I have visited Mackinac Island for the past 14 years. I have been coming since I was about 7 and now at the age of 20 I have come up here at least once a year with family. While some family stayed at Main Street Inn down the street, I wanted to find a room of my own as I appreciate some privacy. For about $200 a night, my family had a room with a view of a wall on the back of Main Street Inn. My room was a beautiful "one queen with waterview" room overlooking the Windermere Doghouse and Windermere Point. It was the room dead center on the hotel right above the sign that says "Windermere".
The owner and manager of the hotel is Mackinac Island Mayor Margaret Doud. Many Islanders have dissenting opinions on here but she has been mayor for over 30 years. She is a bit hard to get to warm up, and if you are expecting a over the top warm welcome at the hotel you won't really get it unless she knows you. Nevertheless she is pleasant enough and it is interesting to stay at the Mayor's hotel.. Her mother's house is right next door in the same yellow white and green color scheme with the same red geraniums (as is Margaret's house on Market Street). This color scheme has been used for who knows how long and it is very bright and cheery. The yard at Windermere is beautiful with tons of flowers and a spectacular shade garden on the east side filled with impatiens, begonias, astilbe, and lots of other beautiful annuals and perennials. Their geraniums along the porch couldnt be bigger or more perfect.
The room was VERY bright and cheery. Everything looked pretty new from the paint to wallpaper to carpeting. A few tiny stains near the closet weren't very noticeable. Newer hotels like Main Street Inn show more wear than Windermere. And having stayed at about a half dozen hotels on Mackinac, Windermere didn't disappoint. The view was unprecedented, and I loved how you could hear the water from the door before I even opened it to the room. Magical. Bed was VERY comfortable pillowtop. Sheets and pillows smelled extremely clean. I put my maid sign out early and the room was cleaned promptly. Some older hotels (Lake View, Iroquois) and even some newer (Lilac Tree), seem to have a definitely bug problem at night. Spiders especially. I thought this would be the case at Windermere but even with the windows open at night only a few gnats and noseeums came in. No big deal. The room was cleaned immaculately.
TVs aren't in rooms, and I didn't really miss it. It would be nice to get wifi throughout the hotel other than just the porch and lobby. I thought being right about the lobby (2 floors above) I might get decent reception, but it was hit and miss. I would have liked a way to heat water for tea. There was a small kitchen in the back of the hotel, not for guest use I assume, but I didn't notice a microwave anyway. Pop machine did not seem to work, at least it didn't take dollar bills. Ice machine was appreciated but the buckets were thin plastic and didn't do anything to keep it from melting. No fridge like Main Street Inn/Lilac Tree boasts, but it's not really a "suites" hotel. And the room rate is very good for the view you get.
Continental breakfast was a nice touch. Donuts and pastries were served still rather chilly from the fridge. Coffee was good as was the orange juice. Being served from 7-10 was also nice, longer than some hotels. Would be great to have cofffee all day though. Sun room and porch were both great places to sit and watch Main Street. Windermere's location near the edge of town makes it a little quieter. I can appreciate a good porch as most hotels lack one, or lack one with such a view. Much nicer than the Grand Hotel porch if you ask me. Nicer with a better view. Grand is overrated!!!!
When I arrived quite a few families were there. I wouldn't call the Windermere a great family hotel. To me it is more of a couples or singles retreat. The fact that they have rooms with multiple beds encourages the kids I believe. I think those rooms could be improved with just a King bed or one queen and some extra room. Without TVs, kid's are left to roam the front yard as several did when I was there, making plenty of noise, and typical parents did nothing to keep their kids under control. I don't go on vacaton to deal with other people's kids making a scene on the porch. Obviously this was not anything to blame on the hotel but I would say if you have kids take them elsewhere! Even with all the kids I heard no noise at night, the walls are obviously fairly soundproof.
Dockporter Glen has been there many many years. While I didn't need his help for one bag he was not at the closest dock, Star Line, when I arrived.
Windermere, CLEAN, affordable, and great views. Excellent place to stay.
- Also Known As:
- Windermere Hotel Mackinac Island