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Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI - Hotel Review

A Grand Lady of Tradition

View from the lawn of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI
View from the lawn of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI

Grand Hotel Review

There is plenty of history in this neck of the woods. First, Jesuit fathers arrived in the mid-1600s, then French trappers, and by the late 1800s the industrialists, who decided to build Grand Hotel. Even though the property was expanded later, it was definitely a large project to establish this "grand lady" in the middle of nowhere — or at least in the middle of a big lake that freezes in the winter — at that time.

There is nothing quite like Grand Hotel anywhere in America, making it a must-see destination for the seasoned traveler. You might be reminded of the Hotel Del Coronado in southern California, but Coronado is no Mackinac Island. And, guess what? There are no automobiles here. The only noise you hear in town are children laughing, people talking, and the sounds of horse-drawn carriages and boats pulling into the harbor.

You may arrive at the hotel by boat or in a light airplane. The location is prime, a real haven of peace, where the clock stops and romance begins. In fact, the producers of the film "Somewhere in Time," featuring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve, shot on location at the hotel.

The Napoleon Suite of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI The Esther Williams pool at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI
The Napoleon Suite
Esther Williams pool

Your carriage brings you to the hotel where everything from the carpeting to the shampoo is done in a geranium flower theme. The all-wood structure harbors more than 300 guest rooms, a very grand dining room called — in the French tradition — Salle à Manger, meeting rooms and a gigantic patio, which makes you feel like you are on the deck of a bygone-era steamer.

In contrast, the Cupola Bar gives off a modern feel. Restored and maintained by designer Carleton Varney, it keeps up with the times. Shops, a salon, a tea room and a miniature museum of American masterpieces complete your tour of the house. Quite a few weddings are held on the property and group business is the specialty of this Victorian Goliath. While the island is a pretty casual place, things get serious at night, when men must wear coats and ties and women, evening dresses.

Each of the guest rooms is unique in design, and there are also many specialty suites to choose from. For those who desire them, accommodations in the Millennium Wing bring in modern-day amenities. The hotel's most decadent lodging is the four-bedroom Masco Cottage. A stay here includes full breakfast, lunch and a five-course dinner each day, with the option of having meals prepared by a chef in your suite if you are staying more than one night.

Festivals abound on the Island and the hotel offers many packages tailored to these travelers with specific interests.

A bastion of Old World hospitality and charm takes you back in time. This hotel might be a very good prescription for relaxation. A week or just a few days here will change your life. The Musser family, now in its third generation of ownership, describes Grand Hotel as "the crown jewel of pristine, secluded Mackinac Island; Grand Hotel has been the world's largest summer hotel since 1887." Will they ever break tradition and open in the winter? Time will tell.

 

Grand Hotel
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Tel:
800-33-GRAND, 906-847-3331
www.grandhotel.com

 

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(Updated: 04/11/13 CT)


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