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Child Free Travel – The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Guest Author - Previous BellaOnline Editor

Few hotels in this world compare to the luxurious elegance of The Grand Hotel, nestled in the peaceful tranquility of Mackinac Island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The stately hotel boasts the world’s longest porch, with spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac. No cars are allowed on the Island, creating a serene stillness that is punctuated only by the clip clop of horse hooves.

Fade to black and white, and you may as well be standing on the grounds of the hotel when it opened in 1887. From the start, it was the favored summer resort of America’s aristocracy, who arrived by lake steamer from Detroit, Chicago, and other industrial centers in the Midwest. Over 100 years later, the Grand Hotel’s opulence still delights travelers with a fondness for luxury accommodations.

This romantic location has been tapped by the film industry on more than one occasion. In 1949 This Time For Keeps was filmed at the Grand Hotel, starring Jimmy Durante and Esther Williams. In 1980, the classic romance Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, was filmed at the Grand Hotel. Guests can peruse Somewhere in Time memorabilia in the hotel’s majestic lobby, and almost every specialty shop on the Island sells Somewhere in Time souvenirs.

Room rates are quite high at the Grand Hotel, but the experience is truly unforgettable. Breakfast and a spectacular five course dinner are included, prepared by world class chefs. Upon request, the kitchen will prepare a gourmet picnic for you and your sweetie. You can rent a horse drawn carriage (to drive yourself!) and head off into a remote corner of the Island to enjoy your lunch!

After dinner in the majestic “Salle a Manger,” guests are welcome in the Parlor for demitasse and live music, performed by The Grand Hotel Orchestra. There is a dress code after 6:00 PM in all public areas of the hotel, which adds an old world elegance to the experience.

Although children are allowed to stay at the Grand Hotel, most of the hotel’s premier services are only appropriate for adults. Kids are not a common sight at the hotel, especially during the “shoulder season” in the spring and early fall when school is in session.

The pace is a little slower on Mackinac Island, and much more relaxed than most of us experience in our day to day lives. You can take a horse drawn carriage tour, rent bicycles, enjoy a sunset cruise on the water, or tour the historic sites. The downtown area features many unique shops and restaurants. And no trip to Mackinac would be complete without LOTS of fudge!

(My husband and I went to Mackinac Island for our honeymoon, and we spent a few nights at The Grand Hotel. We had such a fabulous time, we plan to return every five years! There are many couples who celebrate every anniversary there. And yes, it IS that wonderful!)
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