2018 Closing of Grand Hotel

Ben Mosley taking the Opera Bus for one last drive with Grand Hotel’s Hackneys.
The last carriages of the season departing.

Today, Monday, October the 29th marks the final day Grand Hotel is open for its 132nd season. Opening this year on Friday, May 4 and open for 177 nights we were hosts to over 150,000 overnight guests.

This past weekend we ended with Somewhere in Time Weekend, our last themed weekend of the season. Somewhere in Time Film Director, Jeannot Szwarc made an appearance where guests heard first hand his vision for the romantic story, filmed in 1979 and released in 1980. 

Somewhere in Time Director, Jeannot Szwarc posing with guests.
Guests enjoying the 28th Annual Somewhere in Time Weekend.
Annual Somewhere in Time Group Photo in the Theatre.

Sunday evening 787 guests stayed for Close the Grand, a one-night package where guests get a chance to see what happens as we prepare the Grand Lady for the winter.

Guests help to bring in all the rocking chairs off the Front Porch.
Grand Hotel President, Dan Musser III, and a few employees bring in chess pieces from the Front Porch.
Guests and employees bringing in all the furniture from the porch to be stored for winter.
Guests help to bring in all the rocking chairs off the Front Porch.
All of the rocking chairs are stored for the winter in the terrace room.
Guests help to bring in all the rocking chairs off the Front Porch.


Close the Grand Lecture with Grand Hotel Historian, Bob Tagatz.
Guests take home complimentary geraniums from the porch.
All the furniture is draped with sheets for the winter months.
Grand Hotel is Closed for the Season.

At 9:30 a.m. on this final day the season officially comes to an end with the ceremonial bell ringing by President Dan Musser, III.


As Dan said last season when accepting the Historic Hotels of America Preservation Award, “We are caretakers, not owners,” and the sound of the bell and a speech from Mr. Musser officially ends the season every year and allows the staff to become the caretakers they are and get ready for the next season.

This season was particularly exciting with the new addition of two brand new named suites – the Prentiss M. Brown Suite and the Lilac Suite.

The Prentiss M. Brown Suite located on the third floor is named after Michigan’s former United States Representative and United States Senator. Prentiss M. Brown also served as the first Chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority who oversaw the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. Mr. Brown was also the grandfather to Marlee Brown, wife of Grand Hotel President, Dan Musser, III.

The Prentiss M. Brown Suite
The Prentiss M. Brown Suite

Carleton Varney styled the suite with a scholarly feeling, including family and personal memorabilia and photographs. 

The Lilac Suite also located on the third floor is named after the famous flower Mackinac Island is known for.  Mackinac Island is home to 130-year-old lilac trees and all 23 species. With picturesque views of the Straits of Mackinac and Grand Hotel Tea Garden, which features many lilac trees this suite was imagined by Carleton Varney as a place where guests can be surrounded by a garden filled with lilacs and other Mackinac blooms.

The Lilac Suite
The Lilac Mural for The Lilac Suite

2019 will bring exciting new additions to the hotel that our staff will begin working on this week. Stay tuned for more information coming in January!

Grand Gardens

This year the Grand Gardens were spectacular! Our grounds crew has already been busy planting 60,000 bulbs this fall (See video here), which includes over 30,000 tulips. Also, did you know the Grand Hotel Gardens were named among The Top 25 Most Magnificent Gardens by Historic Hotels of America.

Planting Tulips for Spring of 2018
Magnificent tulip display in May

The Secret Garden was fun this year! Using Grape Hyacinths, our gardeners created the illusion of a river flowing to Grand Hotel. The project included planting more than 8,000 Grape Hyacinths to form the purple river, with over 1,000 daffodils and tulips to line the river’s edge.

Grand Hotel’s Secret Garden

Over 100 Grand Moments

This season we hosted 116 wedding events! 2019 Wedding date reservations will begin Thursday, November 15th.

Wedding Party on the porch of Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel Wedding in the Tea Garden.

This season was also the first-ever Princess and Superhero package in July where children enjoyed Princess Charm School, Superhero Training in the Tea Garden, Afternoon Tea, Princess Ball, Bedtime Stories, and a graduation. It will happen again July 7 – 9, 2019. Book Here

Princess Superhero Weekend at Grand Hotel
Spiderman in the Tea Garden during superhero training.

Did you visit the Magnificent Mile in Chicago?

 Grand Hotel was a sponsor for the inaugural Lighthouses on the Magnificent Mile Public Art Display in Chicago this summer. The Friedman Place, a non-profit Supportive Living Community for blind and visually impaired adults in Chicago designed a six-foot tall lighthouse sculpture on behalf of Grand Hotel. This lighthouse was one of fifty featured as part of the event Lighthouses on The Mag Mile from June through August. We were honored to be part of this special event this year. Read the blog here.

Guests visit Grand Hotel’s Lighthouse on the Magnificent Mile
Lighthouse on the Magnificent Mile #MagMileLighthouse #GrandHotelMagMileLightHouse

Grand awards thanks to you!
Every season we are particularly thankful to our guests and followers on social media who help cast their vote or leave a thoughtful review. Every vote and review helps garner very special recognitions throughout the year.

Here are a few of the noteworthy accolades:

  • One of the Best Historic Hotels in the Country by USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
  • Travel + Leisure named Grand Hotel one of the Top 5 Resort Hotels in the Midwest as part of the 2018 World’s Best Awards, and one of the 2018 Best All-Inclusive Hotels.
  • Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards named Grand Hotel the #2 Resort in the Midwest and Texas.
  • Smart Meetings selected Grand Hotel as a 2018 Platinum Choice Award Winner
  • Michigan Meetings + Events honored Grand Hotel with a Best of 2018 Award.
  • SmarterTravel named Grand Hotel one of the 12 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the United States.
  • The Grand Hotel Gardens were named among The Top 25 Most Magnificent Gardens by Historic Hotels of America.
  • MSN named Grand Hotel The Most Historic Hotel in Michigan for a Timeless Getaway and recognized it as One Hotel You Cannot Miss in Michigan!
  • Grand Hotel restaurantSalle à Manger received 2018 Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for its outstanding wine program marking the 2nd consecutive year that Grand Hotel has been recognized by this publication.
  • Grand Hotel, four Grand Hotel restaurants and the Grand Luncheon Buffet received the 2018 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.
  • Received the AAA Four Diamond Award for the 25th consecutive year
  • USA Today recognized Grand Hotel as one of the 10 Most Beautiful Places the Editors Visited
  • TheKnot named Grand Hotel to The Knot Hall of Fame for receiving the Best of Weddings award for 4 consecutive years.


Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2018

We are thankful for our loyal guests and those that tried us for the first time this season. Behind the scenes we couldn’t do it without the dedicated staff of 715 employees from 21 countries who help to make sure all of the details of your stay are taken care of.

We appreciate everyone who helped to make Grand Hotel’s season so successful, and hope you will continue to choose Grand Hotel as a special place to create memories.

We look forward to welcoming our first guest on Friday, May 3 2019, for the hotel’s 132nd Season.


See you in the spring!

28 thoughts on “2018 Closing of Grand Hotel

  1. A trip to the Grand has become a “must” for me every year! You are just like a step back in time, and my best relaxing place in Michigan! Thank you for all that you do to make the Grand so special.

    • Thank you Lynda! It’s our pleasure to provide you with a step back in time year after year! Have a wonderful winter!

  2. We stayed at the Grand Hotel for the first time over the summer. We have been to the island several times and were really excited to stay at the hotel. We loved having the pool available because it was pretty warm the days we stayed. I would love info on staying at your hotel for the “Close the Grand” event. Is it by invitation only, or can anyone book for that night? Please send me info if it is open to everyone. Thanks!

    • Hi Cecelia! Everyone is invited to Close the Grand. You can book your stay online at grandhotel.com. We post a special Close the Grand Package that you can book and attend each year. Thank you and have a wonderful winter!

  3. My wonderful experience last week at the mparks Grand Experience was beyond anything I ever imagined. I was a guest with Spectrum Tours escorted by Frank and Marylou Diepstra. Our room overlooked the great Straits.Round Island light house, the Mighty Mac to the west allowing for gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. The dining experiences were beyond my wildest dreams..such a great staff cared for us. We took in many of the lectures and activities all a delight. Congratulations on your exceptional,caring staff. I’m looking forward to another return some day.

    • Thank you Karen! We’re delighted that you enjoyed your experience staying with us at Grand Hotel and found the staff and service exceptional. We look forward to seeing you next season!

  4. Always an exceptional experience. From the friendly staff to the superbly decorated rooms, and food so delicious it defies description, it is an experience of a life time, every time.

    • Thank you William! We’re so delighted to provide you with such an experience year after year! We look forward to seeing you next season!

  5. I attended MPARK’s 51st Annual trip to the Grand. The Grand is a spectacular to see. From the red carpet staircase and beautifully adorned rooms to the sumptuously delicious meals. I learned so much about Grand’s history from Bob’s interesting lectures. I can’t say enough about the wonderful staff. I felt so spoiled by everyone. I loved the Audubon Bar and the Cupola with it’s breathtaking views. The musical entertainment was superb. I am already planning to visit again next year!

    • Thank you Betsy! It’s our pleasure to host you and MPARKS on your Annual Trip to Grand Hotel! We look forward to your return next season! Have a great winter and wonderful holiday season.

  6. My husband says that this is his happy place! G-d willing, we will see you in May. Thank you for a wonderful season

  7. As first time visitors to Michigan on a lively June weekend, we knew the trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing Mackinac Island and a three-night stay at the gorgeous Grand Hote! We were in heaven the entire weekend! Can’t wait to return next year and bring friends!

  8. We had reservations in September this year for our Parents 60th wedding anniversary and my father unexpectedly was hospitalized for serious blood clots in his lungs. We all were unable to travel and stayed in ICU with him and mom. The Grand hotel even though this occurred within days of our trip extended our reservations for 2019 season. We are so thankful they understood and gave my father a focus to get well to make this trip next season. He is still recovering however doing well and we are lookiing forward for our first stay at The Grand Hotel. Thank you all for your kind and compassionate service.

  9. We’ve been to The Grand before but never for The Closing. What a wonderful experience. I would recommend it for anyone who loves The Grand.

    • Thank you Lynne! We’re so glad you enjoy closing down Grand Hotel, we appreciate your support!

  10. my uncle told me that” the one place to go to, before you die, is the Grand Hotel”. so, 20 years later, my husband and I went to the island, and stayed at the Grand, and it was everything and more… we have been back twice, and it is the most magical place that I have ever been to….wonderful memories…

    • Thank you Judi, we’re delighted that we can provide you and your family with such wonderful memories!

  11. We were there in September for the first time! It was astonishing to say the lease! We were on a bus tour that I wish had another day. We hope to go back and spend more

  12. The Betancourt’s and a very good friend who had never been there ,had a world of fun at the Grand in July , Hope to make a 3rd trip with someone who has never been to see their eyes light up with excitement. Keeper’s of the island through the winter months stay safe and warm and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all ,have a great 2019 opening. Sincerely Michael and Sylvia Betancourt.

    • Thank you Sylvia and Michael! Wishing you a wonderful winter season as well! We look forward to seeing you in the spring!

  13. I would like info. about next year’s closing of the Grand…which I can see is Oct. 27-28 (check out) Thank you so very much!

    Cathy Blevins

    • Hi Cathy! You can learn about all of our packages including Close the Grand on our website at grandhotel.com under packages.

  14. As soon as the closing bell is rung, I am looking forward to the next year. Always, always wonderful and curtious staff. The rooms are as if you won the lottery when you open the door for the first time…breathtaking. The talk in the ballroom is historical yet too funny. We utilized various areas of the hotel through the years and truly enjoy its’ offerings. Wonderful place to stay and visit and the view – magical.

    • Thank you Rose! We’re so glad you enjoyed the traditions of closing Grand Hotel! We hope to see you next season!

  15. Thank you so much for the 3 day event at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island June 1, 2, 3, 2018 in memory of the ‘Sinking of the Titanic’, April 14, 1912, as we were celebrating our 60th Wedding Anniversary! I, Geraldine (Christman) Thornton was the sole and only living relative to JJA present along with my husband, Jack Thornton and brought my hired ‘genealogist’ documentations to prove my relationship, but was very disappointed for not being able to locate anyone that could verify my written documentations, but do plan to attend year 2019 once again. Please keep us posted for year 2019.

    We have visited and stayed at the Grand Hotel many times and so enjoyed each event..

    We also spent our honeymoon on Mackinaw Island on August 2nd 1958.

    Jack & Gerry Thornton

  16. My Husband and I took advantage of a trip of a lifetime . The senior center in our hometown offered a price that was amazing!
    Our stay for almost 4 days was a dream come true, a fairytale ! It truly was Grand!
    The amazing Grand and sland, the beautiful luxury surroundings, elegant meals and more! Those that work at the Grand dining area deserve a standing ovation. I honestly don’t know how from morning to night they work so hard and professionally , never missing a beat, addresssing each guest as if they were royalty, and for that I am most grateful and appreciative . Bravo!!!

  17. For approximately 25 years my family has had the distinct pleasure of celebrating my mother’s (now 89 years young) birthday, staying a week at the Grand Hotel during the July 4 celebration. During this time we have missed very few years. Four generations have come to imbed joyful life-long Grand Hotel memories into their treasure trove of beloved family traditions. The hotel delivers, by every standard of measure, a most GRAND experience! The excitement begins with the ferry ride to the island, the first sighting of the majestic Grand Hotel on the hillside, the horse driven carriage ride to the Hotel, the beautifully appoint accommodations, the extraordinary dining options, Olympic pool with unlimited snow cones, bike or horse riding around the island, picturesque golfing, walking downtown for fudge and ice cream…and more! The greatest asset of the hotel walk to their residences each evening; delivering each day such courteous, professional service to their guests! Thank you Mr. Dan Musser and your wonderful staff! Hope to be your guest next July! Dr. Robert Meister Peoria, Illinois

    • Thank you Dr. Meister! We appreciate you and your family choosing Grand Hotel year after year to create life-long memories! It is our pleasure to have served four generations of your family and we look forward to four more! Happy Holidays to you and your family and we’ll look forward to seeing you next summer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *