As a family of 5, we appreciate a little room to spread out without being right on top of each other. Black Bear Lodge is the perfect place for just that. Each condo unit is privatlely owned, yet for guests, the lodge is run just like a hotel which means you still have all the amenities and services of one.
We had the unique experience of staying in 3 different units during our stay. This was a great way for us to see the differences in units and really experiencing the lodge.
Each room is set up like a condo. This means you have a full kitchen, living area, and bedroom(s). Each unit sleeps 4-6 people, and rumor has it there is even one unit that sleeps 8. This is PERFECT for families.
Our favorite room layout was the loft. This is a bilevel unit where the kitchen and living area are downstairs and there are 2 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. One had a queen bed the other had 2 twin beds with trundles perfect for the kids. The only thing we didn't love about the loft in the summer was that it was warm upstairs, the AC unit only did a good job cooling the first floor.
The other units layout consisted of one floor. One unit had a wall separating out the sleeping spaces giving the feeling of two bedrooms (even though there was no door) while the other unit had a curtain to separate the spaces. Both units had murphey beds in the living rooms.
Since each unit is privately owned, they will differ from one another in decor and ammenities. One unit had nice features such as extra hooks to hang coats and wet towels, while the other two units lacked this. One unit had furniture that wasn't super comfortable, while another was more comfortable than my own living room. The last unit we stayed in was extremely homey. It had comfortable furniture and nice extras such as a Wii with games, DVDs, and board games.
All rooms were clean and housekeeping comes daily. We were also really happy with how quiet the rooms were. We never heard other guests in other units or the hallway. I was a little nervous about how quiet it would be when we were in a unit on the first floor, but even there we were not disturbed.
There is a small indoor/outdoor pool and outdoor spa on the premises. In the lobby there is a fireplace to warm up next to during the cold months, coffee in the mornings, and plenty of places to relax and sit. On the third floor there is another lounge with an outdoor balcony to relax on as well. There is a grocery delivery service available if you'd like to order groceries ahead of your stay to be stocked in your kitchen upon arrival.
Included with your stay is a Summer Unlimited pass which includes access to some of the resort and town ammenities as well. Guests can enjoy a ride on the chair lift, head to the athletic club for a swim in the olympic size pools, play 9 holes of golf or rent a boat on the pond just to name a few.
The lodge is an extremely short walk to Town Square where you will find several shops and restaurants to enjoy. This is also where you will find many events such as live animal shows, fireworks, and festivals.
All the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. I observed many guests stopping by the front desk for a chat. They were very approachable and really wanted everyone to enjoy their stay.
What we loved:
* condo style units give lots of space to spread out
* room to sleep our family of 5 without needing a cot
* full kitchens allowed for meal prep saving time and money
* friendly staff
* Town Square being steps away providing the convenience of restaurants and activities
* The summer unlimited pass giving resort guests access to additional activities
* It was quiet
* The coffee. Seriously, don't laugh. You've all had bad hotel coffee so you should be able to appreciate this as a plus! The coffee is from a local supplier and was very good, hot and plentiful during the morning hours.
What we didn't love:
* The hallways and the game room could use a little TLC. The carpets need an update and the halls felt a little dark and dingy.
* The first floor hallway had a little bit of an odor to it. Almost a musty smell.
* The pool area is very small (although in all fairness we did have another pool option, we just would have had to leave the hotel for it). There was a large group of young men that pretty much took over the entire outdoor area.
* Not quite knowing what to expect in each unit since they are privately owned. One lacked any hanging spots for wet towels/clothes, one didn't have a hair dryer.
Over all, we were very happy with our stay. We would definitely stay here again if we were to return to the area.
Disclosure: We were provided a complimentary stay to faciliate this review. All opinions are my own based on my experience.
Roomy condo accommodations with great value
Waterville Valley resort is a special hidden resort located just 12 miles from interstate 93. When you choose to vacation here you have a variety of accommodation options to choose from, although none are directly on the mountain.
We recently had the opportunity to stay at Black Bear Lodge, located in the Village of Waterville. It is a cozy, rustic lodge focused on easy family relaxation. All of the rooms are located within one building. The loft room rates start at $139/night and during the winter season start at $175/night. Other room types are available for smaller families, all with a kitchen.
Large units with kitchens.
When we vacation with our family of 5 we find a condo-type room suits us best. At the Black Bear we stayed in a loft room. We are able to spread out, eat meals prepared ensuite and have separate sleeping areas for our kids. The Black Bear hit every need. Additionally, unlike a condo you might rent on your own, this one is in a full service hotel with daily housekeeping. They even empty the dishwasher!
The kitchens are supplied with utensils, small appliances, paper towels, sponges, and more. It’s very difficult to not feel right at home. Most units are privately owned and managed by the hotel.
We had a large table and bar in a well-equipped kitchen. The living area had plenty of seating and a large screen television with cable and DVD. Upstairs were 2 bedrooms and a bathroom with an extra sink outside the bathroom. Each room was plenty big with ample clothing storage. The kids bedroom had 2 twins with 2 trundles, which of course the kids loved rolling together to make a large bed. We even had another television in the master bedroom
The unit was modernly decorated with a map of the trails we skied above the couch. We spent a good amount of time spotting our favorite trails and looking out the window to watch the snow being blown and groomed on the mountain.
The hotel lobby is very welcoming and warm. The rustic furnishings are in keeping with a large roaring fireplace and a couple of après ski seating areas. The floor below offers a hot sauna, kid’s game room, small indoor outdoor pool and outdoor hot tub. We enjoyed these warming areas each night. The kids especially had fun freezing their toes in the accumulated and freshly falling snow then jumping into the warm pool. All while we watched from the steaming outdoor hot tub. Admittedly this is a small area, but it suited us just fine. If you find it too crowded (we enjoyed the space alone) you can take a quick ride over to the White Mountain Athletic Club for a larger, indoor pool and hot tub with many people.
Additionally the Lodge has family-directed activities on selected evenings. They offer family friendly movies in the children’s theater for some social time or perhaps a party with a bear stuffing workshop.
The Lodge recently started offering a grocery delivery service for a fee. This is a welcome amenity for a kitchen containing room. We ordered from a list in advance and the groceries were stocked in our room when we arrived. Currently the list of available items is limited. However, you can obtain a wide variety of breakfast and lunch food items, and if you are not overly picky, some dinner foods for preparation.
Although there are no restaurants on site, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. You may also use the resort shuttle which will bring you around the village and up the mountain for skiing.
The hotel staff is very friendly and helpful. They followed up on every request and made sure we had all of the information we needed daily. They also made sure we were watching the weather forecast as the temperatures while we were staying were in the sub-zero range. The atmosphere is very laid back and relaxing and the employees exhibit these same qualities. During the summer there are other hotel activities to take advantage of included in the price of your room. These include mountain biking, golf, canoes, and tennis.
We would definitely stay at the Black Bear lodge again. We enjoyed is a happy, family atmosphere and didn’t miss the pretentiousness that some other ski lodges can sometimes exhibit.
Separate sleeping areas
Use of village amenities
Families would like:
accomodations closer to the mountain
closer non hotel amenities (gas/groceries)
more area to dry wet clothes