We’ve stayed at Boyne Highlands before, always choosing the Main Lodge for accommodations which we’ve always been pleased with. The rooms in the lodge have character and have a certain charm to them. It seems that we generally end up on the third (top) floor which means the rooms have sloping ceilings and smaller windows but that they also are unique. The beds have been cozy and the views of the slopes beautiful even in the summer (which is when we’ve stayed).
We’ve enjoyed being able to sit outside at the base of the slopes and enjoy the ‘smore making evenings as well as a drink from the bar even if it means fighting off summer’s mosquitoes in order to enjoy a starlit night. This last trip we took advantage of the complimentary lift tickets to go to the top in order to enjoy amazing views of the landscape around us. Perhaps the best part of the view is what can only be called the million dollar vista of the bay off in the distance, seeing the shimmering blue water under a bright sunny sky was truly a treat! I’d also say that the mountain bikers really do have it made there; it seemed to me that the trails looked well groomed and offered plenty of opportunity to justify a dual suspension bike. I must admit that the next time we have mountain bikes with us I’d be tempted to try my hand on these awesome downhill trails. Yes, they rent bikes but frankly I’d like to spend some more time on the trails at home before taking on the challenges that these offer. I was also surprised that there weren’t more mountain bikers; this makes these trails a quiet treasure.
I called this review a mixed bag and I’ll now turn to the reasons why. I began this review with favorable comments about staying in the main lodge, to which we’d happily return, and so I’ll offer my opinions on our most recent stay in the Heather Highlands –Inverness. I can’t say that we were overly impressed with our stay in this section of the resort. It’s not that it was bad; it just wasn’t on par with our previous visits. Yes, it was $50 a night less expensive but to be frank, the savings were not worth it.
The Heather Highlands is seemingly two buildings that are perpendicular and connected to form a backwards L. When you initially drive around the loop from the main lodge you see the first section along with a well hidden parking lot to the side. In order to reach the other section, call it the base of the “L” you turn into an entryway a little further along and your initial reaction is that you’ve made a wrong turn. There you’ll see a collection of housekeeping and maintenance vehicles as well as an unusually empty lot, not nearly as welcoming as the main lodge. The entry into the building is from a side door at the base of the building and is without much fanfare, this section of the resort is perhaps a little more “tired” the hallways are painted a dark green which make them seem a bit darker than they ought to be. Turning the key and opening the door to the “suite” you’ll find a very typical hotel room; closet, small sink, microwave, coffee maker and refrigerator housed in a section of kitchen cabinetry that also holds some glassware, flatware and silverware. While the carpet looks new the rest of the room could use an update, the queen beds seemed more like doubles to me and were quite firm, not a bad thing, just an observation. There is a sliding glass door-wall that opens out onto a balcony which is shared with the adjoining room. This adjoined situation is apparently what creates the suite. There is a two door arrangements that separates the rooms however this does little to isolate sounds between the rooms, it was very easy to hear conversations in the other room which is disappointing.
What was also disappointing was that our confirmation, as quoted below, was for a suite:
“Inverness Suite - one bedroom condo with two queen beds in bedroom, one king murphy bed and one queen sleeper sofa in living area, gas fireplace, kitchenette and two bathrooms.”
When we inquired at the front desk as to the discrepancy between our confirmation and our room we were told that the other half of the suite was the adjoining room with the Murphy bed, sofa, living area and gas fireplace. Apparently that also meant that the people in that room didn’t even have a regular bed! We were told that despite our reservation and confirmation, we would have to pay “extra” for that section, which seems odd since it was what was confirmed.
Ultimately, the Inverness “room” was adequate though potentially noisy depending on neighbors. It was a little dated and frankly not as charming as the main lodge. Would we stay in the Heather Highlands again? Maybe, but only if we had the complete suite, not just one of the halves. Would we stay in the Main Lodge, yes, absolutely since we’ve always enjoyed it. Hence the mixed bag, beautiful setting, very relaxing with abundant recreational opportunities however the quality of your stay will be dictated by the section of the resort in which you stay. So while I give high marks to the Main Lodge I give average to lower marks for the Heather Highlands.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Byne Highlands has grown to become one of Michigan's premiere all-season resorts and we've taken care to preserve the things that matter. That's why we provide plenty of excitement - from Zipline Adventures to horsedrawn sleigh rides - right alongside exceptional golf, dinner theatre, and countless opportunities for guests to share time together with family and friends. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Boyne Highlands Hotel Harbor Springs
- Boyne Highland Resort