There is definitely not a mildew smell in the cottage. We keep it very clean and it gets great air-flow from the surrounding mountains and Lake. The week around Melissa's stay was extremely wet and humid. The cabin is in a pine forest so it smells like the pine forest, not mildew. Melissa failed to mention that we offered her a free night based on the weather and she also never mentioned being dissatisfied in any way to me directly. The steps are a beautiful stone walkway down to the lake, but it is a healthy way. No one has ever complained about either of her "issues"