MACKINAC ISLAND — Grand Hotel, the legendary summer hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, celebrates its 125th anniversary on July 10 as “America’s Summer Place.”
The 385-room national historic landmark, which first opened its doors July 10, 1887, is renowned for its white-glove service and historic charm, in part due to its location on an island with no motorized vehicles. The hotel’s award-winning ambiance is also credited to the Musser Family, which has owned and operated Grand Hotel for 79 years.
During the evening of Grand Hotel’s birthday on July 10, a 125-foot birthday cake and champagne will be served to guests on Grand Hotel’s 660-foot Front Porch, the longest porch in the world.
Grand Hotel’s formal 125th Anniversary Celebration takes place the weekend of July 13-15 and will include receptions, concerts, fireworks, and a Governors’ Gala, where three former Michigan governors (William Milliken, James Blanchard, and John Engler) will join Grand Hotel guests.
A trip to the 385-room, wood-frame constructed Grand Hotel truly becomes a trip back in time. Guests arrive by ferry or airplane to Mackinac Island, then are transported in horse-drawn opera wagons built by Amish farmers in Indiana.
Grand Hotel guests enjoy life’s simple pleasures in a refined and colorful Americana setting. This includes relaxing on rocking chairs on the hotel’s Front Porch, while overlooking its perfectly-manicured grounds and the straits of Lake Michigan; sitting in the well-appointed lobby for afternoon tea; trips to the Esther Williams Swimming Pool or getting dressed in your evening best (a coat and tie requirement) for a five-course dinner in the main dining room.
The hotel’s interior is designed by the famed Carlton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Company in New York. Not one room in the hotel is alike. Each is adorned with Varney’s signature use of color. Visitors also have the opportunity to stay in one of seven First Lady Suites designed by Varney in consultation with Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush. The seventh suite, also designed by Varney, is named after Jacqueline Kennedy.
Two movies have been filmed at the hotel: This Time for Keeps, starring Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante in 1947, and Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, which was released in 1980. Somewhere in Time has a huge following, with a fan club that fills Grand Hotel for a weekend each October.