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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island)


The Grand Hotel is a historic lodging facility located on Mackinac Island, Michigan, a small island located at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac within Lake Huron between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Constructed in the late 19th century, the facility advertises itself as having the world's largest porch. The Grand Hotel is well known for a number of notable visitors, including five U.S. presidents, inventor Thomas Edison, and author Mark Twain.
The Grand Hotel is unique in its late 19th century decor. Designed by Carleton Varney, Dorothy Draper's protege, the hotel is decorated with vibrant colors and the constant theme of Pelargonium geraniums. No two of the 385 guest rooms are designed alike. There are four types of rooms: Category I, Category II, Category III, and Named Rooms. There are six two-bedroom suites consisting of two bedrooms connected by a parlor. Two of these suites, the Grand Suite & the Carleton Varney suite, overlook the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac, while the Presidential suite is located in the center of the hotel with a balcony over the porch. A detached structure added in early 2000 was named the Masco Cottage; the facility includes two downstairs bedrooms with private bathrooms along with a kitchen, living room, and dining room area. Upstairs are two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a media parlor.
Additionally, six suites are named for and designed by six former First Ladies of the United States, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Suite (with carpet that includes the gold presidential eagle on a navy blue background and walls painted gold), Lady Bird Johnson Suite (yellow damask-covered walls with blue and gold wildflowers), Betty Ford Suite (green with cream and a dash of red), Rosalynn Carter Suite (with a sample of china designed for the Carter White House and wall coverings in Georgia peach), Nancy Reagan Suite (with signature red walls and Mrs. Reagan's personal touches) and Barbara Bush Suite (designed with pale blue and pearl and with both Maine and Texas influences).
Guests are transported from the docks to the hotel via horse-drawn carriage.Beginning in 2007, many rooms have air conditioning. Formerly, air conditioning was only available in public rooms, such as the lobby, parlor and Salle a Manger (main dining room). Due to the building's design it was difficult to add air conditioning to the guest rooms. Air conditioning for 170 rooms will come from newly installed water heat exchangers in the bathrooms. The exchangers cool the air through contact with the cold water system.
Mackinac Island does not allow motor vehicles (except for emergency vehicles) and transport to and from the dock to the hotel is via horse-drawn carriage. The only motor vehicles allowed in recent history were cars brought over for the filming of Somewhere in Time. During the winter months, when ice prevents ferry transport from the mainland, the hotel is closed.
Grand Hotel has an extensive conference facility available for use.
A stay at the hotel is expensive; as of 2008, the smallest rooms start at $480 per night, including a full breakfast and five course dinner at the hotel's Salle a Manger (Main Dining Room) restaurant. Meal prices include the tax and gratuity; tipping is otherwise prohibited.
At dinner, the Salle a Manger requires coat and tie for gentlemen and dress or pantsuit for ladies. Breakfast and dinner are available to non-guests as well for $30 and $75 respectively. The lunch buffet is $30 for guests and $45 for non-guests; the $15 non-guest entrance fee can be used towards the purchase of lunch. Other restaurants within the hotel include the Jockey Club at the Grand Stand, the Gate House, the Pool Grill, the Fort Mackinac Tea Room and the Woods snack bar located along the eighteen hole golf course.

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