The Grand Hotel whispers of history and romance. Since 1887, it has beckoned guests to a bygone era of quaint hospitality and charm. Family owned for three generations, this National Historic Landmark is one of the finest summer resort hotels in the world. Guests enjoy the old-world hospitality with afternoon teas in the parlor, croquet on an endless lawn, dancing the evening away or sitting in a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch enjoying stunning views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. The Grand Hotel was the setting for the romantic 1980 film Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer.
When the hotel opened in 1887, the room rate was $2 or $3. Today, it has grown to 390 guest rooms of which no two are alike – from the Lincoln Suite to the Hollywood Suite – decorated by New York interior designer, Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper and Company. And, the Grand Hotel is very family friendly. “We are a multi-generational establishment,” says Ken Hayward, Managing Director. A lot of people who came to the hotel with their parents or their grandparents are continuing that tradition today. There are also many kid-oriented programs – youngsters can fly kites, go to the stables or the lake and even enjoy a Children’s Buffet at dinner. “Kids under 12 stay and eat for free,” Ken says. Mackinac Island itself is a very family friendly place and the hotel continues that tradition, he added.
Tradition is what the Grand Hotel Experience is all about and meals are a big part of it. Guests dress up for dinner in the Main Dining Room, a coat and tie for gentlemen and a dress or pant suit for the ladies. The Main Dining Room’s five-course dinner menu is renowned for its range and excellence, with four menus rotating throughout the season. It seats 850 guests with a center runway that dates back to 1887. Casual dining is available at other Grand Hotel restaurants including the Gate House, the Jockey Club and Cawthorne’s Village Inn, to name a few. Ken describes the Grand Hotel as a destination for people to enjoy life at a more relaxed pace, including a leisurely breakfast. “People like breakfast here because it isn’t every day they have the time to sit and enjoy their morning meal,” he says. “It’s all about the simple things here, sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, truly getting away and slowing down to appreciate life.” Afternoon tea is also popular, when guests can sit and relax with a cup of tea or a glass of champagne.
For further relaxation and fun, the hotel offers an 18-hole golf course. The Jewel is one of the most unique courses in the United States with unparalleled scenic beauty, lush landscaping and meticulously manicured tees, fairways and greens. The Grand nine is located across the street from the hotel with views of Lake Huron and Round Island. The Woods nine is set in the interior of Mackinac Island, with views of the Mackinac Bridge and the Upper Peninsula.
According to Ken, the Grand Hotel has been owned by the Musser family since 1933 and Dan Musser, II is the currently the president. The family has made many updates and improvements while maintaining the structure’s historical integrity. “It’s changed, but it hasn’t changed,” says Ken. The family has worked hard to maintain the 128-year-old building that is closed every winter. “Their dedication is enormous. That is what has allowed all we do to remain consistent over time.”
Facts – America’s True Grand Hotel™
- More than 130,000 overnight guests stay at Grand Hotel each season.
- The Grand’s 5,000,000th guest checked in on June 26, 2006.
- Five U.S. Presidents – Clinton, Bush, Ford, Kennedy, and Truman – have visited The Grand Hotel.
- The kitchen staff of more than 100 prepares and serves as many as 4,000 meals per day.
- Each season, more than 83,000 pounds of prime rib, 23,500 pounds of ham, 83,500 pounds of potatoes, 14,000 pounds of strawberries and 6,500 pounds of pecans are served to dining guests.
- The famous Front Porch flowers include 2,500 geraniums – the hotel’s trademark flower – in 260 planter boxes with seven tons of potting soil. More than 5,200 geraniums can be seen in all its flower beds combined.
- Each season, the Hotel serves more than 50,000 Grand Pecan Balls, its most popular dessert.
* all facts from www.grandhotel.com