One of the country's oldest and grandest hotels is located at on Mackinac Island. For many people, visiting the Grand Hotel and the island itself is like taking a step back in time when hospitality and charm were at their finest. Every aspect of the hotel goes beyond the imagination, including the lavish accommodations, daytime and evening activities, fabulous dining experiences, and luxurious spa treatments. For more than 100 years, the Grand Hotel has been the place preferred most by the distinguished of guests.

Steeped in rich history, the Grand Hotel allows guests to enjoy original late 19th-century architecture and impeccable service coupled with modern day amenities. What makes staying at this hotel so special is that all of Mackinac Island is relaxing yet exciting. Adding to the allure, guests will have to depend on bicycles and horse and carriage rides since cars are prohibited.

For families, couples, friends, honeymooners, and business travelers alike, the Grand Hotel remains a top destination choice. This 390-room estate is breathtakingly beautiful, further enhanced by the lush and well-maintained gardens, lawns, and landscaping. With the perfect combination of exquisite accommodations and an abundance of fun activities, the Grand Hotel has been the recipient of numerous awards.

Back in 1886, Mackinac Island was a top summer getaway. However, as there were no viable accommodations, the Mackinac Island Hotel Company was established. After land was purchased, construction began in 1887.

Early on, the front porch, which measures 660-feet long and ranks as the longest in the world, was the primary place for meetings, but it also became known as the “Flirtation Walk" for couples looking for a romantic place to meet. This hotel has become so popular that today, it caters to more than 130,000 overnight guests each year.

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1.Guest Accommodations

Guest Accommodations  

No other resort in North America compares to the Grand Hotel. Among the 390 guestrooms, over three-dozen are theme-named, and all gorgeous and unique. Guestrooms and suites are tastefully furnished and decorated thanks to Carleton Varney, the famous New York Designer. In addition to fine linens and furnishings, the accommodations feature mini-bars, cable television, a coffee maker, an iron and ironing board, individually controlled air conditioning, a room safe, complimentary lotion, hand and body soap, and geranium-scented shampoo and conditioner, which is based on the type of flower that thrives on the island.

As is evident throughout the Grand Hotel, Varney has a very distinct flavor that consists of bright colors, bold contrasts, and floral patterns, thereby creating spaces for guests that are comfortable, practical, and vibrant.

Standard Guestrooms

Guests have a nice selection of more traditional guestrooms, including: smaller guestrooms with interior views and lake views; Larger guestrooms with interior views; Deluxe lake view guestrooms complete with a balcony; Themed Suites; and Masco Cottage.

The themed rooms are beautifully designed to commemorate important people and places. In true Carleton Varney style, the suites boast individual designs, furnishings, and an appropriate ambience according to the theme. Some examples of suites available at the Grand Hotel include the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Suite, First Lady Bird Johnson Suite, First Lady Nancy Reagan Suite, Napoleon Suite, Eisenhower Suite, Stockbridge Suite, Dolly Madison Suite, Esther Williams Suite, China Suite, Hollywood Suite, Versailles Suite, and Somewhere in Time Suite, among many others.

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2.Luxury Suites

Luxury Suites  

Suites range in size from one to two bedrooms. Two examples are the Musser Suite, which is in honor of R.D. Musser, Jr., and the Cupola Suite, which was recently added in 2015.

The Musser Suite has a gorgeous bedroom with a king-sized bed, separate parlor, wet bar, and unbelievable views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. The Cupola Suite also has a king-sized bed and separate parlor, but what makes it different is the option of a connecting bedroom complete with two queen-sized beds.

The most luxurious of all accommodations at the Grand Hotel is the Masco Cottage. This four-bedroom cottage provides privacy and an abundance of amenities to make guests feel at home. Connecting to the east end of the hotel via a private walkway, the cottage has two bedrooms downstairs as well as private bathrooms, two bedrooms and a single bathroom upstairs, a media parlor, a living and dining room area, a kitchen, and a private outdoor hot tub.

Guest can enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prior to dining in the cottage for dinner with all cuisine skillfully prepared by a personal chef. The cottage also comes with a fully stocked bar and refrigerator, nightly turndown service, special discounts on ferry boats and air service, and when staying one month, round-trip airfare is included.

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The dining experience while staying at the Grand Hotel is unrivalled. From the time the hotel first opened its doors to today, dining has been one of the highlights. In addition to the exceptional cuisine, the service and ambience are unbeatable. Guests can choose from a variety of dining experiences, which range from casual to semi-formal.

While the Sushi Grandserves fresh sushi for dine-in or carry out, the Main Dining Room, Jockey Club at the Grand Stand, and Woods provide mouth-watering lunches and dinners. To cool down, guests can head to Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor where they will find 24 incredible flavors. Additional places for dining, sipping on tea, and adult beverages include the Gate House, Cawthorne's Village Inn, Carleton's Tea Store, and the Fort Mackinac Tea Room.

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As expected from a hotel of this caliber, guests are pampered with specialty spa treatments. Along with traditional hair services, manicures, and pedicures, the spa offers body treatments that both refresh and restore. Facial enhancements, skin resurfacing, hot stone treatments, and massages provided by licensed professionals are available.

There is no shortage of activities for guests of the Grand Hotel to enjoy. One example is Fort Mackinac. This National Historic Landmark has been the sentinel of the Straits for 224 years. It is just a quick walk or bike ride away, and guests can watch rifle firing demonstrations and explore fourteen of the original buildings that feature exhibits, videos, and period settings.

The historic downtown area of the island is definitely worth seeing. There, hotel guests will find quaint retail shops, wonderful restaurants, fur trade era homes, and Victorian cottages. Butterfly Houses is another option. When visiting these two conservatories, guests are given the chance to get up close to native and exotic species of butterflies. Taking atrip to the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum is another excellent option. On display are Native American baskets alongside modern-day paintings of the island created by people who live there.

Hotel guests can visit the Old Mackinac Lighthouse, which helped guide ships through the Mackinac Straits from 1892 to 1957. If preferred, they can venture off the island by taking a number of different day trips. There are also island exploration opportunities with geocaching.

For guests who love the game of golf, the Jewel is without question one of the unique courses in the country. Amongst natural beauty and lush landscaping, you will find perfectly manicured tees, greens, and fairways. After finishing the Grand nine, a horse-drawn carriage will take guests, along with their golf equipment, to the Woods nine.

There are many other things to do at the Grand Hotel such as tennis, Pickleball, and fitness activities. While tennis is played on Har Tur-based clay courts with stunning views of the Straits, Pickleball is played on the only clay court in the state of Michigan. For fitness, the hotel provides exercise facilities complete with state-of-the-art equipment.

Hotel guests can go biking, take horse and carriage tours, participate in lawn games, and go for a swim in the famous Esther Williams swimming pool. The heated pool is220-feet long, making your swim truly an experience of a lifetime. Guests also have access to two whirlpools and a sauna. For something special, there is a full-time staff of professional musicians who provide nightly entertainment.

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5.Meetings and Weddings

Meetings and Weddings  

For important meetings of all sizes, the Grand Hotel offers several different options. For all meeting spaces, a personal convention manager is assigned to help with stage settings, audiovisual equipment, special meals, and other needs.

The Woodfill Conference Center is in a league of its own. This two-story facility offers 16,000 square feet of space that are the perfect blend of Victorian-era ambience and elegance coupled with cutting-edge technology. Featuring six meeting rooms, the center is commonly used for board meetings, private luncheons, cocktail receptions, and more. In addition to the center, the Grand Hotel offers many additional spaces.

The Grand Hotel is a gorgeous venue for weddings and other special events. Whether exchanging I Do's or hosting a retirement party, rehearsal dinner, anniversary party, or some other event, the Grand Hotel goes above and beyond. For weddings, a highly trained wedding coordinator is provided to work out all details, including music, overnight accommodations, food and drinks, floral arrangements, and everything else required for a gorgeous wedding ceremony.

The Grand Hotel has been a preferred wedding and honeymoon destination for decades. Trained staff will help with preparations for hosting weddings with up to 450 guests. Weddings can be held at the legendary Grand Hotel porch or the Tea Garden, both magnificent locations with spectacular views of the island.

Back to: Best Things to Do on Mackinac Island, Michigan and Family Weekend Getaways in the U.S., All inclusive resorts in USA

286 Grand Avenue, Mackinac Island, Michigan 49757, website, Phone: 800-334-7263

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Family Weekend Getaways: Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, Michigan