Location, view and food are great, rooms need work
I agree that the Far View Lodge is in need of a major renovation. My husband and I thoroughly enjoy Mesa Verde, and have visited four times in the last five years, and will visit again this summer. We always stay at Far View, only because we don’t want to drive back out of the park after a hot day of hiking. Besides, we love the view and setting, and we’ve always enjoyed the Metate Room. We have been willing to put up with the shortcomings to enjoy the benefits. We also lower our expectations whenever staying at a national park. We usually get the expensive Kiva Room, so we can have a king bed. The Kiva Rooms are decorated nicely, but it’s like putting a band-aid on a bullet hole. As noted below, the rooms are in disrepair. In 2004, The Park Service submitted a proposal to demolish and rebuild the room units and renovate the main lodge. I’ve not heard any news since. We have decided that our visit this summer will be the last, until Far View Lodge is renovated.
plan for a great view
Stayed three nights in mid-may at Mesa Verde Lodge. Booked a Kiva king three months in advance for rack rate of $110 a night. Asked for "best view." Our room was 141, with unobstructed view, 12X21 with 4X12 balcony. AIR CONDITIONING in our room and some others now. Would be vital in summer, and we used it during the day. Motel type room with some luxe touches, great bed. Might be noisy if the neighbors were up late. But not much to do after 10pm but star gaze. Deer grazed in front of our balcony daily at dawn or dusk. Good dinner at the Lodge, better than most hotel restaurants. $20 and up. Friendly young staff. Open 5 to 10pm only. Try the elk, or the salmon. Small bar and outdoor patio. Cell phone reception is iffy near the lodge, but it's great at Park Point overlook. Two nights would be enough to hit the highlights of the park.
Run like hell!!
This was to be our first night of a second honeymoon. We were so excited after reading about the park and seeing pictures of the lodge on the website, that we thought it might be our favorite place of the trip. We had upgraded to a kiva room and had the romance package that included wine and souvienir wine glasses along with a dinner in the Metate room. When we drove up, we thought the discount rooms were in the shedrows and the kiva must be in the lodge. We had driven 10 hrs, and upon check-in were horrified. The view of the parking lot was blocked by a big tree, and we didn't want to go barefoot or without shower shoes in the room. The bedspread was theadbare, the swamp cooler ineffective, and when my husband killed 8 flies and the toilet wouldn't flush them, we went to the manager. Little did we know that was just the beginning of our troubles. At first, we were told we could not have a refund because we had not given 24 hrs notice(or whatever was required) After much arguing, she agreed unpleasantly to refund our prepaid funds. We drove 45 min to Durango, looking for a place to sleep. The place we had reserved another night for later in the trip was full, as were several other average to nice looking hotels. Finally, we called the place where we were going to end our trip in Telluride, a place we had been before and liked. They had a room, and the additional three hours to Telluride was worth it. We had a glorious room as always, with a balcony and king bed; I soaked in the rooftop jacuzzi and had an extensive, delicious breakfast included, all for less than at Far View.
It took five calls to various management and seven days before we did get our refund. Staff other than management at the Far View were kind and considerate.
not what I expected :(
I don't consider myself a hotel snob, but I do like to get what I paid for. The pictures on the web site looked nothing like our room (Kiva-2 queens). While the room was clean. There were spider webs all over. Our toliet was clogged when we got there. They fixed it very quickly. (responce time was outstanding) I really must admit that the views were beautiful. The food was really lacking. The restraunt at the Lodge had nothing for children. And the Far view terrace was out of everything. Choices were very limited. While staying in the park was very convient, I think if I ever stayed again. I would stay in the campground in the park. They seemed very well supplied with everything. Just remember this is a national forrest and to keep your expectations simple.
Spent one night here with my girlfriend on a Sunday night. Front desk folks were nice and helpful. We stayed in a newly renovated Kiva room which was as depicted in their photos. It had nice interior touches and the bed was very nice. The need to pay more attention to minor details like the floor molding (was unstained and you could still see the lumber stamps on it), etc. but overall, was a nice room.
The exterior is dated. We had a 100 seriers room in the front and the views were impressive...worth the $115.00 alone. Sitting on the balcony at night under those brilliant stars was awesome for a city person like me. And all this in total silence.
The Metate restaurant was okay, but nothing to write home about. Most of the staff were friendly. Ordered a medium well steak and it came out raw. They admitted they mixed two orders up and when waiter returned with the recooked steak.....she left all the potatoes off. I noticed other tables having similiar problems and I am not really picky about my food. The Far View Terrace restaurant is like other readers mentioned...horrible. Food not stocked, some of the staff were retarded or something, but certainly should not be working around people in the service industry. Aramark who manages the park really needs to clean house in its managment.
All in all, a great escape! It is a simple place and take it for that, a place where the focus should be on nature and not the lodge or restaurant.
Enduring home in a fragile world
Ancient ancestral people made the two mesas of what is now called Mesa Verde their home for over 1400 years. Originally living in small, below-ground pithouse villages on top of the mesas or in cliff recesses, they evolved to living in surface structures and then to the carefully crafted, nearly inaccessable cliff dwellings that the park is famous for.
The Ancestral Puebloans occupied the cliff dwellings found in the park for only 100 years or so and then disappeared - for reasons yet to be discovered. It could have been drought, exhaustion of natural resources, overcrowding, hostile invaders or any number of things. Cliff dwellings all over the southwest were rapidly abandoned by similar groups of people and while theories of where they went and why are many, no one really knows for sure. It's likely that they just moved on to other regions and grandfathered some of the modern southwestern Tribal Nations.
What they left behind are the hauntingly beautiful reminders of once-thriving communities. Archeologists who have unearthed tools, pottery, clothing and other items of daily living can tell us a little about what life was like here in the 13th century but why that life was so abruptly discarded is still a secret that the ancient limestone walls are not giving away.
"Generally about the park"
Mesa Verde is not a park that one can visit quickly. It's 10 miles from the nearest good-sized town (Cortez) to the entrance, 15 (slow) miles up the mesa to Far View Visitor Center, 6 miles beyond that to Chapin Mesa sites, or 12 miles to Wetherill Mesa sites.
The good news is that the drive up to Far View is breathtaking and has several pull-offs with jaw-dropping vistas of the valley below (see pix at left).
Park entrance fees (see the website) are good for one week - or use an annual N.P. pass if you have one. Seeing the largest sites require a ranger-led tour, and tickets are obtained at Far House Visitor Center. Longer half-day and full-day tours are also available. My best recommendation for planning your trip is to visit the NPS website (www.nps.gov/meve) as options/activities are too many for me to list. Also, make the Visitor Center your first stop for tickets and information once you're there.
As far as accomodations, there is only one lodge (Far View Lodge) within the park. Reviews I've read seem to indicate that it's basic but quiet, has a good restaurant, and so provides some convenience if visiting for more than one day - as the drive in and out of the park is long. We stayed in Cortez, which has the usual array of chain hotels, and while I won't mention our choice (wasn't great), I read good things about Holiday Inn Express and Best Western Turquoise Inn. The park also has a campground with RV hookups.
There are 3+ restaurants within the park:
Metate Room (fine dining) and Mesa Mocha Expresso Bar at Far View Lodge
Spruce Tree Terrance (Chapin Mesa)
Far View Terrace (near Visitor Center)