My husband and I decided on a last minute trip up to Mackinac last weekend and knew that if we could get something cheaper, it wouldn't be anything fancy. I looked at a lot of reviews on TripAdvisor before I booked and this one looked decent, especially with all the good reviews. Not so much. I found a rate of $79.99 advertised on the mackinawcity.com but when I tried to book it online, it said it was less than 72 hours until the booking so I would need to call to reserve the room. When I called, the girl (Sue) told me that rate was no longer available even though it was the same room that I saw on the website. The rate was now $89.99. Wha...? I asked why the rate went up and all she would say was "that rate is no longer available". I booked it anyways, though I suppose this should have been my first sign. She asked what time we'd be there to check in and I said probably around 11am or 12pm was when we were going to be in town and we wanted to go right out to the island for the day so if we could check in early, that would be great. She said no problem. When we got there, she checked the room to see if it was ready and gave us a key. It didn't occur to me until later that she didn't tell us when (or where) breakfast was or what time check-out was. I did gather, however, why the rate inexplicably went up - it seems that it was the last room available in the hotel and the couple staying in that room the night before had inquired (before we made our reservation) if it was available or not for the next night, saying they might be interested in another night. The clerk said she told them it was when they asked but they chose not to reserve it. So I guess since she had an inkling that she could rent out the room anyways, the rate went up?
We checked out the room before we went to the island and at first glance, it looked reasonable. It's on the tiny side but we expected that. There was a queen bed, a small table and two chairs, a stand fan (which you needed because the air conditioner was in a kind of cubby area in a corner and didn't seem to circulate too well), a TV and stand and a refrigerator. The refrigerator looked fairly new and the room seemed pretty clean. There's not a phone in the room but that's noted on their website.
Then there's the bathroom. Here's where it all went downhill. The bathroom was beyond tiny. You have to contort yourself to be able to close the door and then the door didn't close/open without some fanagling. When I went to take a shower, I realized how truly awful the room was. The bathroom was severely outdated. Tile was peeling off the floor, it needed to be repainted, fixtures were old and some discolored... The shower (no tub) was only about 2.5' by 2.5', the small tiles in the bottom uneven (my feet hurt by the time I got out), the showerhead moved but you really had to push it, the bottom of the shower curtain was very yellow (come on, these things cost about $5 at Walmart for a cheap one) and it didn't want to stay closed so we ended up with water all over the floor outside the shower and my husband noticed mold on the wall towards the ceiling in the shower. You had to turn the water on in the shower and let it run for a few minutes before you got in or you'd be turning the knobs back and forth while the water went from ice cold to scalding hot. Most of the towels looked like they could use some bleach. Overall...not good.
After spending some time in the bathroom, I was really nervous about the bed. We hadn't turned it down yet and I wondered what we'd find. What a relief it was to find that the sheets were really white, the blankets had no holes, there were no bugs and the mattress was fairly new and decently comfortable. One of the pillows did have a couple smaller stains on it but as I bring my own pillow when I travel, I overlooked that. Then we turned the light (the one over the bed since the lamp by the tables didn't seem to work) out and...it was still really light in the room. It looked like there was a light outside every door that you couldn't turn off and it shines right into your room. The shades did very little to block any of the light.
Breakfast was ok. It's over at the hotel next door (not far) and they offered some cereal, oatmeal, bagels and biscuits and gravy along with coffee, tea, milk and juice. The girl who was tending to breakfast seemed cheerful and helpful. After breakfast, we went to check out and there was no one in the office, just a basket on the counter full of keys with a note that said that to check out, just drop your key in the basket. From what we gathered, there are only a few people running three or four hotels in a row right down the strip and so there's not always someone at every hotel desk.
Honestly, being the number 11 hotel out of 41 (in TripAdvisor ratings) in the city, I expected a lot more. And it makes me wonder about the other 30 hotels further down in ratings. Would I stay here again? Nope. It was a decent location and it was cheaper for being in high season but I'd just as soon shell out some more money and stay somewhere else next time.
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