I won’t pretend to be objective with my opinions about Grand Hotel. My wife and I have had an extended stay there every other year since 1988, and believe it to be the world’s finest summer hotel. We just returned last week from a ten-day stay, and had another great vacation. We have been close observers of the hotel and its operations through the years, and are pleased to share that things are still very much in top shape. The place pretty much speaks for itself: a well-run, festive, and relaxing resort that reflects the preferences of its Mid-west clients. The place has so many returning fans and is so universally admired across the Mid-west that I would not have normally provided this review. However, I was surprised to see some of the fairly recent and highly negative reviews, and wanted to comment.
The place is simply a spectacular physical plant, located at one of the most beautiful natural sites anywhere in this country. The weather, blue skies, lake views, and abundant flowers perfectly compliment the slower, horse-drawn atmosphere of a visit here. It is a summer hotel, so the brilliance of the surrounding nature flows into the hotel in the form of wild but complimentary décor reflecting the colors and presence of flowers and foliage. The physical plant is a blast back into time, with wood floors, decorative woodwork, and columns kept in proper historic condition. Even the occasional uneven floor and quirky bend in a hallway have been retained to remind you that you are not in another one of those Florida or East coast cookie-cutter resorts (like a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons).
A similar difference from typical resorts extends into the dining room experience. Professional waiters are recruited each year from the top resorts across northern Jamaica. Some, like the waiter we first encountered twenty years ago, have come back for many years. The service is paced in a slower, summer vacation manner. The waiters tend to leave diners alone for their vacation conversations, rather than hovering in the continual manner at your typical four-star establishment. I find that they really enjoy their profession -- which is quite respected in their home country – and find working at the hotel a good job.
The food is great. I dine regularly at top clubs and restaurants, and believe the Austrian chefs do a great job providing tasty and hot food that is entirely worth the price paid (equal to about $25 for breakfast and $60 for dinner). And, all of this is accomplished for 600-800 diners who arrive within about an hour of each other. If you are expecting service along the lines of a Ritz, want to dash through your meal, or don’t like a cheerful bustling atmosphere (something like Gallitories in New Orleans), than you probably won’t like Grand Hotel, or for that matter, Mackinac Island.
The rooms are exactly as advertised. Individual, a bit quirky, and festively decorated. For those of you who pay the lowest rate, you get a smaller accommodation and an inland view. Pay a bit more and you get the view – what do you expect? You pay that rate at a Ritz and you get the “city view”.
The overwhelming majority of people keep coming back to this institution for decades and even generations, and their patronage speaks a lot louder than folks who just simply don’t understand how to relax and enjoy yourselves in a Mid-west kind of way. The day this place becomes just another chain resort that operates according to a manual written by some window seat-demanding, wimpish, cry-baby, white glove-carrying, prissy will be the day of its demise. This is one of the best, most unique and enjoyable places anywhere and absolutely worth the money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to America’s Summer Place. Every year since 1887, Grand Hotel has welcomed guests and families to Mackinac Island, where cars are not allowed and bikes and horse drawn carriages are the favored modes of transportation. As Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels and Conde Nast Traveler's Top 5 Midwest Resorts in 2012, Grand Hotel offers outstanding accommodations where no two guest rooms are alike. Enjoy spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac in a rocking chair on the world’s largest porch,complimentary children's programs, The Jewel golf course, swimming, tennis, lawn games, gardens, bicycling, carriage tours, shopping, Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor, and an experience you will never forget. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel Mackinaw Island Michigan
- Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Michigan
- Grand Hotel Island Mackinaw
- Grand Mackinac Island