www.bigbearcoolcabins.com A source for lodging in Big Bear Lake, California, offering vacation rental properties from 1 to 9+ bedrooms, including pet friendly and lakefront locations. (800)550-8779 … see full wiki
We used this service as first-time visitors to Big Bear Lake, which is in driving distance to where we live in California. This was also our first time using a vacation rental service to book a cabin.
Overall, it was a great experience! There are several of these services in the Big Bear area, I've come to learn, and I can't compare it to the others - but on it's own I'd recommend them for sure.
We stayed in the cabin called "Cornerstone" - but for sake of this review, I'll focus on the booking service more than the actual property we chose.
What we liked the most about Big Bear Cool Cabins:
Wide Selection of Cabin Styles, Locations, and Sizes This was my favorite thing about the service. They cover the whole range from super swanky lakefront mansions, to very quaint - and affordable!! - little cozy cabins. The architectural styles offer great range, to suit your desire for aesthetics and decor. They also offer many options for the type of location (right in the action, off the beaten path, walk to lake, walk to ski resorts, etc), as well as size - from one bedroom to places that can sleep 20 or more people.
Also, they have a nice number of pet-friendly properties, which is awesome. Who wants to go on a cozy mountain getaway without having their pup to snuggle by the fire with? Our place had a great yard, which was perfect for the dog (not to mention us humans ; ) we had room to sled on the property, and there was an awesome tree swing we all played on too).
Easy to Browse Website While it's kind of an old-school website in terms of layout and design, it still functions quite well. I was able to really easily view tons of listings, check out several pics of each property, sort by # of bedrooms, people it sleeps, or amenities (like fireplaces and jacuzzi). I could see the location on a map, to gauge proximity to ski slopes, shopping, or other local activities. I suppose you'd expect all of this in a vacation rental site - but I just found that it met every need I had in terms of how to browse the info, and I don't have that experience on many other websites, so I found it a plus.
Availability of Cabins w/o 2 or 3 Night Minimum Stay This was crucial - part of what made the trip so affordable was heading up for just one night. It's an easy couple hour drive, so a two-day trip with one overnight works well. Very few services offer less than a two or three night minimum, especially over a holiday - but BBCC was willing to work with you up until the last minute to allow a one night stay at any of the properties still open. I'd imagine over a non-holiday weekend it would be even easier to accommodate.
Friendly,Knowledgeable and Helpful Staff - easily reachable by phone It's comforting to me to talk to a live human when I'm spending any large sum of money. Also, it can just feel quicker and easier. I spoke with 3 different reps at varying points in the process, with questions, etc - and they were all very polite and professional. Great experience - and unfortunately not the norm in today's sub par customer service culture.
Great Communication (thorough emails) We received great, thorough emails at every step of the process, with everything we needed to know in terms of how the cabin was stocked, directions, how to get in w/ lock box codes for keys, and how to check out. It was seamless and super easy. They also called me to confirm things at the crucial points.
Nice, Clean Home The property was clean, nicely decorated with cozy cabin accouterments, and well stocked with kitchen supplies and the like. Towels were like sandpaper and the microwave was probably the first one ever manufactured (hence took FOREVER to heat - oven wound up being better option) - that'd be my only complaint. Very minor issues, overall.
TIP -- pay attention to their instructions on checking the hot water so it's turned on. Cold showers in a snowy locale are not fun ; ) Also - bring a humidifier... it's SUPER dry between the altitude, having the heater on blast and then the fire burning on top of that.
Cool Extras Available We didn't opt for any of these perks - but for a fee you can have them bring anything from firewood to a Christmas tree to the house. That's pretty full service. You can get a decorated tree or get ornaments separately to have a tree trimming party. Personally, I'd always choose the more economic approach of bringing our own - but I liked that they'll offer all encompassing packages like this for those who may like to. I could see it being useful if you had a big group coming and too many other details to handle.
Things that were less than great:
"Guest Web" Online Booking Feature Broke / Gave $ Error They were able to resolve this glitch quickly, but for a time the login wasn't working and then it showed that I was billed triple the correct amount. Software they use for that Guest Web seems buggy and not reliable, hopefully they'll switch to something else.
Check-In and Check-Out times Make for Brief Stay Granted, it was a holiday weekend we were staying over, so the early check in and late check out options were not available. Still though, check in was around 3pm, which means you don't really have the house for that much time if you're only staying one night (check out is 11a)- I guess that's part of why they encourage the two night minimum stay. Kind of a buzz kill as we were planning - though practically speaking, by the time we got on the road and got up there, there was plenty of time to hang out in town or hike or ski and just go check in afterward, so it's doable to work around.
I'm really considering making this a standing tradition for Thanksgiving weekend. We drove up the day after -- love how that felt like the polar opposite of "Black Friday" shopping gluttony - instead we literally ran for the hills. Worked out great - just packed up all the leftovers and then had a delicious potluck, sharing our friends holiday dishes and keeping the fun holiday festivities going for a few extra days. Perfect kick off to the season!