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“Flipant customer service - be careful with reservations” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Thunder Bay Resort

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Thunder Bay Resort
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27800 M-32, Hillman, MI 49746   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Save! Elk View Dinners
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hillman
Here, there and everywhere
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Flipant customer service - be careful with reservations”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2010

I tried to book an Elk Ride with dinner for four persons a month in advance and was told that they were only accepting reservations with "lodging". The person I spoke to said she would speak to the manager to see if they would allow me to book without lodging and they would get back to me. I did not hear back from them and then e-mailed a follow-up inquiry 10 days later. Again, I heard nothing. It was as if I had to beg them to spend $350 dollars with them! I finally called the week before the anticipated date and was told "we only call if we have availability". I was told otherwise during my original call. It was amazing that during my final call to inquire that the person I spoke to completely missed the point that I was told they would call me back and they never did. She also said they had been booked for that weekend for "quite a while" which is not true because they was availability three weeks earlier (but again, only with lodging). I would like to know how many of those reservations were made without lodging after all. I wish Thunder Bay Resort all the best in business - nothing stays the same and unfortunately, if the time ever comes where they come looking for my business, I will not respond based on this experience.

Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BuddyBoysDad, Owner at Thunder Bay Resort, responded to this review, July 9, 2011
You do not need to stay in our lodging to do The Elk Viewing, Carriage Ride, Gourmet Dinner and Wine Tasting, which is offered on select dates during summer, fall and winter. We welcome guests who are not staying with us when we have availability and about 35 % of the people who do the dinner ride are not staying with us. Usually it is not an issue. But there are a number of dates where we do give priority to people staying with us - Murder Mystery Weekends, Wine Lovers Weekends, New Years Eve, and when we have tour groups or other groups who have booked who have reserved a block of rooms and may release some of them shortly before arrival based on their final count. That may be short notice - less than a week. On winter weekends we do 2 rides a day - midday and evening on Saturday, and one or two a day on Sunday depending n demand. While I prefer the mid-day rides in winter (warmer, better lighting for taking photos), many guests view Saturday Evening as the prime winter ride, and those spots will be held for guests who stay with us until a few days before hand if we have not yet filled our lodging. We don't have a large number of lodging units - 34 and our objective is to fill them. If non-lodging guest have some flexibility we can usually keep them happy. Some people get very insistent and it is not always possible to keep everyone happy. I don't know the dates and the details, but we should have called this gentleman back if we made that commitment. I regret that we did not call him back. I suspect he may not have found the answer satisfactory as it sounds like we filled the ride with lodging guests. .Jack Matthias, owner
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91 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2010

Thunder Bay Golf Resort has wonderful suites, villas, chalets, RV parking, etc. 18 hole golf course, package deals that include mystery dinners, and much more. Our group took the horse drawn carriage 1 hour ride through the woods viewing up close the many elk they raise. Arriving at a lovely cabin where we had a 5 course gourmet meal, all cooked on a wood burning stove and served with 5 wines. Our stay included the room, carriage ride to see the elkk, dinner, and breakfast. It is family owned and they are wonderful! Cross country skiing and Sleigh rides are offered in the winter to the dinner.

  • Stayed June 2010
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2008

We found this gem while looking online for things to do on the East coast oF Michigan.
We would recomend it as a romantic couple getaway or even as a large family gathering/event. We went in October to see fall colors but it would be awesome in the winter too we think. Thunder Bay Golf Resort in Hilman, MI. is easy to find on ST RT32. We drove in on a cloudy Friday and had a nice Pizza dinner at the clubhouse with Hot applecider drinks.
We stayed in a Jacuzi Suite. Ours was a ground floor suite in the middle of a Chalet style building within walking distance of the clubhouse. The front room was occupied by two queen beds, a low dresser upon which sat a TV and a full sized closet with floor to ceiling mirrored doors.
Thru a door (closeable) was a compact Kitchenette. Apt sized Stove, Refrige, coffee pot and sink to your left side. A peek in the cabinets revealed somwhat mismatched dishes for a setting of four. On your right side was first a door to the jacuzi Tub/shower room and then a door to the bathroom with the toilet and a long countertop with one sink and a large mirror. Both the Jacuzi and bath rooms had heat lamps.
On past the kitchenette and bathroom thru another Closeable door was the living space.
This room is larger than the bedroom and has a small tabel and chairs, two recliners, a pullout couch, cofee table, side tables and a wall unit that conceals a full sized Murphy bed. At the back wall was an electric fireplace. This sounds like alot but it is a good sized room and even with the Murphy Bed open has plenty of space. Over the fireplace is a wall mounted TV. There is a door on the back wall that opens onto a porch that runs the length of the building. The view is lovely of the golf coursefrom the pourch.
In a separate largeGazebo type buliding next door was a Hot Tub free for use. We did not check it out as we had forgot our swimsuits.
The Beds were clean and firm.
On Saturday we drove into Alpena, MI and looked around at the marina and Old Town areas. Also took short drive south on US23 to see the Sturgeon Point Light House.
The Elk Viewing and Gormet Dinner Experiance:
Saturday evening at 5pm we met a large group of fellow visitors at the clubhouse and after a brief checkin we recieved a heavy wool blanket and headed outside to the awaiting carridges.
There were 84 people gathered and so they had 4 big open horse-drawn carridges with large bench seats and a roof. It was a cool evening but the ride is slow and the wool blankets keep you warm.
Once evrybody was aboard we started down the lane that passes the guest accomadations and cottages. Each wagon had a resort representative who told a short history of how they developed this activity over the years. We turned off the paved lane and crossed the Thunder Bay river on a wooden bridge. Once on the otherside we passed thru a 12 foot high gate and fence. Our guide explained that a motivated Whitetail deer can jump a 10 foot high one and so all the exterior fences are this high.
We wove thru the woods and spooked a large whitetail buck and doe as we crested the first hill. After a short while we saw thru the trees a group of elk on the next hill over. We rode somemore and came up on the otherside of that hill and saw about 12 elk cows and young bulls. there were a few deer in there too. Some more were seen as we crossed into the next section of the reserve. One very large Boss bull elk was laying down eating hay while two only slightly smaller bulls were sparing near a dust wallow only about 30 yards away. We stopped here, got out and took many pictures thru the fence.
After loading back up we traveled a short while more, thru the large gate on the other side and back a quarter mile thru the beautiful woods. A Large log cabin sat nestled in the trees. Wood smoke came from the chimny and carried the smell of something good cooking. The gusts all disembarked the wagons and we took pictures with the horses and in front of the cabin. once inside it was beautiful. A valted ceiling with elk antler chandeliers, quilts and nostalgic decorations abounded as well as many stuffed animals. There was one huge moose, two trophy deer, a beaver, wolf, bobcat and many more. Brightly lit and welcoming was the room. The one wall was taken up with a huge fireplace and sitting area and the other was a counter behind which was two large wood stoves. The meal was prepare in these beautiful antiques. The Meal was served in 5 stages and each was wonderful. Samples of local wine were offered as well as Michigan cherry coffee. Everything was hot and delicious. The crown pork roast was excellant!, it almose fell apart it was so moist and tender. During the meal the hosts came around and talked about the elk and showed us a real elk horn. It was lighter than you'd think for it's size. They demonstrated an Elk call and there was brief presentation of a product called Velvet Antler, a traditional dietary suplement made from elk antlers. Actually they mentioned this product several times during the ride and dinner. They are firm believers in it's ability to support your health.
The return Trip to the clubhouse in the dark was uneventful and somewhat quieter as everyone was very full and happy.

  • Liked — Large spacious rooms, quiet.
  • Disliked — Rooms were pretty dark at night, having a night light would have been nice.
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BuddyBoysDad, Owner at Thunder Bay Resort, responded to this review, July 23, 2011
Thanks for the wonderful review. And also for a good suggestion - that the rooms are dark at night and could use night lights. We are putting in night lights in all bedrooms, baths and living rooms. While we are on an ongoing campaign to go "Green" and significantly reduce our energy consumption, safety and comfort are important issues. But adding 166 night lights in 34 units might seem like a step backwards, but we have found an acceptable solution. The new LED night lights are now affordable. While they are about double the cost of a conventional 4 watt nightlight, the savings in electricity pays back the higher cost in a little over a year - about 30 cents versus $1.75. And the bulbs last 10 years instead of 2 to 3 years. So we can light all the rooms in all our units for about $50 for the year. Energy conservation steps we are taking include compact florescent bulbs, LED exterior building and Parking Lot lighting, new very high efficiency washers and dryers, and Variable Frequency Drives on golf course irrigation pumps. The savings are significant and most pay for themselves in two to five years!
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Additional Information about Thunder Bay Resort

Address: 27800 M-32, Hillman, MI 49746
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Michigan > Hillman
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hillman
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Resting on over 400 acres of Northern Michigan's stunning landscape, Thunder Bay Resort is the perfect retreat for your weekend escape! Complete with a state-of-the-art, Full-Service RV park, Deluxe Lodging poised on our pristine 18-hole golf course and a 160 acre Elk preserve, Thunder Bay Resort is truly a destination for all seasons. Enjoy the outdoors? Then take advantage of the amenities hosted by Thunder Bay Resort including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking, horseshoes, and the Resort's award-winning, signature Elk Viewing Carriage Ride, Gourmet Dinner & Wine Tasting Event! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Thunder Bay Hotel Hillman
Thunder Bay Resort Michigan/Hillman

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