I will start this out by saying I have been to Mackinac many times. We take a family trip at least once a summer. We currently live outside of Chicago and it's quite a hike to get there. My experience at the Island House was horrible. I have read some of the other reviews and if you look at any of the other negative reviews, most of them have to do with interaction with the manager.
The hotel is fine. It's about par for the island. Expect to spend a lot of money for not much.
My specific problem with the Island House unfolded like this... My husband and I went for a family wedding. We arrived on the island via the Arnold Line at 12:30 in the afternoon. There were no porters from the Island House to greet us so we left our bags on the dock (common practice) and took our tags to the Island House to check in. It was too early so we gave the porter our tags and went to the Chip to drink, be happy, and wait for our friends and relatives to arrive.
When we checked in at the prescribed time, we were informed that they could only find one of our bags. The second (which contained all of our toiletries, contacts, shoes, and EVERYTHING else we needed to get ready for the wedding) was missing. I took it in stride. I asked if this happened a lot and the likely hood of it being found. All of my questions were met with disdain and downright rudeness. Like it was our fault. I asked what they were doing to find our missing luggage, and it really made them mad. I felt completely helpfulless.
Fastforward to that evening, I asked to meet with the general manager. She pretty much told me tough luck. Mind you, there is no Target, WalMart, CVS, etc on the island. No where to replace simple items like shampoo, toothbrushes, hair products, makeup, shoes, glasses, etc.
Not once did the manager (Iliana) ask if there was anything she could do to help us replace any of our missing items. She was completely indignant about the whole situation.
This could have ruined our vacation. I was able to rent shoes for my husband, I went and had my hair done at a salon, we borrowed contacts (not the correct prescription) from a cousin. This was all very costly. I didn't get to go on my leisure run around the island and we couldn't rent bikes because we didn't have the proper shoes without our bag. We rebounded (no thanks to the Island House) and really enjoyed the wedding.
Now, because we were a little pissed off about the situation we looked around at the rest of the Island House package. The continental buffet breakfast was awful. First, the staff mills around and does NOTHING. You even have to get your own drinks. The food is completely subpar and apparently the air in the dining room either didn't work or wasn't turned on.
The room we completely overpaid for was in the fourth floor, essentially the attic. Our bed didn't have a headboard because the ceiling sloped down to where our heads were. If you sat up too fast, you clunked your head. We had a window unit a/c unit that didn't work properly.
The wedding was held at Mission Point. We poo-pooed staying there because most people who are "islanders" do. I have to say, we really wish we would have stayed there instead.
The day before we checked out Iliana had the girl at the front desk deliver the message that they would no longer be looking for the bag and that all communication should go through the Arnold Line from that point forward. When I asked to speak to her directly, she made me wait for 10 minutes (while I'm sure she was doing nothing useful.) I contacted the Arnold Line and Iliana was caught in a lie because she told the Arnold Line that a porter was waiting for us when we got off the 12:30 boat and we only had one bag. The porter didn't even come on duty until 1pm! She also said we only gave him one tag and that we probably left the bag in our car. Really?
I asked if there was anyone above her to speak with and she said the only person above her was the owner and he didn't want to talk to me. We were also told that if our visit to the island was so disappointing maybe we shouldn't come back.
In the end, I found the bag. When we returned home, I emailed every hotel manager on the Island. The manager that found it was so helpful and nice. She said the bag was picked up accidentally and returned to the Island House. I was surprised since I still had not heard from Iliana. I waited one more day and called her. She said I was the next call on her list (caught in a second lie???) She UPS'd it to me.
The really sad thing about this story is that there are a few people we ran into at the Island House that were friendly. The housekeeping manager was very helpful and our housekeeper was very nice.
We will NEVER return to the Island House and I would suggest that if you are looking for nice accommodations there are many other places on the island that would be better. I would suggest trying the Chippewa, Mission Point, or the Lilac Tree. We have stayed all three places. The people are much nicer.
- 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