If you’ve read my last couple of reviews, you could see that price paid an important part of why we chose the places we did and did not have the best of luck with them. Well this time we go to the other end of the spectrum as at this hotel I spent more money than I have ever personally paid for one night of lodging. While I have stayed at places that cost more per night, they were paid by companies I was working for or the school I was attending.
The Bavarian Inn Lodge is located in Frankenmuth, Michigan, which is a German themed village. This would be my first time in Frankenmuth since I was 12 years old. It also happened to be my youngest daughter’s birthday and she just happened to be turning 12. Our original plan was to drive to Sandusky, Ohio and go to Cedar Point Amusement Park but things didn’t work out so this was an alternative for reasons I will mention later.
|Bridge over the Cass Rive|
I booked our reservations directly from the Bavarian Inn Lodge website. The website is easy to use and there is a good explanation of the rooms that are available.
|Car sits outside the lobby entrance to the hotel|
The hotel has 360 rooms and is spread over multiple interconnected buildings. The complex is fronted by two- to three-story false fronted buildings that are designed to look like a Bavarian village. There are large parking lots to the side and at the front of the building.
|Front of the Hotel|
We arrived at the hotel at 2:00pm. Although the hotel has a check in time of 3:00pm there were several other people in line ahead of me. The front desk had three windows open but it still seemed to take forever for each person to get checked in and I am a pretty patient person. Two people finished up and left but neither of the front desk people indicated they were going to help me.
After a couple of minutes another person came out and started to check me in. As it turned out our room was not ready which I was fine with since we were an hour early. The person that helped me was efficient but not overly friendly but said I just needed to come up to the window and say I had already checked in.
We actually went to dinner then came back and picked up our keys. We had to wait a couple of minutes for someone to hand us keys but the person that helped us was friendly and gave me directions to where our room was.
|Looking at the main tower area.|
As you enter the room the bathroom was to the right and a small closet to left. As you enter the main room it is separated into two areas but with no divider. In one section, which was set up as a sitting area, you have a sofa bed that faces a large flat panel television. Next to the window that looked over one of the swimming pools was a table and chairs. There was also a writing desk and chairs next to the dresser that held the television. Behind the area with the couch was a separate section of the room with two queen beds. Between the two areas there was a mini-fridge but no microwave.
|View from the door|
|Two Queen Beds|
|Couch, Beds, Fridge, and Chair|
|Living Room Area|
|Living Room Area|
The hotel has a few dining options including Oma’s Restaurant, Lorelei Lounge and Bier Garten, Ratskeller, which is a cafeteria style restaurant located in the Fun Center, plus a Sunday Brunch that includes performances by local pianists.
The premier dining option is the Bavarian Inn which is actually located across the Cass River from the main lodge, however, the lodge does offer shuttles from the lodge to the restaurant and the shopping center, which came in handy since one person in our party had an injured foot and was having trouble walking. Reservations are highly recommended since even on a Monday at 3:00pm we had a 45-minute wait for a table. The front desk clerks at the hotel were not friendly but the rest of the staff was good to great.
The Bavarian Inn has multiple options for food including family style meals but is best known for its chicken. Our group of 5 ended up with a bill of $125.00 and that was with one of our meals being free. One of the interesting features, since this is a German themed restaurant, is that there are people walking around playing accordions, including a German Happy Birthday for our daughter that was turning 12. The food was excellent with an atmosphere to match. The only negatives were the wait to be seated, which can be solved by having reservations, which you can make when you make your hotel reservations and the general unfriendliness of the hostesses.
|Shuttle to Restaurant|
There are many activities in and around the hotel that can keep even children occupied depending on how much money you are willing to spend. First of all the hotel complex does not have just one swimming pool but four of them, including one with waterslides and one with a waterfall, three whirlpools including one pool and one whirlpool that is for adults only. Between the swimming pools with the slides and the one with the waterfall is the fun center that includes an arcade and miniature golf. Also on Friday and Saturdays you can do karaoke.
If shopping is your thing then the Bavarian Lodge offers the Frankenmuth River Place Shops which has a large number of interesting stores. If you are like me and want something besides the typical chain stores you can find anywhere, these places will please you as most of the stores are independently owned and operated. The Bavarian Belle Riverboat also operates out of the shopping center at a dock on the Cass River on the north side of the property so long as it is operating. However, on our visit the water level was too high so the boat could not operate. In fact the dock was largely under water so it was understandable why they were not operating.
The hotel also has large lawn area that has a cage with several Peacocks along with a picnic shelter to the southwest of the main complex and tennis courts directly to the east of the front of the building.
|There is carriage rides available in Frankenmuth|
|Frankenmuth River Place Shops|
Main Street from Jefferson to Genesee largely has the Bavarian theme but the farther you get to the extremes of the corridor you start running into more and more chain establishments. However, if you want another chance at a Chicken Dinner Zehnder's of Frankenmuth is located just across Main Street from the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and is supposed to be excellent but we did not have an opportunity to try it.
Just north of the main Bavarian Inn is Heritage Park which includes a pavilion, ball fields and a walking trail along the Cass River. South along Weiss from the hotel is the Michigan Military and Space Hero’s Museum, Frankenmuth Aerial Park, Sullivan’s Black Forest Restaurant, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, and Grandpa’s Tiny Farm. There are sidewalks from the Bavarian Inn to everything except for the Tiny Farm and less than a mile walk from the Lodge.
Memorial Park, which is across the Cass River from Heritage Park, but is probably best driven to from the Bavarian Lodge since there is not a direct bridge between the two, holds concerts on Sunday evenings and worth a visit if you are in the area on a Sunday.
Beyond Main Street and Weiss there is little to see. After you pass Genesee on the north and Jefferson to the south you are in typical suburbs with no character. Most of the areas with character are within walking distance although Weiss is more auto-oriented than pedestrian as there are many large parking lots between buildings.
The Bavarian Lodge has express check out so all we had to do was call the front desk and leave the key cards on the desk.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review this was the most I have spent for lodging ever, at $209.00 a night. I also believe that any place I review be held up to a standard by the amount that I pay for that place, of course the Bavarian Lodge will be held to a higher standard than say the Rodeway Inn that we stayed in the night before even though it failed to hold up to the standard for its price point.
First of all our room was large and nicely equipped except that it did not have a microwave in the room. I checked the hotel information in the room and it said nothing about microwaves anywhere in the hotel. Later I found out that they have microwaves near the elevators but it is not well marked and so hard to know about it. On the positive side the beds were comfortable, a good selection of television stations, and a comfortable sofa bed.
Like most full service hotels there is no breakfast offered at the hotel. However, unlike higher end hotels there was no fee for wi-fi service which is a plus especially when you need to check weather and routing for the next day. Another problem with higher end hotels is that they try to nickel and dime you for everything despite how much you pay for your room. While the swimming pools and water slides are free the prices for things such as miniature golf can add up really quick and after spending more than $200 for a hotel, then paying $50 for miniature golf, not to mention the arcade can add up quickly.
Staff was efficient but not overly friendly and this was especially true down in the fun center.
While you can walk to many places that have the Bavarian theme, overall the lodge and the area is largely auto-centric and to get to most places in the area you will need to drive.
My final grade for this hotel is going to be a B.
Overall the hotel is nice and the room was great beyond the lack of a microwave. The next time I am in Frankenmuth I would stay here again but there are other places that need to be tried!