Michigan’s Newest Lakeside Inn Is Giving Gilmore Girls Traditional, But In The Midwest

Stars Hollow with a twist.
Julie Vadnal Avatar
Traditional fireplace in hotel lobby

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I was born and raised in the Midwest (specifically outside of Chicago), which means I spent summers exploring Lake Michigan’s shores for family vacations. So when I pulled up to the newly renovated Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Michigan, why did I feel like I was suddenly starring as an extra in an episode of Gilmore Girls?

Traditional sofa in front of a window in a living room
Courtesy of Wickwood Inn Stoffer Photography

That magic is partly due to the charming town, but also thanks to Martin Horner and Shea Soucie of Soucie Horner, their Chicago-based design firm, who bought the 1937 home two years ago and refreshed it into a modern inn befitting of Stars Hollow.

Vintage desk with four bird prints above

Before the pair could make any cosmetic changes, they first had to consider the building’s history: Since the ’90s, the colonial structure was already a beloved inn, run by adored cook Julee Rosso, author of The Silver Palate Cookbook. “When we bought the inn, we were very conscious of [Rosso’s popularity and returning guests], but we also had to make it our own,” Horner says. So instead of taking down walls and turning the 11-room space into a sleek Scandi hotel, they paid homage to the legendary former owner by working in details that were already there, like the art and furniture, which they reupholstered or repurposed. (The bathrooms however? Those were gutted and replaced with new tile and marble.) 

View into bathroom with blue vanity
Courtesy of Wickwood Inn Stoffer Photography
Wood paneled guest room with clawfoot tub in room
Courtesy of Wickwood Inn Stoffer Photography

The rest of the inn’s “jewelry,” as Horner calls it, like the bamboo bed frame in my room when I stayed, came from epic vintage-shopping trips, Facebook Marketplace hauls, and even Horner and Soucie’s own homes. In fact, no two guest rooms are exactly the same, other than the lighting, bedding, and Waterworks faucets. To further keep consistency, they also kept to a soothing neutral Benjamin Moore paint palette. (Fan favorite White Dove was their go-to in most areas.) New Vispring mattresses appear in each guest room, too. 

Bamboo bed frame with white bedding and green pillow
Courtesy of Wickwood Inn Stoffer Photography

In the lobby and dining room, a fireplace and wood-paneled walls, adorned with one of Rosso’s original tapestries, create cozy spaces in which to convene before a day spent exploring the area’s wineries and art galleries (prioritize Ox-Bow, trust me). Plus, the backyard and screened-in gazebo are the perfect place to sip cocktails or indulge in the lobby’s complimentary chocolate chip cookies. 

Traditional-style room with lamp and chair
Courtesy of Wickwood Inn Stoffer Photography
Open shelving with bowls and fresh fruit and vegetables on counter
Courtesy of Wickwood Inn Stoffer Photography

The result almost feels delightfully non-Midwest, and certainly not beachy, even though the inn is just steps from the Kalamazoo River, where you can rent a candy-colored retro boat for an afternoon (highly recommend). Instead, the quiet luxury vibe, paired with former Oprah chef Rose Duong’s refined menu and warm welcomes from general manager Susan Michele make the whole experience decidedly Midwest. The only thing missing is Luke’s Diner.

Julie Vadnal Avatar

Julie Vadnal

Deputy Editor

Julie Vadnal is the deputy editor of Domino. She edits and writes stories about shopping for new and vintage furniture, covers new products (and the tastemakers who love them), and tours the homes of cool creatives. She lives in Brooklyn.