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For my in-laws’ 35th wedding anniversary, we were invited to celebrate a weekend with them at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, MI — America’s favorite Summer Place.
I was pretty excited when my husband told me that he has been to this film’s location. It was filmed at Mackinac Island, MI where his parents often travel to annually. For their anniversary, we were invited to visit and stay there as well. Sweet!
You can book your stay through the Grand Hotel’s online booking portal. Best deals to avail are their promo packages sorted by month, which makes it pretty convenient. Some of the packages are priced per person per night. There are better deals, priced per room, which include accommodation for a maximum of 5 people and sometimes amenities such as meals or a game of golf.
Otherwise, you can check nightly rates through Hotels.com or below.
It took us around 5 to 6 hours from our hometown South Bend to arrive in Mackinaw City, MI, where we would be boarding a ferry to arrive on the island. Mackinac Island is accessible only by ferry boat or plane.
Having a 1 year old with us, we have to make a couple of breaks in between our road trip to stretch our legs and backs.
When booking through their official website, most of the offered packages include a discount for one of the ferry companies.
You can choose to board the ferry in the lower or upper decks. The lower decks are enclosed with windows. We chose to be in the upper deck, which is open. It was pretty windy though! Aside from the feeling of speed, some passengers also get the added thrill of being splashed by the water.
The bags are also checked-in to the hotel from the docks. So, you do not have to worry about carrying and lugging them around in the ferry. They will be delivered to your room shortly after your arrival.
Getting Around the Island
Upon arrival in Mackinac Island, you have several choices of how to get to the hotel or exploring around the island. The island prohibits motorized vehicles like cars but you have the options of renting a bicycle, a horse carriage for $5 per person, or walking for 15-20 minutes from the docks.
As a National historic landmark, the hotel is considered a destination by itself. Grand Hotel’s Front Porch is the world’s largest at 660 feet.
There are several marshals by the entrances screening people if they are resort guests or have day tour passes. Non-guests of Grand Hotel are charged an admission fee of $10 per adult and $5 for children.
After 6:30 p.m. in the main areas of the hotel and the Main Dining Room, gentlemen are required to wear a coat, tie, and slacks and women in a dress, skirt or pantsuit. No denim or shorts.
Check-In and Lobby
We notified my husband’s parents of our arrival to the hotel and they met us in the reception area. Checking in is a breeze. The staff welcomes us warmly. It is very interesting to note that it felt like we were not checking into a hotel but were being welcomed into someone’s home instead. The ambience is pleasantly comfortable and cozy.
Unlike other hotels, the rooms come with an actual key and not a card.
We weaved through the decorated hallways reminiscent of the early 1900s. Although spacious, it felt like it has been built and added on top of another area. It just kept going and going.
We arrived to our room that has 2 canopy beds. The same motif of floral wallpaper, greens and reds grace us as we unpack our things.
The room came with amenities including a minibar, an in-room safe, cable TV, iron, and coffeemaker. The shower also had great water pressure in it.
Fun fact: No two rooms in the Grand Hotel look alike. Each room are individually decored.
The 220 foot swimming pool is a popular hangout for families. It has complimentary pool toys, 2 whirlpools and a sauna!
There is an arcade available. No additional tokens are needed to operate the games. Everything is free to play. It is another great area to entertain the kids. When we went, it was only us. Nobody else is in the arcade which is good news. That means, everyone is having fun with the several activities you can do in Mackinac Island.
This is my most favorite part of my stay in the hotel. If I am coming back, it would be for the food. It’s that good.
Main Dining Room
Most of the packages that you can book include a full-service breakfast and dinner at the Main Dining Room. Non-guests can still dine in the Main Dining Room for a hefty price.
You would always look forward to starting your day with a full breakfast in Grand Hotel’s Main Dining Room. Choose from an ala carte style menu including eggs, omelettes, cereals and breakfast entrées. Otherwise, the breakfast buffet is also available featuring a selection of juices, fruits, pastries and entrées.
The Gate House
The Gate House is a great affordable place to catch some American lunch classics.
The staff is superb. Helpful, attentive and cordial without being too familiar. Tipping is not permitted within the hotel grounds. One less thing to worry about during your stay at the hotel.
However, I was dissatisfied with their ushers by the entrances. It was an annoying experience for an obvious lack of a better system. They asked me repeatedly if I was a guest of the resort while my husband was not even asked a single time during our stay there. I felt like I was being singled out. Not to mention that I was just asked by the same person 5 minutes ago. It’s like playing a Pokemon game and a random person spots you while you were walking and challenges you to a match.
Once we are ready to go home, we notified valet and bell hop that we are ready. Bellhop arrived promptly and similar to our arrival, the hotel sent our luggage to the port at Mackinaw City. This gave us ample time to explore the shops downtown for some last minute souvenir shopping.
The Grand Hotel is one of the most family friendly hotels we have been in. It is a great tranquil and luxurious escape from the urban life. A stay in this hotel lets you slow down and appreciate quality time with your family. We will definitely look forward to visiting again in the future.