Laidback luxury and slow-paced days allow guests to travel back in time.
When this magnificent hotel opened in 1887, it attracted wealthy travelers seeking a summer retreat. Today, its busy season continues to be mid-June through the end of August. It’s particularly crowded during yacht races and festivals, and is also popular for large conferences. Still, no matter how many fellow guests are checked in, you’ll feel as if you’ve escaped to a gentler place and time. Cars are not allowed on the island, and guests can get around by horse-drawn carriage. A 660-foot front porch, chamber music after meals and afternoon tea add to the feeling of being in a living museum. Each of the guest rooms has been individually decorated, and the suites are the product of interior designer Carlton Varney. They feature antiques and gorgeous furnishings, such as hardwood four-poster beds. The four-bedroom Masco Cottage is ideal for families and groups of friends. Recreation includes the serpentine-shaped Esther Williams swimming pool, clay tennis courts and the eighteen-hole The Jewel golf course, whose original Grand nine dates back to 1901. One of the best ways to explore the island is to rent a bike from the hotel, request a boxed lunch to go and head out for a day of visiting historic houses and the National Historic Landmark of Fort Mackinac. While the island is gorgeous year-round, the hotel is open from late spring to early fall. Springtime visits are particularly recommended, when the lilacs are in bloom. Enhancing the appeal of this hotel even further are its eco-friendly efforts, from composting to recycling programs.