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“A real place for real people” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Balsams Resort

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Balsams Resort
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1464 W US 2, Saint Ignace, MI 49781   |  
Hotel amenities
Jackson Ohio
2 reviews
“A real place for real people”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2009

The Balsams has a sign out front that says "Est 1927" and I believe it. The grounds are filled with lovely older trees, especially evergreens. The cabins are older, and I have stayed in them, but I prefer one of the motel rooms, especially the ones with wood floors. This is a real place run by real people, not a fancy schmancy perfect place where the people who run it make you feel uncomfortable for being who you are. My family stays at the Balsam's for a week every year (since 2001), and we wouldn't miss our week there for anything. It is close to the ferries to Mackinac Island, there are trails on the property to hike, the beach is sweet and small and private, the water is shallow for a long way out so little kids are safe, the creek is fun for crayfish hunting, there is a volleyball net on the beach and we make a campfire on the beach every night and watch the stars and occasionally the Northern Lights or the international space station make an appearance. The sunsets are golden, the mosquitos are fierce, and night swims out far enough to see the Mackinac Bridge are another annual event. There is a public beach about 6-8 miles to the West down Rt 2 with great sand dunes and roaring surf on windy days. In short, we just love the Balsams, and have made many happy family memories there.

  • Liked — Relaxed atmosphere.
  • Disliked — Mosquitos come out after dark - be ready.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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34 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
detroit
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2009

we had a great old fashioned time at the Balsams. WE played games and had campfires and really enjoyed the rustic feel of the place. It is so relaxing and Lake Michigan is so clean.

  • Liked — comfy beds and rooms
  • Disliked — highway noise--aren't all motels on highways
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Michigan
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2008

We booked a cabin at this resort for our family vacation based on how nice the place looked on their web site. My family was very excited about the idea of staying at a cabin for our vacation. Needless to say, when we got to the Balsam Resort we took one look at the cabin and left without staying. When we entered the "lobby" upon arriving the room was full of food and half eaten bowls of cereal were on the table. A dog was also sniffing around. I knew immediatily I would not be styaing here. We did have the receptionist show us the cabin before we turned and left and we were deeply disappointed by it. It was awful! I was assured when I made the reservation that the cabin slept six and would work well for my family of six. The inside of the cabin was so small there is no way my family would of even been able to fit in the cabin yet alone our suitcases. I was told that there was two pullout sofas but wasn't told that if one was pulled out there wasn't enough room for the other one to be opened. I was also told that they had a beach but was not told you had to cross a four lane highway to get to it.

I would not recommend this place to anyone. Upon booking the room they ask for you to pay half of the cost up front so I lost my deposit which I was very upset about. Fortunately for us when we left we were able to get a beautiful, spacious hotel room at the Days Inn in St. Ignace.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
troy, MI
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2008

Found them on the internet, and stayed for 2 nights. First night in the hotel. All the hotel rooms face lake Superior, and gives you a good view. Walk 3 minutes to the private beach where you can build a fire with the wood provided.

The cabins are back in the lot, and more than half are on a small "babbling" brook. Very comforting to listen to. Most of the cabins are true log cabins, with little cracks in the chinking which I expect from a real log cabin. One can complain about the cracks - but it just add to the rustic appeal of the cabin. The cabins vary in dimention, but ours had two bedroom, which can comfortably sleep 4 (2 to each room), and two more on the futon, if you desired.

It is convenient, 4 miles from St Ignace, McD, BurgerK, and groceries.

Disadvantages? It is close enough from highway 2 that you can hear the trucks go by (unless you were in cabins further in the woods).

I find the hotel room cutely decorated, leaning on the rustic side. The local made tables, shelves, etc. add to the cozy appearance. The bathroom was tiled, and the tub wall was relined, and clean.

The hideaway bed provided for my son was too old and decrepit. The foam has broken down, and you can feel the springs when you lay on it. I forgot to tell the owner about it.....So inquire if you were to use the roll away bed.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Michigan
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2008

We arrived and Sue, one of the owners, showed us to cabin number 9 - we trailed behind her in our van while she rode her bicycle. The setting is beautiful, because it is in the woods with the Moran River (which is a shallow creek with small waterfalls) flowing past. We weren't able to really enjoy the surroundings for more than a couple minutes because the mosquitoes were very fierce, but with "Deep Woods Off" bug spray, they stayed at bay.
Anyhow, once we got out of the van, Sue gave us a very disgusting pillow and a very old patchwork quilt. I hope she washed the quilt and the rest of the blankets before we arrived, but I really doubt it. The pillow was heavily stained and actually all the pillows in the cabin were like that. Additionally, when I covered them with pillowcases and tried to lay my head on them, they squished flat, like a pancake. The morning after the first night, I had to take an Advil and a Tylenol to make the pain in my neck and shoulders go away.
On to the bathroom. The bathroom was an addition to the back of the cabin, but they kept the same exterior back door and turned it into the bathroom door. This door did not shut properly (much too tight on the top half and a gap on the bottom half). That meant it was a loud door! It also had a window with a curtain that would open and close; this was weird and the opposite of private: if someone (like your little child) was in the main living area facing the bathroom and pushed opened the window, there was no way for the person in the bathroom to pull it back closed. The door also did not have a lock. The toilet moved with a thud when I sat on it (I'm not heavy - I weigh 106 pounds). Also, the toilet was right next to the door, and it gave the effect of having basically no privacy at all, since the dining table and pretty much all the chairs for people to sit on were just outside that bathroom door. The hot water heater (located in the bathroom behind a curtain) was a good one, though; we never ran out of hot water.
The first night we were there was only 61 degrees, and the firewood they provided seemed to be very green, so we weren't able to get a fire started. The wall-mounted gas furnace broke while we were eating dinner at Java Joe's, and one of the owners came by to attempt to fix it. He failed. He brought a small portable heater instead. When he did fix it the next day, he also smashed a fly on the dining room table with a fly swatter and did not clean it up. I saw it when we came home from Mackinac Island, and the day after that, when I had to ask them to fix the refrigerator which also did not work, I asked them about the fly. He said he didn't kill the fly, and Sue asked me if my daughters or husband could have possibly killed it. No, we did not. So I was really disgusted that they would leave a smashed bug on the dining table and then lie about it. Quite revolting.
The cabin was really dirty; there were cobwebs in all the corners and a lot of dust, especially in the bedroom.
The bedroom doesn't even have a door, but only a curtain that extends across the entryway. There were two lamps on one side of the bedroom, but none on the other, and since the TV (which didn't receive a signal anyway) was in the living area in which my daughters were sleeping (on the pull-out sofa), my husband and I just read books. But it was dark on my side of the bedroom, so I moved a lamp to my side. I hope they didn't mind.
The two skylights were a nice touch, but they were so dirty and had odd worm-like tree droppings on them... I didn't think they added any aesthetic value to the cabin.
The steps to get to the porch are very rustic; they are concrete and stone, but they are the opposite of level, so watch your step.
I saw half a watermelon that a prior guest had tossed off the porch - it landed about twenty feet away from the porch in the woods. Nobody bothered to clean it up before we arrived.
There is one small blue dresser in the living area (it has the TV on top of it) that the owners had partially filled with blankets and assorted things, so we had to empty that stuff out to put our clothes in. We put most of the suitcases back into the van, because there was no room for them in the cabin.
The male owner that came out to fix the furnace (he never told me his name) told us we would be monetarily compensated for the lack of heat, but he didn't do anything, and there was nobody to ask about that, because check-out is at 10am, and we checked out at 9:30am on Sunday. They were at church, so we left the key on the desk. I hope he asked forgiveness from God for lying to me about the smashed bug. Didn't Jesus say to love your neighbor as yourself? I think lying to someone's face means you don't like them very much. The Bible also says to forgive, so I forgive him.
That's it. I don't recommend this hovel. It's horrible.

  • Liked — I liked the beautiful scenery the best.
  • Disliked — I hated the smashed bug on the dining table.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Lansing, MI
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2007

We were not looking for luxury. We were looking for a private cabin, near water with an area for walking and a place to build a fire. The cabin was very comfortable and cozy. We had everything we needed and the hostess made several trips back to her office for us (on her bike) to obtain extra items..flashlight and alarm clock.

We loved walking across the road and sitting on a beautiful beach just
a few feet from the water..enjoying a glass of wine. A walk around the
property was interesting and provided that wonderful "up north" scent.
We built a fire in the indoor fireplace and just mellowed in the atmosphere..so relaxed and happy to be there. We enjoyed sleeping in the cozy bed with the windows wide open and fresh air blowing over us.
I would go back in a minute!

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MI
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2007

I guess you get what you pay for. Overall not a bad stay but just not run very smoothly. My wife, dog and I stayed in this motel (not the cabins) for $56/night in September 2007 (shoulder season for the UP) for one night.

Upon arriving in the afternoon, I went to the office which was locked. After knocking and ringing the door bell for a few minutes, I was welcomed and given a room key. Not sure why the office was locked, we arrived at 3:00 in the afternoon.

The room was a basic room with 2 queen beds and brown carpeting. Refrigerator, microwave, and small television were included. Bathroom was relatively clean. The property is located across a four lane highway to the lake, which included a beach area that was probably not used very much - it was pretty cold during our stay but even if it was warm, I would not envision hanging out at the beach there. There was also property behind the motel which included the cabins. From the outside, the cabins looked reasonably nice. We walked around a little but really not much to see or hike. Took about 10-15 minutes.

After dinner, we came home and it was dark. Unfortunately, no lights to the outside of the place was on. We left a light on inside our room, which gave us enough light to see to get our keys out. I think this was just an oversight and later the outside lights were on. It was so dark that we missed the motel from the road and it was pretty creepy to take the dog out to use the bathroom in the pitch black.

Next morning, tried to go to the office to check out around 8:00 but again locked. RInging the doorbell/knocked to no response. Just left the key in the room and took off. I received a message on my phone asking if I wanted to charge the remaining balance on the same credit card. That was fine and it was again mailed to my house.

Overall, I would not stay here again. Just sketchy service with marginal rooms. I would consider paying a little more for something nicer.

  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balsams Resort

Address: 1464 W US 2, Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Location: United States > Michigan > Upper Peninsula > Mackinac County > Saint Ignace
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Saint Ignace
Number of rooms: 6

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