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Reviewed 29 September 2014

I'm struggling to review this property properly, but hope it will help future renters. After going back and looking at the photos and video on the website I think we probably should have known what we were getting ourselves into, but somehow we had much different expectations of Hatfield Lakes than what reality came to be. We decided, based on availability, to rent the Scott house which was really the only photo library we focused on and were looking forward to a cabin tucked into this massive wooded acreage. I think the site mentions it's like 1,000 acres or something of the sort? And it very well might be, but you should know that about 95% of it is strictly farm land. Corn. Cows. Watering holes. More cows and their accompanying odors. You get there by way of all gravel country roads. I suppose I was hoping for winding, wooded lanes that would eventually land as at our secluded little cabin in the woods. Based on the paperwork we were given, we plugged in the address and as we were passing a house that looked very similar to what I had seen of the Scott house online, I said to my husband that it might be the one. Noooooo. We both said. It's a farm house right off the road! Let's keep driving. We did find the listed address which led us to the other two houses. Still, no woods, but rather kind of through the fields and there they were side by side...very close...on a small man-made lake carved out of the same corn fields. Charming? Yes, I think. I was shocked at how close Big John's is to the other rental though. You would basically be sharing your experience with the neighbors. Not my cup of tea. But, I digress...after driving around for another 15 minutes, we drove back by the first house we spotted and sure enough, that was our cabin. Oddly, we didn't see the sign in front of it with Hatfield Lake Scott House listed right there. It faces the road and rather than being perpendicular to it which makes it easy to miss. Also, it seems it would be far easier for the owner to actually just put the address of the Scott House on the paperwork you are given, I'm still not sure why they don't do that other than they really want you to see the other two cabins and lake before finding your own.

After getting over the shock of being on a very non-wooded country, gravel road surrounded by cows and cornfields, we looked around to see how beautiful it is. It was like having our own farmhouse. The interior of the house literally looks just like the photos. As an interior designer, I was very impressed with the level of furnishings. Very upscale rustic and tastefully done. It looks like a collector lives there. Most of the furnishings were comfortable and worked well for our needs. However, even though the house sleeps 6, there's no way 6 adults could comfortably spend much time there as there is only upholstered seating for 5 in the living space. The 6th would have to sit on a dining chair. Also, while beautiful and stunning, the cowhide sofa is not all that comfy to relax on as the hairs are scratchy against your skin. A leather sofa would be so much more comfy, but I see why they chose this one. Really the only things I felt were missing were some board games (chess/checkers is provided), travel coffee mugs (for daytrips or to keep coffee warm on the porch), more luxurious pillows on the main floor bed and probably foremost any kind of comfortable seating on the huge wrap around porch. There is a large dining style table on the side porch and a wheel bench on the front, but it just seemed bizarre to me that there weren't adirondacks or rocking chairs on the front porch to take in the country views and read a book. We brought over the chairs from the fire pit, but this seems like a no brainer to us. As noted by previous reviewers, the outdoor porch area was quite dirty and the table on the side porch was actually filthy. Bummer.

We were told we would have some of a lake and gazebo view form the Scott house, but we for sure did not. We did have a view of the watering hole for the cows across the street, but that's about it. When we did head up to look at the gazebo and the attached "lake" (can these really be called lakes?) we got out of the car and started to walk toward it and were charged...seriously charged...by a large dog. We froze in fear and we have 2 dogs ourselves! What my husband thought at first to be a pitbull, was thankfully just a boxer. He circled us over and over and when we tried to ignore him he just chased us up onto the gazebo and then ran back towards what I assume to be the manager's home. Two people were outside during this time. Not one yelled to us that he was friendly or for the dog to come back or anything at all. My heart beat so hard for the whole experience, I knew I wasn't coming back to relax there. Country life may be different and your dog may be the friendliest on the planet, but when he/she comes running full force toward strangers they are going to freak out.

Finally the only other thing I'll mention that has nothing to do with the property is that Creston, the nearest town, is kind of a drag. No good restaurant (we heard there is a good farm to table place but they were closed for a private event) and not even a charming downtown to walk around. There is a great park in town that we took our chairs and a bottle of wine to and spent an afternoon and that was lovely. We visited Osceola (45 min) and that was for sure a never again trip. The highlight was Winterset and the Bridges of Madison County. Lovely town square, fairly good lunch at the Northside Cafe and a place I'm glad we went. We had dinner at a little Mexican place in Afton (15 min) that was recommended and oddly had the best pasta dish we had had in a while. Cajun chicken pasta (the chef used to work at an Italian restaurant), but the town itself was totally dicey and sad. The Iowa scenery/farmland is truly beautiful to drive through, but it felt like we had to travel far and wide to just grab a decent bite to eat or a coffee. City slickers, I guess.

So, do go here for a relaxing slice of country living or to reconnect with friends and family. Do not expect much to happening anywhere around the cabin and do not expect a wooded retreat with the style of lakes (even tiny ones) you would find in Wisconsin or Minnesota. Go through the website thoroughly and take the pictures at face value. Had we done that, frankly, we probably wouldn't have spent $300/night to go there, but somehow I'm glad we ended up there anywhere. Weird.

  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
1  Thank jradport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2013

I took my nephews and a few of their friends to Hatfield lakes from March 27-31 2013 and they had a blast! We stayed in the Big John Cabin with plenty of room. Without internet and TV the boys still had a blast and didn't miss any of it. If you love outdoors, this place is for you! My 16 year old nephew told me it was the best vacation ever and my 18 year old nephew said it was a trip of a lifetime! Mark, I can't thank you enough for working with us with any little detail we needed. We are so happy you provide such a great place for people to enjoy quality time together. There is SOOO much property to explore you will never get bored. Hatfield Lakes is a step above the rest!!! Thanks again Hatfield Lakes!! :)

Room Tip: Big John Cabin is right beside a lake, Stott house is about a quarter mile walk to the nearest lake.
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank Puck207
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2012

From the moment my family and I step foot on the property until we left we shared much needed quality get away time!
I read some previous posts and I am not sure why people are expecting a fully staffed 5 star hotel when they are renting cabins. If you are expecting this, I would go elsewhere.
We had no problems. The cabin was beautiful, well stocked, and clean. The lake and gazebo were beautiful. It was a lovely location and best of all there were no people around to bother us.
I would definitely recommend Hatfield Lakes to anyone seeking a great relaxing get away!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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3  Thank Rees101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark m, Manager at Hatfield Lakes Iowa, responded to this reviewResponded 7 March 2013

Thank you for staying with us as always! We look forward to serving you again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2012

We had the groupon situation that was purchased for a charity event with wine, fishing gear and a two night stay. We booked Big John Cabin and it is a very nice log cabin with excellent furnishings and a nice view of the larger lake. The wooden stump sinks are not only very cool artwork, but quite functional as well. Wildlife is very abundant around the area and geese wake you up in the morning, but we liked the seclusion. The wine never existed and the fishing gear is no where to be found (so bring your own!). We had brought our own fishing gear and bait so no worries there. The gazebo is nice and it was cold this first weekend in October so having the heat in the gazebo was needed. The fishing was excellent and the bluegill and bass are very large and pretty easy to catch. I wonder how long the good fishing will last since if fish are not taken out of the lake, the population usually suffers in the long run. Mark replied to my emails and did call me once, but was in a rush to get off the phone for some reason. I thought that was different. We did read the information booklet in the cabin and learned that they will no longer be accepting anything but 14 day long reservations during the 2013 season. That is disappointing as I think we would have possibly returned for a 2 night stay. However, I don't think there is enough of a variety of activities available for us to stay for 14 days. I guess the weekend getaway market is one they do not wish to serve any longer.

Room Tip: Big John Cabin and Moonlight Marion are on the lake. Geese like to hang out and honk in front of Big John Cabin in the morning before flying over west to the lake with the gazebo.
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Suzy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark m, Owner at Hatfield Lakes Iowa, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2012

So glad you stayed with us. We look forward to seeing you in the future!!

Mark

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Reviewed 2 October 2012

Mark is unprofessional. Just awful. I had booked a groupon to use and had tried to contact him on several occasions before being able to get ahold of him to make a reservation. I made a reservation in Oct 2011 for a May 2012 stay. A month before our designated stay, we found out we couldn't make the trip so I called and texted to try and reschedule another stay. I had one reply from him and nothing else. I ended up contacting groupon who ended up contacting him to contact me! In the end, nothing happened. I had to contact groupon to let them know it had been a week and no phone call or text from Mark. To sum up: what a terrible way to run a business. I wouldn't recommend doing business with him to absolutely anyone!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Service
3  Thank Sarah K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark m, Owner at Hatfield Lakes Iowa, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2012

We did everything we could to take your reservation. But, we book up sometimes 7 months in advance for weekends. I said numerous times that we had space available during the weekday and would love to have you and your guests stay. However, I will not cancel other guests that made arrangments almost six months in advance. Your refund was issued long ago. We hope this message clears up any other issues.

Respectfully,

Mark

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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