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“This was the worst place I have ever stayed at in my life!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Sands Motel

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The Sands Motel
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1465 US 31 North, Traverse City, MI 49686   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #33 of 39 Hotels in Traverse City
davison
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“This was the worst place I have ever stayed at in my life!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2010

I was told that I would have a beach view from my room. When I got these our room was under the stair case with no beach view at all. This place was very dirty, here was sand on the bed when we got there. We asked for a refund and we were told we could have to wait until the next day for the manager to come in. When he did come in he told us he never told us we would have a beach view and said that we were lieing about the sand on the bed. He was very rude to us and kept telling us that we were wrong. I have never been treated as badly as he treated us anywhere!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Joliet, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2010

We stayed at The Sands Motel from August 6th to August 9th for my birthday weekend we only wanted a nice relaxing weekend and boy what a disappointment! I had called to make the reservations in early May when I spoke with the gentlemen on the phone he told me that he would reserve me the second floor room with two windows the room at the end.

When we got to the motel several hours early we went in to let them know we had arrived, the front desk person was very rattled and unorganized. We stood there for about 5 to 7 min. and never were even acknowledged so we left to have lunch and return at check in time. When we did return they asked us which room we reserved, she checked us in and we went up the stairs to find that we did not have the room promised but a room which was furthest away from the beach. We went down to complain but were told that they were completely booked and this was the only room. After much discussion we were told that we could switch our room the next day to a closer room to our original reservation.

As we entered the room we had to stay in that night we found that the toilet had been used and not flushed NOR cleaned. This was so unbelievable I had no words, my husband went down once again to complain they came up totally cleaned the room and discounted our stay. The next day when we moved rooms even after they had cleaned the room I found problems with the bathroom dirty towels behind the door used shampoo bottles in the shower, lights that didn't work and the fan in the bathroom didn't work. Our last night they never even came to clean our room. This was a Sunday night and it was only us and one other customer but they couldn't clean our room we were gone until 4:00 pm came back it had not been done we went out to the beach until 6:00 pm and when we came back it still hadn't been cleaned we had to go ask for clean towels and toilet paper.

The ice machine NEVER worked and the "free" WiFi never worked either. This property was poorly maintained. The outside has chairs by each room but they are dirty the railing has spider webs all over and many bugs. Many of the beach chairs are broken.

My husband and I travel a lot and all we ask for is what is advertised, a clean room and the feeling that you as the customer are the priority. This was not the case at all!

All I can say positive about this motel is the location was great, right on the beach. They did have a fire pit with plenty of wood. But nothing can make up for the lack of cleanliness.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2010

I stayed at the Sands Motel from July 30 - August 1, 2010, in one of the upstairs rooms. When we made the reservation ($209 per night + tax), the desk clerk told me it was one of their nicest rooms. Our friends had the room next door to us in another of the "nicest rooms".

Although I was not happy with our stay, I think this could be a nice place since the location is excellent...on a sandy beach on the water. It was beautiful and we enjoyed sitting on the beach in the evening with our wine. They have a fire pit and wood available so that you can make a fire on the beach. That part was pretty cool.

The hotel is older and the rooms are basic and small. Ours had a queen sized bed, small table and chairs, dresser (with a flat screen tv), small fridge, and a small bathroom. This could have been just fine if the room had been clean. When we checked in, our bathroom had clean (but old) towels. Other than that, it had not been cleaned. There were hairs in the shower and floor and urine on the toilet seat. I was grossed out and immediately called the front desk. The person who answered said 5 other rooms had the same problem and that she would be up to clean in a while. She never came to clean and left (leaving the office with no one in it) for the evening.

We couldn't figure out the flat screen tv...could only get one channel. However, we didn't really try hard to figure it out either. The free wi-fi did not work in our room since it was too far from the equipment. The air conditioner worked ok but was noisy. The bed was comfortable enough...nothing to write home about but nothing too terrible either.

The next day, we went off to enjoy the wineries nearby and expected our room to be cleaned while we were gone. When we got back at 7:00PM, our room had not been touched except to take away our dirty towels. We found the desk clerk just as he was leaving for the evening and got him to give us toilet paper and clean towels. Our bathroom was still dirty, trash cans overflowing, and bed unmade. The entire room needed a good cleaning.

There was a balcony outside of our rooms where we could see the water but there were way too many bugs and spiders all over the porch railing and ceiling there to make it a pleasant place to sit. I don't mean one or two bugs...I mean hundreds of bugs. The plastic chairs outside of our room were very dirty and covered with spider webs. All of that needed a good cleaning with a pressure washer.

Downstairs, there was a deck facing the water. It was ok and we spent an evening there. Some new furniture would be good or at least it would be better if the old stuff was cleaned and the broken furniture thrown away. Some plants and basic maintenance would have made it really cute and pleasant.

It was loud at night because there were a bunch of very drunk people staying in the room underneath ours. There was no desk clerk there to take care of the problem. As far as I know, the desk clerk leaves as soon as all of the rooms are rented. Since this was the week for the film festival in Traverse City, even this hotel was able to fill its rooms. People were still partying at 2AM but we were able to get to sleep because the air conditioner drowned out some of the sound.

I have to say we met other people who seemed to be having a good time at this hotel. One woman stayed there for two weeks to attend a horse show and was able to keep her dog in the room with her. Apparently, it is a pet-friendly motel. Maybe she got better service than we did.

This was a cute hotel, but I did not enjoy it there at all because it was poorly maintained and the staff was indifferent to the needs of the customer. A good manager could completely change this place. I had a great time in Traverse City with my husband and friends but would never stay at this hotel again.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2010

This could be such a wonderful little motel, but it seems that making money is top priority. Taking care of the facilities and guests staying there are not a priority. The rooms are small and dirty and even when the staff was contacted, cleaning did not occur. No one works at the desk at night, so loud all night party people keep others awake, with no recourse. We couldn't wait to get out.
STAY AWAY!!!!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
bensenville
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2010

The Sands saved us from a bad experience at the Travelodge which advertised being 1000 ft from the bay. Unfortunately you can't walk through peoples yards on the water to get there. When I asked about the misleading ad I found out real beach access is 2 miles away! RIPOFF!!! We bailed and Chris set us up with a room. We had fires and smores in the firepit and our beagle loved sleeping on the lounge chairs on the beach.
Boat, waverunner, parasails all on site for a very reasonable price. We loved Traverse City and next time know where we are staying!!!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Saint Louis, Missouri
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2010

We were so happy to see a private beach and a fridge in the room. We found a local shop to stock up on groceries and go have fun. We spent the weekend there before my husband's work week conference at the Park Place Hotel began. It was a wonderful alternative as we had a beach view and ran out to swim at every opportunity. It's a great little find for a local motel. Someone caught a salmon and smoked it in the lobby. My husband was loving that! Great people and location. I would highly recommend for anyone wanting a romantic escape.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Michigan
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2009

This is a very basic motel, with the greatest plus point being on the waterfront with its own private beach, with boat & watercraft rentals right on the beach.

To clarify, the motel is on a narrow strip of land, perpendicular to the waterfront. All the rooms open on to the outdoor hallway, typical motel style. The second floor rooms are cleverly designed to have the window at an angle (next to the front door), so you can get the beach view from your window.

Pros:
- Nothing went wrong for us (as described in the previous reviews)
- Right on the waterfront, with own private beach & watercraft rentals on the beach. There is also a water trampoline in the water. Shallow water (waist-deep) and soft sand for quite a distance into the lake.
- Nice staff (and the cute Papillon too)
- Decent location (next to the State Park & beach)
- Basic continental breakfast - typical store-bought (Sam's Club type) stuff
- Wash basin (sink) outside the bathroom (pro for us anyway)

Cons
- No swimming pool . If you are thinking who needs a pool when there is a private beach, think again. This is northern Michigan. When I stayed mid-July, one day was low sixties & cloudy, the second day low seventies and third day low eighties. No fitness center either.
- Room (the 1-queen I stayed) on the smaller side
- They did not clean the room in the morning. When asked, they said if the same customer stayed on the next night, they cleaned the room only if requested. The girl apologized though and quickly brought over some fresh towels and toiletries.
- Advertised free wireless internet - did NOT work. I am an IT professional; my laptop and I have gone a few times to the other side of the world, had internet work in several cities and airports in US and internationally. Could not get it to work in this motel. I did not pursue this hard with the motel staff, since I had a wireless card also with me and that worked nicely, albeit at a slower speed.
- Telephone in the room did not work. Had a label on it saying they are replacing the phone system. Not that this is a big con, since who doesn't have a cell phone these days?
- Room somewhat noisy. Motel right on the busy US31, so can hear the traffic zooming past. The fan (on the air-conditioner unit) was very noisy, though the white noise was better than the vehicles.
- Pillow was too fluffy and did not provide adequate support.

I read the previous reviews, so was very hesitant to book here. The location (on the waterfront) at that price felt like a bargain and I thought how bad can it be, so I took the risk. I am glad I did. Make no mistake - it's no Ritz-Carlton, but it fulfills the basic needs. I guess it is priced right for what it offers.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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 The Sands Motel

Address: 1465 US 31 North, Traverse City, MI 49686
Location: United States > Michigan > Grand Traverse County > Traverse City
Amenities:
Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #33 of 39 Hotels in Traverse City
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Traverse City's best kept little secret for a motel on the beach of Grand Traverse East Bay. 21 cozy rooms with microwave, coffee pot, and refrigerator in them. Wireless net with continental breakfast in the summer time. Also, the only live streaming video of our beach and of east bay. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Sands Hotel Traverse City
Sands Hotel Traverse City

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