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“Great location to stay when visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Empire Lakeshore Inn

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Empire Lakeshore Inn
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Empire
Certificate of Excellence
Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great location to stay when visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 June 2011

We used this motel as a base when we visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The visitor center for the park is right down the street, about 1-1/2 blocks away, and the entrance to Sleeping Bear is just a few miles away. The motel is VERY basic, just a place to sleep after hiking all day or visiting the cute county beach in Empire (within walking distance). There are some gift shops, as well as restaurants and a coffee shop, all within a few blocks of the place. It has cable TV, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and clean towels. The beds are not very comfortable; they really need to get new mattresses (which is why I rated the place "average").

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank chkngrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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254 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    23
    11
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Atkinson, IL
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2010

I have to admit when we pulled into the little town of Empire I was a little hesitant at first but was pleasantly surprised. The Lakeshore Inn Motel reminds me of a place we would stay on vacation during the 70's and 80's and it's never really changed. The room we stayed in was clean, had a microwave, fridge and a/c. The service was great and the staff was friendly... like you've known them for years. Just down the road are a few cute little shops, a sweet little ice cream parlor , bar with great food and a little further down is an awesome little beach. We only stayed one night but would definately stay a couple nights if we go back again.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank pajamama2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 September 2009

As others mentioned this is not the place if you need a spa, chocolates on the bed or bellhops. Its clean and functional. The rooms are themed. We stayed one night in the ship room and another in the butterfly room. Each room had a small refrigerator and one of the rooms had an extra sink. Hoover was great, welcoming, and available if necessary. He even shared some fish he had smoked. Good food is within walking distance and there was an apricot tree on the grounds.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jwjk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbus, OH
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 August 2009

The Lakeshore Inn Motel is a nice little older Inn that is PERFECTLY placed if you want to explore The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the beach in Empire. Some things to know though...nothing is new. That doesn't bother me, but it does some people. The in-window air conditioners are old and smell a bit musty when you first turn them on (I had access to two rooms, and this was true in both rooms). SOME of the rooms have mini refrigerators (like you would find in a college dorm room) and tiny microwaves, but some of the rooms don't have either; so if you want a room with a refrigerator and a microwave, you'd better ask when you reserve your room (they charge the same for the room whether it has them or not). This is not a hotel that provides amenities at all. There were 4 people in our room, and the two tiny bars of soap disappeared quickly and weren't replaced on the second day. Normally not that big of a deal, but the office is not always open. The owner, Hoover, seems a nice guy, but his style is very laid back and he manages from afar. He leaves a cell phone number on the door and encourages you to call him with any problems, but that's more of a hassle than if someone were right there. We also had to go get more towels as the maid only left enough for 2 people.

If you plan to spend most of your time out of the room exploring, then this is a decent place. If you like luxury and creature comforts, this is not the place. For me and my family, it was fine.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TravelingSteveFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Detroit, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 December 2008

First, I have to say that this quaint little Inn gave me exactly what I wanted as far as location - it is right in the middle of Empire, which is right in the middle of Sleeping Bear National Park. In fact, the park headquarters is visible from the Inn's balcony and is about a block away. If your goal is easy access to beaches and trails and a picturesque Michigan coastal village, this is the place to be.

I loved the style of the Inn -- it is seriously old-school. It is two stories, with rooms opening onto a balcony above and a sidewalk below. The rooms are homey, with microwaves, mini-fridges and a different decorating theme in each. However, if you're looking for luxury, don't look here. This place does not have slate showers, jacuzzi tubs, or anything of the sort - bathroom fixtures are basic. This is a retro-style resort, and if that appeals to you (as it does to me), you won't mind the decor a bit. You also won't mind that the prices here are significantly cheaper than nearly anywhere else in the area.

The staff at the Inn are seriously great. When we met Hoover, he was wearing an Indian-style garment (as in from India). He is bald, but with a beard that reaches halfway down his chest. He's also completely laid back, very friendly, and very trusting -- he told us to "just keep an eye out for him" to pay our bill; we didn't have to "register" until we had been there for 2 days already. The caretaker (I think his name is Floyd) is also unbelievably friendly, very laid back, and not your typical hotel worker - he's about 6'3" and 250 lbs, built like a linebacker. These guys were so friendly and easy to work with that my wife and I will probably be back for that reason alone.

However -- and here is the flaw in this gem -- Hoover, you need to replace those mattresses! The beds in our room were simply not comfortable. I loved everything about this place, but the beds need upgrading badly, and I can't leave that very key fact out of this review.

So, great people; totally cute; great location; great price; good restaurants nearby; and uncomfortable beds. That's it in a nutshell.

  • Liked — Great location and great staff.
  • Disliked — Beds not very comfortable.
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank Ian_Nairobi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Empire Lakeshore Inn

Property: Empire Lakeshore Inn
Address: 11730 S Lacore Rd, Empire, MI 49630-9403 (Formerly Lakeshore Inn Motel)
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Michigan > Leelanau County > Empire
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Empire
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Empire Lakeshore Inn 2.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just Under Went a 12 Room Makeover! Empire Lakeshore Inn is the only hotel located in the quaint little village of Empire, Michigan. Walking distance to shops, restaurants, grocery stores and the famous Empire Beach. We are nestled in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, with close access to hiking trails, fishing, kayaking and much, much more. Come stay with us in one of our our 12 unique rooms. This old fashion Mom and Pop hotel has undergone many fresh updates but still holds true to that good small town nostalgic feeling. ... more   less 
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