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Review of Island House Hotel

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Island House Hotel
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in Mackinac Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 July 2012

The bad part first: our room was sooooo tiny! The bathroom sink was in the same room as the beds, which was rather awkward. And there was just one tiny, tiny stand for the TV. This is an old building, so I guess that's to be expected. No coffee maker in the room either. And speaking of coffee - the coffee they served in the restaurant was bad. I had to go down the street for good coffee.

However, having said that - the beds were so comfy! So overall, it all worked out because we were only in our room to sleep anyway.

Now for the good part: the staff was so friendly! That includes the front desk, the waitresses and even the bartender. The free breakfast was great, and we also loved the nice big porch with the rocking chairs and beautiful view of the harbor. The bike rental on the property was convenient, and we especially loved the pot belly woodburners on the front lawn. It was heavenly at night to sit by the fire and watch the stars light up the sky and the moon cast a glow on the water.

We browsed a few other hotels while we were there, and decided that the Island House Hotel will be our choice for future stays.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Promise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 July 2012

We go to Mackinac Island every year, and have since I was a resident doctor (I was able to do a medical rotation at the Mackinac Island Clinic, and fell in love with the Island). Ever since, we have made at least one trip to the Island each year, usually in the summer (my wife, son, daughter and myself). Each of us calls Mackinac our "favorite place in the world," and the Island House our favorite place to stay there.

The Island House has become our favorite hotel, and yearly destination for several reasons which I would like to share:

1) Location: the location is absolutely perfect. It is a short walk away from downtown, not too far, but far enough to avoid the noise at night.

2) View: The view is absolutely stunning. If you have a water view room, seeing the ships, the people, the carriages from your window is a never ending source of joy - we love it.

3) The facility: The building is historic, we LOVE that aspect. There are plastic hotels on the Island, but who wantsto walk into the yesteryear flavor of Mackinac Island and stay at the Holiday Inn? The Island House has a gorgeous lobby, often, we go on Labor Day Weekend and watch the U Michigan football game there.

4) The pool and to tub: few hotels on Mackinac have these, and after a day of walking and biking, what a thrill to use these amenities! We have many family memories there :))

5) The breakfast: I was amazed anyone could complain about this! Year after year,this is one of our favorite parts of the Island House!!! We are seated immediately in the best seat available (get the early and you can have a way view). The buffet has many selections, with meats, eggs, fruit, cereals, pancakes, waffles, several juices, milk, and tasty coffee. The waiters are always refilling your coffee and water, and are gracious (many of them are from other countries and are very willing to be most helpful...we think lots more gracious than many Americans). Like every one, I think wait staff will treat you better if you are kind to them.

NOTE: there is also free coffee in the lobby each AM - which we REALLY appreciate!

6) The front lawn: the Island House has many chairs in front where you can sit and watch people, boats, and read (that is one of my wife's MOST treasured aspects of this hotel, reading a great book on the Island House lawn). This is not just "a lawn," it is "THE lawn" on the Island. We just love it.

7) Ample bike racks - small thing, but at some hotels, getting a spot for your bike is not easy (geez!) Thisis your major mode of transportation on theIsland, so racks need to be accessible and plentiful - thankfully, the Island House is both.

8) Internet: OK, even while enjoying the old tyme flavor of Mackinac Island, I like to check in on my emails at night. And I appreciate the ability to do so at the Island House. They even have a free computer you can use if you don't have our own lap top.

In summary, this is an excellent place to stay on Mackinac Island. I admit, there are less expensive options...but the extra cost at the Island House, in our opinion, is well worth it.

The location, the pool, hot tub, and amazing breakfast are worth the extra cost.

Room Tip: If you can afford a water view, it is great. There is an elevator, but we prefer second floor rooms...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank traveldoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2012

wasn't perfect but what is. the staff were friendly the guess seemed very relaxed. the hotel was kid friendly. the breakfast was seat up nicely and very tasty. dinner was very good to. my wife had shrimp and i had steak. in the evening we sat out on the very large and lovely porch. they had lots of nice rocking chairs and tables and chairs. i you wanted you sit on the lawn. they had love seats tables and chairs and two fire places. the kid had fun roasting marshmallows and playing game and hide and go seek. its nice to see kids can have fun without video games and computers lol. can't wait to go back i would recommend it to family and friends. F.P. of clawson mi.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Frank P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2012

We arrived knowing we were staying in one of the oldest hotels on island...and was moved to downtown...which was a little noisy, had no blackout curtains...so street light shone right in room. The room was nice if not a little gaudy. We were told it was an upgrade, but too far to sit on porch, use pool etc...staff were pleasant in the move, paid for our ride... Check- out was the worst, was told we may have to wait 2 hours for luggage pick- up, so we hauled our own bags.

Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
Thank Gail P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2012

We stayed two nights at the Island House Hotel the first week in June. Reservations were make months in advance. We were assigned an attic room in which we had to walk bent over to hang up our clothes and get around to the side of the bed. We feel that first reservations should be the ones with the better rooms or at least notify a person if they were going to be in the "attic" room. We have no other complaints as the location is beautiful. This was our second time to stay at the Island House Hotel and we had no complaints that time.

Room Tip: Beware of the 4th floor rooms. Also, ask for a room overlooking the lake
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank euralee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2012

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.

Room Tip: Stay somewhere else. Make sure you aren't on the fourth level. The elevator stops on the third l...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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22  Thank Jessica L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 22 June 2012

In response to the issue with our guest’s missing luggage during her stay, it was brought to management attention immediately upon discovery of the wayward article during check-in. As per standard protocol our staff performed a sweep of each dock, all Island hotels and each room inside the Island House Hotel. When the article still had not appeared after completion of this checklist, which is quite unusual, the process was repeated. However, if the item has been claimed by another hotel and mis-delivered to a guest at that establishment, there is little we can do but wait for all parties involved to notice the error.

I met with the guest at approximately 4:00pm on the date of their arrival, 25 May 2012, and this process was explained in detail. This was again explained to the guest, in detail, when I met with her at approximately 11:30pm later that night. It should be noted the guest was extremely loud at this time. In this situation I could do little more than listen and re-state that we were doing everything that we were able to do. I also explained we had kept a staff member on solely to travel to each hotel continuously.

In the end, we received a phone call from the ferry line, stating the bag was waiting on the dock. The articles location for the duration of the guest’s stay is still unknown to me. I sent a dock porter to retrieve the bag, contacted the guest and sent the bag via UPS Ground to their home address.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2012

We stayed two nights in a "deluxe view" king bed room. The room was located on the third floor in the center section of the hotel and had a great view of the harbor. This hotel is located just a short walk from the downtown area and the fort. Very convenient, but quieter than staying downtown. The food in the 1852 Grill was very good.

Room Tip: Deluxe view room is worth the extra cost
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tom A
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

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: £112 - £252 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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