When Rob and I decided to visit the Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island for their first-ever Halloween weekend, I couldn’t decide if I was more excited about the Halloween festivities or a chance to stay at Michigan’s best-known hotel. Rob has already filled you in on the details of our weekend itinerary (a post which I highly recommend that you check out -- it was amazing!). Today, I’d like to take you on a tour of our travels through the hotel.
This is a sponsored post with affiliate links. We received payment, trade and/or products from the Grand Hotel in exchange for promoting, but we shared our very honest opinions throughout the post. We also receive a small commission each time someone makes a purchase or an online booking with one of our links, which helps to support the blog. We always appreciate your support and hope you enjoy this virtual tour of Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel!
Our Hotel Room
The Grand Hotel boasts of 390 guest rooms and every single room is unique. The color scheme, wall paper, bedding and decor vary from room to room. The one thing they do have in common is that all of the hotel decor was designed by Carleton Varney, which means they are all swathed in color. And lots of it.
Half of my anticipation for the trip was centered around our hotel room. What would it look like? Would we have a lake view or an interior view? What would the color scheme be? Would we have one bed or two? I honestly had no idea and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store.
We checked in at the front desk and were handed our keys. When I say “keys”, I don’t mean “plastic card with a magnetic strip.” I mean KEYS. I don’t even remember the last time I saw actual keys at a hotel. Then again, I’m not sure when I last stayed at a hotel with such a richly preserved history.
We arrived at room 282 and opened the door to reveal the sweetest guest room we could imagine. It had a view of the Straits of Mackinac and felt like we were in a garden, complete with white lattice wall paper.
The two full-size headboards were each adorned with hand-painted geraniums, the signature flower of theThe Grand Hotel . And just look at the drapery detail around the bed posts. It was so ornate and made us feel as though we had traveled back in time.
Our room also contained an arrangement of fresh flowers, which was such a sweet and personal touch from the Grand Hotel.
A peek out the window revealed a sweeping view of the Straits of Mackinac and the hotel’s front grounds. You could even see the hotel pool off to the right.
The Grand Hotel Grounds
Even though the weather on Saturday was less-than-desirable, Rob and I briefly ventured out, which provided me an opportunity to snap a few photos of the hotel’s gorgeous exterior. Even in the last week of October, while all of the plants in Michigan were beginning to die or go dormant for the winter, the The Grand Hotel still had a stately appearance.
We walked up the steps from the hotel’s front grounds and headed up the steps toward the main entrance. Here are a few photos from our walk. You can see the white steps in the above photo.
Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor
I had spent hours combing through the Grand Hotel’s website in anticipation of our trip. One thing I was most excited for was a visit to Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor. When Rob and I walked through the lobby level on Friday night, I could not figure out where Sadie’s was located. On Saturday, I was determined to find it. I laughed at myself a little when I realized I actually had to step out of the hotel’s east entrance and turn about 5 steps to the left. We approached Sadie’s on our walk and my mouth was already watering.
If the little ice cream shop looked this cute in October, imagine how sweet it must be to visit on a hot summer day.
The interior of the ice cream parlor was even more adorable than the outside! It’s namesake, Sadie, was the 2010 “Best of Show” winner at the Westminster Dog Show. Sadie also happens to be owned by Mr. and Mrs. Musser, the hotel’s proprietors. The ice cream parlor was an adorable way to honor the Mussers’ beloved family pet. I loved the red stripes, the houndstooth details, and the clean white walls.
After snapping a few photos, it was finally time to make our selections! We used the cute little tokens for a free scoop of ice cream that the Grand Hotel generously left in our hotel room.
Mint chip for me and Mackinac Island Fudge for Rob. This may seem crazy to anyone who does not live in Michigan, but there is actually an ice cream flavor named after the island which we were visiting that weekend. I’m telling you, Mackinac Island is a big deal.
Both flavors were delicious and our mouths dropped open when we realized the giant bowls we were served were single scoops of ice cream. I actually couldn’t finish mine, but Rob happily stepped in to oblige.
The Front Porch
As if a rich history, ties to a prize-winning dog and being the filming location of two major motion pictures wasn’t enough, the The Grand Hotel has one other claim to fame. It possesses the world’s longest front porch. All 660 feet of it possess a glorious view of the Straits of Mackinac. It was a little too chilly to linger on the porch during our stay, but the white rocking chairs made it look so inviting.
The red carpet leads from the horse-drawn carriage drop off to the hotel’s main entrance.
Looking at these photos, I almost forget how chilly the fall wind and rain felt during our stay!
No trip to theThe Grand Hotel would be complete without mentioning the geraniums. I already mentioned how the beds in our hotel room were adorned with painted geranium details, but geraniums are a common decor theme throughout the hotel. When a guest first arrives at the hotel, they are greeted by a gorgeous display of geraniums which completely line the Grand’s front porch. The hotel must have a master gardener on staff because I was amazed to see how lush the geranium plants were during our visit. Hotel guests were bundled up in coats, hats and boots to stay warm against the cold, windy air; but those geraniums were still going strong.
There were subtle nods to the trademark flower throughout the hotel. The folder we received at check in with hotel services and amenities was printed with the images of a geranium.
I even discovered geranium-inspired artwork win the restroom. Rob saw this photo, looked at me and said “is that the ladies room?” Yes. It’s probably odd that I took a photo of the restroom, but look how pretty it is. And that’s just the restroom. (Don’t worry, I waited until the restroom was empty to take the photo).
On our last day, Rob and I had breakfast in the Main Dining Hall and were incredibly fortunate to be treated to a table beside the window. While we dined, we had one last opportunity to enjoy the geraniums. Hard to believe that this photo was taken on the first day of November in Northern Michigan.
Exploring the Grand
It may have looked like a relatively warm day outside, and it sort of was considering how cold it could have been on the great lakes for Halloween weekend. Still, it was cold enough for Rob and I to want to stay indoors as much as possible. We didn’t have a chance to enjoy many traditional island activities. Which is just as well, because I was dying to see as much of the hotel as possible. On Saturday, Rob and I set out to do just that. We walked all four floors ofThe Grand Hotel and popped our head into every nook and cranny that we could. Here are a few of our favorite photos from along the way.
The Lobby Level
We started at the bottom floor and worked our way up from there. The lobby level is sort of like the basement of the hotel. Our room number was 282 and was two floors above the lobby level.
The Grand Hotel’s lobby is lined with windows and this is where all of the shopping happens. The main floor is lined with store after store. Carleton’s Tea Store is also located on the lobby level and guests can take a break to enjoy tea, coffee, sandwiches and other confections. This floor was so quaint and sweet.
The walls were literally covered with framed photos, newspaper clippings and other archives depicting the The Grand Hotel long-standing history on Mackinac Island. I may have studied every page of the Grand Hotel’s website leading up to the trip, but Rob definitely out-read me while we strolled down the long hallway.
We stopped into the Mackinac Market and were pleasantly greeted by this iconic photo of Jane Seymour from her role of Elise McKenna from the film Somewhere in Time. We were hoping to find this gem at some point on our getaway, but tucked away in a corner of the gift shop was the very last place we expected to see it.
Rob was also intrigued by the display of weather gadgets that we found on the lobby level.
We also laughed when we saw what we now refer to as “our champagne” on the top shelf of the news stand spirits display. We could barely afford to purchase a bottle of it at Costco, so we certainly did not indulge during our stay at the Grand.
The lobby level is also home to Oil Paintings by Marlee, an art gallery with many lovely paintings for sale. Many of Marlee’s are dispersed throughout the hotel and appear in some of our photos from the trip. They were all painted by Marlee Brown, an accomplished artist who also happens to be the wife of Dan Musser III, the President of the Grand Hotel.
The second floor of The Grand Hotel is often referred to as Parlor level. If the lobby level is for shopping, the parlor level is for socializing. These photos were taken throughout the weekend, but they help to give you a good sense of the bustle on the lobby level. We came here for the Bloody Mary bar and afternoon tea.
We also always passed through the Parlor on the way to the Grand Dining Hall, which was truly a feast for all of the senses.
Movies were shown all weekend in the Grand Pavilion, which you actually have to travel through the Dining Hall to find. We were confused at first, but wow, what an unexpected surprise to encounter. If this is the entryway for the Grand Pavillion, I can only imagine what the space looks like with the lights turned on.
The hotel’s main entrance is located in the parlor. Step out the french doors and onto the Grand Hotel’s expansive front porch.
We also saw a few other spaces as we walked around the Parlor Level. I love how each area of the hotel seemed to have a unique personality.
The Guest Floors
After leaving the Parlor Level, Rob and I continued our tour by walking across each of the guest floors. It was fascinating because each floor seemed to have its own personality. The rooms are not the only things uniquely decorated. The hallways, too are quite different from each other. We encountered the biggest surprise of all as we were walking on the second floor.
Every hotel uses signage to easily direct guests to their room.
Rooms 201-215, turn right.
Rooms 216-232, turn left.
You know, those very basic signs you would expect to see in a hotel.
The second floor had those basic signs, but also one that was well, rather unusual. It said “Masco Cottage” and indicated that guests in search of the cottage should turn left. Rob and I looked at one another, wondered why on earth there was a sign for a cottage on the second floor of a hotel. Naturally, we decided to turn left and investigate. The hallway eventually had an exit door that led to this.
Um, how cool does Masco cottage look?!?
I found this photo on the Grand Hotel’s website. There is actually a photo gallery of the 4-bedroom Masco cottage that features a private outdoor hot tub, kitchen, media parlor and the option to have dinner prepared and served in the cottage by a private chef. The nightly rate is $3,850, so I’m pretty sure Rob and I will not live to see the inside of the cottage, but a girl can dream.
Discovering the cottage was definitely the biggest surprise of our walk through the hotel, but we found plenty of other interesting scenes on our walk as well. Many of the doors had a sign indicating that guests should “please watch your step” as they enter. Rob and I were dying to see what lay beyond those doors. Were there stairs? Or were the floors just uneven from the building settling over time?
The higher we climbed, the more beautiful and ornate each floor felt. Despite a lack of windows, the lighting on the 4th floor was pretty amazing so Rob and I (of course) snapped a quick mirror selfie. We took this photo outside of the Musser Suite and I was dying to know what the inside looked like. Dan Musser III is, after all, the President of the Grand Hotel, so I imagined a suite bearing his name would be particularly stunning inside.
Little did I know, that the Grand Hotel actually has a virtual tour of the Musser Suite available online. You can satisfy your curiosities and check it out here. I know I did :)
The Cupola Bar
Our The Grand Hotel exploration ended on a high note (literally and figuratively) when we accidentally discovered the Cupola Bar. There were signs on the 4th floor pointing us in the direction of the bar, but it was the bright red hallway that really got our attention.
Followed by the starry carpeting leading up another set of stairs. Who wouldn’t be intrigued?
We walked in to a beautiful blue seating area to enjoy a cocktail.
Of course, the Cupola Bar wasn’t just one floor. There was another set of stairs leading the the bar’s upper level.
We arrived at the top of the stairs and took in the view. It was a spectacular way to enjoy a damp, cold day.
I sipped a mimosa while Rob enjoyed a glass of scotch. Both were served in the Grand Hotels’ signature glassware on napkins bearing the image of a geranium.
After satisfying our curiosities and exploring every inch of the hotel, Rob and I were ready to enjoy the rest of the Grand Hotel’s Halloween festivities. This was one of the most unique experiences Rob and I have shared together as a couple and we loved every moment of our trip. In fact, I was so busy enjoying myself, I never even touched my laptop during our stay at The Grand Hotel It sat on the dresser in our hotel room the entire weekend, which is truly the ultimate compliment to the Grand Hotel’s hospitality.
A fall getaway was the perfect time for our first-ever Grand Hotel experience on Mackinac Island. The cold weather kept Rob and I inside to discover the hotel without feeling like we were missing out on any other island experiences. I think we need to make arrangements to visit theThe Grand Hotel one summer to experience the hotel in a whole-new way: with horseback riding, croquet, picnic lunches, bike rides and a dip in the Esther Williams swimming pool.