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“Unique Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Grand Hotel

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Grand Hotel
Ranked #5 of 12 Hotels in Mackinac Island
Certificate of Excellence
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Unique Experience”
Reviewed September 1, 2011

The Grand Hotel is an older hotel with a ridiculously massive and enchanting porch as its signature feature. The Grand Hotel is located on Mackinac Island, Michigan which features horse powered transportation, tons of fudge shops, beautiful scenery, cool breezes, and......no automobiles! Despite the waste from horses (clean-up workers endlessly scoop up the fragrant horse apples) the clip-clopping of the huge percheron horses as they haul tourists in wagons is almost hypnotic..... and very relaxing. The Grand Hotel itself is a living and breathing history lesson. The rooms range in price from expensive to crazy-expensive. Each room is decorated by a designer named Carlton Varney. Mr. Varney seems infatuated with retina-melting flower patterns on every wall and is not shy about overkill. The basic rooms (Category I) are nothing special and can run you north of $350 a night. Named rooms and cottages ....well, if you have to ask you (and definitely me) probably can't afford it. The Grand Hotel tries to market itself as an modern example of a more refined and sedate period in our past. I couldn't care less about this aspect and the required suit and tie after 6:00 p.m. is a little on the pretentious side. On the other hand, dressing up does add a bit to the unique experience. Music is emphasized at the Grand Hotel so the harp player in the parlor, the jazz band in the theater, and the piano player in the Cupola Room Bar atop the Hotel are nice touches. There are all sorts of references to an earlier time at the Grand Hotel like a formal High Tea, interesting art seemingly plastered on every wall, and an in-house historian who gives group lectures about the evolution of the Grand Hotel......BTW, he is very interesting and entertaining. There is a huge pool, a workout room, an enormous restaurant on site, a mini-art gallery, a few specialty shops, concierge service, tons of bikes to rent (YOU MUST DO THIS!...the island is gorgoeous and seeing it from the 8 mile bike ride was a highlight), off-sight restaurants owned by the Grand Hotel, and a zillion other things that add to the experience. A few negatives included hearing kids crying at all hours, horrible window views if you stay in a Category I room, and you may feel your room is overpriced. Other highlights besides the ones previously mentioned were the breakfasts...outta this world great, taking in the view from the porch while waitstaff bring you drinks (for a price) is very nice, the overall service is outstanding, and the beautifully landscaped grounds with millions of flowers, a fountain, topiary, and a fitness path provide a picturesque backdrop for a stroll with the love of your life. One more note...you will need to take a ferry to the island (unless you take a chartered or private plane) and I recommend the catamarans leaving from the Arnold Lines dock......they are more modern and smooth riding than the older Shepler Dock ferries. The ferry ride takes about 10 to 15 minutes and they take care of your luggage so it arrives at your door when you get to the Grand Hotel. Overall, my wife and I had a relaxing and memorable end of Summer vacation at the Grand Hotel. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dinobrava
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2011

I recently spent 6 days travelling from Traverse City to Mackinac Island. Had a great time and the weather was perfect. Being from Austin Texas, we really enjoyed the break in heat!
This review is about our stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. I will start with the good stuff as the list is short. The hotel is gorgeous if you are into history. I own historic property so I loved that part. The room was large and furnished in what I will call New England Cottage style. The room was very clean but one of the beds (we had 2 double beds as we were not given an option for a king on the website when booking) was broken and sunk down in the middle. Maybe they didn’t know so no complaint on that.
Now for the rest and I will be as concise on each point as possible. When my wife booked she told them we were celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary AND that we would like to pay the remaining amount (incidental charges because they charge the full room charge up front for the entire stay) in travelers checks. They send a confirmation email with that regurgitated information in a note area but apparently no one reads it. As not one person said happy anniversary and read checkout noted below for no go on travelers checks. Good to mention here that the evening before we had stayed at Inn at Bay Harbor and were spoiled with attention. They surprised us with champagne, rose petals, swan towel animals on our bed and a discount off of the pre booked spa reservations. Highly recommend that place – it is over the top friendly. We were quite embarrassed by ALL the happy anniversary wishes from staff!
Anyway, back to the Grand Hotel, we arrived at the hotel to a registration line of at least 50 guests deep. We had just walked from the ferry and up a steep hill and did not expect to stand in a 30+ minute line to get our room. The (self professed new girl) check in consisted of giving us our old style room keys. Never having been here, we asked for information – hotel map, package inclusions, etc. The new girl wasn’t very knowledgeable and was in a hurry to get us checked in for obvious reasons – line behind us. But we received a map of the hotel at registration that was run off a copier and did not have many of the amenities of the hotel on the map! In fact, it was just the hotel itself and showed nothing of the pool, workout room, gardens, etc. The hotel property is huge and covers a large area so a good map is essential.
We went to dinner that evening and jacket and tie are required on property after 6pm. I wore a tuxedo for the occasion and my wife had a sequin cocktail dress. We were greeted at the restaurant entrance and were required to show our hotel ID and were given a dinner “ticket” that you sign and give to your waiter. We were given table with a lovely view. Within minutes our waiter appeared and was asking for our dinner order (there was a menu on the table when we got to the table. It hit my wife and me at the same time! OMG- THIS IS JUST LIKE BEING ON A CRUISE SHIP). My wife asked for a wine menu and the waiter responded by saying “red or white.” Confused she repeated her request. The waiters’ response this time was “that is not my job, I will get her.” First off, most of the dining room staff is foreign and very difficult to understand. We later found out that the dining room bar served only one kind of each red and white wine so he wanted to serve us that one kind. We later found out that the waiters receive bonuses for the number of people they serve at each sitting so he had no patience (more on that later) for anything that was beyond his duty. Anyway, the “drink steward” showed up with a wine list. Again, memories of a cruise ship! The drink steward never came back until we went looking for her. We were eating dinner before we could get a glass (in our case a bottle) of wine. My wife and I ordered the exact same thing (prime rib) cooked medium and were assured it had a “pink” center. Mine arrived perfect and hers was well done. She asked the waiter for another one like mine and he was very, very rude about it. I am a fiery individual and it took everything I had not to lash out at this guy. As a side note, when the waiter spoke to us he never looked at us and stared off elsewhere. Very disrespectful in my book. After dinner we walked around the hotel and went into the wine bar/tasting area. The room is beautiful with ornate oak woodwork and I approached the lady behind the counter (who was Jamaican and on her cell phone) and asked if the woodwork was original, her answer “I am not sure but I think so.” I later found out that it is not! It was added much later. I guess the thing that bothered me was that she was on her cell phone and, again thought it was unprofessional. Think about it. We are dressing for dinner to get the old time, no rush, at your service “feel.” Michigan, especially up north area, is FULL of some of the friendliest people we have ever met. . . .not this hotel.
The next morning (I really am trying to be concise); we find out that the hotel quits serving breakfast at 9:30 AM!! We wanted to work out before breakfast and it didn’t give us enough time to get to the sit down service. By the way, had to call down to the front to find out where the workout room is because there is no map of the property. We were told, first, by the pool. Then we asked “where is the pool?” “Just go out front to the white stairs” (this place is huge and you could walk around looking for the “white stairs”). Did I say that a map of the property would have avoided this? Anyway, after working out it was 9:25 and only continental breakfast is available. So we walk into the bar area where it was served which is connected to the front porch and I was immediately told to remove my ball cap. I did without a word. I got myself a plate of food and started out to one of patio doors (several double doors heading out to the expansive front porch with tables and chairs). I was immediately told that I can’t go outside. When I asked why not, I received a two word answer, “the birds.” By this time I was not a happy camper and I said, “This place has way too many rules.” There were three hotel employees working this area. All three were Jamaican and were standing behind the food bar speaking but not English AND not very friendly. I felt this very rude. While on the subject, workout room is an afterthought (looks like it is there to say they have one). You are not allowed to even look at the swimming pool until after 10:00 AM. We opted out of dinner on property the next night and had a wonderful meal at The Gatehouse with friendly American people (geez, I hate to say that but in this case its true).
When we checked out my wife went to pay with travelers checks. They would only accept $100 in traveler’s checks! Another stupid rule. We had even put on our reservation that we would be paying with traveler’s checks and we were never told that would be a problem. We also told them that this was a wedding anniversary vacation. Not one person in the entire hotel said anything about it. I could go on but this is already too long. In short, the facility is beautiful, the people were rude and uniformed, and the “not tipping” concept is dumb. I will never go back and I do not recommend it. Stay in the downtown area at one of the many B&B’s and just go and look at the building because it is cool.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
46 Thank myrptr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2011

Grand Hotel is one of the most amazing destinations, bar none. The historic hotel itself is absolutely beautiful. Seeing the famous front porch, upon arrival, is simply breathtaking. The hotel is elegant but very comfortable. You will not find another hotel with grounds more stunning, particularly in the Tea Garden. There are plenty of activities for the entire family including: tennis, swimming, games, fitness center, shopping, dancing, movies, bicycling, horse-drawn carriage tours and so much more. My favorite activity was attending a lecture given by the hotel's historian, where I learned many interesting facts about the history of the hotel. I also went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the hotel and saw the massive kitchen and a few other secrets that you can experience if you, too, go on the tour. There is no tipping at Grand Hotel, which is a refreshing change. The staff is incredibly gracious and friendly, with many of them working year after year at this summer hotel.And, the staff will remember you year after year, and genuinely be delighted to see you every time! The food is delicious and there are quite a few choices of places to dine like the Grand dining room, restaurant on the golf course called the Jockey Club, Gate House, the fine dining Woods restaurant located in the center of the island, plus several other options. All the restaurants offer a children's menu and/or a great children's buffet. The hotel has been owned by the same family, the Mussers, for more than 60 years, with the family working alongside the employees every day. We saw Mr. Musser every day and chatted with him. He is so involved and gracious to the guests.

Room Tip: The rooms that have the best view are the ones in the front of the hotel that overlook the lake.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Travellij
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2011

My husband, daughters (10 and 13) and I stayed at the Grand Hotel for three nights this August as part of their family special, which was stay two nights, get the third free. We travel often and enjoy staying at upscale hotels. I knew going into this trip that the hotel is very old, which I do feel adds to much of its charm. I also went with some trepidation based on several negative comments and reviews. First, the grounds and property can't be beat. Everything is gorgeous and it is so nice to retreat back here from the bustling main areas of the island. We felt the food was average, but we did acknowledge that the dining room staff we encountered were very friendly and attentive. The front desk lacked the finesse of other hotels that charge over $700 a night. The two wake up calls we requested and HAD TO HAVE on consecutive mornings never came and there was no apology from the staff when I politely spoke to them about it. Thank goodness we set my cell phone alarm as a backup. Likewise, we asked for an extra blanket to be sent up and that didn't arrive until after we asked a couple of times the following day. We loved our room, the Lady Astor Suite, and particularly enjoyed the balcony, which had amazing views of the grounds, bridge and straits. We used the pool twice and liked it very much, especially since there are some shady areas to sit in. Yes, the hotel is charming and one-of-a-kind for Michigan, but in light of the fact that we paid $2000 for three nights, I left feeling unsure if I would return. Like I mentioned, for $700 a night, I know there are many hotels elsewhere whose food and overall service would have been top notch. I do not regret the trip. As Michiganders, we felt it was something we had to try at least once. If I could, I would rate the hotel a 5 for ambiance and a 3.5 for service and food.

Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank kam627
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Blanc, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2011

Commit to enjoying the experience before you arrive; but keep in mind its a 4 star hotel at 5 star prices. Well worth it for the hospitality; culture; and history.....but do not expect large rooms; bathrooms and media centers. Instead enjoy exquisite decorating; well mannered employees with top notch service; stunning views and fabulous food...a wonderful family experience.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank grandblanctripadviso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
eagle
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 28, 2011

This was a fantastic hotel. It was the most relaxing time I ever had. It is like being on a cruise ship, there is fantastic food options and plenty of activities and entertainment available. We will be returning every year for a quiet weekend. Should have done this sooner.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Eaglevolunteermom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Okemos, Michigan
Level Contributor
165 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2011

It is expensive but the most beautiful hotel in the world. The view is spectacular from the porch and even more spectacular from the Cupola Bar. The food is good and the dining room old world. Be sure to look at the carpets and light fixtures.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lawflake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Hotel

Property: Grand Hotel
Address: 286 Grand Avenue, P.O. Box 286, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Michigan > Upper Peninsula > Mackinac County > Mackinac Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 12 Hotels in Mackinac Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 390
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 
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Also Known As:
Grand Hotel Mackinaw Island Michigan
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Michigan
Grand Hotel Island Mackinaw
Grand Mackinac Island

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