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“Grand Hotel - A Treasure for 125 Years”
Review of Grand Hotel

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Grand Hotel
Ranked #5 of 12 Hotels in Mackinac Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 June 2012

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.

Room Tip: Each room is unique and all are charming.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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9  Thank glomarrone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,184 - 2,190 of 2,671 reviews

Reviewed 17 June 2012

My husband and I have stayed on the Island many time's , but never at the Grand. This year was a special birthday, so we decided to splurge and stay there.. It did not disappoint . We had the Lilac package and thought maybe they would put us in a small room without a good view, this was not the case! Our room was beautiful. King size bed, clean, and a beautiful view of the lake, grounds and the Mackinac Bridge. Breakfast and dinner in the Dining room was "Grand". The food was delicious and the wait staff were great. What ever you need they were right there for you. With our package it included a Garden Tour. The gardens are beautiful, but it was our guide's first tour so she couldn't answer all our question's. It was a nice tour anyway. We also loved listening to the band after dinner. The room and the bandstand had a 40's vibe, which I love. I think my favorite part of the stay was sitting on the grand front porch. It's a must if you visit .

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Laura0930
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2012

The Grand Hotel is a nice hotel; however, the way its run leaves a lot to be desired. Having just stayed in a $2,000+/night suite, I can tell you the following:

1) The biggest let down is that the hotel seems to go out of its way to cater to tours for people not staying in the hotel. Large herds of elderly people touring the halls in competition with paying guests removes most of the allure and exclusivity I envisioned before our trip and really gives it the feel of a Midwest casino.

2) The hotel is not kid friendly. I'm not saying that's good or bad...but by 6:30pm in the main hotel, everyone has to be in coat and tie (or equivalent) in common areas or locked in their room. Families should know that. There is a kids club where parents can drop off children in the evening. But, it closes at 9pm, which is laughable for adults hoping to enjoy an adult evening.

3) Avoid the heralded lunch buffet like the plague. The food selection is nothing special and the place is PACKED with people, most of whom don't even appear to be staying in the hotel. You can tell this is the case by how they are handled when standing in line to enter. Management ought to stand in the buffet line to hear the negative comments. The line alone is a logistical nightmare...largely compounded by the diners not staying in the hotel.

4) In some respects, the hotel is like a cruise on land. The staff is largely Bahamian, Polynesian, etc., just like a cruise ship. They are very nice and accommodating BTW. They also put you on a "meal plan", similar to a cruise ship, but using grade school terminology.

5) The hotel has some shops but they close woefully early. We were really surprised by this. I think it's a tribute to the fact that most of the guests are elderly, so its pointless to keep anything open late.

6) The hotel is decorated by the same people that decorated the Greenbrier, so it's common areas are very similar. The clientele are what I imagine of the QE2 cruise ship.

My family is traveling the country visiting hotels like the Grand. The hotel could take a lesson or two from the Greenbrier. I'm not sure how it survives many more decades without major changes given that my wife and I seemed to be the only ones staying there for pleasure in our 30's. 80% were probably 55+ baby boomers, and people our age aren't going to be interested in what they have to offer.

In the end, I'm glad I can say I stayed in the hotel....but I can't see us returning.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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11  Thank luxurytraveler2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2012

I have always wanted to stay at this hotel but was reluctant due to the price. I guess I'm old style. I love the Greenbrier and the Biltmore in Clearwater. The Grand is a special place. It is run very efficiently. The staff are friendly and helpful. We got lucky and had a room overlooking the water. The room was reasonably sized and had a large bathroom. Beds were very comfortable but they could use some better/different pillows. Temperature controls were very good. Meals were fantastic with several choices. Played golf one day. Luch was a buffet with fruit, salads, and several entrees. The cost of the cart was $80. You and your bags are transported between each 9 hole course by horse and carriage. Nice outdoor pool a short walk from the hotel. Sitting in the rocking chairs on the huge fron porch was suprisingly peaceful. Looking forward to a return trip.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank CarlGS455
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2012

My husband and I stayed for three nights and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. There is a lot of hype surrounding this hotel so we weren't sure what to expect. We have made several trips to Mackinac Island, including overnight stays but had never stayed at the Grand Hotel. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly staffer. Our room wasn't ready yet, it was around noon, so they pre-checked us in and we then checked the one bag we were carrying (the rest were handled by the ferry) and took a walk around. The pool was not open yet, as expected. The hotel has nice gift shops with prices that were less than ones I saw on the same items in town. Once we checked into our room, our luggage had arrived and was stacked in the hall by the door. Our room was massive with two double beds, a couch, two chairs, two end tables, two nigh stands, a dresser and a cabinet which held the mini-bar. Prices on the mini-bar were high but most food on the island is expensive. The beds and furniture were comfortable. We had an interior view as stated in our package which was a view of other hotel rooms. They are not kidding about the dress code. After 6:30 if you are hanging out on the porch or in the hotel men have to be in jacket and tie and women in dresses or pantsuits. We dressed for dinner each night and enjoyed a five course meal that left us full and satisfied. Hotel staff throughout the Grand were friendly and helpful. The golf course is beautiful. The internet in the room was fast and reliable. We stayed on the Pure Michigan package which included breakfast and dinner. If we didn't want to dress up we could order room service, but we went to the restaurant for each meal to enjoy the ambiance and music. The stay was well worth the price when considering the meals included and costs at other nice hotels on the island. We are hoping to go back soon. The only real problem we encountered was noise. This is an old hotel. You can hear people in the hall and neighboring rooms. They provide ear plugs in the night stand so this must be a common complaint. My suggestion is that you play the TV or radio or bring your own headphones or ear plugs. It always got quiet at night because this is not the hotel where people come to party at night.

Room Tip: Look for a good package which includes meals and other perks. We stayed on a package with third nig...
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank rameyfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2012

We made arrangements to spend our 35th Anniversary at The Grand Hotel and were really looking forward to "a grand experience". The hotel is gorgeous, the front porch is spectacular. We were hoping to get a room with a view and unfortunately got a room over looking the staff quarters and no water in sight. The room was nicely appointed and the bed was comfortable but a nicer pillow would have been appreciated. We felt cramped at the table in which we were seated for dinner next to a wall. We asked to be seated near the window and were told it wasn't possible even though there were plenty of open tables near the wall. The food was mediocre at best and the courses came out too quickly. The concierge was not very helpful when asked about local tours and was rather unfriendly. I expected more for the cost.

Room Tip: Pay extra for a room with a better view!
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Kwstl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2012

My new husband and I were just married first of June and were looking for a drivable distance with a retreat/ resort feel. Neither of us had been to Mackinac Island and The Grand sounded like the place to go. We spent 4 nights and 5 days and overall our experience was wonderful.

A few notes to share: We suprised by the number of tour groups/ kids in and around the property during the day. Our first guest room was incredibly loud. It was located under the stairs to the Cupola bar and mid-day a herd of elephants (aka teenagers) were running up and down the stairs. Daniel at the front desk was very kind in work with us to move our accommodations to a quieter spot!

The food was excellent. I would sugget being persistent about where you sit in the dining room. The location seemed to make a big difference in our overall experience. We had breakfast each morning and did formal dining 2 nights, the Jockey House 1 night and the Gate House 1 night. We enjoyed them all.

We did have massages at the Spa. Both of our practitioners were so professional.

It was certainly a special trip for us and we wouldn't change it for anything!

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank ChristaEldridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Hotel

Address: 286 Grand Avenue, P.O. Box 286, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Michigan > Upper Peninsula > Mackinac County > Mackinac Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 12 Hotels in Mackinac Island
Price Range: £271 - £673 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 390
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 
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Also Known As:
Grand Hotel Mackinaw Island Michigan
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Michigan
Grand Hotel Island Mackinaw
Grand Mackinac Island

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