A Photographic Tour of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI

For me, the annual closing of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI is such a bittersweet day because, while I dream of the adventures the next season will holds, its closing means I won’t be going back to Mackinac Island for roughly half a year. The hotel is typically closed from November to May, which means it’s only open half of the year. Since it recently closed for the winter,  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give you all a peak inside the hotel so you can dream of the hotel’s next season along with me!

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Read more about Grand Hotel below:
12 Things to Know Before Visiting Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI
10 Reasons to Visit Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI
Stunning Rooms and Suites at Grand Hotel
10 Best Places to Grab a Drink at Grand Hotel
What to Pack and Take with You to Grand Hotel
What to Wear at the Grand Hotel
A Guide to Dining at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI

The World’s longest Porch
The porch of Grand Hotel is the longest in the world at 660 feet long, and stretches around the entire length of the front of the hotel. In the evening, guests spill out of the formal dining rooms and dance parlor onto the porch, where libations are poured freely by some of the most skilled bartenders on the island. There are even live musicians on the porch from time to time, as well as the occasional wedding ceremony. From one end of the porch the Mackinac Bridge, sailboats, and the lake are visible, from the center of the porch the Round Island Lighthouse is visible, as is the sumptuous garden surrounding the hotel, the tennis courts, and the Esther Williams Swimming Pool. The opposite end of the porch provides an excellent view of the Jockey Club, the Jewel golf course, the main hill, Fort Mackinac, and a great deal of the rest of the island. Some of the most relaxing evenings of my life have been spent walking from end to end on the porch as the sunset or rocking in the chairs as the sun disappear behind the Mackinac Bridge.

The Lobby
Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by bright colors and memorabilia from the hotel’s 130 year history. There’s usually something going on in the lobby, like afternoon tea and live music or harpists playing in the evening as guests file out of the dining room and into the dance hall. The hallway is lined with places to sit and catch up with friends and family, places to grab a bite to eat or pick up a souvenir as well as a number of shops, an arcade, and a child care center.  Non-guests can walk the porch and visit the shops for a $10 fee.

The Shops
If you’ve forgotten something at home or found yourself in need of a snack, a new shirt, or a new piece of art, the shops inside the Grand Hotel have you covered! Carleton’s Tea Store offers delightful cafe fare, while Marlee Brown’s Art gallery has incredible paintings that perfectly capture the spirit of not only Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel, but life “up north” as a whole. There are stores that sell clothing and shoes, golf equipment, ice cream and candy,  even newspapers and souvenirs, flowers and there’s even a salon!

The Rooms & Suites
I’ve written an entire post featuring the most beautiful rooms in the hotel. Each of the 393 rooms are uniquely appointed by master interior designer Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper Co., so no two rooms are the same! A person would have to spend years trying to stay in a different room every night, and I’m working on it! Many celebrities including presidents and even royalty and movie stars have stayed at the hotel over the years. A few of the suites are even named after such distinguished guests, like the Jackie Kennedy suite for instance.  You can view the full post featuring the names and photos of a number of my favorite suites here.

The Dining Rooms & Food
Rumor has it that Grand Hotel’s early owner was so determined to serve the best food possible to his guests that he would sneak samples of food he liked from restaurants all over the country out in jars and have them analyzed in a lab. His chefs would then take the results from the labs and reconstruct meals and deserts, and then improve upon them to ensure guests were eating only the finest and most delectable foods available. The hotel now owns nearly a dozen restaurants on the island like Woods, Sushi Grand, The Jockey Club, and more which all offer delightful foods to guests and non-guests alike! You can read all about dining at the Grand Hotel here.

The Pool
Words can’t begin to describe how refreshing a dip in the pool is on a hot day on the island. There’s just something about plunging into cool water on a hot day that conjures up a certain indescribable nostalgia mixed with excitement that I can’t get enough of! The Esther Williams swimming pool is named for actress and acclaimed swimmer Esther Williams who starred in one of the movies filmed at Grand Hotel called This Time for Keeps,  and it is fully stocked with pool toys and floats, and surrounded by lush plants and flowers. My favorite thing about this pool is that quite a bit of it is always in the shade due to a few large trees that grow near the pool, which is perfect for those who love swimming outdoors but don’t want to get too much sun. When you visit, take some time to float in the pool, listen to the waves crash against the shore of the island, and feel the fresh lake breeze on your skin – it’s truly splendid! You can also get a snow cone to eat poolside, or head to the nearby snack stand to grab a refreshment. The large 220′ long pool area is complete with a couple hot tubs around the pool, a large cabana to change or shower in.  The hotel’s workout room with gym equipment is adjacent this gem. Once you’re finished swimming or working out, I recommend strolling over to the hotel’s greenhouse, where they grow their signature red geraniums, which is only a short walk form the entrance to the pool.

The Jewel Golf Course
Speaking of gems, the Jewel Golf Course is, as its name implies, is one of the crowning jewels of the island. It boasts 18 holes of golf, and the carriage ride to the back 9 is something I look forward to every summer, because the views are unmatched. If you have the time, ask your carriage driver to drive past the west bluff cottages on your back from the back 9. The views are breathtaking, the homes are stunning, and the breeze from the lake feels incredible! If you’re hungry after golfing, the Woods Restaurant is located right in next to the start of the 10th hole, and it’s one of the coziest places to dine in Northern Michigan!

The Bars
Northern Michigan is home to some of the best breweries in the world, and the bars located in and around the Grand Hotel are stocked with the best of the best from the state and around the world. Anything from cocktails and mocktails to beer, wine, and stronger drinks are available to guests of the Grand Hotel and its restaurants. I’m not a huge drinker, but I’m always sure to try something new with my dinner when I’m on the island, and I’ve never been disappointed! I’ve created a list of 10 of the Best Places to Grab a Drink at Grand Hotel, which you can read here!

The Gardens
I love strolling through gardens, and Grand Hotel certainly has no shortage of those. Every extra inch of ground not occupied by a building or footpath is covered in lush greenery, shade-giving vegetation and bright flowers. Thousands of bulbs are planted each fall, and even more plants and flowers are brought in and planted each spring and into the summer to create one of the most beautiful, densely flowering places in Michigan. Throughout the gardens the hotel has scattered yard games like corn hole and croquet for guests to enjoy during their promenade through the gardens.

 

Read more about Grand Hotel below:
12 Things to Know Before Visiting Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI
10 Reasons to Visit Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI
Stunning Rooms and Suites at Grand Hotel
10 Best Places to Grab a Drink at Grand Hotel
What to Pack and Take with You to Grand Hotel
What to Wear at the Grand Hotel
A Guide to Dining at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI

xAnnie Fairfax
aka @AnnieWearsIt

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