Resort Review: Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN

This week I was out of town hosting a conference.  While waiting around for things to start I struck up a conversation with one of my favorite clients.  We chatted about it being the end of summer.  I had come to learn a long time ago that he and his wife have a vacation home on Roy Lake in the Brainerd Lakes area of Minnesota. It had been some time since I had been up that way so I asked how things were with respect to the drought.  He said they were lucky to have gotten rain and were not having any trouble at all so the lakes were very nice this year.

This conversation brought back memories of a vacation the kids and took in mid August a couple years ago to the Grand View Lodge.  So as a part of my series on catching up and shouting out about places we have been and loved, I thought I would post this review on Grand View Lodge.  The vacation was possible because I was able to secure one of their all-inclusive Last Minute Vacancy deals over the internet.  So here is how it came together………

THE FACTS
The Grand View Lodge is a landmark resort nestled among towering pines and situated on Gull Lake in Nisswa, MN.  For more than 90 years they have provided memorable vacations to their guests.  Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places the resort takes vacationers back to historic construction of the early 1900s while providing for all the amenities one would expect today.  They offer luxury vacation lodging, championship golf, a spa, fine dining and a variety of other attractions that provide year round activities for all ages.  With all there is to do on the property there really would be no reason to leave and yet the greater Brainerd Lakes area provides for even more to do.  Close by are A&J Up North Buffalo Ranch, Grand Casino, and Paul Bunyan Land as well as shopping, mini golf, and trail rides.

On arrival you first notice the lush natural pine forest landscape.  As you inch your way into the resort property there are appropriately placed and spaced cabins, golf courses, tennis courts, and restaurants surrounded by colorful flowers and beautiful gardens.  All of this beauty ultimately unfolds to an amazing lake view and beach area.  While the sights along the ride in are breathtaking, equally stunning is the perfectly preserved Historic Inn where you will find the Front Desk to check in.

Immediately when walking in it is as if you have stepped back in time. A time when service and quality were a given, things happened at a slower, more relaxed pace and friends and family enjoyed quiet contemplative conversation.  Thankfully, not much has changed at the Grand View Lodge in the last 90 years as all of that – is still there.

The crowd is comfortably well dressed.  It is easy to tell that many of the families have been coming there year after year and yet there is no feeling of cliquishness, so as a newcomer I felt right at home.  While the resort provides for conference facilities the business travelers must be in disguise as vacationers because all around there were people dressed for golf, swimming, tennis and in casual hang out clothes.  Not a business suit in sight!

The staff is attentive and helpful.  It is clear that over their 90 year history, service and quality are still of paramount importance. You are not a “room number” at the Grand View Lodge – you are a GUEST.  The check in desk cheerfully reviewed the details of our stay, led us through the map, provided an overview of amenities, and outlined what to expect with our all-inclusive package.

Even though there for a vacation I took the time to just visibly check out their event and meeting facilities.  For business meetings they have a flexible space that provides easily for small seminars to large conferences with breakout sessions.  I was naughty while there and brought my computer and cell phone, so can let business travelers know that I was able to get reliable internet service by tethering through my phone.  Business aside, the Grand View Lodge with their backdrop of a natural landscape and elegant gardens coupled with the amenities of the resort, make for the perfect destination wedding of your dreams!  A bride and groom could offer golf and spa in a vacation setting for their guests while leading up to the wedding.

As I mentioned I got a last minute vacancy which meant we were going to have to move at the midpoint of our stay.  For the savings – this was not a downside in my mind.  For the first part of our stay we were in a 2 story with full basement Roy Villa with private sleeping quarters, full kitchen and living area, sleeping loft for the kids and pool table.  This cabin was in eye view and easy walking distance of Roy Lake, which is connected to Gull Lake.

For the second half of our stay we were in one of the older cabins closer to the Historic Inn and all the attractions provided at the resort.  Within walking distance of our cabin we enjoyed the playground, Kids Club, indoor pool and fitness center, and Northwood’s pub and game room.  In addition to all these activities we also enjoyed golf at the Garden Golf Course, boating and tubing, shuffleboard, hiking, horse trail ride, hanging out at the beach, spa services and all of the fine dining on the property.

THE FAVS
Perhaps the highlight of the attractions near our cabin was the Boat House and Looney’s Beach Hut.  The Boat House offers a 110 foot waterslide with typical water park features for the kids alongside swimming pools and hot tubs for the adults.  Looney’s is a great place to eat serving up all the typical American kid fare of sandwiches and burgers alongside the walleye tacos for the adults.  It is a great little spot to pick up something quick on the way to or from hanging out at the beach.

Another fav was the Glacial Water Spa where I enjoyed the Hungarian Herbal Mud Wrap body treatment.  Excellent spa services!  So much so that now I benchmark every other spa I go to against this one.

Now the food.  The Lodge Dining Room serves up a bountiful breakfast every morning with prepared to order omelets alongside the buffet of eggs, sausage, bacon, waffles, and rolls – no matter your preference – low carb or carb loaded – they have everything and it is very good.  The feel during breakfast is upscale resort buffet and the fashion is vacation resort wear.  With reservations The Lodge Dining Room also plays host to amazing dinners including steaks, fish, chicken, pasta all elegantly presented and fresh prepared.  The feel is up-scale restaurant and the fashion is comfortably well dressed.  The top thing from dinner that made me purr “uuummm” –  closing the meal with Apfelkorn!  Apfelkorn is a sweet apple flavored liqueur invented in Germany in the 1970s.  I had never tried this before but it was the perfect dessert after such a hearty meal!

Another food favorite was Italian Gardens which serves up Italian classics family style.  The setting is much like you are visiting an Italian grandmother’s home.  They bring a variety of dishes and you serve yourself family style.  All of them were very good.

SUMMARY
The Grand View Lodge is a great vacation destination whether vacationing as a part of business, wedding, family fun or romantic getaway.

Historic construction in lush forest garden setting, luxury vacation accommodations, comfortable crowd, excellent service, great food, outstanding amenities and great last minute vacancy savings deals!  I hope to go back again and would love to host a client event there!

Their website showcases the history of the resort, lodging, golf, spa, food, activities, meeting and events, as well as wedding services.  There you can check availability, sign up to receive notices of their current offers and last minute vacancy notices, as well as link through to their companion properties.

The slogan on their website is “a lifetime of memories” and I can tell you they delivered for me…………. as I walked away with just that!  Plan your stay and walk away with a lifetime of memories yourself!

Grand View Lodge
23521 Nokomis Avenue
Nisswa, MN 56468
Toll-free:  866-801-2951
Phone:  218-963-2234
vacation@grandviewlodge.com
www.grandviewlodge.com

The Hotel Julien Dubuque is a landmark hotel that, after completing a $30+ million dollar renovation in 2009, stands today as one of the most remarkable luxury hotels in Iowa.  They offer all the amenities one would expect including fine dining, lounge, pool, fitness center and spa.  Click here to read Hotel Review:  Hotel Julien Dubuque in Dubuque, IA

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