Sunset Dreams Come True
“Service isn’t a big thing; it is a million little things.” – Chris and Scott Mehlhaff, Owners
The young couple on a pontoon drifted slowly along the horizon line between lake and sky.With their dreams basking in the glowing colors of a summer sunset, they looked wistfully at the shoreline. Some day . . . they mused . . . someday.
That some day came for Scott and Chris Mehlhaff a year ago. After 15 years of dreaming and planning, The Lodge on Lake Detroit (www.thelodgeonlakedetroit.com) in Detroit Lakes, MN opened its expansive doors to welcome guests to a world of sunsets and personal service not to be forgotten. It is built on the spot the Mehlhaffs had been eyeing for many years.
The 55-room facility is located on the east side of Big Detroit Lake. Each room faces the lake, giving guests breathtaking views of brilliant, ever-changing sunsets that eclipse the horizons.
“One of our mottos here is: come for the sunsets, stay for the experience,” Scott says.
“The Lodge is all about lifestyle and a focus on wellness and the environment.” In addition to overseeing the construction and completion of the Lodge, the Mehlhaffs also own the Holland House Best Western in Detroit Lakes and the Best Western Superior Inn in Grand Marais MN.
The hospitality industry is nothing new for Chris. Like for the Mehlhaffs daughter, Katriana, it’s the way of life. Until recently, Chris’s parents, John and Kathy Holland, owned and operated the Holland House in Detroit Lakes. John’s father, Emil Holland, opened the Best Western in Detroit Lakes in 1921. The reins have been passed to Chris and Scott with Katriana the fourth generation already helping with The Lodge.
With a history of quality and service, the Mehlhaffs also want to make sure culture is part of the lifestyle at The Lodge.
Chris, an accomplished musician, says, “Art and music are very important to us in our personal lives and we want that to be a big part of the experience our guests have.” Scott, who has performed in many operas and other theatre works, jokes, “How many people do you know who buy a grand piano first, before anything else, when they plan a project like this?” The grand piano commands special attention in the 2-story lakefront, fireside lobby near the main entrance to The Lodge. Throughout the year, musicians perform during Live At The Lodge and Wine Tasting events, which are also open to the public as well as lodge guests. All venues of music, including jazz, classical, and the blues, are featured on the music menu. Wine and appetizers are also part of the gala evenings.
“We feel first-class entertainment is an important part of the profile for The Lodge,” Chris says. “We have so many talented people in our region and we love to have them perform here.” Many of the wines served are organic and are produced in Minnesota. With their watchful eyes always on alert for ways to protect the environment, the Mehlhaffs also serve organic foods whenever possible. “We want to have as many eco-friendly features as we can,” Scott emphasizes.
The two rain gardens on the lakeside protect the lake from parking lot and highway run-off. Instead of the typical settling ponds for projects like this, Scott insisted on creating the rain gardens, which have indigenous grasses and plants. The Mehlhaffs are also spending a considerable amount of time and effort restoring the lakeshore.
“We are working with the Department of Natural Resources to make sure we are doing this right and are hopeful others around the lake will want to do the same thing,” Scott adds.
The emphasis on the environment is also felt throughout the facility. The use of fluorescent lights and heat pumps and LoE Marvin windows are just some of the elements incorporated to make The Lodge more ecofriendly.
“There’s so much more we could have done and we will be making changes as we can,” Scott stresses.
In the renewal spa suite, guests can relax in a two-person aromatherapy/hydrotherapy whirlpool and enjoy the fireplace. The suite also has a private balcony and a wet bar.
The stunning art glasswork of Bracken Rourke (www.cltile.com) is showcased throughout The Lodge, including each of the rooms.
At the Spa Within, located on the first floor, there are a variety of treatments for men and women, including massages, facials, body treatments, manicures, pedicures and much more. In addition to lodge guests, the public is also welcome to make appointments for any or all of the spa services.
“It’s all in the details,” Scott states emphatically. “We want our guests to feel pampered and special. That’s one of the things we hear the most from our guests — ‘you’ve thought of everything!”