010

Made reservations early based on a travel book. I should have read reviews here first! Overpriced, over-hyped. Did not get close to what was promised in advance.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank travelinfeet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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312 - 318 of 363 reviews

Reviewed 20 June 2010

My family lives in Custer, and we enjoy eating at the lodge. The Sunday brunch buffet continues to decline in variety and quality year after year, though the (high) prices does not drop. I think we have finally had enough, and we don't plan on returning. If I am going to drop $75 on lunch for my family, I expect a great meal. Sylvan Lake Lodge does not provide one.

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Thank wunderkinder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2010

My husband and I spent 3 nights at Sylvan Lake Lodge in a king suite. The room was spacious, clean and had a private balcony. We loved everything about it but the room is only the beginning. The main area of the lodge has a seating area with a large fireplace, perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine or cocktail. The entire room oozes charm and character, and I felt like I could have stayed for a month. The restaurant food was very good with friendly and efficient service. The manager, Mr. Larsen, was also very nice and we enjoyed our conversations with him very much. The hotel overlooks Sylvan Lake (although there are many beautiful trees blocking the view but that's not a big deal) and it is a short walk to the lake and the path around it. The walking trail is really wonderful and gives you great views all the way around the lake. You can also hike to Harney's Peak from the lake, using one of two trails. We especially liked the Wildlife Loop and saw lots of different animals. The Needles road is beautiful but very narrow...not sure I'd want to be on it at night. There is also a general store by the lake with lots of souvenirs and necessities...very, very handy. We also visited Rushmore and Crazy Horse: enjoyed them both but did not like Deadwood at all. The historic buildings are very beautiful but all of them are full of casinos..very touristy so I'd just recommend staying in your car and driving through to look. Deadwood restaurants offer very limited menus for lunch, sandwiches, etc...not exactly what we wanted to eat but we did find a good Chinese restaurant (upstairs at Miiss Kitty's) where the food was actually quite tasty. To sum it up, Custer State Park is absolutely gorgeous and Sylvan Lake Lodge is the perfect place to stay and unwind. Fabulous!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Smiles4miles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2010

My boyfriend and I were making a cross-country road trip in May 2010 and decided to stay at the Sylvan Lake Lodge for two nights, after staying a few nights in Yellowstone. I had seen mediocre reviews online and feared I had made a big mistake putting us here for two nights of the trip. After arriving, interacting with many staff members, eating in the dining room twice and thoroughly enjoying every aspect of my stay, I completely disagree with the negative reviews. I have a feeling that in the high season, the staff and amenities may occasionally reach a breaking point, but this is true of any national/state park facilities, and really shouldn't dissuade anyone from going to this great lodge!

What I liked most:
-The lodge's beauty: It is incredibly pretty and really has some old world charm that most modern lodges lack. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the great room is simply gorgeous. We enjoyed G&Ts before dinner in front of a roaring fire. We had stayed at the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone the night before, and though that hotel is huge and has its own unique beauty, I would definitely prefer the lodge for its quaint, quiet atmosphere and tasteful decor. Also, the scenery is just gorgeous and there are tons of hikes and activities within walking distance, not to mention that Mt. Rushmore is a short drive away.

-The staff: We were set for a late arrival and I feared that we wouldn't be able to check in, or that the staff would feel annoyed that we were getting to the lodge so late at night. When I called, a very nice lady at the front desk answered and assured me that we could show up at any time, and then told me that, if we were concerned we wouldn't have time to get food/food wouldn't be available so late, she would be happy to place orders for us in the dining room and would have our food ready to be taken to our room. So nice and totally unnecessary! When we checked in, the same lady was extremely friendly and helpful; I wish I knew her name, so I could give her a personal shout-out! Our whole trip was filled with pleasant interactions with staff: everyone was very friendly, approachable, and helpful in providing help, activity recommendations, checkout, etc.
-The room: We got the cheapest room, so it was small, but not uncomfortable or poorly set up. When we walked in, it had a pleasant clean smell that's often hard to find in well-worn hotels. Also, it was meticulously cleaned (and I'm super picky about this). The bathroom has pretty stone tile and the towels and toiletries had been tastefully placed. The bed was very comfortable (as opposed to the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone, which was lumpy and old), and the room had a beautiful view of the pine trees and lake. The only downfall perhaps was the shower, as it was a little on the old and cheap side. But, it worked well and really wasn't a big problem.

-The dining room: Some people didn't like the food at the dining room. Again, compared to Yellowstone, the food was much, much higher quality in taste and presentation. (It must sound like I hate Yellowstone! I LOVE Yellowstone, but our stay there was not as pleasant as this, unfortunately, and had been the night before). Also, our waiter knew a great deal about the wines on the menu, and made good recommendations for pairings for the food. I ordered the buffalo steak, and thought it was delicious and perfectly cooked. I have had several buffalo dishes before and found this one to be the best I've had.

Overall: Highly recommend this place. If you want to have the same quality and comfort of the Four Seasons, then stay there or don't be a baby about a few rustic aspects of a great resort. But, if you want a well-priced, beautiful hotel set in one of the prettiest places in the country, with a friendly, helpful staff, then definitely give Sylvan Lake a try. We have already talked about planning another trip through South Dakota in the future to be able to return to this lovely lodge.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank dcmw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 October 2009

Service was ok. Food was over priced. Stayed in a cabin near the lake which was nice but very bare minimum ammenities. The view and lake were amazing but better off saving money and staying outside the park on the north side and drive the 20 minutes to the lake. Not missing much by not staying at the lodge.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank rebeldrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2009

I'd like to start by saying the park is beautiful, but don't bother staying in the lodging. I contacted Sylvan Lake Lodge a month in advance saying I'd like to book a room and was part of a wedding being held at their location. I asked for a room near the auditorium where the reception would be. I was told my room would be "right there; a few steps." When I arrived for check-in, I was told I would be staying a forty-minute drive away at the State Game Lodge! This was so far away from the auditorium I had requested to be near, there is probably no way to get farther and still be in the park. The problem lies in that all the lodges can be booked from any other lodge within the park, but this was never brought to my attention. On the day of check-in, the receptionist at Sylvan Lake Lodge informed me my room would be near the auditorium, quote, "If I were staying there," which infuriated me and continued to maintain there was no way we could have a room on the property since they were booked solid that Saturday. On our forty-minute drive across the park to the State Game Lodge, we called the reservation center to see if there was any way we could find middle ground, say a ride to and from the reception (as another guest of the wedding was receiving since the same thing happened to him), monetary compensation, anything, and the operator was again rude and uncooperative and completely uninterested and no help at all. The park is beautiful, but what a terrible experience we had.

Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
1  Thank WYCO1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2009

The views and surrounding area are amongst the most gorgeous you will ever find! We were SO excited to take our friends and their kids here for a stay, a total of 4 adults and 5 kids aged 5 and under. However, due to "overbooking" on THEIR part, we were told after driving 2 1/2 hours that we'd have to camp in one place one night, then move out the next. We had 5 little kids and ALL the stuff that goes with having them (you can only imagine!), so moving was not a feasible or reasonably option, nor what we had reserved! The manager never once came to discuss the problem with us...that is until he had caused a MAJOR scene by bringing park rangers to kick us all out. Nice, huh!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank MikeyDWyoming
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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 #9 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

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