Let me start by saying I have read every review here. If you are looking for a big city feel, high end accommodations and ritzy, keep looking. Hillman, MI is a small town. Don't go looking for something commercial, you won't find it. If you want a pool, a spa, a workout room, up to date decor, and a night life - you're looking in the wrong area. Thunder Bay was originally designed as a golf course, thus the accommodations accommodate golfers who typically travel in 4somes. Pricey? Perhaps. But it is a business, they need to survive just like every other business in this state. Worth it? YES!
Having said ALL of that. The ELK VIEWING AND DINNER were FANTASTIC. You travel through the woods - if you live anywhere near the woods, you know there are mosquitoes, bring some bug spray. This is a private herd of ELK. Due to the health issues and Fed regs they are in a preserve to keep the "public" white tail deer out so as not to spread TB through the herd (there are white tail deer in the reserve, they are owned by Thunder Bay, and are TB free). As they are in a preserve, there are fences. The type of fencing has large enough holes that you can take plenty of photos without much issue. We stopped several times and were allowed ample photo ops. They DO attempt to locate elk that are roaming through the woods, which does NOT have the fencing visible. As the elk are free roaming through vast amounts of acreage, they are not always visible. When you are finished the woods portion, you are taken by pasture type areas. There are particular Bull Elk and their herd kept in certain areas - essentially a guarantee of viewing.
Once you are pasted the pastures, you come to the "cabin in the woods". Let me tell you it is BEAUTIFUL. Once inside, you are treated to what I would imagine a hunting cabin would look like. There are several trophies hanging, a beaver with a heckuva story behind it, a coyote, a bear, and much more... the bathrooms have to be seen to be believed. The dinner was outstanding. Not even so much for the taste although it was wonderful, but more for the atmosphere at our table. We met several wonderful people during our time there, we were even witness to a marriage proposal!! (she said yes!!).
Several reviews here complained about the "antler sales pitch". Do they discuss the proposed healing powers, health benefits of velvet antler. Yes, they do. Do they shove it down your throat? NOT AT ALL. Again, city folk may not appreciate it. Be warned, they WILL discuss it. Do they attempt to sell it to you? They don't even have any there at the cabin to sell. They place pamphlets at your plate. They bring an antler around so you can hold it and see how heavy it is. It is NOT a velvet antler. It is NOT anything that THEY took off an animal. And they do NOT harvest red velvet from their herd. They simply have their herd because of the pleasure that they have brought the people who have toured their facility. They do share how it has benefited them and their family.
Also, I noticed some people complained because it is an older crowd and that this isn't family friendly. If you do your research you will see what exactly is available at this location. You will see exactly how long the viewing/meal is. I have three children myself. However, I am fully aware that they do not belong everywhere I go. If you want something that is relative to a family with younger children, there are plenty of things available, this just doesn't happen to be one of them.
My husband and I came here for our anniversary. It was a most memorable and wonderful time. Jack and Jan were most enjoyable, and I would recommend this to anyone looking to get away for a day or two. We are looking forward to coming back in the fall and winter to get a feel for the different seasons on the ride.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Resting on over 400 acres of Northern Michigan's stunning landscape, Thunder Bay Resort is the perfect retreat for your weekend escape! Complete with a state-of-the-art, Full-Service RV park, Deluxe Lodging poised on our pristine 18-hole golf course and a 160 acre Elk preserve, Thunder Bay Resort is truly a destination for all seasons. Enjoy the outdoors? Then take advantage of the amenities hosted by Thunder Bay Resort including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking, horseshoes, and the Resort's award-winning, signature Elk Viewing Carriage Ride, Gourmet Dinner & Wine Tasting Event! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Thunder Bay Hotel Hillman
- Thunder Bay Resort Michigan/Hillman