I don’t have a bucket list (yet), but if I did already have one, staying at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI would’ve been on it.
I visited Mackinac Island with my parents and sister several times in the past. The first time I ever vacationed there, I think I was around 8 years old. Each year we went back, I loved the island more and more.
Sometimes we would stay on the island, sometimes we wouldn’t, but either way, I was always envious of anyone staying at Grand Hotel. It is the hotel to stay at on Mackinac Island and everyone knows it.
We finally did it!
By “we,” I mean me, Cameron, Liam, London, my mom, my sister, and my mother-in-law. It was our first ever family vacation!
Disclosure: They were kind enough to offer us the media rate for a three night stay, and as always, all opinions are my own.
There are a ton of things to do at Grand Hotel! So many, in fact, that I think I would have to visit several times before I was ever able to experience them all, and I’m totally okay with that. Sign me up. I will visit 40 more times, if I have to.
But for now, here are my top 5 things to do at Grand Hotel.
Breakfast and dinner in the main dining room was included in our rate, so we took full advantage of that. We also ate at some of the other restaurants at Grand Hotel, so I’ll go over them, as well. Like I said earlier, we certainly didn’t have time to eat at all of them.
For breakfast, I usually got the french toast and bacon because I’m obsessed with french toast and bacon. Who isn’t? It was fantastic and now that I’m typing about it, I want it again.
I also got a mimosa two out of the three mornings, because I was on vacation and needed to celebrate by having alcohol at 9am.
At dinner, they have three different menus (red, green, and yellow) depending on the night, a children’s menu, and a dessert menu. This is fine dining, people. There’s a dress code and everything. I felt like I was on the Titanic, living the life of luxury.
All my life, I’ve thought I was a picky eater. At Grand Hotel, I realized that I am a picky eater, but that I can eat things other than chicken strips and pizza, if they’re created by Grand Hotel Executive Chef, Hans Burtscher.
I wish I could’ve met him, so I could thank him for helping me realize that I’m actually a full grown adult who is very capable of eating Black Angus Beef Medallion and Roasted Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls.
They’re famous for their pecan balls, which doesn’t sound like much, but believe me. It is much. I’m pretty sure it’s just a ball of vanilla ice cream covered in pecans and placed on top of fudge sauce. That fudge sauce, though.
We also ate at The Jockey Club where I got a bacon cheeseburger and some delicious, frozen mango drink that I can’t remember the name of.
Our waiter was also capable of balancing things on his head, which is always a plus in my book.
Lastly, Grand Hotel (like nearly every other establishment on Mackinac Island) has their own fudge shop. They also have their own ice cream parlour, Sadie’s, and London had her first taste of it on this trip!
It rained an entire day we were there. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do a lot of the “play” things I would’ve liked to have done. At Grand Hotel, they have the Ester Williams Pool (with free snow cones), golf on the Jewel, footgolf (really wanted to do this one), tennis, pickleball, lawn games in the Tea Garden, horseback riding, and more!
They also offer horse and carriage tours, and even though I’ve toured the island several times, I make sure to do it every time I visit Mackinac Island. Thomas Sheffler sent us free carriage ride tickets, as well as tickets to Wings – Butterfly Conservatory!
I love the butterfly conservatory, because where else can you take pictures of butterflies this easily? Liam loved it, too! We hardly ever see butterflies at our house, and at the conservatory, you’re surrounded by them.
One last thing about the carriage tour… make sure you get off at the stop to see Arch Rock. You cannot go to Mackinac Island without seeing Arch Rock. Everyone who has ever been there has a picture exactly like this, but here’s mine, anyway.
Okay, I’m obsessed with the shops at Grand Hotel. I was only home for a few days before I was emailing them asking if there was a Grand Hotel online store.
They do have an online store, but you’re better off shopping in person, because there were a lot of things I remember seeing (and wanting) that aren’t on the site.
There’s a red pillow that says “Mackinac” and a green pillow that says “Grand Hotel,” and I know you can’t see them and don’t know what I’m talking about, but they are wonderful and I want them both. We just didn’t have any room in our suitcases or vehicles for more stuff.
You can see a full list of their shopping options here, but my favorite was The Jewel Pro Shop.
I don’t even play golf, but I wanted to buy everything in there. Now, I want to be someone who only wears golf clothes. I bought a navy pullover that says Grand Hotel on it. It’s amazing. I don’t have any pictures of me in it yet, though, because it’s 90 degrees every day.
Rest assured, though. Once I become obsessed with an article of clothing, I wear it so often that it’s embarrassing. There will not be a picture of me this fall where I’m not wearing it. Hopefully, I wear it on or near a golf course at least once.
Vacations are all about relaxing. At least they are to me.
The number one best place to relax on earth is Grand Hotel’s porch. It’s the longest porch in the world. Plus, there’s rocking chairs and cocktails, and you can see the water and Mackinac Bridge.
If cocktails aren’t your thing (why not?), there is also Afternoon Tea in the Parlor, Astor’s Salon & Spa, and nightly music played by Grand Hotel Orchestra.
Or you could always just lay in your comfortable bed and call the front desk for DVD player and a DVD. We borrowed A Star Is Born from them on the night that it rained!
PLAN YOUR NEXT VISIT
I’ve already listed a lot of great things about Grand Hotel, but I can’t finish this post without saying one thing. The staff at Grand Hotel are hands down some of the best hotel and restaurant staff I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I did not speak to a single person there who didn’t act like it was their life mission to make sure I had the best stay possible. Everyone was in a good mood. No one seemed grumpy or like they dreaded waking up for work in the morning.
But I mean, they’re living on an island and are at Grand Hotel all day, so… understandable.
So, yes. The fifth and final thing to do at Grand Hotel is plan your next visit. You will be overwhelmed (in a good way) with all the things there is to do and see. Unless you’re staying a lot longer than I was, I can’t imagine being able to do everything.
Next time, as long as the weather cooperates, I really want to try footgolf and I know Cameron wants to (real) golf. Plus, the kids need to get into that Ester Williams pool and get snow cones!