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Grand Hotel
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Reviewed July 8, 2014

Do you remember when ladies dressed for dinner and men wore sport coats and white slacks? Well, this is the epitome of those days. Although the dress code has been relaxed, the atmosphere remains "back in time" because of the dress code of the staff and the true resort visitors who remember those days. Simply put, it is elegant. The downtown area is fun and the horse and carriage rides are unique. The rooms are fabulous and it seems like every one is decorated differently.

Room Tip: Ask for lake view
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Nancy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2014 via mobile

There are so many positives about this hotel. It's historic. The service is very good. The grounds are gorgeous. The views from the rooms, the porch, and the main dining room facing the lake are spectacular. The amenities are fine, as is the food.

On the downside, the experience is quite expensive, and mostly requires dining at the hotel. This works out well for those who are ok with that since the food and service get high marks. But it does wallop the wallet.


Also, while the decor and furnishings are more than satisfactory and, to my taste, quaint and in sync with the period, my wife reasonably believed that an update was in order.

Bottom line: this is a special place and offers a special experience. My advice is it's very cool to do at least once.

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Sandy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2014

This was our first trip to Mackinac Island and The Grand Hotel although we've visited many similar types of historic, full service hotels. Even so, this hotel has plenty of uniqueness!
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Our room was a package "deal" called Tee for Two. It was a nice package that included a round of golf (green fee only; club & cart rental were extra) as well as afternoon tea daily. Our package included breakfast and dinner daily as well. Unfortunately, we were unable to take advantage of the golf part of the package but the afternoon tea was very nice.

Our room was on the 2nd floor and the view to the pool, fountain and lake were lovely. We sat by our open window, enjoyed the cool breeze and watched photography sessions for 5 weddings in one afternoon! The AC in our room was noisy but we used it very little so noise was not a problem. The shower, linens, etc. were nice but my evening showers had limited hot water on both evenings before dinner.

There were many surprises about the hotel and the atmosphere. We underestimated the dress code even after speaking with the hotel staff. When I found the "dress code" information on the website, I called the hotel and spoke to the concierge about the required evening attire. I was assured that cocktail attire was not necessary and that "Sunday dress" was appropriate for ladies... in fact, the concierge said "anything but denim" after 6 PM would be fine. When we went to dinner the first evening, we saw that the younger ladies especially, were in prom-like or cocktail attire. As for the gentlemen, I saw three young men turned away from dinner and dancing when they were non-compliant with the dress code; their situation was handled discretely but firmly.

I'm a little unclear about the use of the pool. We went there late in the afternoon as it was about to close for the evening. The pool attendant asked if we were guests then she told a person standing nearby that it cost $12 per person to swim. That was surprising to us but not wanting to pay additional fees to swim or use the hot tub, we chose other activities. We also noted that bike rental was $6/hour near the ferry but was $8 per hour at the hotel. An attendant at the hotel lobby told us that the Grand's bikes were better. I don't know if that is accurate but my bike from the shop by the ferry was just fine.

It is not an easy task to serve nearly a thousand people for a meal however the food was good and there was a variety each evening (less variety in the morning). The hotel serves a rotational multi-day "cycle" menu with starter, appetizer and dessert courses added. At dinner on the second night, when my husband asked which entrée was the freshest item, the waiter (a veteran staff member according to his name tag) chuckled softly and said, "the omelet". That was disappointing. The atmosphere is elegant, the linens are crisp and pretty and the tables are lovely. The quantity of food is more than plentiful and it's plated well but the food itself is upscale cafeteria. The same was true for the afternoon tea... same food items both afternoons.

Yes, this hotel is grand in terms of elegant aspirations, scope of amenities, physical scale, history, maintenance & operations, and atmosphere but there is much that can be, and should be, improved if the grand tradition is to continue. My husband, a musician, noted that all of the pianos needed tuning, for example.

Were we disappointed? Not at all. If I were taking my kids or extended family, or celebrating a special occasion, or had a personal history with the hotel, then this is an IDEAL place. It's like a cruise ship on land and there is something for every person. On the other hand, if we return as a couple, we'll probably stay at a smaller hotel or inn (which we did one of the three nights of this trip).

Room Tip: room choice depends on personal taste, availability and your budget. We booked on short notice (less than 3 weeks) approaching the height of the season so we had limited choice and paid premium rates. All rooms had very nice views. the western view might be very warm in the afternoon sun so that might impact your choice. We were in room 262 and it was very nice for two people but it didn't have a kingsize bed, only a queen.
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Lynne4078
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GHKellie, Social Media Manager at Grand Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded July 9, 2014

Thank you for your very thorough review. It is unfortunate that you did not get to enjoy the golf and pool during your visit. We wanted to let you know that the cart fee is included, and not extra with the Tea for Two package, and that the charge to use the pool is only for non-guests of the hotel. Thank you again for taking the time to share your experience, we hope to be of service to you again in the future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2014

We stayed there for 2 nights (but if I was doing this trip again, I'd stay a minimum of 3 nights). I have trouble with my back so walking is a challenge. The hotel staff was accommodating with getting us a hotel room on the main floor so I didn't have to walk up steps (there is a very small elevator, though). We planned this trip in March so I made our reservations well in advance. We traveled with our daughter (who's in college) and had a great time here! We traveled from Kansas to experience Mackinac Island and we didn't want to stay in an average hotel...we wanted to experience the best! Our room had two full-sized beds (54" wide) and it was a challenge for my husband (he's 6' 6") & I to sleep in one, but we survived. The experience & atmosphere of staying at the Grand Hotel was one I won't forget. It's beautiful, elegant, and clean. We had the "bed & breakfast plan" (lunch & dinner not included), but we ate lunch at The Gate House (fantastic food and service) and Carleton's Tea Store (very casual); and for dinner one night we ate in the Main Dining Room's five-course dinner (luxurious) and the second night we ate at Wood's. The food was good at Wood's (beef goulash is $30) but it costs more to take a horse taxi out to Wood's vs. a restaurant in town. We loved Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor (great service and ice cream). They handmade the waffle cones right there - wow! The front porch is truly spectacular - there were many weddings on the front porch that was fun to watch, and we sat out there until our room was ready sitting on the rocking chairs reading (very relaxing).

Room Tip: Tell the reservation person if you have any limitations (mine was walking distance and steps due to a bad back). I guess I should've told them my husband is 6' 6", but I did ask for a room with a queen and full sized beds (which they said they had, but could not promise). And we ended up with a room with two full sized beds that wasn't comfortable for us (but like I said above, we survived). We did notice that people brought box fans over on the ferry with them just in case their room wasn't cool, but our room's air conditioning worked fine.
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank pianokam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2014

First time to Mackinac Island. Heard and read about the Grand Hotel and thought if we're going to do Mackinac, let's do it all the way. We we offered all kinds of plan variations for three nights. Some included three meals a day. Some just breakfast & lunch. But the one we selected was the bed & breakfast option. When we did the math, it just didn't add up to include lunch & dinner. It was less expensive to buy those meals individually. After spending $180 for two at dinner, I can assure you that you'd be better off finding other places to dine. Don't get me wrong, breakfast was absolutely worth it. The buffet was solid, but order from the menu and you'll really be pleased. You can mix and match whatever you want from the menu items. Never did the lunch buffet which I hear is spectacular, however, being vegetarian we didn't think it would be worth the money. Dinner was disappointing. The servers basically told us what was vegetarian on the menu. No options. No substitutions. No creativity. For that kind of money, you'd think the chef could do something. Anyway, this is not supposed to be a review of the Dining Room, but of the hotel in general.

The hotel is beautiful. Approaching it from town is a part of the experience. We had bags checked all the way from the St Ignace dock, so we enjoyed the walk from the ferry dock. It is uphill and you'll probably do it many more times. :) Check-in was not terribly impressive. Our clerk was not rude, but also not friendly. He didn't offer any more than was asked of him. We were in one of the studio rooms. No view at all but the room was lovely. It had maybe the smallest in-room TV I've ever seen, which was only disappointing because World Cup was on. That said there's a terrific lounge/library for sports viewing, coffee, cocktails, and just simply relaxing. It was a much better place to watch the game anyway.

I loved that there was music at every turn. Harpist in the lobby in the afternoon. Jazz quartet at dinner in which there was no break. When it was time for the musicians to get a break a whole new quartet jumped in. Dance band music after hours. Guitar and piano soloists up in the bar on the top floor. That was so charming.

Overall, I found it to be very good. I have no problem trying another accommodation next time, but I'm very glad I stayed here. The grounds are beautiful. There isn't a hike that's not worth taking. I thought three days would be enough time, but I could have used one or two more. The island is so refreshing. I'll recommended it to everyone that asks.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Bone3371
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GHKellie, Social Media Manager at Grand Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded August 28, 2014

Thank you for your review. We are pleased to know you had an enjoyable time with us on Mackinac and appreciate you sharing your experience with others. We will pass along your comments regarding the meals to our management team.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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