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“Rock Harbor Lodge”
Review of Rock Harbor Lodge

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Rock Harbor Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Clinton Township, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Rock Harbor Lodge”
Reviewed September 22, 2013

The lodge was excellent. My friend requested the first floor which we were happy to get. Strangely, the second floor has easier access to the outdoor path. So, if easy access to the room is your request, then book the second floor. Our room sat atop Lake Superior. We kept the door and windows open during the night to hear the waves. Their lullabye rocked me to my best sleep since childhood! There is no balcony on the second floor. The rooms are expensive, but rooms in a national park are always expensive. Location. Location. Location. No TV, radio, but in-room coffee makers. Clean, comfortable, good tub and shower. The only complaint is that our key did not work in the door, making the door stick. Luckily, we had friends in the next room who let us walk thur their room to get to ours from the balcony. Other than that, a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank cjohnsherrill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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112 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (45)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Nokomis, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

After the 4-hour ferry ride out to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior we didn't know what to expect from our lodge and restaurant in such a remote area. We were pleasantly surprised with both. Our lodge room was comfortable with a beautiful view overlooking Lake Superior. The morning sunrise was breathtaking. There are actually two restaurants, one more a coffee shop and the other a dining room. We ate in both for two days and had good food at all our meals. The wait staff in the coffee shop did not seem very well trained for their job and struggled to understand our meal orders as well.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank Mary W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, MI
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2013

On our boat ride back from Isle Royale the captain told us that, although Isle Royale is the least-visited of all national parks in America, it is the most re-visited in per capita terms. It's easy to see why since this is America the beautiful, unspoiled by the excesses of modern day civilization. Unfortunately, the price to visit is expensive since you need to come by boat or seaplane and, if you stay at the lodge, you're easily adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of a multi-day vacation.

We enjoyed the lodge, particularly the first floor room with its balcony overlooking Lake Superior. The waves lapping the rocks below, the full moon illuminating Rock Harbor, and the relative isolation make this a romantic retreat like no other. Of course, your dining choices are very limited with just a grill and a more formal restaurant, both in the same building. My wife protested that the food was all microwaved but I had no complaints, and even enjoyed my lake trout, burger and breakfast burrito (separate meals, of course).

We tagged our luggage per the ferry's instructions so it would be gathered and delivered by tram right to our room at the lodge. It was there after we were checked in. Very convenient. And staff picks it up from your room and delivers it to the ferry back. The lodge will also hold your carry-on luggage there in the office the day that you depart in case you want to get in a last hike or canoe trip prior to the ferry leaving. Lodge guests get a half-day canoe rental free (not a kayak though; I asked) and we saw many take advantage of this on nearby calmer Tobin Harbor.

The staff for the most part seemed to be students possibly working an internship or something, so service was spotty at times. One of the staff told us that he was actually an unpaid volunteer. So you need to keep that in mind when judging the service that you get here. We took a few hikes and the scenery is all memorable. Be careful, however, remembering that you are on an island with few services. Waiting to board the boat trip back was one woman whose foot was in a cast. However, she fared better than another guy who severely fractured his ankle on a hike and had to be airlifted out by seaplane to Minnesota. Unfortunately, his car was in Michigan so after being treated he and his companion had to pay for a $500 cab ride to retrieve their vehicle.

Just remember that this is wilderness, but unlike the wilderness of centuries ago, living here doesn't come cheap.

Room Tip: Get a room with a balcony overlooking the lake.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank michiganmand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Level 6 Contributor
506 reviews
160 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 323 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2013

We stayed here 2 nights during a 2 week trip to Lake Superior. The cabins (and lodge) are expensive, no doubt about it, but I thought they were wonderful. We made our reservations about 5 months in advance are got a cabin overlooking the lake. We stayed in cabin 204 and the view is simply outstanding. The cabin is very large with huge windows across the front wall. The kitchen has everything needed, all you have to bring is food. The bed was very comfortable. The only problem we had was not enough heat. However, they provide plenty of blankets, so we used them. I am very glad we stayed in a Housekeeping cabin instead of a lodge room.

Room Tip: Try to get a cabin overlooking the lake, not one back in the woods.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank ChuckBrooks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jackson, Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

I stayed at the lodge on the last night of a week-long backpacking trip. It was great to get cleaned up and sleep in a real bed the night before the trip back on the Ranger III to Houghton, MI.

The lodge is quite pricey but considering that they have a very short season and must transport all supplies from the mainland, the pricing is not unreasonable. They have been doing some remodeling to make the rooms and the property more presentable. My room was quite nice. As you might expect in such a remote location, there is no TV, phone or internet access. The advance deposit requirement and refund policies are more onerous than you might expect.

The staff was not very friendly. Since it was toward the end of the season, they may just be tired. Nevertheless, when visitors are there on vacation, I do feel that they should make more of an effort to be more welcoming.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank Going_from_Jackson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2013

My mother and son like to visit the national parks and Isle Royal was on the list so I booked us into the Rock Harbor lodge. It was the lodge or camping. The setting was great and the rooms clean and comfortable enough for a park. However the staff was both unprofessional and not friendly. The office seemed to have two men and two women manning the desk. The women were friendly and seemed to know what they were doing. The men were at best unfriendly if not down right rude and they were the managers. The rest of the staff went down hill from there. There two restaurants were the only ones on the island and they knew it. The food was poor, the prices high and the kids working there did not know what they were doing. To be fair the kid running the boat rental seem to be with it and friendly at the same time.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
10 Thank Shawn456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bridgman, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2013

This is a unique opportunity to visit a really remote national park yet stay in pretty comfortable accomodations. The room was comfortable and clean although a bit musty smelling. Everything works though and we spent almost no time in the room except to sleep. The location of our room...OMG! Right on the rocky shore of Lake Sueperior! Each night we fell asleep to the waves crashing up on the shore. It was incredibly restful and serene. The rooms on the lower floors have a walk out deck which the upper floor rooms do not (there are only two stories). Room on both floors have beautiful views though. We bought the package deal (3 nights/4 days plus round trip transportation and all meals included). I am not sure that we saved ourselves any money by doing it this way but it seemed less complicated. I do not feel that we overspent doing it this way either- it's probably about the same amount of money- whether you purchase the package deals or pay for each part individually. Either way, it's pricey!!! But so worth it. If this fits your budget- or you budget for it- I highly, highly recommend going to Isle Royale. We enjoyed being at the lodge and hope to return again in the not too distant future.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank amy f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rock Harbor Lodge

Property: Rock Harbor Lodge
Address: Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park, MI
Location: United States > Michigan > Isle Royale National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Isle Royale National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 60
Also Known As:
Rock Harbor Hotel Isle Royale National Park
Rock Harbor Lodge Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

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