By Michelle Railey
“All of our Traverse City rooms and suites are priceless…We have an elegant array…” (Parkshoreresort.com)
The ParkShore Resort in Traverse City, Michigan is rated as a 3-star hotel (amenities and qualities). Visitors on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Expedia and from a random internet search seem to rate this hotel as 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 for quality of stay.
The Pros: Beautiful beach (this isn’t unique to this resort; most of them on the East Bay also share the same sugar sand beach and Mission Point view) with a firepit and plenty of chaise lounges. The location is easy to find and it’s right across the street from the State Park, which provides the bonus of the scent of pines and campfire as you stand on your deck or the beach. The pool is nice and clean with large windows overlooking 31 and the state park: if there aren’t too many vehicles in the parking lot, it’s easy to think you’re swimming close to the pines. The hotel has a restaurant and lounge onsite and a full menu is available for room service, which is a nice touch for a relatively ordinary hotel. For what it’s worth, the scent of the (very affordable) breakfast bar is heavenly: but Traverse is a foodie’s dream town and if you’re limited on days to spend in northern Michigan, eating downtown offers so many options, it’s difficult to justify the breakfast bar, even though the smells coming from it and the reasonable price make you kind of want to. Clean lobby, clean rooms, clean bathrooms. The mattress is nice and firm and the shower head was so amazingly perfect that we were looking at it trying to memorize it so we could install one just like it for our own house: perfect water pressure and plenty of heat. White bedding with nary a sign of a flea-bitten, discolored, and felt-backed “comforter” was a really good thing. The bathrooms also have a heat lamp installed in the ceiling: something I really love and wish more hotels had. Standard accoutrements are found here: in-room coffee maker, flat screen TV, hair dryer, ironing board. A second sink and vanity are found in the bedroom, which is helpful when traveling with others.
The Cons: The hotel is outdated, despite the freshened-up rooms and some new carpeting, it’s still suffering from age a bit: the hallways and bathrooms especially have a dimness that screams of 1970s beige. You know the kind of beige: the beige that never quite looks clean, especially in the light of CFLs. It’s the off-white that darkens everything instead of softening anything. And that’s a little what’s going on in this place, which is why the bedrooms were a pleasant surprise after checking in: they had recently-ish been freshened. There was an accent wall painted purple (not great, but preferable to beige, textured, 70s wallpaper) and bad art (ubiquitous to hotels; when will they learn that no art is better than bad art?), but the white bedding and the flat screen and even that accent wall pointed to attempts being made. And while we’re on the rooms, the silly purple coverlet on the bed was a fake: it’s just a scarf masquerading as an actual coverlet, which bodes ill for the situation where you might need an actual extra blanket. And if the shower head and the heat lamp were the bee’s knees, the towels (as every internet review will tell you) are tired and scratchy and, well, old. The candles and lampshades in the common areas (lobby, lounge, banquet area) are all askew; the coverlet is a scarf; the details are not quite taken care of anywhere at ParkShore. Everything there is, well, “brave in ribbons:” lacking attention, lacking investment.
But for all that, the food smelled great, things were clean, the mattress was firm, there was a heat lamp and the perfect shower head. Complimentary fire pit. A beautiful beach. If you can get the room on sale, do it. It’s nice enough and, at $99 a night in the summer, a reasonable deal. I wouldn’t pay more than that in the autumn or winter, nor much more than that in the summer.
And, on second thought, check out that breakfast bar. It really did smell very, very good.