by Jeff Bogle
A pastiche of 1950’s California modern design style and Frankie & Annette wistfulness, Saugatuck’s charming roadside Starlite Resort aims to transport guests back to a simpler time of family travel.
Set up in the manner of a familiar roadside motel from yesteryear, the rooms of the Starlite are set back from the Blue Star Highway and form an L shape around the parking lot, pool, cabanas and grassy play area.
Its striking style, modern minimalist (yet comfortable!) rooms, and closeness to the cheery small town streets of downtown Saugatuck combine to make the Starlite a uniquely desirable vacation spot for families visiting the art coast of Michigan.
Our Editor Loves
- Upscale retro beach vibe
- Pool and poolside cabanas
- Value of comfort and location
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Rooms are equipped with microwaves, mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.
If you've brought your own Pack 'N Play for baby or plan on booking a separate room for the kids, this standard queen bed room is the most affordable option for mom and dad at the Starlite.
This is much like the standard single room, only with a sofa and the ability to create a 'Family Suite' by adjoining a Deluxe Double room.
Two queen beds in this standard level room gives budget conscience families the chance to book only one room for up to four people.
This is much like the standard double room, only larger, with the ability to create a 'Family Suite' by adjoining a Deluxe Single room.
This small suite will net you a queen bed, plus a pull out sleeper sofa, in addition to the Starlite's standard amenities.
If mom and dad want a room to themselves with the chance to enjoy quality grown-up time after the kids have gone to bed next door, this suite with an in-room Jacuzzi is the one to book. There's a king bed and a comfortable chair, too, because you can't spend the entire stay in the tub!
Two Room Suite
For families needing extra space in a single hotel room, there's a king bed, chair, sleeper sofa and small two-top table spread out over two rooms.
Lovely little hotel outside of Saugatuck. Clean. Friendly check-in. I have stayed here before and will stay here again. Great little breakfast too! Dog friendly. Nice location. I want to stay here in the summer sometime to get in that huge pool!
The Starlite Resort is a fun little retro hotel. It seems like a fun place to stay between Memorial weekend and Labor Day, but after that most of the fun amenities are closed. There was a pool and hot tub, but it was covered. There is a fire pit, but you will need to bring your own food.
The room is fairly large and comfortable. There are free water bottles and snacks in the room. There is also a small fridge if you want to bring anything. The restroom was fine, but the place does get foggy after a hot shower. Also be mindful of your neighbors because the walls are thin.
The location isn’t that great for walking; you’ll definitely need a car to get around.
Across from the rooms and the parked cars are an in-ground pool and hot tub surrounded by plenty of beach chairs for lounging, as well as open-air cabanas with sofas and seats.
Here's a feature not found at many hotels: hammocks! Several are hung around the resort grounds, so grab that book you promised yourself you'd read on vacation or maybe a well-deserved, fresh-air nap.
The Starlite provides everything your family needs to have some outdoor sporting fun, all steps from your room. Play horseshoes, corn hole, badminton, bocce ball and more in the hotel's open green space.
The Starlite doesn't have a full-service restaurant, but there is a robust free continental breakfast each morning, with bagels, pastries and fresh fruit.
The hotel has grills and picnic tables - cook up some burgers and hot dogs to enjoy by the pool.
There's a terrific pizza shop called Scooter's less than three minutes away in downtown Saugatuck that delivers gourmet pies, plus kids' pizzas and pastas.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The Starlite staff love dogs, and so dogs are permitted (extra fees may apply).
Free parking is available in front of each guest room, motel-style.
Free Wi-Fi is provided in all rooms.
The Art of Smart Timing
There is a two-night minimum stay requirement during the peak months of July and August. Unlike a typical chain hotel with a 24-hour front desk, the Starlite has a defined check in window from 3 to 8 p.m.. If planning on a later arrival, families will want to make arrangements ahead of time. Not uncommon at a seasonal resort, there is a cancellation fee of $40 if the reservation is canceled 14 days or further out from check-in day. No refund of the deposit is granted for cancellations within two weeks of arrival.
Aside from a manageable road trip from most of the Midwest, three major airports are your best bet for reaching Saugatuck, Michigan. Affordable airfare with minimal or no connections can be found flying into either Chicago airports, as well as into Detroit. Each is an easy 2.5-hour drive to Saugatuck. Indianapolis is also relatively close -- a straight shot on the highway and only 3.5 hours away.
From your hotel room door at the Starlite, the tasty restaurants and charming independent retail shops of downtown Saugatuck are only three turns away (a three- minute, 1.3 mile journey by car). It is also a flat, easy walk, although there is no sidewalk along the moderately busy Blue Star Highway you must travel for a half-mile, so we don't recommend it with young children. Once in town, a family stroll is extremely pleasant.
For Mom and Dad
Thanks to the close proximity and the ability to simultaneously keep an eye (and ear) on your Starlite home away from home, a dip in the pool and/or lay out by the pool under the sun while the kids nap or play in the room could be a nice way for mom and dad to steal a few minutes of quality grown-up time.