I’ve been to many destinations and hotels worldwide, and there are quite a few that stand out as extra special. However, there is one that is simply extraordinary — a hotel that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s magical, a place filled with history. A location that holds memories from over 150 years. You may recognize it from the movie Somewhere in Time starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. Or it may ring a bell because it’s appeared on countless lists and has won numerous awards, including most recently, the Certificate of Excellence for 2013 by Trip Advisor and the AAA Four Diamond Award. What hotel am I talking? The Grand Hotel.
My family and I have been visiting Mackinac Island, Michigan every year for the past 4 years, however last year was the first time we stayed at the Grand Hotel and it changed our experience of both the island and family vacations forever. You can read our full review of the hotel on Child Mode and get all the details on Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, a new addition to the hotel this year.
If you’ve never been to Mackinac Island, you must go. And if you have and have yet to visit the Grand Hotel — don’t hesitate any longer! Yes, it is a luxury hotel, but they offer all sorts of specials and deals throughout the year. Visit their website and sign up for their newsletter, or check them out on Facebook to stay updated on all of their sales and specials. It will be a trip of a lifetime! Here are just a few reasons why it’s my favorite.
The Arrival 1 of 18
Taking the ferry across to Mackinac Island is a treat in itself. You can see the Grand Hotel in all her glory as you make your way to the dock. So majestic!
The Grand Hotel 2 of 18
America's Summer Place is home to the longest porch in the world and has been welcoming guests since 1887.Walking up alongside this building is such a treat. History comes to life as you make your way to the front.
Somewhere in Time 3 of 18
Speaking of movies, film buffs will most likely recognize the hotel from the film "Somewhere in Time," starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The difference between walking onto a set from the past and walking through the Grand Hotel, is that you feel as though you really are stepping somewhere in time. The movie becomes somewhat of a reality. Magical!
Carriage Rides 4 of 18
There is nothing like a Grand Hotel carriage. They are plush and luxurious, the poshest carriages on the island. Taking a ride in one of these is a real treat!
Hotel Rooms 5 of 18
Each one of the 385 rooms at the Grand hotel is different and there are 264 individual wallpapers and 22 custom mixed paint colors.
The way Carlton Varney, the Grand Hotel's interior designer, explains the unique design theory of the hotel is like this:
"Imagine it's your birthday and the hotel would like to give you a birthday present. You get to choose from two packages. One is wrapped with pink and white striped paper that is covered with flowers and ribbon, the other is a plain brown paper package. I gift-wrap summer memories. All my walls are wrapping paper and all the floors and ceilings — bows, ribbons, and flowers."
The Art Gallery 6 of 18
There is a darling art gallery located inside the hotel featuring oil paintings by Marlee, a local artist from Mackinac Island. Paint splashes on the floor, bright and cheerful colors, and starburst treats make this such a fun and happy place to visit.
The Harp Lady 7 of 18
No, she's not called "The Harp Lady," but my girls like to call her that. For the past two years, this lovely lady has been making us swoon with her musical talent.
Tea Time! 8 of 18
Have you ever experienced a real tea? The Grand Hotel offers afternoon tea each and every afternoon in their parlor. Champagne, coffee, tea and delicious cookies and treats are served and it's oh so posh!
The Dining Room 9 of 18
Breakfast, a grand luncheon and dinner are served in the dining room and everything (except the lunch) is included in your rate. The food here is fine, very fine indeed! The menu changes every day and you can take a look at the choices for up to three days in advance by looking at the information book in your room.
Live Bands & Dancing 10 of 18
If you or your kids have your dancing shoes on, be sure to choose a table in the dining room that is close to the live band. They are wonderful and there is a little spot for daddy and daughter dances.
The Porch 11 of 18
At 660 feet long, the Grand Hotel's porch is the longest in the world and the most historic.
Evening Fun 12 of 18
It's so fun to get dressed up in our finest! The girls felt like princesses and loved to walk along the porch just before dinner. Want the perfect family photo? The Grand Hotel's photographers are available each and every evening to take your photo. You are under no obligation to purchase the photos and can review them the next morning in the lobby area. The photo above was taken by me, however we've paid for beautiful family shots at the Grand each and every year as they tend to be the nicest we've had.
Dapper 13 of 18
Don't forget the suit and tie! Gentlemen are not permitted into the dining area unless they are wearing a suit and tie. Little boys are not required to wear a tie or bow tie, but I insist on it because ... well ... look at him!
Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor 14 of 18
A trip to Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor is an absolute must and the treats are to die for!
Croquet 15 of 18
We love to play a round of croquet on the hotel's beautiful lawn. It's a great family activity and there is lots of room to roam and run around.
Esther Williams Swimming Pool 16 of 18
Measuring 220 feet long, this serpantine-shaped, heated pool was named after Esther Williams, the famous actress who starred in the 1947 movie, "This Time for Keeps". That movie was filmed at the Grand Hotel!
The Grand Hotel Stables 17 of 18
Here you'll find buggies and carriages dating back to the 1800s. A real treat for history buffs or horse lovers like myself!
My Favorite 18 of 18
This historic building is full of soul and Mackinac Island wouldn't be the same without it. It's family travel at its finest, and taking a trip back in time is something that my family looks forward to each and every year. You have to see it and experience it yourself to see what all the fuss is about. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Find more of Nadia’s writing on her site Child Mode. You can also find her on Disney Baby and Hip Baby. Love social media? So does she! Follow her daily on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.