More about Chalet Suzanne Country Inn
Wonderful and romantic Chalet Suzanne
This was our 2d stay at Chalet Suzanne. Although the property is certainly old, this is what makes it so quaint and wonderful. We had a lovely suite overlooking the lake and in the mornings I sat outside with the sand cranes and butterflies. The property has a new brick driveway and beautiful gardens.
We had breakfast 3 mornings in the restaurant and dinner one night. The food was superb and all the staff very helpful and friendly.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway and want (and appreciate) a change from the Ritz Carlton, then this is it...
romantic getaway?? Not Chalet Suzanne!!
This place is much different than it used to be and is living off of its former glory days, with what is now downright false advertizing and lies. It was a joke! Please take the time to look at our pictures after reading this. I was not planning to write this so I only have a few pictures.
Here are some of the things that were disappointing, and quite frankly, unacceptable:
1. When approaching C.S., there are trailer homes all along the winding path that lead right up to the location of the hotel. While we have nothing against trailers, they do interfere with the ambiance of C.S.'s "100 private acres."
2. The building looks like a grand castle in the pictures, but it
really is more like a miniature carnival-like building that would be found in munchkinland. (The faux balconies on the main building were roughly at my husband's eye level.) The most shocking thing about the appearance of C.S. was the discrepancy between how I had imagined it (based on their marketing and reviews I had read) and the reality of it.
3. It was very run down, with tiles missing off the roof and stained and chipped paint on the outside of the building. They did not mention hurricane damage when I made my reservation, but it had been nearly a year since the most recent significant storm (Wilma did not hit for another two months). While storm damage is understandable, if the hotel cannot fix it within a year, potential visitors should be warned.
4. The ceiling in our room sagged downward in many places and the tile floor was bumpy. Although we did have some fun with my husband pretending to hold the ceiling up with his head!
5. The "private lake" is not at all private. It is very small (a
pond, really) and has views of people's trailer homes built on practically every parcel of land within view.
6. They advertize a soup cannery on the premises, but it was closed on a saturday afternoon and looked more like a beat-up portable building at an overpopulated school.
7. They advertize a museum as well, which was a small house with an old, small tv set and vcr that sat on a folding chair. It showed a short movie about C.S.'s history. There was no where to sit during the movie, and no more than 4 people could fit in the room at once. It also had a side room even smaller than the first displaying advertizements and memorabelia from the 60's / 70's when astronauts took their soup into space. Two or three cheap card tables were set up in these rooms displaying their "china" and some other things about the history of the place. It was laughable.
8. Dinner was downright silly. Their prices are comparable to the Four Seasons on Palm Beach, but with none of the quality one would expect. The meals we chose tasted so-so, but certainly not worth the nearly $80 per entrée charged. The "china" was ecelictic, which means that not one piece of it matched! It looked to us as if they had gone to a flea market and bought evey piece of available dinnerware.
9. I don't believe the "spa" exists. You can call a local to come to give you a massage or other service. Perhaps they mean a hot tub. We did not notice if there was one of those.
10. The pool looked as nice as one you'd see at a Motel 6. It
overlooked the "lake" and neighboring trailers, but the mosquitoes were terrible and we had no interest in swimming.
11. When we arrived, we went into the bar for a drink, only to find buckets strewn around on the floor to catch the rain water coming through the leaky roof. Again, we can tolerate storm damage (even if it is a year old), but there needs to be an expectation that the hotel is in a state of disrepair before you show up.
12. This is my favorite one: while walking to the museum, we passed a burnt down building. I thought it was unusual that they didn't warn us, or have a sign up saying "excuse our mess." We took a great picture in front of it!
n all, C.S. could be an interesting place to visit -- provided one has the right expectations. This place could only be romantic in the way a nice campground might be -- bring your own romance. Any visitor should work to get a good deal on their room, too. Based on my false impression, I spent a budget that could have gotten me a room at the Four Seasons.
Chalet Suzanne Restaurant
Served in a unique setting of five quaint rooms on many levels overlooking the lake, Chalet's cuisine is unparalleled.
Every corner of the dining area is aglow with antiques, stained glass and old lamps from far away places.
Mobil Guide Three Star Award
'Travel/Holiday' Fine Dining Award
'Florida Trend' Golden Spoon Award - One of Florida's Top Restaurants for 30 years
AAA Three Diamond Rating Famous Soups!
Quaint, a little quirky but charming.
We recently celebrated a special occasion at Chalet Suzanne, and as prior reviews were very mixed, we weren't sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised by the quaint, albeit imperfect, charm and natural beauty of the place. Extensive use of brick and stone pavers, many flowering plants and lots of butterflies and birds, made meandering around the grounds very enjoyable. Our room, was furnished in an array of older furniture, the floor plan was a bit unconventional, but our bed was comfy and the room clean. We especially loved the mosaic tiles in the sunken shower. Time spent in the restaurant and lounge conjured memories of Europe--and we loved that. The staff was friendly and accomodating and we enjoyed chatting with them as well as other guests. Breakfast was included and was unrushed, hot and quite yummy. If you are partial to historic properties and can allow for the quirkiness of aged things, Chalet Suzanne is a wonderful slice of old Florida ambiance.
Not Worth The Money
Of all the times I have used TripAdvisor, I have never written a review until now. But I hope to prevent others from wasting their money at Chalet Suzanne.
There is absolutely nothing to do there - it is in the middle of nowhere. The Chalet and the rooms have shabby landscaping, an unfriendly staff, and the food is not that great (especially for the price). I've had much better meals and local places for half the price.
We were expecting a unique resort with lovely grounds and unbelievable food, but we goot a budget motel at a Ritz price.
Average Food, Indifferent Server and High Prices
We did not stay at Chalet Suzanne, although we did have a chance to view one of the so-called suites. If you you are in to musty smelling and very close conditions you would love this place.
We did have lunch. We are certainly not offended by high prices and we are certainly willing to pay for good quality food but the food was certainly less than average. We had a server that did not crack a smile the entire time and acted like we were bothering her. The price was high for what we got. Not worht the price!
Overrated and Overpriced
Though this place is not quite as bad as many of the reviews make it out to be, most of the criticisms in those reviews are accurate. Chalet Suzanne was apparently a fine destination back in the days of yore, but now it looks like it’s been more than a generation since any kind of maintenance has been performed.
When we stayed here, exterior molding was rotted in many places, and the bottom of the door to our room was starting to rot. Light poles rising from the roof were tilted, not straight. We had little water pressure and little hot water. Our room smelled musty and our bed sagged so badly that it was immediately visible upon entering, even though the lighting was dim. The ceiling sagged to the point it was hard not to wonder when it will simply collapse – much like an on-site, fire-damaged building whose blackened ruins were still sitting there more than two years after the blaze.
I wouldn’t call the landscaping “feeble” like one of the reviewers did, but it certainly isn’t anything better than average. There were bougainvilleas blooming along with some other flowers, and the foliage in the tile garden was indeed lush. However, the pots of peace lilies situated on either side of the wedding arch were wrapped in tin foil (imagine that sight in your wedding album!) and it was hard not to notice that the lawn was being watered by a sprinkler attached to a garden hose, rather than by an irrigation system (no wonder the grass was bland and had weeds creeping into some spots).
So you ask, how could Chalet Suzanne possibly be “not quite as bad” as portrayed in many of the other reviews? Well: 1) Despite their evident disrepair, the buildings do have some quaint, quirky charm. 2) The restaurant’s food was fabulous, its wine list noteworthy, and dinner’s six courses were brought to our table with ideal timing. 3) The soups that are made here and packaged at the on-site cannery, where we sampled them for free on a Sunday morning, were as good as advertised.
Unfortunately, those positives can’t outweigh the negatives. The overwhelming sense we got while staying at Chalet Suzanne was that there is no pride in ownership and that it has fallen so far out of shape that it now fails to live up to its potential as well as its past. Some of the literature even makes a point of saying that because the buildings are old, there are some things that can’t be done to them – which strikes me as a lame, irrelevant excuse given the nature of the problems we encountered, and considering that we have stayed in places that are far older and yet are in ten times better shape.
One might be able to overlook all the faults if Chalet Suzanne was marketed and priced according to what it really is, rather than what it says it is. But instead, the owners charge premium rates for a place that is basically the Motel 6 of the “country inn” category. Even the restaurant was overpriced.
We Loved Our Wonderful Experience!!
For years, my father had told me about the wonderful place in the middle of the State called Chalet Suzanne. It was his favorite place to dine. He and my mother loved the warmth from the owners and the staff and loved the quaint atmosphere. After he passed away, I often thought about going up there from Ft.Myers. We also had not been to Cypress Gardens in years, so we decided to check into both places. I was totally surprised at the terrible reviews that both places had received on the internet. I was glad that the owner had written his review that enough was enough! I talked with some friends of our and we all decided to ignore the reviews, and check it out ourselfs.
Last weekend we met them at Cypress Gardens and had a wonderful time, finding it's gardens still beautiful and so many other things to do. It was warm, but what fun we had.
Now on to our Chalet for the evening. I will admit that this is not a place for someone that is wanting to go to a "Fancy Resort." This is for relaxing, enjoying the beauty of the older buildings that are still kept up, clean and warm feeling. You can see the love that they family has put into the Chalet. I imagined being in a small village in Switzerland. A co-worker calls it a "Ginger Bread House".
The people that were there made us feel as family and welcomed us, taking care of us from the minute we arrived. The small bar that is in the dinning room building is so cute and the bartendar was wonderful to talk to and enjoy a before dinner drink.
We made reservations for dinner, and even though we were late, we had an excellent "Romantic" table with a wonderful waitress. She was very helpful with the menu and from the incredible Baked Grapefruit(I have always hated grapefruit),soup, salads and each person had a different entree' that we all raived over and the desserts were outstanding They also have an incredible wine list. We never felt rushed, and enjoyed the beautiful piano music during dinner.
The rooms were very clean, bed was soft and comfortable, and the wonderful breakfast comes with your night stay, and the service and food was just as wonderful.
We did have a chance to talk to the wife of the owner, and told her how much we enjoyed their beautiful Chalet, and we plan on coming back. She said that they have plans to do more things, but promised to keep the original beauty of the place.
Thanks to the entire family and staff for making the 4 of us have such a wonderful weekend.
Linda and Dean from Ft. Myers, Florida