A Review of our stay at Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
No trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan is complete without visiting Grand Hotel. And I’m here to tell you that staying at America’s Summer Place is even more magical. And while it’s hard to capture the magic of the hotel,  hopefully you can get an idea of how special it really is by reading about it.

Room highlights

We stayed in room 231 which was oh-so-cute with its green and pink color scheme. In fact, every room at the hotel is decorated differently.

  • Adorable color scheme. If you don’t like pink, this may have not been the room for you. But luckily for us, we love pink! Even right down to the pink couch.

  • Plenty of space. Our room was very spacious that included a sitting room with a pink couch and 2 chairs.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Sitting Room

Hotel Highlights

  • Unique. Every room is decorated differently. That means 393 uniquely decorated rooms! Such a feast for the eyes.We had a chance to tour a few new rooms a couple years back. Aren’t they beautiful!

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Suite Sitting Room

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Suite

  • Breakfast and a five-course dinner is included. The breakfast is awesome! You can choose a breakfast buffet or can order a la carte. We ordered our food a la carte. Everyone (including the kids) gets a chosen plate. Don’t miss out on the fruit smoothies. The made-to-order omelettes are delish. The five-course dinner was also memorable. I mean how often do you get dressed up to the nines for dinner (and it’s not a wedding?) We had such an amazing dining experience at some of the other off-site Grand Hotel restaurants. Read all about our dining experience here.  Note: Try the Grand Pecan Balls. O.M.G.

  • Afternoon tea. Having afternoon tea was one of my favorite experiences. My daughter and I took advantage of the afternoon tea. I sipped on tea, while my daughter sipped juice from her cup. I also enjoyed a sweet sherry (you can choose between sweet and dry), munched on tea sandwiches while my daughter devoured the sweet scones and assorted desserts. All this while we listened to a talented harpist play renditions of popular songs.  It was a magnificent time, one that I will always cherish. ($40/pp)

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Afternoon Tea

  • Ice cream! You all know how much we love ice cream, and how convenient to find the Grand Hotel has one! Named after the owner’s pooch, Sadie’s serves Hudsonville Ice Cream which is made in Michigan.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Sadies Ice Cream

  • Sit on the world’s longest porch. At 660 feet you can sit on a rocking chair and admire the view overlooking the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. During the day and evening, servers can bring drinks out to you. We personally like grabbing ice cream from Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor and eating it on the porch while watching the horses pass by.
  • Renting bicycles. If there is one thing you must do on the island, it’s exploring the island by bike. Luckily, Grand Hotel also rents bicycles. And thankfully, they had trailers too. It was so much fun, and definitely another highlight of our trip. Look for a post on exploring the island by bike.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Biking Mackinac Island

  • Fun lawn games.  The kids had fun playing bags, bocce, and croquet.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Lawn Games

  • An outdoor pool. Their serpentine pool is huge with tons of seating. It’s also heated! Double win! It was a little chilly when we went there and was nice to have the option to sneak to the whirlpool. They also have a sauna onsite.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Pool

  • An art gallery. Definitely worth a peek.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Art Gallery

  • Shop around. The lobby floor has neat shops like a tea store, boutique clothing store, florist, salon, and very neat oil paintings by resident artist Marlee.

  • Movies. If you ask, they will bring you a DVD player and movies. You can choose up to 2 movies at a time. This was a great way to unwind after a fun day exploring.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Movies

  • Horse carriages. Even their taxis and carriages are special. You’ll notice different kinds of horses along with a driver all decked out with a top hat. Unfortunately, we missed on taking a spin on one of these because the drivers were on break.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Horse Carriage

  • Gorgeous gardens. If you love flowers, take a stroll through their gardens. You can even ask the front desk for a map for your own self-guided tour.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Gardens

  • Labyrinth. Have you ever walked through a labyrinth? Although signs mentioned it a peaceful way to meditate, my kids loved running through.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Labyrinth

  • Golf. There is an 18-hole golf course located across the street. While we don’t golf, I can imagine how amazing it would be. Families are also able to play foot golf, a combination of soccer and golf.
  • Hospitality at its finest. Everyone we came in contact with was super-friendly and always willing to help out. For instance, when we couldn’t figure out how to open the sleeper sofa and housekeeping was off-duty, another person from another department tried to help out. When he couldn’t figure it out, he brought a rollaway bed at his suggestion.

Kid-friendly amenities:

  • Scavenger hunt. When you check-in, ask for a scavenger hunt card. If kids finish 5 activities from the list, (and get someone’s initial), they can get a free scoop of ice cream from Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor. Some of the items looked easy enough like going for a bike ride, swimming in the pool, and visiting a historic site on the island.
  • Children’s Programs. From June 2nd to August 31st, kids can participate in an afternoon or dinner children’s programs. Due to time constraints, the kids didn’t get a chance to participate but it looked like loads of fun! Lasting 3 hours, the drop-off programs includes lots of fun activities like kite decorating, touring the butterfly house or Fort Mackinac, or pizza and movie night. Each activity is different daily so if you’re staying more than one day, they’ll experience something new. If they participate in an evening program dinner is included. [Free included in stay]

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Kids Room

  • Arcade. What kid doesn’t like playing video games? They also have Skee-ball and the fun penny machine.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - Arcade

  • Kids are free under the age of 9. Ages 10-17 are $59.00 per night. Ages 18 and over are $139.00 per night.

We wish…

  • …we had a chance to ride the Grand Hotel carriage. The front desk said we just needed to wait for it, but didn’t account for the driver’s break. I wish we had known to schedule a ride ahead of time so we could have fit it in our schedule.
  • ..the sofa bed worked. They did alleviate the problem by bringing a rollaway bed.
  • ..the pillows were firmer. Just a personal preference of mine.
  • ..we had a chance to dine at the Woods, a Bavarian-style lodge. Word is you can also play duck pin bowling there.
  • ..we had babysitters. It would have been nice to sneak away and enjoy a dance or two to the sounds of the Grand Hotel Orchestra. I believe it started after 9:30 p.m. Way past their bedtime.

Tips:

  • If you can’t stay in the hotel, you can tour the hotel and grounds for $10. If you have lunch during the Grand Luncheon Buffet (highly recommend!) the fee is waived.
  • If you want the porch to yourself, wake up early (around 6 a.m.), grab a coffee from the Audobon Wine Bar, and just plop yourself on a rocking chair.
  • Schedule your luggage pickup at least two hours before your ferry ride (more if it’s during lunch time — horse’s break). We did it an hour and a half before and we still had to wait an hour later for our luggage on the mainland.
  • Tipping is not permitted within Grand Hotel.
  • To truly enjoy your stay you need to stay at least 2 nights to allow enough time for the full experience of getting outdoors, sitting on the porch, and enjoying the five-course dinner.

Fun Facts about Grand Hotel:

  • It’s been in the same family for 85 years.
  • It’s a National Historic Landmark.
  • Seven of the 393 suites were decorated in honor of our country’s first former first ladies. Unique suites were named after Laura Bush, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush.
  • Some other notable guests include: Madonna, Senator Al Gore, James Earl Jones, Presidents Bush and Clinton, Robert De Niro, Barbara Walters.
  • The kitchen staff of 100 prepares as many as 4,000 meals a day.
  • Their award-winning golf course is the only one that transports guests from the front nine to the back via horse-drawn carriage.
  • Their trademark flower is the geranium and uses 2,500 in all their flower beds combined. You’ll also find geranium scented soap, shampoo, and conditioner in the bathrooms.

Bottom Line:

We love Mackinac Island, but our stay at Grand Hotel made it even more magical. The hospitality, the decor, the traditions, the food – we loved it all! Trust me, you’ll leave with tons of memories.

Nitty Gritty:

Website: http://www.grandhotel.com/
Location: 286 Grand Avenue, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Check-in and Check-out:  4 p.m. and 11 a.m.
Parking: No need to worry about parking. Either foot it or catch a taxi to the hotel from the ferry dock.

Disclosure: Our family was provided a complimentary stay at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. I was not required to express a particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.