We stayed at the Harbor House for our family vacation this summer and we were really disappointed. We paid $160 a night for four nights, and stayed in the Troll Cottage. Firstly, the place is really really small. It says it sleeps 4-6 people, but the four of us barely fit, and there is no way 6 people would be able to sleep here. That is because the two beds upstairs are very small, (do beds come smaller than double?) and the sleeper sofa downstairs is unsleepable (totally uncomfortable). More to the point, there is no air conditioning downstairs so there was no way anyone could sleep downstairs, it was way too stiffling hot and stuffy.
This cottage was advertised as a "house-keeping" cottage, but it really shouldn't be advertised as such. The sink in the kitchen is literally 10 inches square and does not have hot water! (I question how sanitary the plates, cups, etc. are...). The kitchen is advertised as "fully stocked" but aside from plates and cups, only had a single frying pan and an old broken pot for cooking. The bathroom only had a shower (no tub) with very low water pressure. I have also never seen such a stingy breakfast: they literally put out tiny dixie cups (the kind you use in bathrooms) for the orange juice and even put notes on the board not to take more than one piece of coffee cake!
But by far the most irritating aspect of our stay at the Harbor House was the female innkeeper: I felt like I was staying at a really persnickety relatives house and that she was watching us the entire time for any little infraction on our part (and there were many that she pointed out to us). First of all, somehow this place got tagged as a "pet-friendly" hotel and I suspect there aren't too many in Door County, because we saw a fair number of other guests with dogs, looking like they regretted their decision to stay there as well.
You are not allowed to leave your dog in the room/cottage unattended EVER (not even in a crate). That really limits ones ability to go out to eat, etc. and at the very least, the owners should list that restriction *on their website* so that folks know what they are getting themselves into. Also note: when you have to eat in your cottage because you can't go to a restaurant, because you can't leave your dog alone in your hotel, it is important to have reasonable cooking facilities. Leaving your dog in the car is not an option in the summer.
However, the worst part about this trip was that the innkeeper is really really hyper-vigilant about abiding by the rules (and even making up more of them on the fly...). She was most unpleasant towards our active, high energy six year old son: at the breakfasts she watched him (and us) like a hawk to make sure he didn't do anything that would upset the order of the breakfast room in any way. When we first arrived, my son was excited to go over for breakfast, but by the last day, our son didn't even want to go over for breakfast, so we brought food back for him to our room. He knew she didn't like him. I had hoped that our kids could play out in the woods and enjoy the natural areas around the inn, but I felt really self-conscious letting my son run loose on the property at all, with the innkeeper watching at all times.
And the internet connection was really really bad (we could only get it sitting outside on the front porch and even then, it was spotty).
I think I could honestly have let all the other problems with this place go, but given the irritation we felt with the persnickety innkeeper, I feel obligated to write my first review ever on TripAdvisor.
This is not a great choice for active families with small children and/or pets.
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- Also Known As:
- The Harbor House Hotel Ellison Bay