by Amanda Norcross
You can’t get any closer to Isle Royal National Park than Rock Harbor Lodge! Located right on Lake Superior in Michigan, the budget hotel offers guestrooms with private bathrooms, cottages and camping cabins. There’s a dining room and snack bar onsite, and families can rent water sports equipment, such as kayaks and motor boats, to enjoy on the lake. Or, try a sightseeing or guided fishing tour!
Our Editor Loves
- Location on Lake Superior
- Sightseeing and fishing tours
- Cottages and cabins
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Our family—all from Michigan, but gathering from all over the country—met to celebrate our sister's 60th birthday at Isle Royale, a place she's wanted to go her whole life. Because of weather, the seaplanes were cancelled the first day and then backed up enough that they said the earliest we could go would be after 5PM on the second day. We talked to a father and son who were in the same boat and they told us they'd cancelled and gotten a refund on their rooms and a credit on their flights.
Because our visit was only three days and we couldn't take a risk of not being able to fly home on Friday, we decided to do the same and plan to meet again next year. The seaplane company apologetically explained that they didn't issue refunds but that we could use our payment next year. The hotel on the other hand would not refund any of our $420 deposit and told us they wouldn't refund it even if we weren't able to get in until our last day. They also said they would not credit any of it to another stay next year.
The most distressing part of this wasn't even the $420 (we had already lost more than that in flights to Hancock and hotel rooms): it was really the shocking rudeness of the hotel staff at Rock Harbor Lodge. After finally talking to the manager—who was equally belligerent and unapologetic—we were told that she'd talk to the director and he would "probably agree to split the cost" of the deposit. We then called back 3 times, only to be told finally that there would be no refund at all.
Honestly, I've spent my life in customer service and I know that a simple apology and explanation goes a long way to ease the sting of strict refund policies. I also believe this policy is overly draconian (and also obviously not consistently applied, since the man and son we’d talked to had received a full refund). Most importantly. though, the surprising and completely uncalled for belligerence and rudeness of the staff made the experience much more unpleasant than it would have been otherwise.
I would like to suggest that the hotel review their refund policy and also ensure that the risks are more clearly communicated at the time of booking. I'd also like to suggest that the reception staff take a crash course in customer service techniques or even basic manners.
After spending four days in a tent we chose to move to one of the housekeeping cabins for her last night and Isle Royale.
Housekeeping cabin, The only rooms available on that day, were warm and spacious, had a queen size bed along with two bunkbeds and a stove and refrigerator. More importantly it had a shower, not a great shower because the showerhead was so low and I am tall, but after not showering for almost a week it was well received.
They also have large picture windows with nice views of the woods in the lake. I’m glad we finished off our trip in the cabin.