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“Not pet or child friendly”

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The Harbor Light Inn
Ranked #1 of 5 Ellison Bay B&B and Inns
Madison, WI
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Not pet or child friendly”
Reviewed 11 August 2010

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.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank FunFizzFusion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Becky K, Manager at The Harbor Light Inn, responded to this review, 17 May 2014
Hello! So sorry you had such a crummy experience here a few years ago. I'm happy to tell you that we are under new management now, and things are a lot cleaner, better stocked, peaceful, and most of all-- friendly. We're also truly proud to be pet-friendly, as we know how hard it can be to find clean, nice pet-friendly accommodation, especially in Door Co!
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61 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
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English first
lalaland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2010

The purpose of the trip was to get away together as a couple as my husband is getting deployed soon. The reason we chose Door County was to go hiking in Peninsula with our dog. This hotel claims it is pet friendly, it is anything but. Before leaving for our hike, I made sure that the room was neat and clean, and that everything was put away.

Yet, when we got back from a long day hiking, welcoming us was a petty, nagging note from the manager tapped to our door. The manager treated us like we were getting grounded in the 3rd grade, stating that, apparently, the housekeeper had come snooping in when we were gone, and had noticed, with the help of a magnifying glass, that there was SOME dog hair on the white bed sheets... Shocker! Reality check: When you have pets, SOME dog hair will get on your precious white bed sheets, that's just the way it is. Yet, in that note, the manager warned us to keep our dog off the bed and couch and that this was listed on the pet policy. Nice way to treat your customers!

Our pet is well-behaved, friendly and stayed on his dog bed the entire time. If the Harbor House Inn can't deal with a little bit of dog hair, then they should not list themselves as pet friendly or friendly at all, based on the way they treat their customers. The note was so degrading that my husband and I left early. We did not come this far to get nagged on our vacation.

We will not return.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank supertroopernanny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Becky K, Manager at The Harbor Light Inn, responded to this review, 17 May 2014
Hello! So sincerely sorry to hear about your poor experience here. As noted, we are under new management now, and are TRULY pet friendly, as well as much, much more people-friendly! It's my goal to make the Harbor Light's guests as comfortable and at home as possible. We've also dropped the prices way down to a pretty unbeatable rate, especially for the large room size. Gills Rock is a special place, and if you enjoyed the room (aside from the previous owners stringent policies), we hope you'll give us another shot!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
South Florida, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2009

My husband and I just returned from a weekend at the Harbor House Inn. We stayed in the lighthouse suite, which was very clean and comfortable. The continental breakfast was good and included coffee, juice, pastries, yogurt, cereal and oatmeal. The staff was very friendly. We did not personally see any rooms in the main house, but we would definitely return to the lighthouse suite again.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank brifel28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Becky K, Manager at The Harbor Light Inn, responded to this review, 17 May 2014
Thanks so much for your kind review!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, MN
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 May 2009

From the outside this looks very well kept and charming. Beautiful Victorian houses and gardens. Inside, carpet needs replacing badly and charm is lost when tacky art and plastic flowers decorate the rooms. Generally I felt the property wasn't clean or fresh. The sauna was a tiny closet and there was dust and wood chips on the floor making me wonder "how long has it been since this has been used?!" The plastic blinds on the windows were dusty, carpet in need of a vacuum and there was hair in the shower drain from a previous guest. GROSS! There was even a note in the room with an envelope to leave the housekeeper a tip! Pretty blatant. Needless to say, if there is hair from someone else in my shower, there will be no tip.
Wireless internet was not working either.
Breakfast consisted of coffee, juice, bagels, danish & watermelon. I had the impression B&B's typically had a nice home cooked hot breakfast served by the owners. Not here.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank moonlit02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2008

This was the 4th summer my husband and I have gone to Door County for the weekend. We have stayed in Fish Creek, Egg Harbor, and Ephraim before, so we wanted to go a little bit further north to Gill's Rock/Ellison Bay this time. The Harbor House Inn was reasonably priced (we payed $129 per night for our room), and the room and property in general were very well kept and clean. The property is adorable, with fun extra bonuses like a sauna, hot tub, and a gazebo (with a wood burning fireplace next to it for the colder months). They also had bike rentals on the property, which was convenient. The breakfast, while tasty, was not the "homemade" breakfast that we have gotten at other bed and breakfasts in the Door County area. It consisted of mostly store bought items, althought there was also the option to request pancakes one day, and waffles the next (these portions were smaller sized). The couple that owns the property are there on the premises and are present at breakfast. The one drawback of the Inn was the attitude of the female owner. She may have just been having a bad weekend, but she was rather short with us when we were asking questions about the Washington Island area, and seemed annoyed that we would think to ask her for recommendations of things to do/places to go. She almost seemed inconvenienced that we were there, and wanted to get us "in and out" as quickly as possible. The gentlman owner of the Inn (Mike?), however, was VERY nice, and made us feel very welcome. In general, we would recommend it as a great place to stay.

  • Liked — Adorable property with lots of attention to detail, clean room with nice view of the water
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank slubatz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Harbor Light Inn

Property: The Harbor Light Inn
Address: 12666 State Highway 42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210-9784 (Formerly The Harbor House Inn)
Region: United States > Wisconsin > Door County > Ellison Bay
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Ellison Bay
Price range (per night): ₹ 7,667 - ₹ 12,756
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Harbor Light Inn 2.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Harbor House Hotel Ellison Bay

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