If you have always wanted to visit Mackinac Island and stay at the Grand Hotel as I have, this is the year to do so. The Grand Hotel is celebrating its 125 anniversary. The hotel has won numerous awards from prestigious travel and lifestyle magazines, other travel related industries, groups and Websites including Trip Advisor’s 2001 Certificate of Excellence and AAA triple Diamond Rating. Five U.S. Presidents have visited the hotel. If you are not a hotel guest, it will cost you $10 to enter the hotel and explore the grounds.
On a recent coach trip to Mackinac Island, I stayed here with a group of 30 people for two nights. The island is only accessible by ferry or plane. We boarded the Shlepers Ferry in Mackinaw City that brought us to Mackinac Island in 19 minutes. It was a glorious day & we all sat on the top level eagerly awaiting our first view of the Grand Hotel. It did not disappoint. After snapping numerous photos of the bridge and the hotel, we soon disembarked and boarded horse & carriages for our trip up to the hotel. No cars are permitted on the island - only bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. We all felt like we stepped back in time.
We were quite impressed with the charming Victorian hotel. It was one of the main reasons for our trip. Each of the 385 rooms is unique and I peeked into many of them out of curiosity. All had different cheerful floral or striped wall papered walls, vivid green or red carpets and beautiful window treatments. The rooms had white furniture and a few had canopied beds. Our large room was quite comfortable with yellow striped wallpaper and a vivid green carpet. Along with some colorfully wrapped bathroom amenities, we each received a copy of Live Healthy Live Grand a large planner with tidbits of information about the hotel, a daily food log and recipes for healthy eating. Expect to see vivid pinks, reds and greens throughout the hotel. Rates that include three sumptuous meals a day start around $254 for a Double in season on Weekdays. Preseason rates may be lower.
The resort is very kid-friendly as well and I saw many children having fun in the large outdoor pool, The Esther Williams Swimming pool where the temperature of the water was a warm 85 degrees. Kids 11 years and younger stay and eat free. There are many activities, kid’s programs, and a game room, T. Richards with toys and games for their entertainment.
Guests can play croquet, bocce, golf, tennis, horseback riding; get a massage, facial treatments, manicures or visit the Sauna and Jacuzzi located at the pool. There are also Grand Hotel and other History Lectures, Behind the Scenes Tour, Garden Tour and other walking tours. We were there during the Lilac Festival and there were special events going on throughout the island. The Movies, Somewhere in Time and This Time for Keeps both filmed here played daily. Some of us toured the historic Fort Mackinac. One rented a bicycle and rode around the island. The hotel can prepare a picnic lunch for you. We all enjoyed the art gallery featuring the lovely oil paintings of Marlee Brown.
We had a Modified American meal plan that included a full breakfast and five-course dinner. Service was wonderful at all our meals and the waiters looked spiffy in their teal tuxedos. You are expected to dress for dinner - men have to wear a jacket & tie. Fresh flowers, white tablecloths and napkins dress each table. Beautiful music plays in the background. Four dinner menus rotate daily. I chose Roasted Rack of Lamb with Pistachios and Prime Rib of Beef as my two dinner entrees. We all enjoyed the delicious meals. Be sure to order their signature dessert, the Grand Pecan Ball, which is a large ball of vanilla ice cream encrusted with pecans and served with chocolate sauce. They serve fifty thousand of them each season. The second night I enjoyed the vanilla Crème Brulee. Non-guests can diner for dinner in the Main Dining Room at the cost of $75.
One morning we took a carriage ride arranged by the hotel through the state park, which compromises 80 percent of the island. For me the Arch Rock stop was the main highlight. Later we were dropped off near the shops in town. We meandered around for a couple of hours finding good buys on tee shirts, ornaments and logo treasures of the island. Even if you do not usually enjoy fudge, at least try a free sample. The stores offer all sorts of unusual flavors and the island is known for its fudge. Look for the small out-of-the-way Grand Hotel Outlet just down from the hotel located in the Gate House Restaurant courtyard.
On our last day, we sat on rocking chairs on the 660-foot-long porch (the world’s largest porch) enjoying the specialty drink of the day and the view of the straits of Mackinac. Others enjoyed afternoon tea in the spacious lobby. Then we walked up West Bluff admiring the architecture of the Victorian homes. Later that night, we visited the Cupola Bar, listened to the soft piano music, and watched the sun set behind the trees. The Cupola Bar is not accessible by elevator. Dance the rest of the night away to the music of The Grand Hotel Orchestra in the Terrace Room.
Our short stay at the Grand Hotel ended all too soon but we were left with many happy memories of the wonderful service and hospitality extended to us by everyone that we met in the hotel, on the carriage tour and in the shops. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and wish that I could return. The hotel closes for the winter by the way.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to America’s Summer Place. Every year since 1887, Grand Hotel has welcomed guests and families to Mackinac Island, where cars are not allowed and bikes and horse drawn carriages are the favored modes of transportation. As Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels and Conde Nast Traveler's Top 5 Midwest Resorts in 2012, Grand Hotel offers outstanding accommodations where no two guest rooms are alike. Enjoy spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac in a rocking chair on the world’s largest porch,complimentary children's programs, The Jewel golf course, swimming, tennis, lawn games, gardens, bicycling, carriage tours, shopping, Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor, and an experience you will never forget. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel Mackinaw Island Michigan
- Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Michigan
- Grand Hotel Island Mackinaw
- Grand Mackinac Island