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“Terrible place to stay. Never staying here again!”

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Empire Lakeshore Inn
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Empire
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 April 2012

The only good thing I can say about this place is location, location, location. It is surrounded by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It is within walking distance of great beaches on Lake Michigan and S. Bar Lake. It is within walking distance of a restaurant and ice cream shop. Other than that.....well......it wasn't so great. When we arrived I could not get the Internet to work. I decided to call the front desk. Oops - the phone was dead. So, I had to walk down to the front office, where the front desk clerk could not find the Internet code. She actually opened up another motel room and rummaged thru the dresser looking for the code. Finally she said she'd bring it up to me, which she did. Later, we decided to turn on the lamp by the bed. It didn't work. We pulled the night stand away from the wall to see if the lamp was plugged in. We found about a year's worth of dust and dirty kleenex on the floor. The lamp was plugged in but the bulb was burnt out. We decided to try the other lamp in the room. It had NO bulb. I had to troop back down to the front office, where the clerk aplogized and rummaged around to find me a couple of bulbs. No offer to replace the bulbs herself, no offer of any kind of compensation for these things. The mattress was horrible, the pillows were totally flat and awful and the towels were skimpy, thin and rough. the blinds were cheap and you could see right into the room from outside even with the blinds fully closed. We pulled the blanket off the 2nd bed and draped it over the window. I had intended to complain about these things at check-out, but no one was there when we checked out at 10:30 on Sunday morning and the office was locked. We had to throw our keys into a plastic tray by the door, which I was hesitant to do. I cannot imagine paying full price in the summer months for this hotel. It was bad enough paying the spring rate. Normally, I don't mind staying in an older hotel; they can be charming. But this place was not charming at all. I will never stay at this place again.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank ss_roll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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275 - 281 of 283 reviews

Reviewed 19 August 2011

My husband and I have stayed here a few times while visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes. This is NOT a luxurious hotel. It is older but it is reasonably clean and is a good place to lay your head after a day at the dunes. We have always been comfortable. The room we stay in has a microwave and fridge. Joe's Friendly Tavern and the Empire Village beach are within walking distance. Prices are reasonable for the area.

Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
2  Thank lovetogoMichigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2011

First, don’t be fooled, this isn’t on the lakeshore. It’s about five blocks from the lake.

It’s not a bad place, but what you get versus the cost, versus everyone else in the area, is way out of line. They charge $160 in high season for two doubles. No coffee in sight, no coffee in the office even, no shampoo and while the room was clean, the pictures had been taken down and you could see the stickers still on the wall from where they had been. The doors are also in bad need of some WD-40. Get up in the night to go to the bathroom and everyone is sure to be awakened.

While the room was clean, the outside carpeting needed to be vacuumed. Little things, but again, for $160 a night (when other, better located places are cheaper), I expect more. I swear that the room carpeting here is indoor/outdoor carpeting it’s so thin!

My other complaint here. Exterior lights. They never turn off the lights outside your room, so the flimsy blinds allow enough light into the room that you might be able to read a book without the interior lights on, LOL.

The other major complaint. We tried to cancel our Sunday reservation with 24 hours + notice and while the young lady on the phone said she would get a message to the owners, never did get a call back from the innkeeper. Surprise! When we arrived, there were about 3 phone numbers including a cell on the office door to reach the owners, so I feel they played games with us. Plus, it was a Sunday night and they were hardly full and wanted a $50 cancellation fee even with 24 hours notice. A little outrageous considering I travel a lot and that's out of the norm.

Now, having said all this, it’s not a bad place to stay, really. It’s just not worth the price they’re asking. Overall, give this 2.5 stars.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank salleng56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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4  Thank chkngrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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5  Thank pajamama2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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2  Thank jwjk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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3  Thank TravelingSteveFamily
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

Address: 11730 S Lacore Rd, Empire, MI 49630-9403 (Formerly Lakeshore Inn Motel)
Region: United States > Michigan > Leelanau County > Empire
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Empire
Price Range: £50 - £84 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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