Waterfront location with a private marina and 12 miles of trails
Clean, spacious rooms have mini-fridges, and coffeemakers; some with harbor views
Two- and three-bedroom suites with full kitchens
Tavern with a lakeside terrace, poolside bar, and rooftop deck
Two pools and an indoor/outdoor hot tub
24-hour gym and spa
Sandy volleyball court, harbor fishing, and barbecue grills
Free happy hour and rooftop gatherings
Nearby golf course, bike, kayak and canoe rentals
Market with gifts and sundries
Four meeting spaces, including a ballroom
Free outdoor parking and Wi-Fi throughout
Rooms have poor sound insulation
Some rooms have unattractive views
The 92-room Inn at Harbor Shores is an upper-middle-range, cottage-style property on the waterfront with excellent views from a rooftop deck, a poolside bar, and the restaurant’s terrace. The hotel has two indoor/outdoor pools, hot tubs, and a spa, while active travelers will appreciate the outdoor volleyball and 24-hour gym. Simple, elegant rooms have private balconies overlooking the golf course or harbor, while suites feature kitchens and Lake Michigan views in some. A popular wedding venue, the property has 13,000-square-feet of event space. Guests should note that rooms have poor sound insulation, so wedding parties and passing trains can be disturbing. It's one of the priciest properties in the area, so travelers seeking something less expensive might want to consider the Holiday Inn Express St. Joseph instead.
Waterfront hotel with cottage-style interiors and a social atmosphere
This upper-middle-range waterfront property has a homey and welcoming atmosphere thanks to cottage interiors and a lawn on the harbor that offers Adirondack chairs, barbecue grills, and a sandy volleyball court. Having opened in 2014, the Inn at Harbor Shores feels new. Black accents are blended with wooden floors, light green walls, and floral furniture in the spacious lobby that opens onto Plank’s Tavern, named in tribute to the resort John Oliver Plank built in 1888 when the area was a resort town. A large glass chandelier hangs over a charming staircase that leads to the second floor, where there’s a gallery featuring local Michigan artwork. Mostly families with children and couples stay at this hotel, although the rates can be pricey when compared to other properties nearby.
On a private marina in the Harbor Shores development
Harbor Shores is a resort development between Saint Joseph and Benton Heights, a former factory town. The hotel sits on a private marina with great views, but some areas feel industrial with gravel piles across the water. A 16-minute walk away is the Scooter Joe's Wheel & Water Rentals with bicycles, kayaks, mopeds, canoes, and other water sports for rent. The Harbor Shores Golf Club is a two-minute drive from the hotel. Silver Beach and the Whirlpool Compass Fountain are a five-minute drive. Driving to Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport takes one hour, while the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport is about a 10-minute drive. Chicago is about an hour and 45 minutes by car.
Pleasant, neutrally furnished rooms and suites with modern features and balconies with harbor views
Warm wood tones, light green painted walls, and neutral textiles create a simple elegance in rooms and suites, which offer sitting areas and writing desks. Adding to the ambience are harbor or golf course views from balconies, but some guests are bothered by the gravel piles in view across the water. Rooms have two queen beds or one king bed, while suites have separate bedrooms. There are 14 two- and three-bedroom privately owned units -- which are owner-occupied or rented through the hotel -- with Lake Michigan views from the seventh and eighth floors. Every room offers flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, irons/ironing boards, Keurig coffeemakers, hairdryers, and safes. Bathrooms are modern with marble counters and glass walk-in showers.
Rooftop deck, casual dining and poolside cocktails, outdoor/indoor pools, spa services, and event space with free parking
The ninth-floor terrace at this hotel offers the best views of the golf course and harbor from dark wooden benches. Beer and Bourbon social gatherings or private parties are also held on the terrace when weather permits. The dining terrace at Plank’s Tavern on the Water also overlooks the harbor and inside is a lodge-style dining room that serves bottomless mimosas for brunch and American fare for lunch and dinner. The tiki bar also offers waterfront views and seating by the outdoor pool and hot tub, which has a passageway that connects to the indoor hot tub and heated pool. There’s also a small spa that offers standard pampering treatments, a sauna, and bridal makeup and hair services. This waterfront location is a popular wedding destination. Four meeting spaces are available, including a ballroom that can hold receptions of up to 400 people and an outdoor event tent for up to 275 people. Free outdoor parking also appeals to event planners.
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