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Waters View Inn

Situated between Lake Michigan and the Black River, Waters View Inn offers 16 units for visitors to rent. Since 1883, back when it was first constructed, the property has always been an inn. Every room is named after a historical figure of South Haven. Kristina, the current owner, and Sarah, the operations manager and chef, have the goal to create a family-friendly atmosphere and maintain the building's historical significance. Breakfast is served every morning at the inn, with one of the most popular dishes among guests being the French toast. A number of visitors come to the area for attractions such as biking, visiting the nearby shops downtown, and engaging in water activities on Lake Michigan. The wineries and breweries near Waters View Inn additionally draw in a handful of tourists.


Waters View Inn is located on Lake Michigan. A total of 16 units are offered on the property; however, the units altogether can sleep up to 52 individuals. Every unit can be found inside one building, with the exception of one room, which is attached to the deck and connects to the building. This unit is considered to be a small studio that offers one bedroom. Two common areas can be found on the premises, one of which is more geared towards adults, while the other is for children and younger visitors. Board games and activities are in the children's common area, while the adult common area is considered to be more of a lounging place. The children's common area is located on the second floor. A guest kitchen and a guest dining room are additional spaces in the inn for visitors to utilize. Tables and chairs are also provided on the back deck of the property. Although a formal store is not available on the premises, locally made products are sold at the establishment, as well as toothbrushes and other similar toiletries.

Room 10 (Schrayer) is one of the most popular units, according to Sarah, the properties operations manager. This is presumably due to the king-size bed and view of the lake provided inside the room. Additionally, Room 12 is classified as a "jacuzzi suite," in Sarah's words, and she also considers it to be the "honeymoon suite." Jacuzzis are available in four of the sixteen suites. 

A view of Lake Michigan can be seen on one half of the inn, while a view of the harbor can be seen on the other half. Yard space covers a considerable portion of the acreage, in addition to the deck which overlooks the harbor and lake. The beach is typically the main attraction in the area, as well as the many biking trails that can be found nearby. Chef Sarah mentions that the town is a "trailhead town," that tends to draw in a number of bikers. A place that offers rentals for paddleboards and kayaks is located within walking distance of Water View Inn. Beach towels, beach chairs, and toys for kids are provided by Water View Inn for visitors who plan on spending time at the beach. The downtown area contains various wineries, breweries, boutique shops, and restaurants, as chef Sarah remarks that this particular area is a "tourist town." Two wineries that she recommends to visitors are Harbor Light Brewery and 12 Corners Vineyards, both of which are within walking distance of the property. Chef Sarah also recommends Three Blondes Brewing, Taste, and Clementine's to those who are searching for nearby places to eat.

A curated breakfast is served daily, and guests are given the choice to select a time out of the three given options which are 8:30, 9:30, or 10:30 AM. Baked French toast, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches are a few of the dishes that can be served; however, Chef Sarah notes that breakfast items are "unique every day." Accommodations for dietary needs or restrictions can be made. Visitors are asked about such restrictions upon check-in, before they book their reservation, and in a text that is sent prior to the guests' stay. Visitors are also given the option to have their meal served to them in one of the three different areas on the grounds, namely, the back deck, the guest dining room, or the patron's room. Meals are cooked by Chef Sarah herself. In addition to the breakfast that is served at Waters View Inn, evening snacks are provided every afternoon from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Coffee, tea, water bottles, Gatorade, and juices are also available to patrons, plus grab-and-go snacks including chips, Oreos, and Cheez-Itz. 


"Historical" is how Sarah, the properties operations manager and chef, describes the inn. The historical aspect of the Waters View Inn is one particular element that Chef Sarah mentions they try to emulate, as well as having a family-friendly atmosphere. The breakfast is another characteristic of the business that Chef Sarah mentions she takes pride in as she explains, "most of the time when you're on vacation the breakfast is just something you do every day and not part of the experience, [but] here it becomes part of the experience." The manager says that one of her favorite parts of the job is interacting with guests and meeting people from various places. She and Kristina encourage their staff to talk, hang out, interact, and get to know patrons. This is one specific matter that a fair amount of previous guests have commented on. One visitor remarked, "The staff is very kind. The food served for breakfast was very tasty. The evening snack is nice and the blueberry scones they served for one of them were amazing. The rooms are cute and give you an old-school feeling while having the modern comforts."

Waters View Inn is open year-round, with its busiest season occurring during the summer season. Outdoor recreation tends to be the reason for the higher number of visitors in the summertime. The general demographic of property is either younger families or older couples. In the off-season, the property offers catering, and in the future, they have the goal to host on-site events.

There are a number of policies that visitors must act in accordance with during their stay. One such policy is that the inn is a smoke-free environment. Pets are prohibited from staying at the property, with respect to other occupants. Furthermore, local mandates require that city-wide quiet hours begin at 10:30 PM. Chef Sarah and Kristina want their guests to feel as though they're "at home, but being taken care of." In an attempt to achieve this goal, they make two of their main priorities to be interacting with guests and accommodating their needs. Chef Sarah and Kristina put forth the effort to go out of their way to help their visitors. One such example of this is a time that Chef Sarah recalls when they received a visitor who hadn't eaten anything before their flight to Waters View Inn, so she made lunch for them.

Though Waters View Inn may not have an official motto, the phrase, "the place you'd rather be," is the business's hashtag line for its social media page. Chef Sarah mentions that this phrase derives from the campaign on social media when people say, for example, "I'd rather be fishing" or "I'd rather be at the beach," which is how the owner, Kristina, came up with "the place you'd rather be" for Waters View Inn.


Kristina is the current owner of Waters View Inn and took over the business in March 2021. The inn itself has been an inn for nearly 140 years, dating back to 1883 when it was first built by Barney Dyckman. The property began as an inn the year that its construction was completed and has continued to operate as an inn throughout the course of its existence. According to Sarah, the properties operations manager and chef, in the 1920s, there was a "sporting house" upstairs, and the downstairs was typically where supper was made. Eventually, in 1979 Mary Hammer purchased the acreage and renovated it. It wasn't until 1983 when the inn was opened to the general public as the first bed and breakfast in the area, Chef Sarah reports.

Chef Sarah and Kristina were born and raised in South Haven and have been friends since they were in 2nd grade. Kristina had previous experience in the corporate industry before owning Waters View Inn, and Chef Sarah had been a chef in the town for several years. Chef Sarah contributes some of the success of the business to her and Katrina's previous experience in such areas, which she says has also aided their teamwork in many ways. The social media platform of Waters View Inn, plus other advertisement methods, has additionally boosted the success of the business, according to Chef Sarah. Before owning the acreage, Kristina was in search of a place where they could raise their families, which led them to discover Waters View Inn.

Several renovations have been made since Katrina took ownership of the property. One particular update to the business is its name, which was changed from Last Resort Inn to Waters View Inn. The names of the rooms were also updated so that each unit could be named after a historical figure of South Haven. TVs were added to each of the suites, the landscaping was changed, and the back deck was painted. Chef Sarah explains that they are currently in the process of updating each room. As for future plans, the owners have the goal to continue making renovations, add more rentals to the property, and add more amenities.

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86 North Shore Drive S.
South Haven, Michigan 49090
United States


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