It was a moment that solidified why this Michigan hotel was truly 'grand'. Late into the night before the big 2024 season-opening, the head designer was hard at work with his team making sure the light fixtures in the redesigned Cupola Bar had just the right bulbs to complete the look. It was then I knew why Grand Hotel was more than just a place to stay.

LMS
Cupalo Bar: LMS
loading...

I had the honor of being invited to stay at the majestic hotel as it prepared to welcome guests back to the island for the 138th season. Being there to see the behind-the-scenes preparations and chat with those passionate about helping guests from around the world create timeless memories was inspiring.

To appreciate the historic jewel we have here in Michigan with the Grand Hotel, you need to understand a bit of history because, after all, it is the history that's kept alive that makes the Grand so special. Keeping the historical integrity of the hotel is a priority for the staff even through renovations and updates.

LMS
Robert D. Musser, Jr. &  W. Stewart Woodfill
loading...

Built at a time when the first generation of wealth was embracing travel and the desire to indulge during the latter half of the 1800s, the Grand Hotel is part of a unique group of wood-framed hotels built during that time. "At one time there were 1200 such hotels scattered across the country, and today only about 12 remain today," Grand Hotel President David Jurcak told me.

Photo: Grand Hotel Media
1887 Photo: Grand Hotel Media
loading...
The Game 730 WVFN-AM logo
Get our free mobile app

In my sit-down interview with Jurcak, we talked about the future of the hotel and why it remains a huge part of generations of families that make summers at the Grand part of their lives year after year. What I loved was Jurcak's comment when I asked about what was new this year at the hotel.

"At the Grand Hotel we like to say there's something different every year, and that is part of the charm that brings people back," Jurcak said. "Aside from some major construction we did on the west side of the hotel, we did the second year of our five-year restoration project on the porch."

In addition to the porch, all the original wood columns and flag poles are undergoing restoration and guests will see a new 120-foot retaining wall stretching in front of the resort. Currently, it resembles sand, but is actually burlap that has been seeded with flowers which will result in a stunning landscape for the hotel grounds according to Elizabeth Graves, Marketing & PR Manager for Grand Hotel.

The Suite to Honor the Man Behind the Magic

I also had a chance to preview the redesigned Woodfill Suite, created to honor the former owner of Grand Hotel.  W. Stewart Woodfill was a true success story starting as a desk clerk at Grand Hotel in 1919 and becoming sole owner of the legendary hotel in 1932.

LMS
WOODFILL SUITE: LMS
loading...
LMS
WOODFILL SUITE
loading...

Mr. Woodfill was known for his love of stylish clothing and his vast collection of walking sticks. He was adamant that they were not called 'canes', and if anyone would happen to use the term he'd give them a tap on the ankle with the stick of the day according to Graves. To pay homage to this signature accessory, quite a few of his 200+ walking accessories are on display the the suite.

LMS
Woodfill Walking Sticks: LMS
loading...

There is truly so much to love about the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island I could write a book. Here are just a few charming facts:

  • There are over 700 staff members this season representing 32 countries offering the most incredible service you'll find anywhere.
  • No two rooms at Grand Hotel are designed alike, and each of the First Lady Suites is specially designed in collaboration with each of its respective First Lady to reflect her personality with colors, décor, and special memorabilia.
LMS
LMS
loading...
  • The recently renovated Esther Williams Swimming Pool was named after the actress and competitive swimmer who starred in the 1947 movie, This Time for Keeps, which was filmed at Grand Hotel.
lms
LMS
loading...
  • The porch of the Grand Hotel is officially the world's largest.
  • Each year, the hotel hosts a special Somewhere in Time Weekend for fans of the timeless movie filmed a the hotel in 1979. Guests embrace the film in dress and enjoy special sessions with cast members often including star, Jane Seymour. There is also a 'Somewhere in Time' suite you can book a stay in.
LMS
LMS
loading...

If you add anything to your bucket list this year make sure it's a stay at Grand Hotel. Thanks to the incredible team including Elizabeth Graves, I was able to cross this moment off my list, and it was everything I dreamed it would be. Book your stay now and turn a moment into a timeless memory at Grand Hotel.

Click here for more details and reservations.

View my full interview with Grand Hotel President David Jurcak below.

Historic Mackinac Island Estate Can Be Your Own Private Grand Hotel For $5M

It's not the Grand Hotel, but it sure looks like a miniature version, porch and all. Cairngorm Cottage, built in 1888, is a 9600+ square-foot Mackinac Island West Bluff Victorian-era home currently on the market for $4,750,000. It features beautifully renovated and decorated rooms that come completely furnished with the selling price. The estate features 9 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, plus a completely furnished 2 bedroom, 2 bath carriage house behind the home. In addition to the magnificent porch with a breathtaking view, the new owner will enjoy a beautifully landscaped backyard with a swimming pool, hot tub, gazebo, and stone-terraced gardens. This piece of Michigan history is a must-see. Take a look! Contact Patrick Leavy of Kidd & Leavy Real Estate for more information.

Gallery Credit: Zillow