It can’t be easy to name a hotel. I would imagine a lot of thought and pressure is involved, after all, the name will live on for decades, centuries. Back in 1887, a group of people absolutely nailed it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Grand Hotel. This Midwest classic is, to me, what grand hotels should look like. And when I dream of lake vacations, this is where I am. I feel like I’m an old soul, so staying at a hotel that is located on an island that is free of cars, is the perfect way to escape. Whether having afternoon tea, sitting in a rocking chair or dancing the night away to the orchestra, you will fall in love with the charm of this resort.
The main reason this hotel is my idea of perfect, is that I grew up like this. Spending time at a lake front resort in Canada every summer. I spent a week embracing the time with my family and enjoying the freedom that a place like this offers. My kids live for places like this. Somewhere we can swim, eat and goof off as a family. I mean, I'm a Buckeye and I'm recommending a resort... in Michigan. That alone should let you know how great it is 🙂
The wonderful part of The Grand Hotel, is that you’re not limited to 1 or 2 room types, the hotel has tons of options. There are 393 rooms at the hotel!
The first room class is called "Guest Room" and has 3 categories: Category I is a smaller room with interior views, Category II is either a larger room with interior views or a smaller room with lake views, and Category III are large rooms with views of the lake.
The next room class are the Named Rooms and Suites. There are 40 rooms in this class, and reflect the lives of several U.S. Presidents and First Ladies, various historical time periods, decorating styles, and prominent historical figures. The Grand Hotel’s most popular suites are the first lady suites. This room class provides space, views and a historic feel.
The One-Bedroom and Two-Bedroom Suites provide for an outstanding experience. This would be a great option for those looking for space to spread out. I absolute love the décor of the rooms.
And finally, the 4 bedroom Masco cottage would be an ideal location for multiple couples, or a large family. If you’re getting married at the Grand Hotel, I think this option would be great for the bridal party or maybe a grand parent suite! It has 4 bedrooms, a kitchen and a large living space.
For dining, I'll start with the two fancier options, the Main Dining Room and the Woods Restaurant.
Whether you’re waking up to the day, or closing it out, the Main dining room is a great choice. Most room rates are on a modified American plan, which means you get breakfast and dinner as part of the room rate. To me, that means this dining experience is a steal! For breakfast you can chose omelettes, hot and cold cereals, pancakes and French toast with real Michigan maple syrup, breakfast meats, salmon, steak or you can head to the full buffet. For dinner, you’ll enjoy entrees like miso marinated rainbow trout or braised boneless short ribs (offerings vary as the menu rotates 3 times during the year) while the Grand Hotel Orchestra plays. Bringing the kids? They can chose from mini hamburgers, grilled beef medallions, or chicken fingers among other favorites. I absolutely love the evening attire dress code, as it adds a touch of elegance to the night.
I love, love the Woods restaurant. It’s located in the wooded interior of the island and you arrive by carriage. As you arrive, you can stop for a photo op in front of the unique building which has a distinct Bavarian flair to it. I’m sorry, but take a moment to check out the pics again. Talk of about cool! From the complimentary fresh popcorn, to the dark wood beams running across the colorful roof, you’ll be hooked. The menu has a classics like a filet mignon and a pan seared chicken breast, but also some great options you might not see every day (at least not in Columbus) like the Smoked Kurobuta Pork Belly or the Lobster Bolognese. For the kids, you can chose from options such as corn dogs, grilled cheese or chicken tenders.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more casual, there are several options.
Head to the Gate House if you want to grab a burger (they also have turkey burgers), pasta or ribs while watching a sporting event.
The Jockey Club is another fantastic option, which serves meals like steak, pasta or local whitefish. The restaurant has an open air section where you can overlook the first hole of the golf course. What better way to have a meal than watching people like me totally miss their teed up golf ball? It happens way more than I care to admit.
If you want something a little different, try Sushi Grand! This new addition has Asian décor and offers sushi for lunch or dinner.
The resort also has an Sadie's ice cream parlor (i.e. the place you’ll have to drag me away from), Carleton's Tea Store, and the Pool Grill.
If you want to get out and try golf, you can book a tee time at the Jewel golf course, which Golf Digest recently awarded Editor’s Choice Best Grand Golf Hotel. You want special? After you play the front nine holes, you take a carriage ride 1 ½ miles to the back nine. Whether you’re taking in the views of the Straits of Mackinac, or winding through the wooded island interior, you will have the peace of mind that you are doing way better than me.
I started golf later on in life because it offered me a way to get out into nature. I love being able to walk well-manicured courses like the Jewel. I keep waiting for my kids to grow up so I can take them out with me, which brings me to one of the coolest activities at The Grand, in my eyes anyway, Footgolf. From 3pm to 5pm you can book a tee time and play a mixture of soccer and golf on the front nine of the Jewel. For my family, this would be a show stopper (my 2 girls are both soccer fans), so it would be something for everyone.
My kids love to swim. Last summer they tried to teach me to do somersaults underwater, and we’re very quick to say ‘that’s OK Daddy, maybe next year’ when I failed… miserably (I almost drowned.) The pool at The Grand Hotel would be an amazing place to swim away the day, or try your own pool tricks. The 220 foot long pool is heated and has 2 whirlpools on the pool deck. Pool toys are provided as are complimentary snow cones. If you’re kids make fun of you too much, you can retreat to the pool grill for a bite to eat or a beverage.
If you’re in the mood for tennis, or want to give tennis a try, The Grand has three Har-Tru clay-based courts. Additionally, you can also give pickleball a try. For those who think that sounds odd, Pickleball has elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. You use solid paddles to hit a wiffle ball, over a net on the tennis course.
If you want to see more of the island, you can rent a bike. You can bike around the entire island in about 1 ½ hours. If you’re not thrilled by the sound of that (remind me to tell you of my honeymoon bike ride that broke my butt), you can opt for a horseback ride, or just take a carriage ride.
Outside of all these activities, you can still find fun activities to enjoy on the water, go shopping downtown, or stay in and get a good work out in.
I wanted to point out what a wonderful destination that the Grand Hotel would be for a wedding. Talk about a perfect backdrop to the beginning of a new life together. The hotel can accommodate up to 400 people and has it's own wedding coordinator. That being said, the Grand is also a great spot for honeymoons and family reunions.
I hope you enjoyed this hotel highlight! If you do end up going, please let them know that I sent you, and don't forget to subscribe!
All photos courtesy of the Grand Hotel