My Best Hotel Stays In Door County, Wisconsin
A visit to Door County, Wisconsin, translates to intense beauty of water and woodland, fine and performing arts galore, and culinary excellence. All that and a calm, relaxing pace of life.
But first, you’ll need a play to stay. Choose from a wide array of new and historic inns, hotels, resorts, B&Bs and motels. Prices and availability vary seasonally. What you won’t find are chain hotels and franchises north of Sturgeon Bay.
A brief geography lesson: If Wisconsin were a left-handed mitten, Door County would be the thumb. It is located in southeastern Wisconsin, about 155 miles north of Milwaukee and 180 miles northeast of Madison. Within the county are 17 charming towns and villages, each boasting its own personality and allure.
From my home base in suburban Chicago, I’ve been a frequent visitor to Door County. Here’s my roundup of top-flight accommodations based on both personal experience and media trips–and in no particular order. (Many thanks to Destination Door County for hosting me!)
Eagle Harbor Inn, Ephraim
On the main street of Ephrain, across from the picturesque Bay of Green Bay, is Eagle Harbor Inn. It’s a sweet, secluded enclave with two luxe styles of lodging. Choose from the 9 exquisitely furnished rooms in the historic main lodge or the 32 whirlpool suites in the six newer farmhouse buildings that circle it.
Eagle Harbor Inn is a block from Ephraim Beach, and within walking distance of neighborhood shops, restaurants and cafes. Head to the waterfront late afternoon to early evening, depending on the time of year, and the sunsets are exquisite!
If you prefer a bit of privacy and more space, book an apartment-style whirlpool suite. I stayed in the White Birch House, Suite #2, a fully appointed apartment where I could live forever. The suite has two spacious rooms, one with a living and lounging area plus a compact but complete kitchen. The bedroom has a luscious queen bed and tempting whirlpool tub. For a touch of romance, a see-through fireplace divides the two rooms.
Whichever room type you choose, you’re welcome to The Commons, a fitness center with sauna and indoor pool.
Find out more about Eagle Harbor Resort in Ephraim, Wisconsin.
Hillside Waterfront Hotel, Ephraim
A luxury bed-and-breakfast today, Hillside Waterfront Hotel originated as a four-room log cabin in 1866. Now listed on the Historic Register of Historic Places, it has been lovingly restored and expanded into five beautiful guest suites in the two-story main building and two cottages in the front yard. On the first level are living, dining and lounging spaces.
As the name implies, the hotel faces the Bay of Green Bay and Eagle Harbor. A duo of stacked porches spans the facade to invite leisurely viewing of the water and sunset.
My suite was the cheery Marigold, classically styled with a king size bed, living area, private bath and two balconies. The four-poster bed was dressed in crisp white sheets and a fluffy duvet, and the bath was outfitted with an oversized shower with bench seat and a heap of thirsty towels. Two upholstered chairs faced the fireplace, where the TV is discreetly tucked behind white paneled doors. Botanical prints are hung on the walls.
In case you fall in love with Door County and want to buy a home there, Innkeeper Diane Taillon is also a real estate agent who will be delighted to show you some properties.
Find out more about Hillside Waterfront Hotel in Ephraim, Wisconsin.
The Landmark Resort, Egg Harbor
Perched atop a bluff overlooking the Bay of Green Bay, The Landmark Resort is Door County’s largest resort and a scenic retreat with far-reaching water views. The resort sprawls over 40 rolling, wooded acres interspersed with nearly 300 low-rise condominium-style buildings that blend into the natural surroundings. Sixty units are available for guests, and they are all suites. The amenities list goes on and on, including four swimming pools, fitness center, whirlpools, racquet and ball courts, kiddie playground, and electric vehicle charging stations.
Special mention is to be made of the upscale but casual Carrington restaurant and bar, always voted highly by the local residents. The menu includes pub faves like fried cheese curds (a Wisconsin original) and Swedish meatballs, but also dinner entrees like pasta, steak and locally caught fish. If cherry crisp is offered for dessert, go for it!
My two-level suite in the Flagship building had two bedrooms (one on the second level) and one bath. The full kitchen opened to a dining and living room that overlooked a swimming pool and the bay. In the center of the building was a spacious, comfortable lounge with huge windows and wood deck.
Find out more about The Landmark Resort in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.
White Lace Inn, Sturgeon Bay
After years of visits to Door County, I knew that “sometime” I wanted to stay at the White Lace Inn. The name just sounded so charming, you know? Well, “sometime” came around in early December, and my only disappointment was I hadn’t experienced this lovely Victorian country inn sooner.
White Lace Inn is an enclave of four turn-of-the-century homes surrounding a central courtyard and connected by a winding pathway, manicured gardens and a gazebo. The 18 guest rooms have been meticulously decorated with antique furnishings and lush linens, each with a private bath and some with fireplaces.
The Main House, which faces Fifth Avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay, is a 1903 Queen Anne-style home with a soaring turret and wrap-around porch. Painted in shades of soothing mauve, it is framed by a pert white picket fence. A hearty breakfast is served each morning in the Main House dining room, parlor and sitting room.
Innkeepers Dennis and Bonnie Statz in 1981 were a mechanical engineer and jewelry designer, respectively, in Indianapolis. They dreamed of opening a bed and breakfast in an old mansion. When they came upon this one–although quite dilapidated at the time, they found the perfect home to restore. They welcomed their first guests the following year and have been expanding the property ever since.
I stayed in the Door County Orchard suite on the second floor of the Main House, which was decked out for the Christmas holidays. The bedroom and bath blossom in a palette of magenta, aquamarine and minty green. An 1840s four-poster bed is canopied in white needlework and dressed in luxe linens and a beefy comforter. Covering the windows are white lace curtains topped with draperies patterned with cherries. The bath is spacious, with forest green fixtures and an oversize whirlpool tub.
The room did not have a refrigerator, but the innkeepers were happy to hold my purchases from Renard’s Cheese Store in the kitchen fridge until I was ready to leave.
Find out more about White Lace Inn in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Three More Door County Hotels to Consider
Here are three inns and hotels for your consideration. I toured all the properties and dined at two, but I didn’t stay overnight.
The Dörr Hotel, Sister Bay
Door County’s newest hotel and the first in Sister Bay in two decades, The Dörr Hotel is a Nordic-inspired property with a warm, contemporary design. The two-story hotel, located a short walk from the Bay of Green Bay, has 47 rooms and suites, cedar-beamed lobby with fireplace and bar.
White Gull Inn, Fish Creek
First established in 1896, the historic White Gull Inn is a beautifully appointed bed-and-breakfast made up of 13 rooms and suites, two cottages and two single-family homes. The White Gull Inn restaurant is also known for its fish boils, a delicious Door County specialty that ends with a piece of cherry pie!
Rowley’s Bay Resort, Ellison Bay
A vintage waterfront property with a homey log cabin vibe, Rowley’s Bay Resort offers 100 traditional guest rooms and cottages on 100 wooded acres. Also onsite are a marina, indoor swimming pool, fish boil dinners and a Swedish bakery. I can attest to the decadence of the pecan rolls.
More information on Door County lodging options and an availability checker are on the Destination Door County website.