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“If you don't enjoy this place - who needs you.”
Review of Rowleys Bay Resort

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Rowleys Bay Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ellison Bay
Minnesota
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“If you don't enjoy this place - who needs you.”
Reviewed October 3, 2013

Rowley's Bay Resort was just perfect for my girlfriend and me. We had a lovely water view from the balcony of our third floor room. The whole resort has been around a long time, but that's what made it unique and full of history. It was very, very clean and the rooms were very spacious. It is family-run and everyone was friendly, particularly Jewel, at the front desk.

The resort seemed to be a hub for many activities. Everyday a group of bicyclists met for breakfast and spent the day touring. We tried out the Segways, which were brought right to our doorstep. "Steve" was a fun instructor for our group of eight and we had a great time riding on the trails through the woods and down to the beach. We also enjoyed the private pontoon tour of the bay into Lake Michigan with "Capt. John." We stepped right onto the boat from the pier at Rowley's. We brought along a cooler full of "beverages" and local smoked white fish and cheese and had a marvelous time. Everyone said how Rowley's has the best fish boil. And it was true. A great 84-yr old gentleman told the story of the history of Rowley's Bay while the fish "boiled" and then an awesome buffet, including homemade baked items from their Swedish Bakery, complimented the fish boil.

If you like a hectic pace, fighting crowds, maneuvering around traffic, finding parking spots, listening to kids scream, and spending a lot of money, then you won't like Rowley's.

Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
4 Thank MargoGene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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141 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 (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Mundelein, Illinois
Level Contributor
39 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed September 20, 2013

A family group including me stayed 2 nights at Rowleys. We enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and the beautiful scenery at the resort. The sunsets and sunrises were beautiful.. The prime rib buffet was delicious. The pool was nice and warm and was very nice to swim in. The resort is a good spot to use as home base as you explore the entire Door peninsula. We had a suite which was clean and nicely furnished and we all slept well.

Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank Rick B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bartlett, Illinois
Level Contributor
43 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed September 18, 2013

Rowley's Bay is a bit outdated but we weren't looking for a world class vacation on a Labor Day weekend. It was far enough away to avoid the weekend crowds in Fish Creek & Egg Harbor but offered easy access. As hotels go it was a bit outdated (the rooms could use improvement) but it was well kept. The bay offered some beautiful sunsets, kayaking and fishing charters were available. The buffet at the restaurant offered some unique and tasty home cooking, and it was packed for the ever popular fish boil! We definitely would return!

Room Tip: Our room offered lovely views of the bay and some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Michael J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2013

Well…there were quite a few disappointments at this resort. It is like staying at Grandma’s house and when I say that I don’t mean in the cozy, warm memories way; I mean that it is outdated and needs a lot of updating (they say “retro” in a few of their descriptions but I think that is a way for them to avoid making improvements).
The (limited) good: Friendly staff, nice baked good, if you really want to be off the beaten path this a good location, nice to have a mini-fridge and microwave in the rooms.
The bad: Some cleanliness issues. The beds and toilet appeared clean so that was good but there was still toothpaste spit spots on the mirror above the sink from the previous guests, and not just a few. It obviously hadn’t been cleaned recently. Also, upon our arrival there was a wet washcloth hanging over the shower bar in our bathroom which grossed us out. Walls were dirty in spots and paint also chipped in some areas (one spot on the wall near the floor had duct tape covering a chunk where the wall was worn away-probably from luggage hitting it). To me, it’s the little things that make a difference and I was unimpressed with the 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. Really? You can’t spring for shampoo AND conditioner for your guests? Towels were small and obviously on their last days (at least I hope). They were scratchy and almost thread bare. Beds were okay. They were obviously old but a memory foam (or similar) pad was on top of the mattress so it was decently comfortable. However, I was required to wake up when the people on the floor above us woke up because we could hear their floor (our ceiling) squeaking every time they took a step. Also, wi-fi only works in the lobby, not in the rooms.
As my husband and I walked around the various common areas and we kept making comments like, “Hey, didn’t so and so have that couch when we were in grade school,” or “Wow, I remember one of those from Great Aunt Helen’s house.” Game room- video games from the 90s and half were out of order. Whirlpool was out of order the entire time during our 5 day stay. The carpet throughout the resort is very basic and obviously about as low quality as you can get. We stayed in the newer building and when I walked through the halls, I kept thinking I was in a church basement or a college dorm. Again, there was basic carpet and steel fire doors that were always closed in the various hallways making it very dark and industrial. I understand the need for fire doors but most places have magnets attached that allow the doors to be open most of the time and automatically shut when the fire alarm goes off. Felt very uninviting.
Activities: I guess I assumed because it was on a Bay that there would be a beach. There wasn’t, just docks. The view was nice but from the main resort area you couldn’t access the water except for going on a dock, no swimming/wading for sure (maybe you could by the individual cabins?). We did take the mile or so hike through the woods to get to a public beach one day. Also, we wanted to go kayaking and were told to stop by the DC Adventures building on-site at any time between about 10:00 and 3:00 and we would be able to go any day. Problem was, no one was ever there. We one saw some people leaving with zip line type equipment one day so we assumed there would be at least someone there. No one was in the building (must have been out with the zip liners) so we thought we would call the number (which is one number for all of their locations). We were told we needed to make reservations ahead of time for any activities and there were no available reservations that day…or the next (meaning no one was staffing the site because no one was there). We were there during the weekday and it was after labor day but when we called the resort to make our lodge reservations originally we had asked if our “off peak” visiting time would limit our activity options. The person at the front desk was very adamant that all activities would be available and business would be in full swing until late October.
The pub was a nice spot for a drink around dinner time but on the days we left the resort by the time we got back to the resort, about 9:00 pm, it was already closed so no night cap for us.

Overall, would I come back or recommend to a friend. Nope. I feel bad because, again, the staff all seemed very nice but there would need to be major changes before we would consider coming back.

Room Tip: Definitely choose a room with a water view and balcony if you are going to be spending any time in y...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Leane612
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
61 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Rowley's Resort as we booked our vacation only a few weeks out from our departure date. We stayed in a wood side view hotel room in the "newer" side of the main lodge. The room was typical hotel sized room. The decor looked to be 1980's era with the bathroom floor being linoleum. The bathroom's toilet had a leak which housekeeping used a pool towel to absorb the water and the toilet paper holder was all rusty. There was only one hook to hang a towel on, no towel bars or additional hooks.

There was a fishy smell (probably from the kitchen) in the walkway from the main lodge building to our room area so we just walked outside each day. The ice machine in our building was out of order for the two days we stayed. We had the breakfast buffet one morning and they were out of OJ. They also charged additional for our coffee which we thought was a bit odd as usually buffets include a beverage.

A few positives...the pecan rolls were really good and our kids enjoyed the indoor pool.

Rowley's was priced at the low end of Door County lodging so I guess to sum up our experience "you get what you pay for."

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Travelseeker1125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2013

My family has returned many times to this lovely lodge, and have also stayed in many of their vacation homes. Highly recommend it for the ease of relaxation, very good food, excellent Grandma's Swedish Bakery, beautiful setting, and variety of activities away from the crowds but easy to get to the quaint towns with many local budinesses and artisans.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CinnamonNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 9, 2013

Loved this place. From the bakery, to my room. Good atmosphere and beautiful view. Well worth it. To show you how nice the staff was, I was having trouble with my luggage and the man doing the garbage for the resort stopped doing his thing and carried my bags out to the car and helped me load it. Would go back.

Room Tip: Get a room in the newer section
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Eric L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rowleys Bay Resort

Property: Rowleys Bay Resort
Address: 1041 County Road Zz, Ellison Bay, WI 54210-9713
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Door County > Ellison Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ellison Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Door County's Affordable Waterfront Resort Rowleys Bay Resort offers the best of both worlds-a waterfront destination with affordable lodging options. Whether you prefer a traditional room, suite, cottage or vacation home, all are just steps away from our 700 feet of shoreline. As the largest waterfront resort in Door County, we accommodate and cater to the needs of a wide range of groups. The atmosphere is casual, relaxed and friendly. With our restaurant, bakery, banquet hall, meeting rooms and other amenities all under one roof, families and groups feel safe and connected. 100 Acres of Solitude on a Pristine Bay Rowleys Bay Resort is situated on 100 secluded acres dominating a pristine, undeveloped bay on Lake Michigan. Think of our unique, peaceful setting as a cul-de-sac without noisy through-traffic and bumper-to-bumper people. Be as one with nature as you hike our five miles of trails and enjoy four-season bird watching on our never frozen bay and the unique Mink River Estuary. Nature's light show on the water at sunrise and sunset come at no extra charge!Water Sports Access at Your DoorIf you have a passion for water sports, you have to come to Rowleys Bay Resort. From canoeing and kayaking to sailing and fishing, you won't find a better place in Door County for aqua adventures. The marina and DNR launch are your gateway and quick getaway to Lake Michigan and the Mink River. It's like having your own private playground on the water. Kayak rentals and tours, as well as charter fishing boats, are available dockside.All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant OfferingsIn addition to an all-day full menu and bar, Rowleys Bay Restaurant features Door County's longest buffet and salad bar, providing you with variety, flexibility and tremendous dining value. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night the generous buffet includes the area's only all-you-can-eat fish boil. The restaurant's famous Sunday Brunch buffet includes pecan rolls and other scrumptious treats from Grandma's Swedish Bakery. Historic Swedish Scratch Bakery For 40 years, Grandma's Swedish Bakery has been tantalizing the taste buds of Door County visitors and natives with homemade pastries, decadent sweet rolls and other from-scratch bakery items. Family recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, ensuring that you will receive the same authentic Swedish delights originally baked by Grandma. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rowleys Bay Hotel Ellison Bay
Wagon Trail Hotel
Rowleys Bay Resort Ellison Bay, WI - Door County

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