A great family vacation destination.. but not our style
Disclaimer: RVC Outdoors pro-actively contacted us and invited us to come check out this resort during our travels, free of charge. All opinions are our own, and they specifically asked us to be 'brutally honest' in our review. So we're being more critical and detailed than usual at their request.
This park is about 2 years old, and you can tell they have put a lot of thought and effort into being something different than your standard RV Park or Resort. This is a full vacation destination in and of itself. Not only do they have the RV parking spaces, they offer cabin and yurt rentals - which is fantastic for the RVer wanting to vacation with their non-RVing friends.
Also onsite is a beautiful saline pool overlooking the entire complex, a game room, a small gym, a huge covered pavilion with outdoor kitchen, frisbee disc golf course and boat/kayak dock.
The RV Parking Area:
While their RV area is not as bad as a typical RV Parking Lot style, it's not that much better either. The spots are right next to each other, however because of the 'curved' shape of the area leading down to the waterfront - each spot seems to be thoughtfully positioned so that your direct view is not of your neighbor's RV. So that was a definite plus over most commercial RV Parks that tend to be nothing more than a parking lot with pedestals.
The spots were wider and more spacious than most RV parking lots, but not nearly as spacious and private as something you might get at a public campground.
Also, there is almost absolutely no shade in the RV area, or privacy between spots - they have planted small trees, but it'll be nearly a decade before any of them provide shade or division. When you walk around the land they own, you start to wonder if there might have been other possibilities for laying out the RV lot to make it seem more like a campground. Especially when you check out the cabin area, where they have laid them out quite nicely with ample space and division between the lots. (Of course, after our walk through the woods and frisbee disc golf area, we found several ticks on us - so perhaps it's not a bad thing after all!)
On the positive: Each site is super easy to get into - they have provided ample angling space that even a novice RV driver should have no trouble getting into. We witnessed no one needing to give their approach a second try. And each space is spot on level. Each site provides a picnic table, BBQ Grill, fire pit, 50 amp electric service, water and sewer. All were strong, in great shape and modern. We did have a bit of trash on our site - mainly cigarette butts.
We were given a premium waterfront site for our stay there - and the views of the water were quite nice. While we had a direct view of the water, just as soon as we walked outside our RV we felt no privacy whatsoever from our neighbors.
Since RVC goes to great lengths to sell you on their amenities, we're going to be brutally honest about them.
1) WiFi. On their website, they advertise 'Free & Reliable WiFi' throughout property. Yes, the signal is there and their basic WiFi service is free - which the welcome page says is ample for checking e-mail and some light browsing. If you want WiFi capable of streaming video, you're asked to upgrade to their premium service. The standard free WiFi was barely usable for even checking e-mail, so we decided to upgrade for $4/day. The process to upgrade was insanely difficult, and once we did - our speeds actually DROPPED!!! We called customer support with Single Digits (their WiFi provider) and were on the phone with them for 35 minutes trying to diagnose it (they were pretty inept), to no resolution. They promised to have a more senior tech call us by the end of the day, but that never happened. They didn't reverse our $4 charge either - we've now had to put it in dispute with our credit card company. We posted a Facebook status update about our troubles with the WiFi, and Catherine's Landing did respond (kudos for the active social media guys!) and admitted that they only have a 1.5 MBPS pipeline coming in for the entire park to share. That's ridiculously little bandwidth for advertising reliable WiFi. They said they plan to double that soon, but in our opinion - that's still not enough.
Thank goodness we had good AT&T and Verizon 3G signal here.. so that we could continue to get our work done!
2) The Pool. The pool is gorgeous, and we really appreciate the saline instead of nasty chlorine. However, every time we went to use it - it was a kid-stew. And usually unsupervised kids. This park is a FAMILY vacation destination, and the kids were running all over the place while we were there. We tried to relax in the pool one evening just before closing time (way too early at 10pm if you ask us), and the kids were still overruling the place. And we were there on a weeknight, and the park wasn't even half full! We would have loved to make more use of the pool - perhaps some adult only swim hours are needed to balance the needs of the guests?
3) Gym & Wii Room. We checked out the gym, and it has 3 pieces of equipment. They appeared to be modern and in great shape - but hardly what we call a gym. We didn't check out the Wii Room, as again, it was full of kids. However, what really stood out to us was the codes they issue to use these rooms. It's 12 digits long!!! We really don't understand why a 12-digit code is needed. This location is so off the beaten path, it's not like folks from outside the resort will be wandering through. So why inconvenience your guests with such a ridiculously long code to use the amenities they are paying an arm and a leg for? Wouldn't an easily rememberable 4 digits suffice?
All of the other amenities looked great - the baths & laundry facilities are conveniently placed throughout the facility, and are very clean, modern and sizable. Laundry was a very reasonable $1/load.
The pavilion looked like a fantastic place to gather, and would be ideal for a rally or large meet up. There is even an ice machine if you need to keep your cooler filled (although at $3/bag - you may be better off going up the road to the convenience store.)
We didn't use it, but they also rent kayaks and boats. If we had been there longer, the lake looked like a great place to kayak.
Would we return?
On our own, probably not. When we're passing through Hot Springs, we really enjoy bath row - and have loved our previous stays at Gulpha Gorge campground (run by the NPS). It's nearly half the price for a waterfront spot with electricity, and a nice shaded 1 mile hike to the bath houses. The 7 mile drive & traffic to go take a bath from Catherine's Landing was a bit much to be relaxing. And on our own, we're just not drawn to family vacation destinations, so this isn't our ideal 'get away' spot .. and at $42/night, it's outside our normal comfort zone for a routine stay.
However, we would not hesitate to attend a rally here. This location seems ideal for hosting such an event, and very much provides the amenities and layout for keeping a nice community feel and providing plenty of onsite activities.
And for someone seeking a family vacation - this is an ideal location. So please don't let our description dissuade you if that's what you're looking for. We write this from the perspective of a full-time, remote working on the road, childfree technomadic couple... who was asked to come check this spot out for our own needs.
Our review is intentionally 'brutally honest' at the request of the staff of Catherine's Landing - we really do appreciate their social outreach, and asking for honest feedback on what they offer.