BACKGROUND Situated on Michigan’s historic Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw Island), this is perhaps the region’s most iconic hotel drawing devotees season after season since 1887. This resort is a registered National Historic Landmark and member of the Historic Hotels of America. Movie buffs might recognize the hotel from the 1980 film Somewhere in Time.
WHERE IS IT? Guests take a ferry from the mainland to this charming island on the northern end of Lake Huron. No cars are allowed on the island. Instead, visitors can bike, walk, or take a horse and carriage wherever they need to go.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Today, this historic resort continues to attract guests looking for sophisticated luxury. It’s the type of old-school place that requires a coat and tie for gentlemen after sunset. Manicured gardens and the world’s longest front porch provide ample place to relax, and the hotel’s eclectic interiors showcase an array of colors and whimsical furnishings. The seasonal hotel is open May through October, and gratuity for staff is included in the rates.
ROOMS Given the building’s history, no two accommodations are alike, each individually decorated by Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Co. Expect historic paintings and photographs, grandiose fabrics and reproduction antiques, but rooms sport all the modern expectations including air conditioning, flat-screen TVs and wireless Internet. Closets store refrigerators, bathrooms stock geranium-scented toiletries, and many rooms feature furnished balconies. Some of the most popular rooms are the named suites as well as new Cupola Suites with living areas and one or two bedrooms.
FOOD AND DRINK Dining is a highlight here, and guests can choose room-only rate plans or the option to have breakfast and dinner included. The main dining room serves a la carte breakfast and dinner. The experience is a regal affair served on fine china by tuxedoed servers. Less formal dining is available at The Jockey Club across the street; other options include an ice cream parlor, wine bar, coffee shop, and The Gate House with live music and an outdoor patio. Cupola Bar on the fourth floor offers panoramic vistas of the island and the lake. Guests can also take a horse and carriage ride to Woods, a dinner restaurant housed in a historic Tudor mansion near the golf course.
LEISURE FACILITIES An 18-hole golf course, spa, outdoor pool and fitness center are among the recreational amenities. There’s also bocce and tennis courts, biking and hiking paths, and lawn games. The hotel has several shops and a beauty salon in addition to a popular, daily afternoon tea with harp accompaniment.
BUSINESS MEETINGS AND FACILITIES The resort has plentiful meeting space including a grand ballroom as well as smaller meeting room setups. Social and corporate functions take place here regularly, and the hotel’s own orchestra is just one of many live entertainment options.
VERICT This legendary hotel is the site of decades of happy memories for people. First timers, too, won’t be disappointed.
BEST FOR Historic atmosphere in a luxury setting with stunning views and lavish dining
DON’T MISS Evening demitasse service in the lounge – one of many nightcap options
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $319.
CONTACT 286 Grand Avenue, Mackinac Island, MI 49757, Tel 906-847-3331, grandhotel.com