Sugar Lake Lodge has been a main stay for our family reunion for years. It was asked this year if we could rent or bring our own golf cart to the lodge as it is a very large property. We were told that they can't have people running all over the place with golf carts? We were forced to drive our car all over the place! They had 50 golf carts sitting idle all weekend. This is very unaccomodating on their part. A full size suv is better to drive around with kids on bikes and what not, than a 5 mph golf cart.... seriously????.
I booked the Sugar Lake Lodge for our annual trip to visit family in Grand Rapids, not realizing what a mess it would end up being. I felt lucky to get a room because this place is usually booked 6 months out. For 2 years, I’ve booked a golf course villa room and had my sister's family come over for a day of swimming. It’s a great resort! They offer free use of kayaks and paddle boards, canoes and an outdoor pool. They have Adirondack chairs to lounge in by the beach. Free little bags of ice for your cooler are given out at the front desk. It’s these kind of touches that have made Sugar Lake Lodge special and set it apart from corporate-owned places. I’ve shouted from the rooftops about how much I loved this family-owned resort! Well, until this year. Womp womp. On a Friday morning, my sister's family in Grand Rapids, were loading up to come over to the resort and I called the front desk to get the amount of wrist bands we’d need for the beach access. The woman who answered the phone, was taken aback by this request. She said only resort guests can have wristbands and that outside guests aren’t allowed. Now I was taken aback because I truly never knew this. I guess it didn't dawn on me because I’d stayed at Sugar Lake Lodge 2 times before and had my nieces and nephews over to swim when we come into town. Actually, in those years past, I announced I was bringing my family over from Grand Rapids for the day WHILE getting wristbands. I’ve stood at the front desk, counting out on my fingers how many bands I needed for the family coming over. Bottom line, she treated me like I was at fault for something and actually made me feel guilty for even thinking my family could come. What a way to treat a guest! “Ma’am, our paying guests don’t get full use of the amenities if we allow visitors to use the property.” And she's saying this on an overcast Friday morning where there is literally nobody at the beach. She suggested the only reason I was likely allowed to have visitors come in the past, is because they probably weren’t booked to capacity. Absolutely not true. I got one of the last rooms available the past 2 times I stayed there and it was less busy on this particular day. Weekend guests hadn’t fully arrived yet. The woman sounded irritated at me for something I didn’t even know was an issue or policy. So, I offered to PAY for the wristbands. Nope. “Again, ma’am, our guests book with us so they have full use of the resort amenities,” (as tumbleweeds blew across the beach). Okay, I get it. That's their policy. Something obviously changed since I was there last. But in the world of hospitality, the better way to handle it would have been to apologize that their company had apparently broken their own rules in the past and because of that misunderstanding, let my guests come for just that one day and be done. I never would have expected another day out of it. I would have thanked her and written a glowing review. I told her my family was actively loading up their stuff while I was on the phone with her to come over, which is when I offered to pay for the wristbands. No, they don't do that. Only paying guests of the resort can have wristbands. BUT. She was sooooo kind as to provide me with some public beach options for my free-loading family. And you know what? If it wasn’t for this woman who doesn’t understand the meaning of "hospitality,” I never would have known there is a great public beach with picnic tables, shaded trees, a playground and a diving board at Gibbs Beach. (She actually didn't offer that option, my family recommended us going there.) Anyway, it was awesome! “Mrs. Hospitality” saved me a lot of money in the future because I don’t need to pay resort prices and stay 20 miles away from family, to be treated like I’m a grifter. Allowing my guests to come for that one day, to a use a beach that nobody was at, and letting me know in the future, it wasn’t allowed, would have saved the day. Being cold and suggesting a public beach was not at all the vibe that the Sugar Lake Lodge has encompassed in the past. The truth is, I wrote this review to vent because it was disappointing to see a great family business take this approach to the way they handle easy-fixed misunderstandings. There was no point to tell management about this, because this woman probably IS the new management. And the way they respond, if they respond, to this review will also be very telling about Sugar Lake Lodge's current branding today.…
We had an enjoyable stay at this location. Very remote and quiet in the off-season. One of the best features was the gas fireplace. Kitchen appliances were newer and in great working order, especially important to me since I like to cook. We enjoyed nearby hikes and ice fishing. I can only imagine how wonderful this place is in the summertime - will be back to try it!
We had a great time at Sugar Lake Lodge. We stayed in a cabin by the lake - really nice accommodations and beautiful view. The water is really clear, the restaurant was excellent, and the golf course was beautiful. We'll definitely go back!
We stayed in a golf villa with 2 young children. They absolutely loved the beach - the water was so clean and crystal clear, and there was a very large shallow area adjacent to the beach that gave them lots of room to play. We enjoyed the canoes and paddle boards, which were free to use. The lake is stunningly beautiful. The villa was comfortable and clean. We appreciated having a dishwasher and WiFi, which is not something many cabins up north have.