By Becky Linhardt
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. — Groups that book into the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island receive much more than a room and a meal.
“It’s all about the experience, what goes on beyond the room. Pricing varies greatly and is customized per our group customers’ needs and expectations,” said Julia Luckey-Ottenwess, director of group tours. “We found that a visit to Grand Hotel is often on the bucket list of many adults and they have high expectations. We want to exceed those expectations and create wonderful memories.”
Grand Hotel has a reputation for elegance. Guests might be surprised by the serenity and warmth. The Charles Varney interior design is brightly cheerful and every guest room is uniquely decorated. Public spaces were designed to wow and they do. The attentiveness of the staff is the big wow factor. “How can I help you?” is asked with sincerity and followed through.
The Concierge Desk will cheerfully help individuals from the group price and organize a customized experience such as charter fishing for an afternoon.
“Sometimes there are adjustments after the tour arrives. We can add flexibility with unexpected options such as jewelry-making or schedule a talk with the building engineers,” Luckey-Ottenwess said.
Not every minute needs to be booked with things to do.
“In some ways we are like a cruise ship that is docked,” said Luckey-Ottenwess. “We offer activities and educational programs if the group wants them. But many visitors want time to relax by the pool, walk in the gardens or just sit on our famous porch and admire the view quietly or while conversing with friends.”
Groups have multiple dining options at Grand Hotel and their properties off site. Lunch at The Terrace Café at Fort Mackinac includes a panoramic view. The carriage ride to In the Woods takes visitors through deep forest, and the German-style fare provides a change of pace.
Dinner at Grand Hotel is elegant — everyone dressed up and a table set to the standards of high Victorian elegance. Don’t worry about the 11 pieces of silverware.
“As we tell the high school groups during their orientation: start from the outside and work in, most utensils will make sense when the food arrives at the table,” Luckey-Ottenwess said. “We are not grading anyone.”
As always, the experience at Grand Hotel is high class and elegant but it is also always about comfort — comfort for the individuals in the group and for the group leaders.
For more information call (906) 847-3331 or visit grandhotel.com/groups.