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“rated in comparision to other places in Door County” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Rowleys Bay Resort

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Rowleys Bay Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ellison Bay
Brookfield, IL
Level Contributor
54 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“rated in comparision to other places in Door County”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

If you are taking a trip to Door County, this area is nice but you may want to think about renting a cottage/home from another place. This wasn't a bad place and quick access to the Swedish bakery was a plus, also the heated pool was great for my toddler. We had 8 adults and 2 toddlers in one of the vacation houses, the area was pretty and the house was well equipped. It didn't have a/c but luckily the highs were low 70's so that's fine. The score for bed comfort was F-. no one had a good bed, I ended up sleeping on the couch. Also, no direct access to the lake/beach. It was very pretty views and had kayak rentals. Everyone seemed very nice and it was clean. There was a wedding here, that seemed like a nice place to have a TON of people all have access to different styles of rooms. No bike rental near by which seems like a glaring oversite considering the flat and lovely roads that surround this area, Check vbro or other cottage rentals in this Sister Bay area if you're going with less than 10 people.

Room Tip: The house just north of 13 seemed to have the best water view.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank bericky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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139 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    55
    41
    21
    13
    9
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Redmond, Oregon
Level Contributor
79 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

We stayed here for five night with a small group. Our room was spacious and comfortable. Breakfast and dinner are buffet style with lots of choices. Quality was good. Always pastries and cherry desserts from the bakery. Service was OK. Wi-fi connection was spotty but reasonably fast. There is a lot to do on the property. There is a library and indoor pool, zip line, kayaking and nature trails. It appeared to be a great place for families with kids of all ages. We visited with the owner and she told us that while amenities are constantly being updated, she wants to maintain the vintage feel. Keep this in mind if you want the most modern of everything. Storyteller at the fishboil was excellent; even kids in attendance paid attention. I would love to return with my multigeneratioinal family.

Room Tip: Our room was on the parking lot. The view out the front is very nice, but it may be more expensive.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Carol N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Forest Park, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
51 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2014

Stayed two nights at Rowleys Bay Resort with a large group touring Door County. The rooms were large with comfortable beds. Breakfasts and Dinners were buffet style with many delicious dishes to chose from. Don't miss the huge Pecan Rolls at Breakfast.

A storyteller told the story of the beginning of Rowleys Bay while the cook prepared the the traditional Fish Boil which was part of our dinner selection one night.

The owner, Jewel Peterson, could not have been more welcoming to our large group from Forest Park, IL. We thank her for her welcoming hospitality.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Joanne L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Grand Forks, Minnesota
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

Our tour group of 43 stayed here for 2 nights. They met us as we pulled up, had our keys ready and delivered our luggage to our rooms. Meanwile, we were just in time for the fish boil and the monolog on the history of the area. The actor, a retired drama professor, was both engaging and interactive with the audience. We had meals buffet style with lots of choices, including a wonderful dill soup! The room were very comfortable - we had one overlooking the bay and experienced a colorful sunrise. The entire lodge was decorated in a golfing and forest-outdoors theme.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mary Ann L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2013

I went to Door county with several of my friends in late August. We spent a night there.

Though the appliances are a little bit old, it is overall a nice and tidy place.

The hotel is owned by a family which starts in the beginning of this century. I think it is right now in its second generation.

By the way, the breakfast is good. I loved it!

Room Tip: Well, choose a room near the lobby so you can find wifi...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Highsky89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
24 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 October 2013

This review has taken me some time to write, because it was such a disastrous experience, I don't want to think about it any more than I have to! Upon our arrival, after driving for nearly 3 hours to get there, we were all pretty hungry. Given that it was too late to dine in the on-site restaurant, the kids' attention was captured by the "vending" machine. The only problem is that the handwritten sign on the machine said that the machine was fussy and it didn't take paper money and we were without change ... the obvious solution was to go back to the front desk, a mere six steps away (so close that they could overhear our conversation at the vending machine), to get change ... Or, so we thought ... the two women who had just moments before checked us in, had pulled down the "cage" to close the counter. Although we could see them and they us, they pretended not to hear us and no offer to make change was made. We're off to a great start, I thought, but tried to remain optimistic as I glanced around at the very tired, very dingy "resort" that was to be our vacation "get-away" for the next several days. It got worse. The room smelled horribly of mold and mildew and it was ridiculously small. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Posted in several spots throughout the room was a list of Rowley's Rules! (See attached photo). One of the rules was to make sure that we did not leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher, "to avoid additional charges"! Our dishwasher was filled with DIRTY dishes, however, we were not offered a discount for the inconvenience and disgust imposed upon us. The bedroom was supposed to have a queen-sized bed, but if it was a full-sized bed, at best. The bathroom is just a room with a toilet and a shower. There is no mirror, counter, or sink IN the bathroom. You have to shave, wash up, apply make-up, fix your hair, etc. out in the "common" area, with a dim, dingy yellow, overhead light (see photo). Don't expect to have any privacy. Oh, and we did some cooking, using the not-so-clean dishes that were put in the cupboard as clean dishes. My husband heated up some water for coffee, and I asked him if he had cooked pasta in the pot, as there was a lot of "debris" floating in the water, which he had not noticed. Made for a "hearty" cup of coffee ... yuck!

We were going to toast marshmallows around the campfire, however, it is "first come, first served" Make no mistake, there is only ONE campfire, and you have to purchase your firewood from Rowley's, if you get an opportunity to use it. We would have had to empty all of the trash left behind by others if we had wanted to use it. There were empty graham cracker boxes, marshmallow bags, beer bottles and cans, etc. all strewn in and around the campfire area. We were, unfortunately, there for several days, and the trash remained untouched for the entire time we were there. We disovered the so-called "recreation room," which is in a dungeon-like area in the bowels of the building. There you will find old, broken down, dirty (as in not clean) video games, pool tables, and a ping pong table. If it's summer and it's hot, you will swelter, as the rooms are not air-conditioned in this area. Anyway, the benefit of time has faded some of the memories, but these are the highlights. We stayed there the summer of 2012. (Trust that we will never, ever stay there again. In short, it sucked terribly and was probably the worst vacation I have ever taken.

Room Tip: There are NO good rooms.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Sun4MePlease
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jewel O, Owner at Rowleys Bay Resort, responded to this review, 15 October 2013
Although we appreciate comments which help us improve our service to our guests, it just feels spiteful to get something a year after the fact. of course it is inexcusable to find dishes in the dishwasher. You are unclear if you mentioned any of this to anyone at the time. Most people who take our suites appreciate having the shower/tub room separate from the sink, counter and mirror, because families can share the facilities better that way. Our suites are normal sized, not small. As to the beds, we don't have any double beds, only queens and kings, so as you say, "time has faded some of the memories." Our front desk is open until 11:00 PM in the summer season, so you arrived very late, after any restaurant in Door County is open including ours. And our vending machine is not within earshot of the front desk, it is down a hall about 30 feet away. If in fact someone pretended not to hear you, we are certainly sorry, and wish you had reported that to management the next morning. Regardless of that, the staff you are complaining about isn't even here anymore, as every season we raise the bar to create the best experience for our guests and only invite back our best people. You make no mention of our wonderful amenities, our restaurant, bakery, pub, pool, spa, waterfront location with fabulous outdoor activities and the most popular outdoor fish boil with historical re-enactment. Although there is a small fire-pit on the property for use by guests it is not even something we promote in our materials because we are a resort, not a campground. As you can see from other reviews here, most people are very happy and return again and again. We are proud of our vintage (not dingy) resort, and our website communicates clearly what we are about. Are we for everyone? No. There are many more expensive modern choices in the new sterile condo complexes that have popped up all over the county.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 October 2013

We recently made our first trip and overnight stay to Rowleys Bay Resort. We can't say enough wonderful things about the organization and resort. We stay in Door several times a year and favor the 'out of the way' and locally owned establishments. We found Rowleys exactly what we hoped for as a destination. The entire staff was pleasant, friendly and courteous. Often we were asked, "Are you enjoying your vacation?" Yes, was always the answer always followed by the follow-up question, "If there is anything we can do, please let us know." Wow. You don't get this kind of service often. The room overlooked the Bay and lake Michigan. The resort felt like home while still having the indoor pool, flat screen TV, Wi-Fi, game room ect. The restaurant offered a delicious menu and a buffet each night. We tried the Fish Boil and enjoyed an actor playing "Peter Rowley" talk about the history of the Bay and resort. What a treat! We felt at home and plan on staying again. Kudos to the owners and the entire staff! Thank you!

Room Tip: choose a room overlooking the water. There are also cool cottages available right on the water.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JM135178
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rowleys Bay Resort

Property: Rowleys Bay Resort
Address: 1041 County Road Zz, Ellison Bay, WI 54210-9713
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Wisconsin > Door County > Ellison Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ellison Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Door County's Affordable Waterfront Resort Rowleys Bay Resort offers the best of both worlds-a waterfront destination with affordable lodging options. Whether you prefer a traditional room, suite, cottage or vacation home, all are just steps away from our 700 feet of shoreline. As the largest waterfront resort in Door County, we accommodate and cater to the needs of a wide range of groups. The atmosphere is casual, relaxed and friendly. With our restaurant, bakery, banquet hall, meeting rooms and other amenities all under one roof, families and groups feel safe and connected. 100 Acres of Solitude on a Pristine Bay Rowleys Bay Resort is situated on 100 secluded acres dominating a pristine, undeveloped bay on Lake Michigan. Think of our unique, peaceful setting as a cul-de-sac without noisy through-traffic and bumper-to-bumper people. Be as one with nature as you hike our five miles of trails and enjoy four-season bird watching on our never frozen bay and the unique Mink River Estuary. Nature's light show on the water at sunrise and sunset come at no extra charge!Water Sports Access at Your DoorIf you have a passion for water sports, you have to come to Rowleys Bay Resort. From canoeing and kayaking to sailing and fishing, you won't find a better place in Door County for aqua adventures. The marina and DNR launch are your gateway and quick getaway to Lake Michigan and the Mink River. It's like having your own private playground on the water. Kayak rentals and tours, as well as charter fishing boats, are available dockside.All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant OfferingsIn addition to an all-day full menu and bar, Rowleys Bay Restaurant features Door County's longest buffet and salad bar, providing you with variety, flexibility and tremendous dining value. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night the generous buffet includes the area's only all-you-can-eat fish boil. The restaurant's famous Sunday Brunch buffet includes pecan rolls and other scrumptious treats from Grandma's Swedish Bakery. Historic Swedish Scratch Bakery For 40 years, Grandma's Swedish Bakery has been tantalizing the taste buds of Door County visitors and natives with homemade pastries, decadent sweet rolls and other from-scratch bakery items. Family recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, ensuring that you will receive the same authentic Swedish delights originally baked by Grandma. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rowleys Bay Hotel Ellison Bay
Wagon Trail Hotel
Rowleys Bay Resort Ellison Bay, WI - Door County

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