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“Modern hotel next to Lake Michigan!”
Review of Blue Harbor Resort

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Blue Harbor Resort
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Sheboygan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 June 2012

My husband, two sons (ages 6 and 2) stayed in a villa for two nights in June. The lobby atrium was modern, airy and open and featured a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. Our villa was very clean and stocked with dishes, utensils, soaps, and standard hotel amenities. We enjoyed lake views from almost all windows in our villa. The housekeeping staff were accomodating when we requested a pack and play for our toddler. We were a few steps from a gorgeous sandy beach and two buildings away from the fun and exciting indoor water park and outdoor pool. My six-year old had a blast on the four water and tube slides. The two year old enjoyed the zero-depth spray area and toddler pool. Lifeguards were attentive to the children and were observed completing practice CPR drills. During the week, there was plenty of seating, sufficient hotel provided life jackets, and tubes. On the weekend, the waterpark was busier but still uncrowded. Furniture in the villa was mostly well-maintained although some stains were observed in our photos. Sheboygan is a very family-friendly area with a Children's Museum, boating, fishing, lovely parks, and a weekly summer farmer's market. I highly recommend Blue Harbor and will return with my family and extended relatives.

Room Tip: Ask for a lake view!
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank LauraMCC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 June 2012

Blue Harbor Resort is a neat hotel with an indoor water park right on the shores of Lake Michigan. It really has a lot going for it and there's nothing quite like it nearby. My family (wife and two daughters that were 5 and 3 at the time) and I stayed over on a weekend several months ago in December 2011 (yes, parts of this review may now be outdated) and had a good time with one major exception detailed below.

My review is sorted by ratable categories below:

Service (5 stars):

Front desk was absolutely great. There was no wait, they let us check in early, and off to the water park we went! I don't remember check-out so it must have gone smoothly. Housekeeping cleaned the rooms without any incident!

Value (4 stars):

All of these types of hotels with indoor water parks strike me as being way, way overpriced. This one actually seems to be a little less expensive than comparable ones (in the Dells or Key Lime Cove in Gurnee, for example) and commonly has deals on their web site. In addition, they have a lot of neat room configurations (big bed for the parents, bunk beds for the kids, aquarium or boat-themed rooms, etc.) that are only slightly more expensive than the standard rooms.

Sleep Quality (4 stars):

The sleep quality was fine. It was actually a little on the warm side for December so we actually slept with the balcony door cracked so you could hear the Lake Michigan waves a little! (The wife and I prefer a little noise when we sleep.)

The one very minor suggestion for improvement that I have is: we had an aquarium themed room and the kids had a set of bunk beds that are in a small alcove. It seems like it would be really, really easy to make that alcove a separate room with a door so that the adults could stay up a little longer without bothering the kids. :-)

Cleanliness (5 stars):

This place is squeaky clean and seemingly ... underused.

Location (5 stars):

Definitely earns 5 stars here. Right on Lake Michigan w/ a decent beach just to the south of the hotel, and downtown Sheboygan and restaurants not far away at all.

Rooms (5 stars):

See comments above regarding value. There is a ton of variety in the room selections and some of them - particularly the aquarium-themed room, are a lot of fun for younger kids.

Food (Dinner, NOT breakfast ... 2 stars):

We planned on eating the first night at one of the hotel's restaurants, since we were driving up from Northern Illinois in the early afternoon and wanted to take it easy in the evening. At the time (December 2011), Blue Harbor was in the process of remodeling their family restaurant and we understood, from what was indicated on their web site, that they would be honoring and serving their family restaurant's menu at their fancier restaurant while the family restaurant was closed.

When we went to the fancier restaurant and sat down for dinner, we found out that this was not the case at all and that they only had the fancy restaurant's menu available.

I guess, at that point, we should have left and complained, and then went elsewhere for dinner, but we begrudgingly stayed because we were tired. Without going into too much detail, the rest of dinner proceeded to downwardly spiral into an embarrassing scene since neither of my kids would eat any of the food, and, well, even a well-behaved 5 and 3 year old can become a complete terror in a fancy restaurant if they are bored, tired, and won't eat.

Morals of the story: 1) To Blue Harbor, PLEASE keep your web site updated AND accurate, 2) The fancy restaurant (I think it's called Latitude?) is not a good place to bring kids, and 3) For my own personal reference, it is occasionally better to complain and leave rather than be miserable and stay!

(Note, again, this review is from a stay that was about 6 months ago, so the above-mentioned family restaurant may now be reopened.)

Water park (4 stars, *very* dependent on age of children):

The water park is smaller, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. My 5 year old could go on most of the rides and in about a year or so will probably be able to go on just about everything and require only a small amount of supervision. My 3 year old was mostly constrained to the smaller slides/pool and playground and if she went anywhere else, needed an adult to help her along. We had both of them wear life jackets as there are pools where the water is 4-5 feet deep that aren't far from the smaller slides/pool.

The "sweet spot" age for the water park, I think, is between 6-12. Kids in that range who can swim should be able to go on everything, have fun, and only require a small amount of loose supervision. Teenagers, I suspect, might get bored with this water park, as they'd probably be interested only in going on the set of big slides and maybe the lazy river. One other point: when we were there, the water park was rather empty. Not sure what the water park would be like with a big crowd. I suspect not too much fun.

Additional information/tips for the readers' benefit (not influencing the ratings):

- In mid-December, Blue Harbor Resort was all but EMPTY. Perhaps that was just a good weekend to go because the place gets really busy a couple of weeks later during the holidays? I don't know. Anyway, it's kind of a shame because it's a neat place and I hope it doesn't "go under". We'll definitely consider going back there.

- There are several restaurants very close by along the riverfront. We went to Highland House, which is just down the street. It'd be a great place to grab a drink or a bite if the weather is nice since they have outdoor seating along the river, but we found their lunch to just be okay. On the other side of the river is an English pub, the Duke of Devon, which I heard is pretty good. We'll probably try there next time.

- I'd like to see what this place is like in the Summer. With the lake view and beach, I assume it'd be even nicer than in Winter.

All in all, if they have resolved the restaurant issues described above, I'd say Blue Harbor Resort would be a darned near perfect place to spend a fun weekend with the family, especially with kids between 6-12. I only hope they get enough business to stay in business.

Room Tip: Lakefront view rooms are nicest but more expensive. Ask yourself, "Do I need the view if I'...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank jason_r_smith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2012

Blue Harbor Resort was a really nice place for a conference. It's nice that the conference center and the rooms are on the opposite side of the building from the waterpark. We didn't have to contend with all the kids and noise during our meetings or at bedtime. The waterpark is great and was a lot of fun even for us adults. I especially loved the views of the lake.

Room Tip: Ask for a Lake view
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled on business
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Thank kitty k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2012

Loved it. Great location, great room away from the Water Park and staff was very professional. We had a 4th floor room facing the lake. Awesome sunrise and nice and cool on the balcony in the afternoon. Hotel is very clean and well kept. Stores, Shops and Restaurants near the hotel were also great. Only complaint was we couldn't stay longer.

Room Tip: With kids: near the Water Park. Without kids: away from Water Park. Fourth floor is best, vaulted ce...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Richard0129
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2012

Was there on a business trip - stayed 2 nights and was completely satisfied, other than it took me a couple of tries to find the place. The property is beautiful, spotless, awesome location on the lake, great attention to detail and the staff was outstanding. (from the manager to the housekeeping staff- amazing). Would stay there again without question.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled on business
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Thank LoveMyFamily6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2012

Blue Harbor is a fantastic resort. My family stayed for 2 nights in the Boathouse suite. The room was clean. The outdoor pool was very nice. The water park was very clean with lots of lifeguards around. Housekeeping and put fresh towels, soaps, etc in our room while we were out on our second day, which was so appreciated. Lake Michigan is beautiful. No complaints about this hotel. It is beautiful!

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Melinda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2012

In general, my wife and I enjoyed our stay and would return. The resort is really quite nice in spite of itself. The potential exists for this to be a top-of-the-line 4 (or even 5) star resort, but because of the lack of attention to detail, it is just an above average 3 star resort.

The good: The location, great Lake Michigan views, good food at the bar, great service at the bar, friendly lobby staff, the grounds, beautiful lobby area and common spaces. (Because of all these things, this really is a nice place)

The problem is the lack of attention to detail. None of the following are all that big of a deal, but when you add them all up, it just leaves you feeling, "Shoot, this place could be so magnificent, if they would just pay attention." So here goes: The room was clean and very nice when we arrived, but we were a little surprised and disappointed that the cleaning service on our second day involved nothing more than making the bed and supplying 2 new towels. Garbage was not emptied, nor picked up from around the room, coffee pot was left in the sink and not cleaned, coffee cups were not cleaned or replaced, nothing was put back in its proper place, etc, etc. (We were in a hotel room, not a condo, so I suspect full-service cleaning was supposed to have been done.) In addition, the bed was very squeaky and the mattress was not comfortable at all. The balcony railing is in need of a paint job, and the balconies all need a throrough cleaning as the chairs were covered with dust that we cleaned off ourselves, and the roof and pillars were covered with dead bugs and cobwebs. The chairs are low quality, old, and in need of replacement. The balconies themselves, could be a selling point all by themselves with the view they possess, but they are only about 3-4 feet deep, so there is room to sit only 2 people if they sit sideways. A renovation to extend the balcony, replace it with high quality outdoor table and chairs, paint job, and cleaning would make a massive difference. It's such a waste of enormous potential not to do this (at least on the beach side balconies). And of course, you can't forget the air conditioners. In casual conversation with two different staff members, we were told that they hear from people every single day how much of a nuisance the air conditioner noise is. It is so loud, that it is impossible to hear the waves on the beach without taking a stroll down to the condo end of the resort. And that is such a shame, and again, a waste of so much potential. The AC unit itself is massive and sits right by all of the beach side hotel balconies. With a little time and effort, that system should be able to be moved to the other side of the Latitude Restaurant, where it will bother no one at all.

The bottom line: Renovate the balconies, replace the beds, move the air conditioners, and demand perfection from the room cleaning staff. If the attention to detail here was the same as it is at a The Post Hotel in Lake Louise, Alberta, or The Trump Hotel in Chicago, coupled with it's lake Michigan location and world class golf in the area, this resort could be a destination for people not just from Wisconsin and the midwest, but for people from all over North America. If someone asked me now, I would say the place was nice and I would go again. But with just a little more effort, you couldn't keep me from going several times per year.

Room Tip: Best views are from the 3rd or 4th floor on the beach side. 151,251,351,etc are right by the air con...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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5  Thank VR731
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blue Harbor Resort

Address: 725 Blue Harbor Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081-4982
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Wisconsin > Sheboygan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Sheboygan
#4 Business Hotel in Sheboygan
Price Range: £116 - £227 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Blue Harbor Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 246
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blue Harbor is the largest resort on Lake Michigan. We are located in charming downtown Sheboygan. We have multiple restaurants, lounges, conference space, a spa and an indoor water park. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Harbor Sheboygan
Blue Harbor Hotel Sheboygan

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