Grand Traverse Resort & Spa is one of Michigan’s most popular getaway destinations. They offer tons of indoor and outdoor activities for all seasons on their 900 acres of resort property, like 54 holes of golf, snowshoeing, swimming, hiking, fine dining, tennis, on site shopping, lounging on the beach, plus they have ‘The Den’, which features VR gaming, axe throwing, bowling, an escape room, and lots more. We visited for a winter getaway recently, and had a wonderful time exploring the property, lounging at their spa, dining at their award-winning restaurant, and experiencing all of the reasons Grand Traverse Resort is one of the Midwest’s most iconic getaways.
Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
Location: Traverse City, Michigan
Address: 100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd, Acme, MI 49610
Staff Helpfulness & Friendliness: 5/5
Room size: 4/5
Room Amenities: 4/5
Room and Bed Comfort: 5/5
View from Room: 5/5
Pool: Indoor & Outdoor Pools & Hot Tubs
Proximity to Other Points of Interest: 3/5
Arrival at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
We arrived at the hotel, pulled up to the check-in area, and brought our bags inside, leaving our car out front while we checked-in. As we entered the building, we had to have our temperatures taken. The check-in process took less than 30 seconds, and before we could turn around twice, we had our room keys and were on our way up to the tower rooms to drop off our bags. Once we had dropped off our things, we went down to park our car in the lot just outside the hotel’s entrance.
The hotel, which is proudly owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, pulls inspiration from the area’s natural beauty. The hotel’s color scheme prominently features the same shades of blue as can be seen on the water from the hotel’s windows overlooking Grand Traverse Bay, and sandy greys and beige pay homage to the abundance of birch trees, nearby sand dunes and beaches, and wistful clouds that hang in the sky over the resort. This created a cozy and very inviting atmosphere throughout the resort. Speaking of cozy, the resort had several roaring fires going in their fireplaces in the lobby, spa, and more, making it toasty warm and absolutely enchanting, particularly in the evening as the light of the flames danced across the hotel.
Around the hotel, works of art from friends and family as well as items of significance to the hotel owners are displayed prominently on the walls and in glass cases. One of my favorite works of art was a series of three coordinating paintings, which were in the process of being moved and not currently hung together, that showed a painted view of the bay from a bird’s eye view, pictured below. The textures and use of color were simply beautiful. As someone who grew up in nearby Petoskey, Michigan, I felt very at home amongst the cozy decor that felt as though it was bringing the splendor of the outdoors in, in a subtle and artistic manner.
Rooms & Amenities
Our hotel room was the perfect size for two travelers. It featured an entryway, a spacious bathroom with a large white marble shower, and a bedroom with a king size bed, as well as a sitting area in the resort’s glass tower. We had a view of the golf courses and of Grand Traverse Bay that was beautiful in the winter, and made me think it must be even more lovely when the grass and flowers are in full bloom, and when the trees have leaves on them. Due to the pandemic, many of the room’s amenities such as pads of paper, pens, and other items one would expect in a hotel room were not present, but could be easily requested at any time.
Aerie Restaurant Inside Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
As mandated by state and local health officials, Michigan restaurants are not allowed to open as normal until February 1st, 2021. As such, restaurants have had to readjust their offerings and get creative with how they can continue to serve guests, retain their employees, and weather this storm until things begin to return to normal, and I don’t think any place in the state has done this nearly as well as Grand Traverse Resort has.
Their award winning restaurant & lounge, Aerie, normally occupies the 16th floor of the resort with a 360° view of the surrounding area and Grand Traverse Bay, but since they are not currently permitted to be open, the hotel has instead cleared out several of their hotel suites for larger, single-family dining parties, in addition to also clearing out every hotel room on the 15th floor in order to create private dining suites, which is where we ate. I really loved this meal, and I was so impressed with the level of service, the quality of the food and the presentation that far exceeded my expectations, as well as the intimate dining atmosphere they created.
While I hope to visit the 16th floor restaurant one day to take in the full Aerie experience, both Robin and I had a really fantastic time and a wonderful meal. I mean, how delicious did my fish and Robin’s dessert look? 😀
Grand Traverse Resort Pools & Water Park
I mentioned growing up in Petoskey, on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, and because of our proximity to water, I spent every warm day (and many not so warm days too!) splashing around, swimming in, and floating on the beautiful blue waters of Lake Michigan, which left me with a lifelong love of swimming. As a result, I always love to visit the pools, beaches and hot tubs of the places I visit. Grand Traverse Resort has several pools, the indoor pools are open all year long, while the outdoor pools are seasonal. They have an indoor hot tub and a few outdoor hot tubs, all of which are open all year long to guests & the resort’s health club members.
Normally, the hotel has a splash pad for and waterslide open as well, but they were temporarily closed during our visit. The hotel’s pools and hot tubs were open longer than any other hotel or resort I’ve ever been to, opening at 6am and closing around 9pm, depending upon the day, which is great when you have a long day of activities planned, but still want to get a few laps in, or soak sore muscles in a hut tub.
This area of the hotel is also where they had snow shoe and cross country ski rentals for any guests wishing to explore the snow covered property and trails that lace around and through it.
Visiting spas is something I make a point to do at least once per trip I take, and as often as I can when I’m at home, which is what led to me creating my luxury spas vertical, so of course I had to visit Grand Traverse Resort’s Spa! The spa was quiet and peaceful, although a bit small, and it was there I had one of the best deep tissue massages of my life. My massage therapist, Fallon, did an absolutely phenomenal job working out all of the stress, worry, and tension I’ve held in my neck, shoulders, and upper back for the last year of the pandemic. Releasing all of that pain and stiffness during my massage has helped me breath easier and feel more like myself again, both literally and figuratively, and I’m sincerely thankful for her expertise.
Read the full post about our spa experience, here.
‘The Den’ Escape Room, Virtual Reality Gaming, Bowling and More
My husband agreed with me that a person could spend at least an entire week here and never run out of things to do, especially in the summertime when the golf courses, beach, and outdoor areas are more open and accessible. During our stay, we visited ‘The Den’ (a play on a bear’s den, I presume), and tried axe throwing for the first time, which Robin was excellent at immediately, and I scored very few points doing, but had lots of fun nonetheless. They also had arcade games, crane machines, basketball hoops, bowling, and lots of Virtual Reality game options as well.
I escaped from my first escape room, which was inspired by an Egyptian tomb, and I had so much fun solving puzzles and translating hieroglyphs to solve each room that I am already looking forward to doing another escape room ASAP. Robin had done one before as part of a work function, but I was a bit worried I wouldn’t know what to do, however we solved the entire thing in around 17 minutes (in under half the allotted time), without any help or hints, so it was very exciting.
Near ‘The Den’ on the resort’s ground floor is a collection of boutiques that had plenty of gifts, souvenirs, snacks, and most forgotten items for sale like swimsuits, toiletries, and more, which is not only convenient but also a great place to pick up a gift for a loved one or yourself. I found the sweetest necklace and earring set for spring that I’ll be posting about soon, in their store called “Ashleigh’s”. Expect to see more about why I enjoyed shopping here, coming soon!
Final Thoughts on Grand Traverse Resort
It was wonderful to get away for awhile with my husband to snowy Northern Michigan, and Grand Traverse Resort was the perfect place for a romantic couples getaway. We enjoyed wonderful meals, plenty of fun activities to keep us occupied including new-to-us things like axe throwing and escape rooms, the great outdoors, and extraordinary massages at the spa during our stay, and had a truly wonderful time.
I hope our next visit will be in the spring or summertime, when the leaves are on the trees, flowers are blooming, and the golf courses are open, as I’d love to see more of what the property has to offer, plus I’d love to visit Aerie Restaurant when it’s fully operational again. If you’re looking for a place in the Traverse City area to go for a staycation, a long weekend, a romantic getaway, or a family adventure, Grand Traverse Resort is a really amazing place to stay, and the best option in the area, in my opinion.
Thank you so much to Grand Traverse Resort & Spa for hosting us during our stay in Northern Michigan, we had a wonderful stay. As always, all opinions, photos, and the entirety of each post I write is entirely of my own creation.