Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
We went from Elk warnings on the west coast, to Moose warnings on the east coast!

After leaving Thunder Bay, ON, we trekked onward. It would be our last night staying along Lake Superior — this time, it would be on the eastern shore. The biggest town in the area, Sault Ste. Marie, didn’t have any hotel rooms available. (Fun fact? There is a Canadian town of Sault Ste. Marie, AND an American town of Sault Ste. Marie, connected by the Sault Ste. Marie international bridge!) Since our “goal area” for that day wasn’t available, I did some more sleuthing from the road on my iPhone. Until then, we’d be staying with family, at a Thriftlodge, and two Best Westerns, so I decided to take a chance on a privately run cabin spot with high ratings, an hour before the Sault Ste. Marie(s).

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
The highway along Lake Superior was foggy that day.
Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
There were more bays along the drive than I could count. Most were fairly generic names of animals, but the name of this one caught my eye.

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
Miles viewing the stretch of cabins as we drove up to our accommodations of the evening.

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON

I went based on excellent reviews online, and booked us a spot at a place called the Salzburger Hof Lake Shore Resort. The family-run resort and restaurant were founded in 1972 by an Austrian couple. The reviews online focus on the charming Austrian theme, warm hosts, and excellent Austrian food. I ended up pretty disappointed with both the resort and restaurant.

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
The row of cabins were interconnected. The place was almost completely full!
Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
The grounds

Pet friendly?

I was very disappointed by the “pet friendly” aspect of the place. When we called, we were assured the place was very happy to accommodate “puppy love” with the usual additional pet fee. Unfortunately, in my opinion and experience of staying at “pet friendly” accommodations, this was not so.

When we arrived, there was a long list of strict rules in the room about dogs. These rules included:

  • Dogs can only be walked on-leash in one area of the resort, completely away from people areas. Meaning, if you are going to hang out on the grounds, the dog cannot be with you. Simultaneously, dogs are not allowed to be left in the rooms unaccompanied for any period of time – meaning if the weather isn’t conducive to leaving your dog in your vehicle car while you enjoy the grounds you paid to enjoy, then, well, you are out of luck.
  • Dogs are not allowed anywhere else on the grounds, because “people walk barefoot in these places.” I walked barefoot in these areas, and encountered loads of wild goose droppings. If you’ve ever stepped in goose poop… You know it smells terrible, and the musty smell lingers even after washing. I wonder which has more bacteria, dog poop, or wild goose droppings? At least if they let dogs walk on the grounds, the dogs would clean up the goose droppings! Gross but true…
  • If a dog “disturbs guests,” you will be asked to place the dog in a kennel in Sault Ste. Marie, an hour drive away. Given that the TVs of the guests on either side of us “disturbed” our sleep (the walls are connected, and paper thin), I can’t imagine how bad even a minor amount of barking would be considered.
  • Dogs are not allowed to be left unaccompanied inside the units.
  • Dogs are not allowed to be off-leash inside of the units.
  • You are not allowed to wipe your dog’s paws, or to dry off your washed dog with the towels from the resort. Allow me to mention the towels were old, different colors, and put my own ratty old towels to shame?

I am all for rules for pets in rentals — absolutely. No one wants to stay in a place that allows disrespectful guests of any kind, human OR canine. But in this case, I felt the owner wasn’t very forthcoming on the phone, and should have mentioned at least the faintest hint of the restrictions when I asked for details on their pet policies. Can you imagine if I booked the room for a week, only to find all of this out after I arrived, and had paid? Kind of a lesson — if you are booking something like a family reunion, and there are dogs traveling with — you shouldn’t be shy about really GRILLING the hosts about the policies! I’d ask for the actual policies, not the ones on the website, but the ones found in-room — prior to booking.

The condo/cabin part of the trip was fine because we were only there one night. I felt ridiculous carrying Miles all the way down to the beach area and back, just so I could see it.

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
Cute squirrel
Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
The lake access area
Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON
The lake

The most unfortunate part of the experience was the restaurant. I have eaten zero authentic German food in my life (layover airport food doesn’t count, does it?), and my grandfather was German-American. So I was eager to try the restaurant, as it gets excellent reviews online. My mom had her doubts, despite being crazy for “a good weinersnitchel.” She just had a “hmm feeling” about the place (probably a tad bit informed by the upkeep of the cabin…) but, I convinced her to join me in trying it out. We walked into the dining room, and given my mother and I are both under 80+ years old, we definitely didn’t fit in with the primary clientele.

There was one man whose job was strictly seating people, and bringing water. There was one waitress, who was extremely hardworking, and all around wonderful. She was swamped. The water man really, really did not have her back. The place was about 60% full, and she was swamped. It took a half hour for us to be able to order our meals, and another hour and a half to receive them. I felt pretty bad for the other “out of place” diners next to us, a mother and two small boys, who arrived just after we did. The young guys, understandably, were getting mighty HANGRY after the one-hour point of the post-food-order wait!

The food was not good, despite how desperately hungry my mother and I were by then. Really, we would have settled quite happily for mediocre or too greasy at that point, but alas, it was really just not good. Oh well. We retreated to our room, and because there was only one tv channel, and really serious long instructions about what buttons NOT to push, I set up my laptop so we could watch Game of Thrones instead. When I had called, I had asked if they had WiFi, and I was assured that they did have WiFi. Turns out, they do have WiFi, but, only outside. It was raining and cold, but I was grumpy and determined, so I walked over to a lawn chair in the dark, and began loading an episode. There was a guy next to me, doing the same thing, which made us both laugh. He left, and a few minutes later, I heard quiet footsteps nearby, and then, a soft frightened voice said, “My mom… I can’t… I can’t find my mom. Can you help me?” It was one of the little boys from the restaurant. He had come outside, but couldn’t find his room. I smiled, and agreed to help him, when luckily his mother found us! I didn’t think much of it, until it came time for me to find my room. I had given up on loading a show (I know, tiny violins, pfft), so I headed back to where I thought my room was. Only it wasn’t. There was an older man changing his socks by the window. I shrugged, and went to the next room. And the next. Then back, and around. I was completely, unquestionably, lost. I started feeling creepy, trying to see into people’s windows after the fifth try! Finally, I saw a room with three people easily visible, watching tv on the one channel. It was the mother, and the two boys! I knocked on the door, and told them I was lost now! We all laughed about it, and the mom helped me find my room. Somehow two women peering into people’s rooms felt less creepy than doing so solo?

Thanks for the help Miles — I kept hoping he’d be sitting by our door, looking for me. Nope, he was inside, chewing away on a bullystick. I won’t say where he was, but I will say the area was spotless upon our departure the next day.

Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON

12 comments on Across Canada: A Disappointing Cabin & Batchawana Bay, ON

  • Danielle

    I have to agree from our travels with Oliver this summer – some pet-friendly places are just not that “friendly”. And I also get it – whether you have pets or not, no one wants to stay in a place where a previous pet has trashed the room, or where a neighboring dog barks for hours (though you are right Emma, TVs, air conditioning, noisy neighbors, etc. can be JUST as annoying and none of that is prohibited!) I can understand the “not leaving pets unattended” rule, because hotels want to protect themselves from loose dogs destroying the room or having noisy separation anxiety. However, especially if you’re travelling alone, if you can’t leave pets in your vehicle on warm days, how are you ever going to get food? I am the type of person who doesn’t want to break the rules, but this rule frustrates me because Oliver is always crated when we leave him alone, and he just sleeps while we are gone (I know this because when we return, the blanket in his crate is still in the pristine folded shape that I left it in, and had he been awake and restless it would have been crumpled into a ball). The first few days of our trip, when we weren’t sure if Oliver would settle when we left, we tried very hard to not leave him unattended and follow the rules. But after a few days, we knew he was always so tired, so sometimes we “ignored” that rule and left him crated and sleeping so we could go out to a restaurant or museum. It really was best for all of us – Oliver’s used to sleeping much of the day, but since he wouldn’t sleep in the car, he needed that extra quiet time to rest, just like we needed a moment of freedom.
    It is definitely tricky for places to balance the risk of irresponsible pet owners, and be welcoming to those who are responsible and conscientious. Even if this wasn’t a good experience for you, Emma, it’s a great lesson for all of us about being diligent and knowing the policies.
    Also, it is too funny that you got lost after too!

    • Emma (author)

      Can you believe I got lost too? That part makes me giggle even now! There I was feeling all adult-like, as if it was a kid problem… And then it happened to me!

      Things like pets not being left in rooms is true for the majority of pet-friendly accommodations, along with no excessive noise, no aggression, etc. These are logical, standard rules, which I have no problem with.

      I would never book a place again that is so strict about dogs not being allowed almost anywhere on outdoor grounds. Being a responsible traveller, it took me a good chunk of time to read through the rules, and figure them out. Not being allowed off-lead in a room is ridiculous to me, as is not being allowed to use towels within respectable parameters. If the human towels aren’t for dogs, then the hosts should provide people with a rag towel upon booking. Set your guests up for success to follow your rules. And I really do think hosts should be up front when someone asks prior to booking, point blank, how pet-friendly they are. That would be a good opportunity to mention if their rules are out of the ordinary. When I book a place that I hope to be outside at the majority of my stay, like a “lake side resort” where the cabin is nothing special and tiny (a place to sleep), and the outdoor parts are the main features of staying there, obviously I hope to go outside with my dog. That’s why I ask if it is “pet-friendly.”

  • Betsy Kiplinger

    Wow… I wouldn’t have been able to carry my 65 pound pooch to see the water. It sounds like the place is “pets allowed” not “pet friendly”.

    • Emma (author)

      Good description Betsy, “pets allowed.” I agree! P.S. I’d love to see you try to carry your dog to the water, too funny! I felt goofy enough with Mr. 21.5 pounder.

  • peaches

    Please YELP that place!

    • Emma (author)

      Agreed! While I feel weird leaving so-so to negative reviews, certain things are really important for other travelers to know. I mean, the WiFi for one – a lot of us work on the road, and staying at a place with no easy WiFi for an extended time could definitely put a crimp in that.

  • Darcy

    Emma,
    Yup, there is a difference between “pet friendly” and “pets allowed”. It is worth investigating, based on your experience, when making a reservation. Hard to know on the phone what their actual policy is unless you ask specific “rules” questions. Chester, Sally and I were just at the Horsham, PA Days Inn, which is a great dog friendly lodging! The only “rule” for dogs? Dogs may not be in the breakfast alcove in the lobby, but right out side of the breakfast alcove there is a gas fireplace, comfy couches, chairs, and dogs are welcome there! Dog biscuits are at the desk at all times, there are poop bag dispensers outside, lots of grass, trash bins, dogs on elevators, in halls, and sometimes barking, but never much. It is a pleasure to have dogs there… Quite different from your and Miles’ experience. Take away point is that all of us dog owners need to be as responsible as we possibly can to show places it’s possible, and they don’t need quite so many rules! Love your tales, Em… XO, Chester, Sally and Darcy

    • Emma (author)

      That hotel sounds wonderful! Was that your hotel for Montgomery? I know I’ve said it the last two years, but I really, really want to make a point to go next year. It seems every year disasters strike! Wait until I tell you Miles’ latest ordeal…

      • Darcy

        Oh, no, Miles had a “latest ordeal” NOT involving grapes? Oh, my! Well… Yes, Emma, that was our lodgings at the Montgomery Kennel Club Show. We are simply GOING together next year… There will be no crisis, no disaster… They will be dis allowed for two months leading up to Montgomery! We are doing this, and it will be SO fun at our truly dog friendly lodgings.. The Horsham, Pa Days Inn! XOXO, D, C, and S

  • Darcy

    So FUNNY you got lost after helping the lost boy find his Mum, then you need them to help you find yours! Very ironic! XOXO, Darcy

    • Emma (author)

      Exactly!! It makes me giggle thinking about it still.. That and the fact that the second I booked a spot in Batchawana Bay, I joked to my mom that it was “Botulism Bay,” and then when we told my dad we were going to stay in a place called Batchawana Bay, he made the same lame joke!

  • Darcy

    Hahah… Botulism Bay! And your Dad has the SAME sense of humor! Sweet!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *