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“The Good and The Bad”
Review of Island House Hotel

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Island House Hotel
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in Mackinac Island
Certificate of Excellence
Islamorada, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The Good and The Bad”
Reviewed 28 July 2011

Wow, what a great location. One of the very best on the island overlooking the marina and lake. It was wonderful sitting on the porch in rocking chairs or on the lawn in the adirondack chairs. But, unfortunately the rooms really need updating. Also, the bed and pillows were not comfortable at all. I would stay again, if I could get the same great deal that I got on Travelzoo that included a lot of great extras, including a great dinner at the restaurant at the hotel.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Keyscondo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (221)
Date | Rating
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English first
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
310 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 270 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2011

The deal:

We got the $399 package for a 2 night stay, dinner for 2, breakfast for 2, round trip ferry for 2 and 1/2 pound Ryba's fudge and transfer of baggage. We paid extra $50 per kid. It didn't include tax/tips. It was totally worth it.

The island house was beautiful and looking at some past reviews, we were even thinking of canceling our reservation. We're so glad we didn't. This is one of the best places on the island we've stayed (haven't stayed at the Grand yet)

The PROS:

* Great package price to pay to stay in a classy historic hotel. One of the 4 in Michigan. Other mediocre hotels on the island charged $200/night during this timeframe(you get a better price here if you do the math). The $400 package comes with almost $200 in perks which makes the room only around $100 per night.
* Location, location, location. This is probably the second best on the island (after the Grand). I would stay here for the lovely porch and the views. Lovely Victorian decor and the island theme was so romantic. We stayed in #327 with a partial view of the straits and a nice backyard. Don't know what the other folks are talking about methane gas? Yes, the room was small with a Kmart hair dryer. But it was as clean as it gets...
* The buffet b'fast food selection was great. What else do you need? The service was awesome for the buffet as well. Most waiters were Jamaican (even in other places on the island). They were a little too friendly. The coffee was gourmet - Seattle's best. Like the previous review, the package included only 1 breakfast. We didn't complain coz the food was too much the previous night at the Grill and these buffets kill you. There was another buffet place in town for $6 b'fast buffet and a $8 pizza lunch/dinner buffet
* Great restaurants - we had dinner at the Grill Room instead of Mary's Bistro. Mary's Bistro was kinda dingy and noisy by the docks. The Grill Room was one of the most romantic dinners we had in a long time. The chef was great. Being vegetarians, the chef offered to make items outside the menu as well like a Thai stir fry etc. We stuck to the menu item - the Mediterranean pasta was awesome with artichokes etc. The butternut squash ravioli wasn't bad either. The dinner and dessert for the kids were included too. Even though a $10 tip was included in our package, we felt like tipping the waiter more just for his amazing service. He learnt our kids names and we even met him on his bicycle later that evening near the Grand hotel going home where he said Hi to the kids.
* The Bell hops did an awesome job to pick your bags to and from your room to the docks. Worth tipping.

The CONS:

* The lady 'manager' wearing the short skirt at the front desk seemed rude. We didn't have to deal with her, but we saw her bickering to a few folks about rates. That will leave a bad taste and some bad reviews. The non English speaking lady who checked us in seemed OK, but didn't do a good job in welcoming us etc. We dealt with a soft spoken guy with glasses who was really nice during check out.
* Our room was small, but clean. You have to cut some slack since the hotel is historic & over 150yrs old and other hotel rooms on the island are much smaller.
* The pool area was small and crowded, but at least this place has a pool which is open till 11pm.
* The chairs for the 'smores' seemed to be pretty much occupied all the time - not a biggie since there were other fun things to do on the island.
* Looks like most of the disgruntled reviews are because of bad views or on the 4th floor. Rooms are hard to get back and forth with going up stairs & down stairs.

<b>We will definitely go back to the Island House for it's old world charm, ambience and hospitality.</b>

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jokerji
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Wayne, IN
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2011

We have been visiting Mackinac Island for 31 years and have stayed at many hotels, Chippewa, Lake View , Murray, and Island House. We have stayed at the Chippewa the last 5 years and love the rooms with decks overlooking the lake. This year we chose Island House as they were offering a great rate of 30% off for 3 nights and free buffet breakfast. We stayed 5 nights and chose the room with PREMIUM view.. The room was spacious with sofa, and 4 windows with dierct view of water and harbor... We had a room on the 3rd floor, room 224. The hotel was built in the 1800's so the rooms are never HUGE.. The hotel boasts the 2nd largest porch on the Island , plenty of rockers on the porch and also seating out front where you can relax with a drink or a book and watch the boast in the harbor,
We did not use the hot tub, sauna or indoor pool . We had lunch at the Ice house and drinks. We also had dinner in the main eating area and it was excellent. We ate at a table outside as the weather was beautiful. The server was friendly and professional . We ate breakfast everyday at the hotel as it was included. The buffet was great, fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, and numerous other hot items..
We rode the bikes daily and actually rented them the entire time we were there. We locked them at the Island House and never had a problem with security.
Here is a TIP: rent your bikes at Mackinac Island Bike Shop.. BEST BIKES>> new , TREK's, no moving seats, etc.. wonderful comfortable ride!! we rented the 21 speed Mountain bikes as we always ride the trails. This is the 2nd year renting from this company.
Mackinac Island is a great vacation spot .. get off the main drag and away from the Fudge shops,, the interior of Island is beautiful.. We also spend a lot of time walking along the lake edge..
We will be back in September and I will include the Island House as I am searching for the best deal . Spend the extra money for the premium view and you won't be sorry. The breeze at night provided great sleeping. The linens were fresh and clean.. Windows do open which is not always case in hotels.. I prefer fresh air.. We did use AC one day and it worked fine.
Visit the Island house web site as the pictures are accurate..

Room Tip: Ask for premium view
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank marker0706
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portage, Michigan
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2011

We have been visiting Mackinac Island for the past 4 years always staying at the Lakeview. We were dissatisfied with the treatment after a lost reservation and began looking for a new hotel. The Island House will be our new home when visiting the island. From the moment we entered, the staff couldn't have been more helpful, courteous and considerate. We had an issue with the tv reception and they promplty looked into and got back to us within minutes. The room was beautiful, spacious and decorated nicely. It was the perfect start to our summer.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jbsiwik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarkston, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2011

The Island House has all the problems of an old hotel and none of the charm. We booked the Picture Perfect weekend package with a deluxe room. I spoke with the owner of the hotel when I booked our room and he assured me our room would be terrific.

The room was cramped, and the décor was very unappealing – old carpet, outdated wallpaper, abused furniture, tiny bathroom with the toilet right next to the bathtub, bad smell. We had a view of a garbage bin and the back porch of the establishment next door. The air conditioner worked but gave off a horrid urine smell while running. The bathroom door would not close completely. The lighted magnifying mirror did not work and stuck so far out of the wall that it was an obstruction when trying to use the sink and wall-mounted mirror. The toilet paper holder is oddly placed on the wall directly across from the toilet, making it impossible for small children to reach the roll without standing up. No towel bar or retractable close line in the tub to hang dripping bathing suits. The electrical outlet next to the sink needs to be replaced, as the plug to the $5 Kmart hair dryer kept falling out of the outlet while in use.

There were also two roll-out beds parked directly outside our door for our entire stay. Housekeeping did not clean our room the first day of our stay. When I asked at the front desk when our room would be cleaned, I was told it had been checked off the list as cleaned. After my inquiry, the front desk help called housekeeping and did get the room cleaned within the next 2 hours.

The front desk help is not very knowledgeable. When I asked for information about the carriage tour that was included with our package, I got a dear-in-the-headlights look and inaccurate information. We figured it out for ourselves the following day.

The indoor pool is small and cave-like. With just a few families in the pool, it quickly becomes overcrowded.

The 1852 Grill Room has good food. The Ice House was also a good option for lunch.

The ferry tickets, carriage tour, and meals included in the package help to even-out the less-than-desirable hotel accommodations, but I would not stay at the Island House again. It is neglected and in desperate need of attention.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank crlgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hadley Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
144 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 July 2011

We had a special offer, so we did not pay the full price for anything. We had a room on the 4th floor, very small but very clean. No elevator, very narrow stairs, and a very confusing layout without much signage. We had a partial view of the straits, so that was very good. The Grill room, where we had a free dinner and breakfast, had very nice decor, and the service was outstanding. The food was not worth the inflated price, but since it was free, no complaints. Breakfast buffet, also included in our deal, was very good, and worth paying for!

Room Tip: 4th floor not easy to get to.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Largesarge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carlsbad, CA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2011

We responded to a travelzoo local deals email offer, "for $299 included: a 2 night stay, dinner for 2, breakfast for 2, round trip ferry for 2 and 1/2 pound Ryba's fudge, on Mon - Thurs, except specified black out dates. I called travelzoo to find out exactly what was in package and also if there were any additional fees. They told me to call Island House, so I did. Island House told me there were no additional fees or taxes. They gave me the dates of availability, and what was included, and in fact, said there were 2 breakfasts for 2, which I asked twice are you sure, and she responded yes. They told me to book with travelzoo and when voucher came in email, I could call hotel directly for reservation. I made the purchase. Immediately received my voucher and booked with the hotel. I was never informed of any additional fees or taxes. They told me we would get a confirmation email with voucher for round trip ferry and for check in. We never recieved the confirmation email. I had to call back and have them send it. Didn't get it until after we left. It said that we owed over $363. At check in they never mentioned a thing. At check out they told us we owed the hotel $64.28 in taxes and gratuities. We had all ready given tips at the tables each time we ate. When we complained to the hotel manager, she refused to do anything about it, eventhough, her employee gave us the wrong information. We complained to travelzoo, because we were told that this was prepaid with no additional fees. They told me they would send us a check for the refund. After we booked our reservation, they told us that if we hadn't called right away, that they would not honor the promotion too. Apparently there was a deadline for when you had to book it, but the promotion never disclosed a date, only said to book soon.

At check in, I asked for a quiet room. They put us on the third floor in the back where you can hear all kinds of noise. There were also some bad fumes coming into our room when we opened our window. Smelled like garbage and methane gas. They have an area where carriages come to drop off deliveries and you can also hear noise from the pool and ice house. I complained to the manager about the noise and fumes. She offered to move us to a different room, but we were only there for 2 days, and had all ready unpacked and didn't want to have to move on our second day.

The buffet breakfast that was included was not that great, eventhough it had hot food, french toast, waffles, fresh fruit, yogart, cereals, potatoes, bacon, sausage, and bread.

The dinner in the Grill room was excellent and had a beautiful view. We never ate at the ice house or used the pool or jacuzzi. I ordered the white fish and loved it. My husband ordered the prime rib, regular portion and it was huge and he loved that! Neither of us could finish all of our food.

You can travel to everything on the island by walking or horse driven carriage (they call taxis.) You can walk from the ferry to the island house, but if you have luggage, they offered to take our luggage for free to the hotel. We chose to take our luggage with us. It's about a 1/2 mile - 3/4 mile walk to the Island house from the star ferry, which is what our voucher was for. The arnold ferry is a little closer.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our trip there and liked the island house, but felt they misinformed us and then didn't stand behind what their employees said. I would make sure you get in writing everything they tell you. They did honor giving us the two breakfasts for two after much prodding at the front desk.

We didn't know that with the prepaid voucher from travel zoo, the gratuity is charged at the end of your stay by the Island House. That was not made clear. I'm still not sure how they came up with a charge of $64.28 in taxes and gratuity.

We only ate at their Grill restaurant, which has a beautiful view. We made sure to get there early for a good seat.

The island house is in a good location and is a little bit away from the town. You can take a taxi ride for $4.75 or $4.50 for adults. I think they charge 1/2 price for kids. We generally walked and only took the taxi when leaving because it was raining so hard. Otherwise, we would have walked everywhere.

We also at at the Yankee Rebel Tavern and highly recommend going there too.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank lagypsie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Island House Hotel

Property: Island House Hotel
Address: 6966 Main Street, Mackinac Island, MI 49757-1410
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Michigan > Upper Peninsula > Mackinac County > Mackinac Island
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in Mackinac Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Island House Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 94
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Island House Hotels offers modern conveniences within a historic setting. This family owned property is Mackinac Island’s oldest hotel, a registered Historic Hotel of America and an official State of Michigan landmark. Guests return time & again for our stunning waterfront views, historic charm & the ideal location. Whether relaxing on the porch or enjoying drinks with friends in the garden, Island House Hotel delivers the complete Island experience. All guestrooms have air-conditioning, private bathrooms & cable television. Hotel amenities include: indoor heated swimming pool, whirlpool, dry sauna, evening bonfire, gift shop, concierge service, onsite bike rentals, as well as two restaurants, 1852 Grill Room & Ice House BBQ. Discover the charm of a Mackinac Island stay at the Island House Hotel - where fine service, warm hospitality and memorable vacations have been a Mackinac Island tradition...since 1852. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Island Hotel Mackinac

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