|MINNEAPOLIS, September 6, 2005 – 10,000 square feet of meeting and
convention space for groups of 12 to 500. Private, 14-seat boardroom and
five breakout rooms. State-of-the-art facilities featuring high-speed wireless
Internet, on-site AV and support, and complete event catering. Ballroom
with fieldstone fireplace, hardwood dance floor and two-story vaulted ceilings.
All in a luxury resort hotel setting that gives new meaning to the phrase
“business retreat.” Welcome to The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes.
Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, which opened in August, 2005, is the cornerstone
of a new development in Baxter, Minnesota that caters to a broad range
of guests beyond the obvious vacationing crowd. Specifically, it is a premier
location for business meetings and group events.
Beyond the luxurious, four-story modern lodge design, with its sweeping
views, natural wood and stone fireplaces, and unique design elements that
bring the history and character of the locale to the great indoors -- this
property is wired for business of any variety. From corporate meetings
and events to weddings and family reunions, it offers state-of-the-art
facilities and amenities that are unparalleled anywhere in the surrounding
But what happens outside the boardroom? After the wedding?
10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space seating for groups of 12 to
Beautiful, lodge-style ballroom featuring fieldstone fireplace, hardwood
dance floor and two-story vaulted ceilings
5 breakout rooms
Private, 14-seat boardroom
High-speed wireless Internet
On-site AV and support
Fully catered events & on-site restaurant (Rockwoods Grill & Backwater
Bar, which features a diverse menu -- from broiled walleye and wood-fired
sea scallops to pot roast, hearty burgers and wood-fired pizzas)
Not to be outdone by the meeting facilities, guestrooms are thoughtfully
“outfitted” with furniture made for the property by Lonesome Cottage in
Pequot Lakes. No detail was spared, right down to the 24 inches of insulation
between walls, floor to floor, ensuring peace and quiet for all guests.
And, like the meeting facilities, room options provide something for everyone:
And there’s more.
102 spacious, quiet guestrooms so large they’re referred to as “cabins”
(some with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs)
Luxury suites including 3 loft suites; 3-room kids-themed suite; Cinema
suite with 26-inch television, Xbox and Playstation; and a huge, 3-room
entertainment suite with a full kitchen (3-room suites sleep up to 25 people)
Dataports, voicemail, microwaves and refrigerators in all rooms
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes also includes the new, 30,000-square-foot
Paul Bunyan Water Park. Like everything else at the property, the water
park is state-of-the art. It is the first in Minnesota (and the second
in the nation) to utilize the most advanced interactive, virtual-reality
technology available, which allows tube-slide riders choose from a variety
of holographic rides -- complete with sound, lights and video. Riders who
choose the Northwoods program, for example, “crash” through walls of water
displaying alternating images of Paul Bunyan’s ax swinging into trees as
they thunder to the ground, and “collisions” with log jams. There are also
less thrilling options for those who desire a milder experience, and the
holograms can even be customized, allowing corporate guests to include
a water wall displaying an image of its chief executive officer, for example.
The water park also features a variety of less dramatic activities,
including a zero-depth entry pool, lazy river, plunge pool, Jacuzzi tub,
indoor/outdoor activity pool, video arcade, large mezzanine level with
lounge chairs, and a snack bar operated by the Rockwoods group – which
offers a variety of food items such as beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages.
And because the number one cause of injuries in water parks is related
to slippery floor conditions, the water park will be the first in the world
to utilize a newly developed soft-land flooring on all surfaces carrying
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes is the brainchild of Doug Rohde, who is
co-developing the property along with his business partner, Joel Cairy,
and a group of other business associates. Rohde, who owns the Lodge at
Brainerd Lakes’ sister property, The Lodge at Crooked Lake in Siren, Wisconsin,
is no newcomer to the hospitality industry. With a career spanning two
decades, he has held a variety of senior management positions at Hilton,
Marriott, and Sunstone Hotel Group, among others.
“I knew what was working for The Lodge in Siren, and I felt it could
be duplicated, but also expanded upon,” Rohde said. “During the site selection
process, I spent a lot of time looking at resort hotels in Northern Minnesota
and Wisconsin, and the water park connection was fairly obvious. What sets
the property apart is that it offers these state-of-the-art “r&r” opportunities
alongside the most high-end meeting and convention facilities available
anywhere in the surrounding area.”
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes is located approximately 2.25 hours from
the Twin Cities, on 10.5 acres just off Highway 371 (also known as the
Paul Bunyan Expressway) in Baxter, Minnesota. To find out more about the
property, visit www.lodgehotels.com.
A Brief History: The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park is a joint venture
between a group of Twin Cities developers, including Joel Cairy and Doug
Rohde. Cairy and Rohde are managing partners of Lodge Hotels & Resorts,
and collaborate on all aspects of The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul
Bunyan Water Park’s development -- including design, construction, marketing
and on-site management.
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park represents Phase
II of a development initiative that began in 2001 and is projected to expand
to 20 properties nationwide within the next few years. The initiative began
with The Lodge at Crooked Lake Hotel & Conference Center in Siren,
Wisconsin, which is owned by Rohde. The Lodge at Crooked Lake anchors The
Lodge Village development, a concept which offers guests a variety of on-site
shops and services -- including a salon/spa, coffee shop, scrapbooking
shop, Picture Gallery and General Store. The property also features the
Timbers Movie Theater; its own stadium-seating, 4-screen multiplex
featuring first-run films.
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park represents one
of the hottest national trends in the hospitality industry: indoor hotel
water parks. These resorts have emerged as a leisure destination for families
looking for a convenient weekend getaway or vacation. In keeping with this
trend, new construction is growing rapidly, and technology is becoming
highly sophisticated. The newest wave of water parks are bigger, better,
and appeal to a much broader audience (not just for kids and families anymore),
which is forcing many existing water parks to re-evaluate their focus and
undertake expensive and time-consuming expansions and renovations.
The Brainerd Lakes development is “sister” to the Crooked Lake property,
echoing its luxury resort hotel appeal and range of amenities, as well
as its architectural and design style. While the Crooked Lake property
does not feature a water park, the Brainerd Lakes property does, with room
for additional growth. A variety of expansion plans are currently under
consideration, including the development of an all-inclusive “Village”
that follows in the successful footsteps of the Lodge Village development.
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul
Bunyan Water Park
What is The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park,
and who should want to stay there?
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park is a 10.5-acre
development that features a 102-room, lodge-style luxury resort hotel with
10,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, attached to a 30,000-square-foot
indoor water park. The property is designed to accommodate families and
vacationers of all types and sizes, as well as business travelers and meeting
and convention guests.
What is the exact location of the development?
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park is located
on State Highway 371, also known as the Paul Bunyan Expressway, the north
gateway to the city of Baxter, Minnesota. Specifically, it is west of Highway
371, north of Woida Road, and south of Crow Wing County Road 77 in Baxter.
It is part of the wider lake country region that has come to be known as
the Brainerd Lakes area.
What specific amenities does The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul
Bunyan Water Park offer?
• 102 hotel rooms including 6 themed suites
• 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting and convention facilities
• 30,000-square-foot indoor water park featuring 500 feet of interactive,
themed water slides with holographic images and sounds, zero-depth entry
pool, snack shop, arcade and two party rooms (first in Minnesota and second
in the US to offer state-of-the-art hologrammed tube slides)
• Full-service on-site restaurant (Rockwoods Grill & Backwater
Bar), room service and event catering
• Business center
• Fitness center
What makes The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park
different from other resort hotels, and water parks, in the area?
The Paul Bunyan Water Park is the first in Minnesota and second in the
nation to utilize the most advanced interactive technology available, featuring
tube slides with “walls of water” that display holographic images complete
with sound, lights and video. (Holograms are full-color images that appear
to be three-dimensional.) Riders use a touch pad to choose from different
themed holographic “experiences,” such as Northwoods, Ocean Adventure,
Rainforest and Space Odyssey. An internal computer randomly chooses “sub-options”
within each of the themed categories, making for virtually endless variations
within each theme. Riders who choose the Northwoods program, for example,
“crash” through walls of water displaying alternating images of Paul Bunyan’s
ax swinging into trees as they thunder to the ground, and “collisions”
with log jams. There are also less thrilling options for younger riders,
or those who desire a milder experience. The holograms are also customizable,
allowing corporate guests to include a water wall displaying an image of
its chief executive officer, for example. It is possible to spend
an entire day at the water park and never experience the same ride twice.
For those who aren’t necessarily interested in jettisoning down a 45-foot
tower of water, the water park also features a variety of activities that
make a less dramatic splash, including:
The number one cause of injuries in water parks is related to slippery
floor conditions. In response to this situation, the Paul Bunyan Water
Park is the first in the world to utilize a newly developed soft-land flooring
on all surfaces carrying pedestrian traffic. The product, called Soft Floor™,
is completely non-porus, which means that no water, chemicals, or bacteria
of any sort are absorbed, ensuring a much safer, more hygienic experience.
Zero-depth entry pool with play apparatus for smaller children
Lazy river; plunge pool; indoor/outdoor Jacuzzi tub; and large indoor activity
pool for older kids, with basketball hoop and Paul Bunyan Water Walk (kids
hold onto a cargo net suspended over pool as they attempt to navigate
Large mezzanine level with lounge chairs
Snack bar with separate seating for kids and adults, operated by the Rockwoods
group and offering a varied menu of food items as well as soft drinks,
beer, wine and specialty drinks
2,100-square-foot video arcade room for kids and adults
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park is not just
a hotel, and not just a water park. It offers guests endless amenities
-- meeting facilities that rival anything available in the Twin Cities,
and a boundless variety of good-old-fashioned and state-of-the-art rest
& relaxation options. It is the best of all worlds, in a setting of
laid-back northwoods luxury.
What surrounds The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water
The development is just minutes from several area attractions, including:
What is the architecture and design of The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes &
Paul Bunyan Water Park like?
450 holes of championship golf (such as The Legacy, The Pines at Grandview,
The Preserve at Grandview, Deacon’s Lodge, Pine Beach, Pine Meadows, and
Brainerd International Raceway
Paul Bunyan Land at This Old Farm
Paul Bunyan Biking and Snowmobile Trail
The Mississippi River and many pristine recreational lakes and trails
Brainerd Civic Center and Gold Medal Area
Retail developments (such as Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Menard’s,
Fleet Farm and Home Depot)
Restaurants (such as 371 Diner, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Bar Harbor, Black Bear,
Bonanza Steak House, Grizzley’s, Iven’s on the Bay, Perkins, Poncho and
Lefty’s, and Prairie Bay)
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes is designed to echo the luxurious yet natural
rustic style of its sister property, The Lodge at Crooked Lake, which is
located in Siren, Wisconsin. A inviting, modern lodge experience, the four-story
Lodge at Brainerd Lakes combines the cozy warmth of natural wood and stone
fireplaces with sweeping views and truly unique design details, such as
30 to 40 antique boat motors displayed alongside antique tools used by
lumberjacks. Local businesses have provided many of the accessories. For
example, furniture was made for The Lodge by Lonesome Cottage in Pequot
How far along is construction; is the property open for business?
Construction began with the groundbreaking in August of 2004, and the
property (hotel and water park) opened in August of this year. Reservations
are currently being taken for weddings, business meetings, and other events.
The on-site restaurant, Rockwoods Grill & Backwater Bar, will open
on September 19, 2005.
Why is Baxter, Minnesota, a good place to build the hotel and water
The trend in indoor hotel water parks has been growing over the last
several years. One of the biggest reasons for this continued growth is
that having a water park on-site allows a property to extend its peak season
to year-round. Currently, there are more than 1,000 water parks worldwide,
and more than half of them are in the United States. Hotels with indoor
water parks are growing from 23% to 29% annually, while the overall hotel
industry room supply grew just 1.2% in 2004 and was expected to grow just
1.3% in 2005.
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park project is
also in a prime location, within a premier development on State Highway
371 in Baxter (also known as the Paul Bunyan Expressway). Baxter is a sister
city to Brainerd, and is growing quickly. It is situated 130 miles northwest
of Minneapolis/St. Paul and 60 miles north of St. Cloud, 140 miles west
of Fargo, North Dakota, and 350 miles southeast of Winnipeg Manitoba, in
Minnesota’s number one recreational destination. Statistics show that recreational
areas with interstate highway access within 200 miles of a major metro
area are excellent locations for hotel water park developments, as families
are willing to drive 200 miles in the middle of January to spend a weekend
at an indoor water park.
The development is currently traveled by more than 16,500 vehicles per
day and is projected to reach 27,400 vehicles by 2020. Development surrounding
the site is made up of complementary uses including an array of local and
tourism-related amenities in retail, restaurants, service and recreational
businesses. The Brainerd Lakes area is home to several hundred fishing
and recreational lakes as well as numerous state and county parks, including
the Paul Bunyan Trail, which is used for biking in the summer and snowmobiling
in the winter.
What economic impact will the development have on the Brainerd Lakes
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park anticipates
approximately 120 employees, 25% of which are expected to be full-time
Who are the developers?
The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes & Paul Bunyan Water Park is a joint
venture between a group of Twin Cities developers, including Joel Cairy
and Doug Rohde. Both are managing partners of Lodge Hotels & Resorts.
Rohde also owns The Lodge at Crooked Lake Hotel & Conference
Center, which anchors the Lodge Village Development in Siren, Wisconsin.
Cairy and Rohde collaborate on all aspects of The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes
& Paul Bunyan Water Park’s development, including design, construction,
marketing and on-site management. While Rohde’s expertise is in multi-hotel
management, Cairy’s forte is hotel management and buying, which he gained
as Director of Hotel Administration and Corporate Worldwide Travel at Northwest
Airlines. In this capacity, Cairy directed the purchasing of hotel contracts
for airline crew hotels throughout the NWA system. Collectively, Rohde
and Cairy have more than 35 years of experience in hotel sales and marketing.