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Grand Hotel
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Reviewed 7 May 2012

This review may come late but nevertheless, I would like to applaud the excellent service at Grand Hotel during our stay last October 2011 at the "Somewhere in Time" weekend. The rooms where very clean and takes you back in time. The staff were very helpful and receptive to your needs. The food was unbelievably good!. Can't wait to go back their with my family. Keep up the good job!

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank nomad2368
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2012

The Grand lives up to, and exceeds, its name. It is truly a special place with a remarkable combination of history, elegance, beauty, service, and unique offerings found nowhere else. We now have in our possession outstanding memories our family will never forget.

  • Stayed: May 2012
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Thank Michelehodges
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2012

OK, I have been holding off writing this review until I could really take the time to do it right.

We stayed here in October 2011 for the "Somewhere in Time" weekend. It has been a dream of mine ever since I saw this movie when it came out (way back in 1980!) to stay at this hotel. Last autumn, I finally made it a reality. We spent six months sewing period-appropriate costumes and creating hats and purses to go with them, which turned out to be worth the effort as nearly everyone in attendance turned out in their finest 1912 couture. (Random nit: I was a little annoyed by how many people didn't really do their research, though--there were some women there in Marie Antoinette-era gowns, bustle dresses and other seriously anachronistic regalia.)

Getting there is half the fun. We flew into Traverse City airport (about a two hour drive though some really pristine country) and arrived in Mackinaw City a bit early in order to poke around the tourist shops. As they were getting ready to shutter up for the winter, we got some pretty amazing deals--up to 60% regular retail. Tip: buy your souvenirs on the dock side not the island side if you want to save some serious cash. We took Shepler's ferry over and it was a smooth process and an easy boat ride. You can get some decent discounts on the ferry tix if you buy them online.

By far the happiest surprise was that, upon our arrival, we found that they had comped us an adjoining room! At first, we all thought it was a mix-up and we were all pinching ourselves until the manager confirmed it. For a party consisting of four women, we could not have been more pleased. The rooms are absolutely charming and quaint. We were on the fourth floor, which is where Richard Collier's room was situated in the film.

This hotel is even more breathtaking in real life than it appears in the movie. It is well kept and clean and furnished in beautiful antiques. The package deal that you purchase for the SIT weekend, at first blush enough to give you sticker shock, includes all of your meals, and given the price of a single meal, the food alone was well worth it (not to mention the "no tipping" perk included in the package, which saves a bit too). I think we figured out that between the included food and drinks (not all drinks included, but see below re cocktail reception), we saved about $600 per person! There's an option to add the days bookending the weekend for just $159 a night and that is a SCREAMIN' deal of which I highly recommend taking advantage. The meals were decadent and delicious. They import Jamaican waitstaff for the restaurant, and those folks provided perfect white-glove service. There is a free nightly cocktail reception on the front porch--which, by the way, is the longest in the world at some 600+ feet--and this includes a full open bar and some amazing nosh (every type of cheese you could imagine and smoked trout with capers and cream sauce, anyone??).

There were several fun events tied in to the movie that took place at the hotel, including a screening of the movie where they handed out cocktails (and I've been searching ever since for the peanut butter vodka that was in my drink!). Some interesting panel discussions were held with some of the few remaining actors (sad we didn't go years ago, as Little Arthur was the biggest star in attendance) and a lot of the production people. We took a tour of filming locations and they did a bunch of re-enactments of scenes from the movie.

One unexpected bonus was that we brought the Southern California weather with us; from what I understand, it's usually about 40 degrees during SIT weekend, and it never dipped below 70 during our stay!

My sole complaint is that the hotel was not terribly helpful with accommodating disabled folks. Ironically, one week before our trip, I ruptured my ankle and ended up on crutches, and another member of my party walks with a cane. There are no cars on the island, and the only forms of conveyance are walking, bicycling and horse-n-buggy. Let's just say we got to know the horses by name! As a result, I got to see a bit less than I was planning to of the island itself, which was disappointing. When we took our film locations tour, the hotel was kind enough to provide a carriage so that we could still go, but there were a few locations we were not able to see, such as the gazebo. The other disappointment was that the Esther Williams swimming pool (so named because one of her flicks was filmed there) was closed for the season. I thought at least I could go use the jacuzzi. However, it is clear across the property; there was no way to get down there on crutches and the concierge had no solution to offer. It also would have helped a LOT to know right away that there was an elevator that went all the way down to the street level in front; the pair of us with challenges struggled for two days with that huge flight of steps until we finally discovered this.

All in all, this was one of the most memorable vacations I have ever taken. There are people that go every year, which, frankly, I think might sap some of the magic out of the experience. And this experience is one that I couldn't be more happy to have turned into a treasured memory.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank EuterpeThelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2012

We visit the island at least once a year and have stayed at Grand Hotel several times. We most recently stayed last year for a weekend, but this is a review of the hotel as a family resort from a week-long stay with our kids (then 14, 11, and 4) a few years ago.
Most people asked what in the world we did on the island for a whole week, but honestly we left not having done many of the things on our list. The older kids went to the pool, played games in the parlor (now Sadie’s trophy room), hung in the arcade (complementary tokens given out), and endlessly explored the island on their bikes. Mackinac is a safe place and our only instruction, after arming them with a cell phone, was, “Don’t get on a ferry”. They loved the freedom. Our younger daughter went to the children’s programs for about three hours each day, which included lunch and is complementary…that’s a remarkable amenity! For any families more accustomed to the $50 - $80 daily fees at other resorts, this is a huge savings. Rebecca’s Room is like a giant play room where younger kids can play, draw, read, whatever. We also played bocce and croquet on the lawn, enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails and Cokes on the porch while the kids played giant chess, and ran over to the Jockey Club in pajamas for s’mores at night. There is a special menu for kids at dinner as well as a buffet of favorites like pizza, chicken nuggets, and mac n’ cheese.
There are a lot of adult evening options in the hotel and related restaurants, but we hung out mostly at the Audubon and Cupola when we weren't in town. You’ll see the same servers in different locations throughout the week, and they’ll remember what you drink. The service throughout the hotel is consistently very good and frequently outstanding. One night we mentioned to the sommelier how bummed the kids were that the pretzel bread served at dinner isn’t available at breakfast. The next morning: pretzel bread in our breakfast basket. Service does occasionally lack (ironically, often at the main restaurant, Salle a Manger), but if you have a problem tell someone because our experience is that service recovery is taken seriously. I was not happy with our server at dinner one night and the maitre d’ came by to correct the situation immediately. The food is generally very good but we have had a few disappointing misses, along with a couple of questionable management choices (Lipton tea at breakfast? Really?).
We upgraded to a lake view room, requesting more space over a better view, and got a great dbl/dbl room with a rollaway that had plenty of space for our family. I’ve stayed all over the hotel and I’m certain this was one of the largest rooms that isn’t a suite. We couldn’t have put our whole family comfortably in some of the smaller interior rooms.
A general note about the rooms and the setting: this is an historic hotel and the entire guest experience is designed to reflect that. It creaks, it has exposed fire code pipes, the televisions are grudgingly included, and I'd never decorate my family room like this. But there is something cool about getting a metal key that says Room #8 instead of a plastic card for room 2019. If your expectation of a great vacation setting is the Emirates Palace, this might not be the place for you. I was one who was mildly disappointed when the A/C was installed. We find it elegant but comfortable, where we can relax, sink into the lobby sofas and laugh with the kids without getting the stink eye from some disapproving matron. We don’t let them run through the hallways and there is a dress code to respect, but that’s just common courtesy. Proper dress is required on the main floor, porch, and entertainment areas. The 4-yr-old daughter loved dressing up; the tweenaged son…not so much. Guests wearing jeans or other casual clothes in the evenings can exit/enter the hotel near the salon and take the elevator by Marlee’s gallery to the guest room floors upstairs.
Away from the hotel on the island there are so many things to do besides eat far too much fudge: take horses through the trails up island, hire a carriage to tour the residential areas, fly kites. Some things we weren’t sure about, or thought would be lame, were more fun than we thought. We hadn’t been to the Fort in a few years and ended up staying way longer than expected. The new Manoogian Art Museum is an absolute gem, with a space downstairs where kids can spend a lot of time coloring, drawing, and generally creating whatever they feel like. Highly recommended! Behind the museum, off the park, there is a stairway that leads up to the East Bluff. If you walk it at night tons of bats will fly around you. It gives me the heebiejeebies but the kids think it’s awesome.
If you’re considering where to take your family, Grand Hotel is a super option. Check their website for packages with rooms and you'll find rooms for 2012 from $310/night in the summer, less than many other island hotels. We’ve been to some great family resorts in the US (Wequassett, The Broadmoor, and Sea Island/ The Cloister) but our favorite is Grand Hotel. We’ll be back again this summer

Room Tip: A room with a (small) balcony, even in the back of the hotel, is a nice place to have a glass of wine.
  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank lifeisgoodtome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2012

Suites are comfortable and charming. Dining room was full service to say the least with delicious food. The Big Band at night was so much fun to dance to. Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places to go and The Grand Hotel is one of my favorite places in the nation to stay.
Really love it!!

Room Tip: The island is lush, but often times if you are in the back, you aren't looking at the island, but you are stuck looking at the not-so-attractive back lots of the hotel. If you can, choose the front of the hotel, better views.
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank VacationJunky4445
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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