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“Out dated”
Review of Thunder Bay Resort

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Thunder Bay Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hillman
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 11, 2013

Very old furnishing nothing matched. Outdated Old tv's ,couches,bedspreads. Paint chipped on the walls. Railing busted going up to the second floor. Very steep see thru stairs. Won't be back needs to brought into the 2013 's

  • Stayed: October 2013
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3  Thank Mysierowicz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JackMatthiasTBResort, Owner at Thunder Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded October 26, 2013

This review is pretty harsh. For example, the "broken railing" is one of about 50 largely decorative 1 1/2" by 1 1/2" spindles on one flight of stairs. It was cracked - broken but still in place. No impact on the strength or integrity or safety of the stairway at all. In terms of steepness - the stairs meet or exceed code and have sturdy railings on both sides of the steps. Our Suites, Villas and Chalets are like small apartments. 60% are on the first floor and have 3 or 4 steps leading up to the outside decks. There are 2 barrier free units that have ramps instead of stairs. 40% of the suites and villas are on the second floor and require walking up a flight of stairs. Our Chalets are two story with 2 of 3 bedrooms upstairs. Guests who are unwilling or unable to walk a flight of stairs may request a first floor unit. There is a covered stairway as well on each of the buildings and the only time a person would need to use the open stairway is if they are renting a lock-off portion of a larger unit or wish to exit on the golf course side of their unit. These locked off units are most frequently used with group tours and motor coaches were some guest are looking for a single - hotel room like unit. With group tours luggage is carried up upon arrival and down upon departure by managers and housekeeping staff. These stairs are closed off in winter.
With regard to the other comments - we like many US businesses have been denied credit by lenders over the last 5 - 6 years in spite of an excellent payment history over the last 42 years. So there are things that we would like to replace and upgrade and are doing so as revenues permit. But travel revenues have been affected by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and Michigan has been hit harder then most. The rooms are very clean, they are comfortable and most things do match but are dated. Some TVs have been replaced this summer as funding permits and we hope to have the rest replaced by late spring. We have just completed a great new WiFi system for Suites and Villas with lots of bandwidth. It's FREE and is tied to Fiber Optic Cable. You will be able to access your Netflix subscription, upload pictures and communicate with friends and family. Paint chipping is minor and is touched up as it occurs.
You can not please everyone - but check the reviews before and after this one to put things in perspective. The reason most of our guests come here is to do the Elk Viewing, Carriage and Sleigh Ride Gourmet Dinners and Wine Tastings - which are world class. Or to play golf, our golf course isn't on anyone's top 100 nationally lists, but is challenging, well cared for, very pretty and good value.

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130 - 136 of 197 reviews

Reviewed October 6, 2013

Used a Groupon to book a two night stay. Was very surprised with the fantastic layout of the suites. The owner said they were gaging for groups that would bring a golf group and all would want their own bed. They provided 2 queen beds, a pull down queen murphy bed plus a pull out couch. This with a kitchen area that includes a fridge/freezer and microwave. Lots of space and great views. So very quiet and restful. We walked the grounds and saw a handful of deer and the elk that are on the nearby preserve. Didn't take the dinner/carriage ride but heard great things from folks that did. I look forward to returning. Had one concern over some mold on the bath area but reported it and am sure it will be addressed.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank nah1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JackMatthiasTBResort, Owner at Thunder Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 30, 2014

Thank-you,
I'm glad you enjoyed your stay in one of our Suites. They are quite large and comfortable. The next size up are our two bedroom, two bath Villas with a shared living, dinning room, and our largest units are our 3 bedroom, two bath Chalets. So we can easily accommodate a family or group of friends sharing a unit - which will be your best value.
I hope you will get a chance to return and do our Elk Viewing, Carriage/Sleigh Ride Dinner and Wine Tasting. It is by far the best thing we do and totally unique in the Eastern half of the country.

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Reviewed October 4, 2013

I traveled with a group (about 50) of people, we were all impressed with the resort, the grounds, and the elk viewing. The dinner at the cabin in the woods was very good not to mention 5 courses. We had wine with the meal and several different samples of wine to go with the appetizer course and the dessert course.
The rooms were very clean and very comfortable. The golf course was beautiful-I don't play golf but there were several people on the course playing while we were there. I would recommend this resort.

Room Tip: The suites are very large and really nice.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank dkitchen794
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JackMatthiasTBResort, Owner at Thunder Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 30, 2014

Thank-you for your kind review. Sounds like you were on a Group Tour - Motorcoach visit. Group Tours are an important part of our business and we draw groups from about 20 Eastern and Midwestern states. Almost without exception they are coming to do our Elk Viewing, Carriage Ride Dinner and Wine Tasting.
Often they are continuing on to or from Mackinac Island, Frankenmuth or The Henry Ford, and include stops at Lighthouses, Wineries and other attractions along the way.
We often include stops in nearby Alpena at the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuaries interpretive center - The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center - which can be combines with a glass bottomed "Ship Wreck Boat Tour." There are about 200 ship wrecks include in the Sanctuary.
The Besser Planetarium and Museum is another extremely well done attraction that gets great reviews.
So there is lots to do and see in our area. And it is a pretty nice way to travel - leave the driving and planning to someone else.

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Reviewed September 20, 2013

Was on a business trip. Room had a front deck so could sit outside. That was nice. Room was very clean. Very outdated but comfortable and clean. My co-worker locked herself out of her room very early in the morning (she was still in her pj's). Someone came and got her in her room in just a few minutes. Was very impressed with the fast service as we were way back in the woods.

Ate in their golf course restaurant - food was ok, but service was lousy. The waitress was not very pleasant. She may of been the only one working, but didn't appear to be many customers. Service needs improvement.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Robyn704
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JackMatthiasTBResort, Owner at Thunder Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2013

Thank - you for the 4 stars in spite of your disappointment. I am very sorry to hear that your server was not appropriate. Looks like we have a serious training issue to deal with - with one of our staff. If you recall the name please call the Resort at 800-729-9375 and ask for Jack. I hate to see a comment like this, one of our strongest points is that almost without exception we have wonderful staff. It is one of the most frequent compliments we get and we work hard at it. We can't pay them what we would like to under current economic conditions and benefits are few but we try and make it a fun place to work and we treat them like family. What we expect in return is that they smile and treat our guests as they are treated.

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Reviewed September 9, 2013

We were promised by phone if we brought new people, that they could take advantage of a Pure Michigan deal, as long as we printed the deal out. We wanted to go on two weekends during the promotional period, but they wanted to save room for Mystery weekend participants. We graciously allowed them to do that, and just contacted them to see if there was any room for 4 new people on the promotion,, and two returning people. Both weekends filled, and we were assured we could still use the promotion, even though expiring, for our new guests, the next season. So we printed out the deal as instructed. Then we anxiously waited for 6 months to reschedule in their new season. When we called to do this, we were not handled at all politely by phone, and told flat out no way. How sad. I wrote two emails to the owners, one from their website, and one from another site, and neither was responded to by the owners Jan or Jack Mathias. I am extremely disappointed in this lack of communication and distrust of potential customers. We loved our first visit, and were proponents of the experience, but now we are thinking that there are many other options up north to view wildlife and enjoy good food, without feeling like we are being squeezed out of every dollar possible. Unless you don't care about your tourist dollars, skip going here. Otherwise, it is a nice experience.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank soub7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

My grandma used to live in Hillman when there was only one flashing stoplight and more bars than anything else and the only diner had the bowling alley and movie theater attached ... fun time for a teenager. Came up here to pay respects as she passed 12 years ago and this is pretty much the only place to stay without going to Alpena. $200 for a two bedroom (with two beds in each room) and two bathrooms. Okay overall, but somewhat dated. I really wanted to open the windows and get some cool air, but the screen was ripped at the bottom and the artwork is, for me, kinda tacky and they still have old tube TVs, but it was clean.m

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank bstu4evrs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JackMatthiasTBResort, Owner at Thunder Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded October 26, 2013

I'm sorry we did not meet your expectations.
There is some merit to this review and some of those issues like TV replacement have been responded to in other replies.
The Villa is 950 square feet - about the size of 3 hotel rooms and has an open living room - dinning - kitchen room with a sofa sleeper in addition to the two bedrooms and two full baths and sleeps from 4 to 10 people. It does work well in family situations like this one. In terms of cost - we do offer the equivalent of a hotel room by locking off one bedroom and one bath and those rent for $59 to $79 a night and a two adjacent rooms could have been supplied depending on availability and reduced the total charges. Approximately 85% of our guests are coming on/for packages - Golf, Elk Viewing, Murder Mystery Weekends, Wine Lover's Weekends, Scrapbooking and Quilting Retreats, Destination Weddings, Holiday Parties, etc. Those packages are our best values.
The most economical option is the nearby Hillman Motel - 9 units that date back to the time you were familiar with. The other alternatives would be in Alpena - 22 miles or in Atlanta - 16 miles.
The screens have been positioned to intercept golf balls before they break the windows as our lodging borders the golf course. Being struck by a golf ball will sometimes caused the screen to tear and I'm sorry we had not noticed and repaired that. There are three windows in each Villa. The screen has been repaired and they are now on a schedule to be checked regularly.
The pictures in the rooms are primarily photo prints of North American Wildlife. Admittedly not everyone's first choice. But we are located in Montmorency County, one of the least populated counties in the Lower Peninsula - less than 9,500 people in three small towns in 576 square miles - 90 percent forested with 135,000 acres of public land and lots of lakes, rivers and streams. We are focused on outdoor events - wilderness - Hiking, Biking, Tubing, Fishing, Hunting, Birding, Elk Viewing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowmobiling, Golf and we have our own 160 acre Elk Preserve. We do think wildlife photos are pretty appropriate for us and our typical guests.
Again sorry we did not live up to what you expected. If you return to Hillman in the future, please consider one of our packages.

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Reviewed August 30, 2013

I would highly recommend Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman, MI. The resort is golf-side so just a few steps to the 1st Tee, Pro Shop & Clubhouse Grill. The course was in excellent shape & very playable. The grill, surprisingly, makes one of the best pizzas anywhere. Fish fry on Friday was also excellent. Our room was very nic and sparkling clean. We did take the Elk View Carriage Ride that included dinner & wine tasting. This is the resort's "signature" event & it was well worth the expense. Dinner at a cabin in the woods is cooked on old wood stoves & is delicious. Service was impeccable & the owner's made us feel like we were the most important guests they'd ever entertained. The carriage that took us out to the cabin was pulled by Belgian horses that were as majestic as the elk we saw on the way. This is not a resort for anyone looking for "daycare" for young children. Although there is a small playground, the only other activity that might be suitable for children is river tubing--though they do have some very nice bikes for rent. We stayed at Thunder Bay Resort because it was affordable & gave us a central location for places we wanted to see in the area. It's only 20 or so miles to Lake Huron where we visited the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary & the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Admission to the Heritage Center is free!! The glass-bottomed boat tour of the shipwrecks was a big hit with everyone in our group & we were close enough to make Machinaw Island a day trip.

Room Tip: Golf-side rooms have a beautiful view and a nice balcony.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Golfanatic1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thunder Bay Resort

Address: 27800 M 32 W, Hillman, MI 49746-8674
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Michigan > Hillman
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hillman
Price Range: $69 - $275 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Thunder Bay Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 34
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 
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Also Known As:
Thunder Bay Hotel Hillman
Thunder Bay Resort Michigan/Hillman

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