Travel blog

Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel is the Ultimate Escape

Posted by Diana Cowgill on Mar 1, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Exterior view of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of the finest resorts in the country. The hotel was built in 1887 as a lakeside retreat for wealthy Golden Age travelers. Almost 140 years later it has retained its ambiance of refinement and gentility. The setting for the 1980 film Somewhere in Time is romantic, elegant, and the ultimate escape from modern life.

Iconic, historical, and famously luxurious, the Grand Hotel is the type of place you must visit at least once. A 2-night stay at the Grand Hotel is the highlight of YMT’s Mackinac Island & Grand Hotel tour.

Welcome to The Grand Hotel

Exterior of Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Photo Credit: Sharon Rudometkin

Your first impression of the Grand Hotel is from the ferry to Mackinac Island. Surrounded by an expansive lawn and ringed by the world’s largest front porch, the shimmering white edifice of the historic hotel comes strikingly into view from the water of the Straits of Mackinac.

From the ferry, YMT guests board a horse-drawn carriage for a ten-minute trip to the Grand Hotel. “The clop, clop, clop of the horses makes the ride up to the hotel feel like an event,” explains Sharon Rudometkin, the YMT Senior Product Manager who designed the tour. Following a brief presentation about the hotel, the driver drops guests at the red carpet of the grand staircase.

After being given their room key—a real metal key, an endearing analog detail in an increasingly digital world—guests are led to their lavish room and waiting luggage. Each of the 388 guest rooms is unique, with their own theme and vibrant furnishings. “I think the word ‘elegant’ was invented to describe the Grand Hotel!” says our guest Katherine C. “It was truly the highlight of the trip. The fact that the Grand Hotel for 2 nights was part of the trip was at least half of the reason I decided on taking this trip.”

Every inch of the resort is considered, from the green of the teacups at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room to the flowers blooming across the expansive grounds. The front porch is lined by rocking chairs and cooled by the summer breeze blowing gently across the island. It is a highlight for many to just sit and watch the water.

Sightseeing on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island Horse Drawn Carriage

Photo Credit: Sharon Rudometkin

Mackinac Island doesn’t allow cars, so people travel either by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage to a variety of interesting sites.

Fudge Shops

The island is known for its fudge, which permeates the air. The sweet aroma wafts from the open doors of the 13 fudge shops lining Main Street. “You can first smell the fudge from the ferry,” Sharon says. “It’s the perfect welcome to the island.”

Arch Rock

Mackinac Island’s most famous geological feature is Arch Rock. The naturally formed limestone arch towers 150 feet above Lake Huron. The formation is beautiful from the shore, the water, and especially from the top of the arch itself.

Fort Mackinac

Fort Mackinac was Mackinac Island’s main military outpost throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The fully restored fort employs a team of costumed living history interpreters who demonstrate what life was like for the British and American troops that once called Mackinac home. You’ll also find an array of interesting exhibits spread across the fort’s 14 historical buildings.

Grand Hotel Dining

Inside view of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Photo Credit: Sharon Rudometkin

Dinnertime at the Grand Hotel is a nightly event filled with pomp and pageantry. You are required to dress up, because this is neither the time nor the place for anything but your best.

Over dinner, which is included both nights of your stay at the Grand Hotel, a live band plays while sharply dressed servers present a beautiful 4-course meal. The leisurely pacing between courses allows guests to have deep conversations and build real connections. “This is a great chance for folks to get to know people from all over the world that they wouldn’t get to otherwise,” says Sharon.

After dinner, the Grand Hotel Orchestra takes the Terrace Room stage at 9:30 sharp. This is the perfect opportunity to show off the dazzling moves you might have learned at ballroom dancing classes. Take to the wooden floor to dance the night away to the swinging sounds of live jazz.

The optional Grand Lunch Buffet at the hotel is casual yet elegant. Live music accompanies a massive spread of fine food and an incredible dessert bar of miniature pastries, cream puffs, mousses, and pies. “It’s hard to know where to start!” laughs Sharon.

At restaurants across the property, many guests enjoy the classic Pecan Ball. The surprisingly simple dessert—a ball of vanilla ice cream covered with toasted pecans and served in a pool of fresh chocolate fudge sauce—is by far the most popular and famous sweet treat available at the Grand Hotel. According to Sharon, they’re a can’t miss!

You'll always remember The grand hotel

Guest enjoying the worlds largest porch at Grand Hotel

Photo Credit: Sharon Rudometkin

Time seems to stop at Mackinac Island. Meals are longer, horses are the quickest ways to get around, and you can happily spend a whole day watching the lake from a rocking chair.

“I think this is the type of place that everyone should stay in at least once. It truly is grand,” says Sharon. “We wanted to make this experience accessible and affordable for our guests, because we know how special it is.” Next year, Sharon plans to take her mom on the trip.

Visit the Grand Hotel with YMT Vacations

If the Grand Hotel is on your bucket list, you can stay for two unforgettable nights with YMT Vacations. Our guest Wanda F. and her husband celebrated their 59th anniversary on the tour. “Our two nights at the Grand Hotel were the highlight of the trip. The hotel delivered a beautiful arrangement of long stem roses and a lovely bottle of wine to our room while we were at lunch on the day of our anniversary. That was a lovely surprise.”

The Grand Hotel offers an unparalleled experience that you can enjoy for a reasonable price on our Mackinac Island & Grand Hotel Tour. Call your travel consultant or YMT Vacations today at 1-888-756-9072.

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Topics: Americas, Guest Stories, Travel Inspiration