Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Tower Manor Lodge, Rice Lake Ontario

This summer, my parents rented a cottage for two weeks at Tower Manor Lodge and invited my sister and I up, along with our kids.  We stayed for two weeks. 

Location:  Rice Lake, and more specifically, Bewdley, is located not quite two hours from Toronto, close to Cobourg, Port Hope and Peterborough in Ontario, Canada.  I like it because it's not too far from home, the area is not too developed, and the lake is calm, warm, and full of fish.

The dock in front of our cottage

View from the front lawn of our cottage

Resort: Tower Manor Lodge is a facility in Bewdley, Ontario, on the shores of Rice Lake. It offers cottages, a campsite and trailer spots. Everything is located on a nicely manicured plot of land that gradually slopes down toward the water, with the camping area up at the top near the main house, the trailers below them, and the cottages lining the small internal road leading toward the water.  They have a general store, a heated pool, a small playground, boat rentals and docking spots, and waterfront access.  A fish cleaning area is provided and they offer free freezing of fish for guests as well.  There is no man-made sandy beach, but there is walk-in access to the water, and the kids (aged 3 and 4) were able to get in and out of the lake without any help.  Water shoes were necessary, but that's pretty much standard at Rice Lake. 

Accommodations:  We rented a 3 bedroom, waterfront cottage (#8).  The cottage had 3 good sized bedrooms, a bathroom with a shower, a large kitchen and a living room area with satellite television.  Normally we don't watch much TV while up at the cottage, but the Olympics began while we were there, and it was nice to be able to watch some evenings.  The cottage had an air-conditioning unit and a gas fireplace.  The kitchen came fully stocked, including a microwave.  There were two porches, a small one by the front door and a large one accessed from the sliding glass doors in the living room.  Each cottage came with a propane BBQ, a fire pit, and Muskoka chairs.  There was an additional pull out couch in the living room.

View of Cottage from the Dock
My husband, in the kitchen

To see photos of the cottage we stayed in, click HERE to go to the website.  The photos are a really accurate representation of the accommodations. 

The cottage rental rate for the weeks we stayed was $1065, for 6 persons.  We rented a boat for $180 a week.  There are a variety of cottages to choose from, from 1 to 3 bedrooms, at a variety of price points.  I think ours was one of the most expensive, but we needed the space and liked that it was directly waterfront. 

The Pros:  Almost everything.  The cottage rental rate was reasonable for the size of the cottage and its condition, including wi-fi and propane BBqs included in each cottage.  They maintain their cottages quite well, and were renovating two of them while we were there.  The grounds are well maintained as well and it's kid-friendly with a little playground, easy lake access and a heated pool.

The resort is located close enough to Bewdley, Cobourg and Port Hope that getting out to buy groceries or just get a change of scenery is simple, but also quiet enough (surrounded mainly by private cottages) that you can actually relax and enjoy nature.  We used our BBq and our fire pit almost every day, and although we were located right in front of the docks where the boats were located, it was pretty quiet most of the time. 
Entry to lake

On the boat

Tower Manor Lodge is a nice, simple, family-run location with quality amenities and a relaxed, quiet atmosphere.  Most people spent their days on the water fishing, or just relaxing in the lake or by the pool.  It's not fancy, but the cottages are in great shape and everything is well maintained. 

The Cons:  Honestly, there aren't many.  That's not to say that there were no issues, but the management took care of any issue we had quite quickly. 

The air-conditioning unit broke down the first week, but they came down and replaced it the same day we complained, and also came back to fix the tube at the back that was leaking water. 

The only annoyance was the boat, which sometimes took a while to start.  We noticed other people having trouble with the rental boats as well, sometimes having to try a few times to get them started.  Even the employees sometimes had trouble when they came down to help out. 

That's about it.  Really.  The location was beautiful, the accommodations were comfortable, the servicce was friendly and the price was reasonable.

Comparison with last year:  Last year we stayed at a different cottage rental resort in the area, Golden Beach Resort.  For that review, click HERE.  I'm not going to give a full run down of everything that was different, but there are a few key things I want to point out. 

Golden Beach Resort has more STUFF;  a restaurant, children's entertainment, pool, large playground, waterpark and a sandy beach, petting zoo, etc.  However, the cottage we stayed in was not good.  The whole front of the cottage had windows that didn't open, there was no porch, no shade and no way to cool down the cottage.  The bedrooms got unbearably hot, and there was no way to create a cross-breeze.  The service wasn't very friendly and the everything was expensive, from the cottage to the boat rental. 

In comparison, Tower Manor Lodge is a simpler, quieter environment, with fewer amenities but still more than enough to keep two little kids occupied and happy for two weeks.  The cottage was much better kept. It was larger, cleaner and brighter, and the management was friendly and took care of problems within a reasonable timeframe.  The prices were lower, from the cottage rental to the boat rental to the firewood.  We enjoyed the quieter environment and the more comfortable cottage much more than we enjoyed all the extras at Golden Beach.

Verdict:  I would recommend Tower Manor Lodge to anyone looking for a relaxing, comfortable cottage that's still located close to the amenities of a larger town.  The cottages were comfortable, the large porches and large tree outside offered shade all day, and the waterfront location is beautiful. 


  1. An accurate review of Tower Manor. We have rented twice there and enjoy the quiet, clean, well organized park. The two cottages we have rented (waterfront 3 bedroom) and 2 bedroom were clean and well stocked. The inground pool was a plus for our teen boys. Free kayaks were also a hit.

  2. Thanks for the review! I've been to Rice Lake before, but never at this resort. I think we will give them a try this year :)

  3. The location was convenient, the room was clean, overall one of the better motel-type-places I've stayed at.