The town of Frankenmuth is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Michigan. Our family frequently visits the area to visit family, but we don't often visit the attractions that keep tourists coming back again and again. Recently we stayed at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and dined at the Bavarian Inn and saw a bit more of what this charming town has to offer. We were provided a night's stay and a meal at the Bavarian Inn in exchange for this review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
Frankenmuth is known for celebrating and relishing in the German culture of the people who first settled the area in the 1800's. The Bavarian Inn Lodge is located along the Cass river, just across the covered bridge from the Bavarian Inn, Every aspect of it's décor and architecture are designed to mimic the style of buildings in that region of Southern Germany. It is just a short walk from the hotel to the restaurants and shops in the center of town, or to the River Place shopping district. If you don't feel like walking, there is a shuttle that will take you from the hotel to both of those locations.
Each room of the hotel has the name of a family that settled the area on the door, just below the room number. Inside the room the walls are decorated with an explanation of that family's history, including old family photos. We recognized many of the family names, including several related to my wife's family. You can see a list of the names and their family histories here: http://www.bavarianinn.com/stay/lodge-and-guestroom-family-histories/
We spent the night in one of the Bavarian Inn's family suites. Whenever we spend the night in a hotel, one of the things we look for in a room is a living room area that is separate from the sleeping area so that we can stay up and watch TV after the kids are asleep without disturbing them. The sleeping area featured two double beds, and connected to a separate living room with a fold out sofa and a large flat screen TV. The extra space made for plenty of room for our family of 5. The room also featured an outdoor patio area with extra seating. The room included a small refrigerator and coffee maker. There was not a microwave in the room, but there was one available for use near the vending and ice machines.
The part of the Hotel that our kids enjoyed most was the "Family Fun Center" located in the lower level of the building. It features a huge video game arcade, complete with ticket redemption counter. There were air hockey, ping pong and pool tables available. We also got to play 18 holes at indoor miniature golf course. The course was beautifully themed and maintained, and located in air conditioned comfort. Guests can also borrow board games from the miniature golf counter to play in their rooms. We had a spirited Connect 4 tournament happening before bed.
We spent a lot of time swimming during our visit and Bavarian Inn Lodge has a wide variety of offerings for those who love to spend time in the water. Their main swimming area offers a large swimming pool paired with a hot tub so large you can practically swim in it. This area is great for young swimmers because the depth of the pool goes as low as 2 feet. Our 5 year old loved this. They also have a one foot deep kiddie pool which includes fountains and other spray features. Don't worry about the older kids being bored - this area also features two high speed water slides that pack enough thrill for the older kids and teens. At the opposite end of the "Family Fun Center" is another swimming area, complete with hot tub and a waterfall that flows down from the miniature golf course above it, directly into the pool. Adults who want to swim in a more peaceful setting will enjoy the third pool area. It is a quiet pool and hot tub reserved for adults only, offering a respite from the noise and bustle of playing kids.
No stay in Frankenmuth would be complete without a traditional German meal. The Bavarian Inn offers delicious meals featuring traditional German delicacies served in a charming and immersive Bavarian atmosphere. We were seated in the Edelweiss room, where the walls are covered with murals of fairy tale scenes. The wait staff is not only friendly and courteous, but they are also always dressed in traditional Bavarian outfits.
Although the Bavarian Inn menu offers a variety of choices, I highly recommend the family style "all you care to enjoy" dinners. We tried the Ultimate Family Style Bavarian Dinner and left happy and full of a huge variety of home cooked German favorites. The dinner is served in four courses. First comes the noodle soup. My wife was taken back to her childhood as it tasted so much like the soup her grandmother used to make. The next course included breads and salads. We had our choice of white bread and traditional German stollen. They also brought four cold dishes: cole slaw, pasta and chicken salad, cucumber salad and cranberry salad (these offerings are seasonal). The hearty main course brought 5 german meats: sauerbraten (marinated beef), smoked pork loin, bratwurst, Schnitzel (breaded pork) and of course, the world famous Frankemuth Chicken. Somehow we made room at the end for delicious homemade soft ice cream.
We had a fantastic time and are eager to go back again. Consider signing up for the Bavarian Inn birthday e-club to receive a free family style chicken dinner (with the purchase of another dinner) during the month of your birthday.