Sugar Ski & Country Club Review - Unit 11-703
(A lengthy review for those who want to know details about a rental.)
The Sugar Ski and Country Club's office staff are pleasant, the prices are reasonable, and making reservations is easy. The unit we stayed in, 11-703, is a one bedroom loft condo that is one of 4 units on the top floor of building 11, sitting at the highest point on the resort. There is one flight of wooden stairs to get to the top floor, where a large metal door opens to a hallway shared by the units. This condo seems somewhat old-fashioned in décor, pictures, etc., rather like going to the grandparents' house. It is not bad, just not very modern. The unit has sleeping for 4, but that means a sleeper sofa for 2, while 2 sleep in the queen bed in the loft. The highpoint of this condo is its excellent valley view toward Banner Elk and long range mountain views to the north and west. The low point is the general lack of maintenance of this unit and building, which we have seen in most resorts across the High Country.
The kitchen is small but has a refrigerator, stove, microwave, sink and dishwasher. The sink faucet spray nozzle broke in my hand the first time I used it, so I replaced it with a new one from Lowe's, and that's good now. The refrigerator has a leak somewhere, and water pools inside and drips to the floor, so that's not so good. The toaster, just replaced(?) per another review, is old and rusty-looking inside, but does work, although the outsides get so hot I almost burned myself. The coffee pot looks new and works well, the microwave is fine, and we did not use the stove but it looks serviceable.
The living room is nice, but a little tight, with a large sleeper sofa, 2 chairs, 2 tables, a chest of drawers and a TV/stereo stand, plus 4 lamps. There is a wood-burning fireplace which we did not use, being August. The sofa is good, but the chairs are showing their age. The dining area has a table with four chairs in good condition and a chandelier, all a little tight as it fits into the alcove where some units have a bed. There is a ceiling fan which helps move the air in the immediate area. The condo has a 20-inch LCD TV with cable service which works well, and a very old stereo (cassette tape player and turntable, no CDs) which we did not use. The DVD was not with the TV, but since the unit was supposed to have one and we wanted to use it, I searched and found it brand new in its box in the closet. I hooked it up and it works great, both for DVDs and to play CDs through the TV speakers.
The loft bedroom is tight with a queen bed, dresser and footstool. There is a skylight (with blinds) and a small window (no blinds), plus a nice-sized closet. The bed is very good, just the right firmness and in good condition. There is another smaller ceiling fan here, which is needed since the loft gets about 5 degrees warmer than the living area below. We missed having a TV in the bedroom, and it looked as though there was one once, but removed and the dresser upon which it sat moved to the other side of the room.
The bathroom has the usual sink, toilet and shower, and all worked fine. The shower is in the tub, and worked very well. The toilet flushes fine, but is very slow to fill (a new style filler valve would fix that). There is a “fan” but it is not vented, so it is of no value in clearing humidity from the room. And there are 2 medicine cabinets for all your cosmetics, etc.
The balcony offers a wonderful view, and must be among the best views at Sugar Ski and Country Club - it is the highlight of a stay in 11-703. But there is only one chair out there (when at least 2 people would almost always be staying in the unit), and the balcony itself seems to have been left to fall apart. The condo siding is new (vinyl), but the balcony's sides and metal rails need paint, at least. The outdoor carpet is shot: moldy, worn out with some holes, and should be replaced. The area below the rails looks especially bad (even unsafe?), though the rails seem secure. There is supposed to be an awning, but it is gone with only the frame left.
The evening and night we arrived it rained, and I mean it really rained hard, and the skylight over the loft started to leak. We placed waste baskets to catch the drips, but the leak did cause some of the popcorn ceiling to fall off. Looks like this skylight has leaked before based on brown stains around it. I reported the leak at checkout so hopefully they will fix it; they should since they charge the owners enough for things like this. But the rain causes another problem in all these units, namely hot and humid conditions. With no A/C, one relies on opening the balcony sliding door to get cool air inside. When it's dry this works quite well, since it is usually windy on the mountainside, and the wind blows the cool air into the condo. But when it rains one cannot open the door or rain gets in (especially with the awning gone). So the condo heats up, and the humidity goes up too with the rain. My temp/humidity gauge showed 83 degrees and 53% humidity in the loft. The ceiling fans can only do so much, so one has a hot and uncomfortable night ahead. We always bring a small fan and we used it to help push the cooler air below up to the loft, and that helped a little, but nothing can help with the humidity. Glad we brought a fan since the unit does not have a box fan, which is really needed when there is no A/C to move air around the unit.
The condo was basically clean, and the bathroom was spotless. We did find 3 small dead bugs on the floor in the loft, and the carpet, while vacuumed okay elsewhere, could use a steam cleaning. One peculiar thing we noted was that the owner has placed small wood blocks under the wooden furniture. Not sure why, but it meant one could not move the furniture without lifting it and removing the blocks first. We had to do that in the loft, to move the dresser from in front of the only electric outlet in the room that was not too close to the bed. One would have to do the same with the large coffee table in order to open the sleeper sofa. Not sure why furniture sliders were not used, which would mean the wooden furniture would be easy to slide around if it needed to be moved.
One other notable comment is on the hallway door. It closes with a bang which must be heard throughout the building. It's not bad during the day or while watching TV in the evening, but is annoying when trying to sleep at 1:30am, or at 7:45am as a tenant leaves for work. The hallway door wants an adjustment to close more gently.
One last thought: For all the rules that these resorts have for renters, it seems only fair that there should also be some rules for the resorts and owners to keep the units maintained. But we have found that maintenance is not a priority at most resorts/rentals in the High Country.
We can recommend Sugar Ski and Country Club, and unit 11-703 was a good unit for us with a great view, and despite a hot first night, we enjoyed our visit. But since it rains often during the summer, be sure to bring a fan along.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sugar Ski & Country Club offers privately owned condominiums for rent. Ranging in size from efficiency to two bedroom/two bath units, we have a clubhouse on property with an indoor, heated swimming pool, sauna,hot tub and a computer room with a desktop with internet access for use during your stay as well as a desk with wifi available for you to use your own laptop. During winter months, Ski Country Sports operates a ski and snowboard rental shop Fri-Sun and on holidays for your convenience in our lounge area. Our two bedroom units are ski in/ski out on Big Red and all units have foot path/walking access to the main run on the slopes at the Sugar Mountain Resort called Upper Flying Mile. During the summer, our elevation at 4900ft brings cool breezes. Sugar Mountain also has a series of hiking and mountain biking trails available. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sugar Ski & Country Club Hotel Banner Elk
- Sugar Ski And Country Club
- Sugar Ski Country Hotel