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The Bear Haus - Beautiful House on the Water at Lake Dunlap

Bedrooms 6
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 - 3 nights


About the property

House, 6 Bedrooms + Convertible bed(s), 5 Baths, (Sleeps 18-22)

This beautiful lakefront home has a unique history. It was originally the home of Emil and Hanna Pallenberg, who became internationally famous with their Pallenberg Bears from the 1940's through 1970. Their travels included Austrailia, Mexico, South America, Canada, and all over the United States with various circus companies, and actually housed the bears at this home during their off seasons. You will find pictures and historical accountings of their travels and shows in the game room.

There are magical twinkling lights in the mature oak trees, and giant cypress trees providing a perfect evening ambiance for family gatherings. The yard is large and will accommodate any evening or day functions for a family gathering, family vacations, company functions, etc.... PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CITY OF NEW BRAUNFELS DOES CURRENTLY HAVE A BURN BAN IN EFFECT.

Family reunions are a natural event here, as are corporate retreats, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and simpler family vacations. The home is kid-friendly, with a designated swimming area just off of the over-the-water deck in shallow water for youngsters, bunk beds, large flat screen tv's, and Wii Console/Games.

The game room is 40 x 25 feet in dimension, providing for the bar area (including a complete back bar), a kegerator (special request), a friendly game of pool, while others sit around the large sectional couch and watch the 55 inch screen tv or play a game of darts. A full bathroom is available in the room. The game room opens from the front of the house and also to the rear of the house onto the yard and waterfront areas.

The yard is completely fenced, providing safety for pets, but the owners will need to interview the pets! A Pet Deposit is also required.

Adjacent to the over-the-water deck is a boat slip, and a long pier with expansion at the end where you can swim or fish (A fishing license is required). The huge area of water covered by water lilies provides excellent fishing for bass, tilapia, catfish and perch. There are rod holders at the end of the pier.

Whether cooking in either of the two beautiful kitchens or BBQ'ing (charcoal) on the patio, plenty of food can be easily prepared to serve multitudes of guests. There are outdoor dining areas on both the upstairs deck and the downstairs patio.

Keywords: waterfront, fishing pier, swimming, over water deck, outside decks, patio, huge yard, handicapped accessible, renovated kitchens, new appliances, unique designs, game room, corporate retreats, family reunions, family vacations, pool table,

More Details

Cathy Estrada
Member since: 2012
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within 2 days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
March 17, 2018

About Cathy Estrada

The home is now owned by the remaining family, John Haas and his wife, Robbie (upstairs), and Barbara Williams, widow of John's brother James Williams (downstairs). This has been a family home since its inception in the 1950's, as the Pallenbergs built on to the original A-frame house to expand it to the size it is today. The family then updated and remodeled the home to the state it is currently in, and remodeled the huge double garage into the completed game room.

Cathy Estrada purchased this house in 1950

Why Cathy Estrada chose New Braunfels

Our family was fortunate to have this family home in this wonderful location, and now wish to share it with others as we have worked long and hard to rennovate it into this beautiful home.

What makes this house unique

The sunsets over the lake are the most incredible you will find. The waterfowl add to the magic of the environment, with cranes, wood ducks, cormorants throughout the year, and migrating white pelicans and mud hens vacationing through February. A family of Great Horned Owls has lived in the neighborhood for many years, and you can hear their calls in the evening as you watch the sunset on the water. Hummingbirds, woodpeckers and hawks also call this their home, and provide hours of interesting bird watching.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Bear Haus 1 & 2 are perfect for a large group. The house is stunning!! We had 22 people attend an annual April weekend trip. This is BY FAR the best place we have stayed at. Having two kitchens provided us with plenty of room for our groceries and allowed us to make dinner/bake pizzas so that we could all eat at the same time! The decks were large enough for us to all sit together and enjoy the beautiful outdoor area! The rental process was very easy. We will stay here again!
Apr 2013
  • 1 of 1


New Braunfels House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 22
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Lake View ...
  • Lakefront ...
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • 5 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
    Bathroom 3 -
    Bathroom 4 -
    Bathroom 5 -
  • 5
  • 6 Bedrooms, Sleeps 22
  • Bedroom 4 Master bdrm (Haus 2 downstairs) - 1 king
    Bedroom 5 (haus 2 downstairs) - 1 queen
    Bedroom 6 (haus 2 downstairs) - 2 queen , 2 twin/ single
    Bedroom 1 master bdrm (haus 1 upstairs) - 1 king
    Bedroom 2 (haus 1 upstairs) - 1 double
    Bedroom 3 (haus 1 upstairs) - 2 queen
    Convertible bed(s) living room (haus 1 upstairs) - 1 sleep sofa /futon
  • King size beds (2) King bed in both master suites, Queen size Beds (4) Two queen beds in bedroom #2 upstairs, one queen bed in bedroom #3 downstairs, 2 queen bed in bedroom #2 downstairs., Twin or Single Beds (1) fold out bed, Bunk Beds (2) set of bunk beds (twin) in bedroom #3 downstairs
  • DVD Player
  • Game Room
  • Pool Table
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • wheelchair accessible ...
  • cinemas
  • restaurants
  • theme parks
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • miniature golf
  • outlet shopping
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • jet skiing
  • kayaking
  • pier fishing
  • rafting
  • swimming
  • water skiing
  • water tubing
  • whitewater rafting
This huge home has two separate homes available for rental all together, with the game room, yard, pier, over the water deck and boat slip as common areas. Each of the two houses have uniquely designed tile and rock work incorporated into the decor, huge kitchens and living areas. The game room includes a full sized pool table, huge rock bar with back bar to match, full sized-bathroom, entertainment center, and comfortable furniture. The upstairs house has a full length deck at the water view providing an unobstructed view of the lake, with ample seating and multiple conversational group settings. The downstairs house includes a beautifully appointed patio and is handicapped accessible with ground floor location, large shower room with bars for stability and a bar by the toilet. The waterfront is lined with Cypress Trees that are hundreds of years old and app. 50 ft. tall.


Wonderful! 4.8/5 -
(12 traveler reviews)

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The Bear Haus - Beautiful House on the Water at Lake Dunlap
average rating of 4.75 based on 13 reviews
Chicago, IL

beautiful home!

  • 5 of 5

A few weekends ago we stayed here for a family reunion. Words can not describe how beautiful the house was inside and out and how breathtaking it was to wake up to having a lake essentially in the backyard. My kids loved swimming in the lake each day! The dock made fishing easy and fun for a lot of people at one time! We loved playing pool downstairs and the open bar was a definite plus! We couldn't believe how many rooms there were but my son especially loved sleeping in the bed that was designed in the wall in the green room! This house was perfect for the amount of people that we had in our group. We will definitely be coming back here and are looking forward to our next stay!

  • Submitted: Jul 26, 2015
  • Stayed: July 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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5 0
San Antonio, Texas

Above and beyond our expectations

  • 5 of 5

Came here for my 30th birthday with 17 people. Everyone could not get over the amount of space at this house; you can definitely get lost ;) There was plenty of driveway to configure at least 8 vehicles. The house is located in between another rental and a resided house which sat a far distance away.

You are able to rent the lower and upper levels separately. If I didn't need the extra sleeping/bed space, I would have only rented the lower level. We almost never occupied the upper level, though it is much nicer in finishes and amenities. We deemed the upper level "the adult floor" for relaxation & views and the lower level "the fun floor". The only downer was the hot tub which led me towards booking this listing. It was unfilled and unusable likely due to assuming no one would use it during the summer -- we would have even in the 99-degree weather!

Someone was always at the pool table in the game room, and the amount of refrigerators in the house was definitely accommodating for a large group. The huge back yard was used for football and frisbee. I rented a jet ski from a local resident/outfitter (Bruno's) which took ~15 minutes from the public access dock to the house. We also brought our own tubes/noodles to just float and relax, as well as utilized the awesome canoe on the property.

Cathy with the management was almost always accessible, and super fast at responding via email. I without a doubt will be renting this property again upon returning to Lake Dunlap.

  • Submitted: Jul 20, 2015
  • Stayed: July 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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3 0
Tyler, TX

Great Stay for big groups!

  • 5 of 5

What a great place. We celebrated my 40th birthday with 15 people staying here. Accommodations were great and we had an excellent time. Everyone loved the house and we did everything. Thanks to the owners for making this a great place. We will definitely consider this next time we plan a trip to this area.

  • Submitted: Jun 29, 2015
  • Stayed: June 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for leaving a review! It is greatly appreciated! We are glad you enjoyed your stay at our beautiful property. Please contact us for future trips to New Braunfels. Thank you again!
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2 0
Houston, TX


  • 2 of 5

The house is beautiful and in a great location, but IT SMELLS HORRIBLE. It says that is not smoking, but inside smells like smoke and humidity. It made our vacations very unpleasant. We were 5 families and ALL of us considered that the smell is really BAD. We will NOT go to his house again because of the smell. The no smoking inside the house is a joke, EVERYTHING smells like smoke.

if you do not care about the smell, he house is beautiful and well equipped.

  • Submitted: May 2, 2015
  • Stayed: April 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: I apologize that you feel the house had an odor. However, I was not notified, during your stay, about the issues you were having. I was contacted on Friday evening from someone in your party with a question and no mention of any unpleasant odor was made. Had it been mentioned then or at any time during your stay, I would have rectified the situation immediately. Nothing was ever mentioned until two days after you checked out. The same day you contacted me regarding the odors, I personally went to the house and walked through it and didn’t find any unpleasant or “cigarette smoke” odors as you had mentioned. We have had many guests at the house prior to your stay as well as after and no mention of any unpleasant odors have ever been an issue before. Management~
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1 2
Austin, Texas, USA

Great Place - perfect for reunions and get-together

  • 5 of 5

We stayed during the memorial weekend along with 6 families and had one of the memorable long weekend. These are two separate houses with a common game/bar room. It is extremely spacious and well kept. We were about 24 people including couple of toddlers. Everyone had a great time and particularly enjoyed the huge backyard facing Lake Dunlap. The owner is extremely nice and helpful . We got locked out once and the owner came within short time to help us unlock the door. Cathy from property management company "Vacation river rentals" is extremely helpful and always available even during weekends.

  • Submitted: Jun 22, 2014
  • Stayed: May 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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3 0
San Angelo, Texas, USA

Wonderful experience at Bear Haus 1&2

  • 5 of 5

There were 15 of us scattered over both houses. We had a most wonderful time celebrating the fifty+ years friendship of two of us and the 50th year birthdays of two of our children. We were so enjoying ourselves that most of us didn't leave the property all weekend save for three golfers. We cooked, played games, played pool, did the hot tub, fished, chilled on the back porch; just plain relaxed. We all enjoyed that there was so much room we weren't running over each other and loved the space. Our ages ranged from 9 months to 72 years. We will definitely consider coming back.

  • Submitted: Mar 23, 2014
  • Stayed: March 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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2 0


life jackets are available and required for children under 12 or for anyone who cannot swim.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Refundable damage deposit $600
Cleaning Fee $250
Pet Fee $25
Tax Rate 6.0%

Additional $250 pet deposit is completely refundable, provided there are no damages and your pet is picked up after in the yard and disposed of properly.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations will be accepted and refund of Deposit will be issued if cancellation notice is given prior to 14 days of Check-In date and a fee of $125 will be deducted from Deposit. If cancellation notice is given within 14 days of Check-In date no refund will be issued. Cancellations or changes that result in a shortened stay, that are made within 14 days of the Check-In date, forfeit any money paid. Cancellations that are made to any reservation of a Holiday weekend will NOT be issued a refund and forfeit any money paid. Early departure does NOT warrant a refund of any money paid.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.

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