“ Address: 8478 Par Five Drive / Onamia / MN 56359 „
Village at Izatys, Minnesota
Our stay here started with a major error on my part. I thought I had banked our Diamond Resort points last year and I discovered I had not and we had many points that needed to be used in 2011 and no time to use them. The only way we could use them was to do an exchange through Interval International. I phoned and a very helpful young man looked for possible places for us in states that I suggested to him. He came up with this week at Izatys so we booked it. The rest of this trip was built around this week's stay.
We had not heard of Onamia before but it looked a nice enough resort and we planned on driving the top section of the Great River Road which coincidently Trevor McDonald recently did from New Orleans all the way up to where we are in a three TV programme series just before we came here.
The resort is set on a golf course and beside Mille Lac Lake with a mariner. It is the type of resort wher you stay if you are into lake fishing or golf. My husband plays golf but we hadn't brought his clubs and they don't have any for rent so he contented himself with watching others lose great numbers of balls into the water hazards just by our accommodation.
We could have taken a boat trip on the lake but they really only did fishing trips and neither of us is into fishing. This lake is world famous for its Walleye and apparently 3 billion spawn here annually. The week end that we arrived there was a huge Walleye contest taking place which was pretty hectic and interesting to observe. The rules are very strict about the size and numbers of ach type of fish caught in the lakes.
When we arrived we went to the Reception building and they checked us in and pointed us in the direction of our accommodation. We had a quick look around the building. There was large room with pool tables and air hockey as well as chairs and sofas. A small side room had a vending machine for snacks, a couple of 'restrooms' and a very small gym was about all that was there. Oh yes, there were four shelves of books but when we left ours there we found none that appealed to us to pick up so we just left our four. There was an entertainment or activity calendar but nothing that grabbed or attention at all, no quizzes or local walks around the area.
The Clubhouse was actually the golf club house and here we found a bar and restaurant. Happy Hour offered two for one drinks so $8 gave us four drinks. The food was also pretty good too and we both enjoyed a Wagyu beef burger with chips and salad for about $12 each - it was very good and the beef so tasty and tender. The little shop there sold toothpaste and toiletries and booze but no bread or milk at all so we had to drive about 7 miles to Isle the next day to buy a few basic groceries for the week.
Next to the clubhouse was a very nice swimming pool with plenty of seating but no shade at all. It was pretty busy on the week end but then almost empty during the rest of the week.
Next to the clubhouse was another huge building which we think was a hotel but we didn't go and look as there was nothing to suggest there was anything there that we could use in the blurb we were given. We understand from reading and listening to a few locals that the resort had been in financial trouble and has recently been bought and reopened. I don't know who does own it but the trouble with the resort is that despite the fact that the accommodation is amazing there is very little to do on the resort unless you can play golf, enjoy fishing or want to sit around the pool. There is also very little of any great interest in the area unless you are into hiking, camping, fishing, hunting or these sort of sports. It was very relaxing for a few days and the setting was perfect but after a few days we had had enough and were ready to find other things to see and do.
The accommodation was absolutely amazing and I don't use that word lightly nor am I exaggerating. We had a one bedroom apartment on the ground floor. The building had four one bedroom apartments, two down and two above. The upstairs ones had balconies while ours had a patio and lead straight out onto the grass and down to a marshy area and a natural mini lake. It was from this lake that a little turtle came up to visit us on our patio area. Beyond this we had a view of the golf course hole 18, the mariner and the club house and we could just see Mille Lac too. As I said the setting was pretty near perfect and very relaxing.
As you came into the apartment you entered the main living/dining room which was pretty large and carpeted in lush thick dark green carpet. The dining table had eight chairs around it and was huge. The sitting room had a three seater sofa/bed and a chair with ottoman. A huge fireplace with glass fronted electric 'log' fire place and the chimney was constructed with large cobbled stones. A shelf high on the chimney had two wooden water birds and a small tree as decoration. In the corner was a huge flatscreen TV and in the cupboard under that was a dvd player and stereo unit as well as the internet modem for the free wifi.
To the left of this room and sort of open area but divided by a breakfast bar was the fully equipped kitchen . On the living room side of the breakfast bar were four high chairs. In the kitchen itself we had a huge American style fridge, a huge America washing machine and a dryer both hidden behind a large cupboard door. We also had a dishwasher, again huge and a coffee maker, toaster, mixer, blender and whopping stove with ceramic hob and an over big enough to cook me in! Above the stove was a microwave also big enough to fit a turkey should I have wanted to put one in there.
The crockery and cutlery was all quality stuff and eight of everything, saucepans and frying pans as well as pyrex dishes, salad bowls, wine glasses and two other sorts of glasses. Everything you could possible need for self catering for a family and this was a one bedroom unit. It could have slept four using the sofa bed so there was plenty of kitchen equipment for four. They also left us two small packets of washing powder and 12 packs of dishwashing powder, washing up liquid and a washing up brush, tea towels, oven mitts and cloths. A welcome pack of coffee sugar and coffee creamer was also left for our use.
Now remember I said this was a one bedroom apartment well we had two bathrooms. One had a shower basin and toilet in it and could be accessed from the living room or from the corridor along our room next to the big bubbling bath tub. The second bathroom was obviously the one for the main bedroom and that was at the end of the corridor and had a huge shower with a big top nozzle and then two coming out from the wall to squirt at your neck and back. The toilet was in that room but the basin was outside at the end of that same corridor and this had a hair dryer and many drawers and a cupboard as well as a shaving mirror and other mirror to one side. As well as the two bathrooms we also had in this wide corridor off our room a huge Jacuzzi bath tub with mock pillars on one side. I am not exaggerating two people easily fitted in.
One night I put about a third of a Lush bubble bar in this and I had bubbles coming over the top that were thick and creamy. It was the height of luxury and I only wish I had had the foresight to buy some champagne to enjoy in there while being smothered in bubbles.
Our room was massive with a king sized bed, two bedside tables both with reading lights that had different settings and my side had a clock radio/alarm too. The patio doors looked out over the gold course so that in the morning I opened the curtains and as there was never anyone out there on the golf course we could sit in bed, enjoy a cup of tea and look out at the lovely view. The room was lovely and light with large yellow and cream striped wall paper, a mirror on the wall in front of the bed and above a set of pine drawers.
Down the sort of wide corridor with the Jacuzzi bath there was also a huge wardrobe but only six hangers, the sort that can only be used in that wardrobe so a big space with little hanging possibility. On the shelf above in the wardrobe we found the pillows and other bedding for the sofa bed but they stayed there while we were in occupation of the unit.
Our bed was very comfortable but I found the extra long pillows a bit hard, my husband who prefers more solid pillows loved it. I found my neck ached in the morning and preferred those pillows we had in the Marriott on our first night of this holiday.
Each room was decorated with care. The main living room had cream walls with paintings of boats in blues, the kitchen had a tartan sort of checked wallpaper and pictures od people on deck cairs. The main bedroom was wallpapered in wide yellow and cream wallpaper with a very tasteful painting of a lake shore above the bed. In the Jacuzzi area two shell paintings were in nice frames on one side. The first ensuite bathroom had wall paper that was ships flags and the picture to one side of the basin was a large knot from a yacht. In the last bathroom the wallpaper was olde world maps of the world and the pictures outside by the basin matched those by the jacuzzi and were different shells but inside the shower room the picture was of an old yacht.
We were provided with cream coloured towels and bath mats and in the cupboard above the toilet in the first shower room were more towels and again under the basin in the corridor I found yet more towels so we had plenty for a family of four for a week. There was no housekeeping at all while we were in the unit and if we had wanted we could have washed the towels and sheets ourselves. We had plenty of extra toilet rolls and boxes of tissues left as well as soap but no other toiletries.
Finally in a cupboard in the main living room beside the bathroom was a vacuum cleaner, an ironing board and iron and five more hangers presumably for those sleeping in the living room to use. If we had had others in the living room they would have had to use the cupboards in the bathroom and the drawers in the coffee table and under the TV for their clothes as well as this little hanging cupboard or they could have shared ours depending on how close you wanted to be.
All in all it was a pretty near perfect spot to stay and you couldn't fault the unit or the setting. It is just a shame that for us there was not more to see and do in the area around the resort We actually left a day early as there were places we wanted to see on our way back to Chicago and we set off up northwards to Duluth and then down to Chicago for a week with my son and his girlfriend.
If you are into fishing and want a truly peaceful place to stay in ultimate luxury ten this is for you. If you prefer to have more things to see and do then like us it is nice for a few days but after that we were desperate to get on and see and do something.
Five stars for the apartment and setting as that is really what I am reviewing not the surrounding area.
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