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Friday, February 5, 2016

Muskegon, Michigan / The Shoreline Inn & Conference Center, an Ascend Collection hotel

January 2016, Weekend, 1 night, King club floor guestroom #908 and Whirlpool guestroom #812

Sunrise from bed in guestroom 812
Prior to this stay, we had visited a couple of other businesses located on the hotel grounds: Terrace Point Marina, and Lake House Waterfront Grille. This was our first stay in the Shoreline Inn. I was not familiar with Ascend Collection hotels before this, so I looked up Ascend Collection hotels before our stay, and found this description: Meet the Ascend Hotel Collection®, a network of historic, boutique and unique hotels that offer guests an authentic, local experience. Member hotels share a passion for delivering attentive service to guests seeking a more experiential, individualized travel experience that gives them a sense of local flavor.

Reservation/arrival experience

Since I am a light packer, I called the hotel before our stay to ask if bathrobes are provided in the guestrooms. The person I spoke with said that only the club guestrooms have bathrobes. He said we could request them if all the club rooms were not booked. He looked up our reservation, and then added this request to our reservation.

Check-in time is 4:00 p.m., and we arrived at the hotel between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. We received an upgrade to the club floor, and then we paid a bit extra to upgrade to a room with a whirlpool tub and fireplace. Staff members were willing to work with us regarding our room choice; however, since we were not familiar with this hotel or the room offerings, it was difficult to know which type of room to request. Hopefully, the information I am providing here will help future travelers in making a guestroom selection.

King executive/club floor guestroom 908

Guestroom 908: matches photo titled "guest room
with one bed" - photo #24 of 69 on hotel website
The club floor guestroom looked comfortable; however, this guestroom is located next to the elevator, it is small, and the only seat in the guestroom was the desk chair.

There is a long hall into the guestroom area from the entrance, just like shown in the guestroom diagram. You can click on any photo in this blog to enlarge it.

The entrance door was heavy, and I do not think we would have heard any noise from the hallway; however, we could hear the elevator running while we tried to decide if we wanted to ask about moving to another guestroom.

There is a club floor lounge on this floor with views of the lake; however, the lounge was not open on the weekend. We tried to enter the lounge while trying to decide if we wanted to stay in guestroom 908, and our key did not work. We had thought that if there was a good view of the lake and comfortable seating in the lounge that we could use, then we would have stayed in room 908.
Guestroom 908: matches photo titled "guest room 
with desk area" - photo #25 of 69 on hotel website

To see more details about the room size and amenities in this guestroom, as well as in whirlpool suite 812, view the album on my Facebook page.

Switching guestrooms and additional guestroom tours

I spoke with the front desk agent to ask if any of the guestrooms have a chair in them. The agent said that the suites and whirlpool rooms have a sitting area. I told her we did not need a separate sitting area, although it would be nice to have a place to sit in the guestroom. Most of the guestroom photos on the hotel website show a chair or sofa in the guestroom. She said she could have a chair brought to guestroom 908. It did not seem like there would be much room for a chair, so I declined. She then told me that there was a mini-suite and a whirlpool guestroom available, if we wanted to move. She offered to let us see the guestrooms before deciding.

A housekeeper showed us a mini-suite on floor 10. The mini-suite was across from the elevator and to the left on the west side of the building (I do not recall the room number). There was a good view of the lake from the suite, and the room was spacious. It did not have a balcony, and the seating did not look desirable. The only seat in the suite was a chaise lounge like the one shown in the photo on the hotel website titled "guest room with sitting area" 32/69. It did not seem like the chaise lounge with only a half back would be comfortable for two people. And, the rate we were quoted for the mini-suite was $62 more!

The housekeeper then showed us whirlpool suite 812. Suite 812 was not as nice as some of the guestroom photos on the hotel website, although it was a better room than 908 (considering a place to sit in the room and the view). The cost was only a little bit more, so we switched to that room.

Whirlpool suite 812

We did not choose this guestroom for the whirlpool tub or the fireplace. Those were nice features, although we switched because we wanted a better view, and a place to sit down in the guestroom.

This suite is located on the southeast corner of the hotel. You cannot see the lake from inside the guestroom, although you can see the lake from the balcony. We had hoped to watch the sunset from our balcony; however, it ended up clouding over before the sun set.

view from balcony looking west -
Muskegon Lake partially visible
The whirlpool tub and kitchen area were located by the entrance. Bath salts were provided for the tub.

The kitchen area contained a full size fridge, sink, microwave, coffeemaker with supplies, ice bucket, a couple of sets of plastic silverware, small table, and two chairs. The coffeemaker was a single/double serving machine with Wolfgang Puck brand coffee. The coffeemaker in the club floor room had been a Kuerig machine, and we did not notice what had been provided in the mini-suite.

The sliding glass door in the kitchen area opened onto a balcony on the front side of the building. The view overlooked the parking lot and town, and the lake was partially visible to the west. There were two plastic chairs on the balcony.

A fireplace and chair were located between the entrance area and the sleeping area.

The sleeping area contained a king size bed, chair, flatscreen TV in an armoire, nightstands with lamps, and a soft chair.

The chair in the bedroom was super comfy. The TV in the armoire was not mounted on a swivel or sliding arm, so it did not slide out from inside the armoire. This made it difficult to watch TV or a movie together, because we could only watch TV from the bedroom chair or bed. We would have moved the two chairs together, if there had been enough room. It also would have been nice to be able to see the TV from the whirlpool tub.

sunrise from bed
The large windows in the bedroom provided a fabulous view, and the soundproofing was decent. Remember to check out the Facebook album for more pictures of this guestroom.

dust on armoire and carpet under armoire
The bed and pillows were comfortable and clean. A bathrobe had not been provided in this guestroom, although a photo on the hotel website of a room similar to this one (photo 38/69), showed a bathrobe in the guestroom. There had been a robe in the club floor guestroom, and I was able to take it to the suite to use during our stay.

There was a considerable amount of dust buildup on the furniture (especially the armoire and headboard), as well as on the carpet in areas. The dust was thick enough  that I could smell it.

The bathroom was located across from the fireplace, between the chair and bed. It was not very big, and the guestroom closet was located inside the bathroom. The closet door was mirrored, providing a full length mirror.

The bath amenities were almost the same as the ones in the club floor guestroom. The only difference was that the amenities in the club floor bathroom also included a vanity kit and shoe mitt. A dusty and cracked hairdryer was mounted on the bathroom wall. I did not use the hairdryer, so I do not know how well it worked.

This suite was well soundproofed. The hotel seemed to be quite full the evening of our stay, and we did not hear any noise from the hallway or other guestrooms. We could hear occasional water running (someone filling the tub in the room above us, I assume), but that was all.

Food & Beverages

Coffee and fruit infused water was available by the front desk and lobby sitting area 24 hours.

We did not have anything to eat or drink in the hotel lounge or Lake House during this stay, although we did get a couple of wine glasses from the bartender in the hotel lounge to use in the guestroom. She was happy to accommodate our request. We have been to the Lake House for Happy Hour before, and service and quality as always been good. House Happy Hour details for the Lake House were posted in the elevator, and on a flyer in the guestroom.

Breakfast is included with the cost of all guestrooms in this hotel, and the breakfast offerings were decent. Food items included sausage biscuits and gravy, pancake maker, pre-cooked folded egg omelets (like the kind from Rembrandt Foods), sausage, breads, muffins, fresh fruit and cut fruit, instant oatmeal, and cold cereal. Juices, two kinds of milk, and hot beverages were also provided. The service was good, and the products looked fresh.

Pool area

There were two whirlpool tubs in the pool area, and it was open 24 hours. We had planned to use the hot tubs by the pool; however, we did not end up going to the pool area after we switched rooms.

Misc. and overall

This hotel is located near Muskegon Lakeshore Trail. This is a fabulous trail for walking and biking during non-winter months. It had not been plowed during our stay, so it was mostly covered with snow. The hotel is within walking distance of the trail and downtown, although there is no sidewalk along Terrace Point Rd. We walked to the trail and to town along the edge of the road, and we observed others doing the same.

We would probably choose this hotel again the next time we need a place to stay in downtown Muskegon. Now that we are more familiar with the guestroom options, we would be able to make a wiser choice. Hopefully, the dust buildup in the guestrooms will be taken care of. Staff members at this hotel were far more helpful and accommodating than anyone we interacted with during our stay at the Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor. It is difficult to believe that both properties are owned by the same company.

If anyone else has information you would like to share, please do so! I am curious whether any of the basic guestrooms in this hotel really have a soft chair or sofa in them, like it appears on the hotel website.