There is a big difference between a family owned motel and a corporate motel -- and in the big scheme of things it does not really matter that much how much you pay for a room. What's really neat is the same owners and manager will probably still be here next year to remember and thank you.
We are from Alaska and the "Arctic Entry" to our room was much appreciated. During the Winter months --- or for windy and rainy conditions, it is nice to have the two-door design to pass through -- one to block the elements and the 2nd door then is to your actual room. You park near or directly in front of your room, and the lobby is only two or three car lengths away. You will want to visit the friendly lobby for refreshments, maps, history and conversation.
The shower! I rarely see a shelf design where shampoo, the razor and other items actually remain on the shelf during the shower and do not get washed to the shower floor. Also, a very good hair dryer, a magnified lighted mirror and plenty of fluffy quality towels and so many other personal touches -- way too many to mention.
The multiple rooms were more like a suite and contained a Jacuzzi type tub. From anywhere in the room (or the tub) during shipping season you may "discretely" view the possibility of a 1,000 foot grain or iron-ore boat and also the Duluth City night lights. Also, TV's, stereo equipment and video games.
The gas fireplace will give you that added warmth on a cold winter or foggy night along with a gratuitous adult beverage and pillows-pillows everywhere -- on the bed in the drawers and on the couch ...
If you forget binoculars. No need. There are a pair in the room along with a spotting scope and tripod and window glass everywhere with verticle blinds which I cannot afford in my own home.
A long bathroom counter ... enough for two people to have their items conveniently laid out.
When the weather is good for walking, there is no need to take your car out of the parking lot. I'd guess there are over a dozen good eating places within a short 5 to 10 minute walk just across the lift bridge. In season, watching the lift bridge from your deck is one of the reasons you come to Duluth. The "Lake Walk" is nearby and you can travel a ways up the North Shore.
In the lobby, gourmet coffee, rolls and fruit are available -- all day long and with a computer and printer.
The Army Corp of Engineers has a "Shipping Museum" a block away; please don't miss it.
When I'm on vacation, I want to relax. This is a place where you actually don't need to leave your room to enjoy --- remember the tub and blinds ...