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!

Tenth Annual Grand Hotel Spring Needle Art Seminar – Get Inspired

G e T  I n S p I r E d

May 5 – 10, 2019

Grand Hotel is delighted to once again host its 10th Annual Spring Needle Art Seminar featuring textile artists from across the United States and Canada to bring you the latest and most innovative techniques. You will be working with color and design stretching traditional boundaries of your favorite textile craft.  You will find that creating quilts from scraps by string piecing, using wool and fabric with fusible applique, embroidery and embellishing, miniature punch needle embroidery along with new techniques for hand quilting and piecing will bring out the artist in you!  There are even some Mackinac-themed projects! A perfect souvenir for your stay at Grand Hotel!  Our uniquely talented textile artists are well-known instructors and authors who will bring you fabulous techniques you won’t want to miss!  Classes are for all skill levels with the most difficulty being which class to choose each day!  The lectures and classes will be taught by these needle art enthusiast favorites – Mary Elizabeth Kinch, Melinda Bula, Pam Beal, Rebekah L. Smith, Michele Mueller, and Bonnie K. Hunter.  Learn a brand new technique or improve your skills in an area of needle art you love. We look forward to you attending this creative and fun Needle Art Seminar week at Grand Hotel!

Read below for information about the instructors and class descriptions.

Make sure to visit grandhotel.com/needleart for registration information. Registration begins Monday, December 3, 2018. 

Meet the 2019 Needle Art Seminar Instructors: 

Bonnie Hunter

Bonnie Hunter is a very passionate quilter and focuses mainly on scrap quilts. She is an experienced author of many quilt designs and articles on scrap management and using that stash to its full potential. She writes a regular column for “Quilt Maker Magazine” on this topic.  She lectures and teaches around the world.  Let Bonnie challenge you to break the rules, think outside the box and find what brings you joy. 

Bonnie Hunter’s Schedule:

1 1/2 Day Class  -Sunday- 1:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.  & Monday – 9:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Emerald City
Class Level: All Levels
Description: A great two-color quilt! When playing with numerous scraps and strings by color family the array of tones and shades is joyous! No two string blocks are the same, there is always something new to see when playing with color and value. Emerald City is done in greens, but you are free choose your own color family!

Emerald City

1-Day Class  – Tuesday – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Punkin’ Patch
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Get ready for a cozy fall with this scrap friendly pumpkin quilt. String piecing on foundations makes these whimsical pumpkins a cinch. Surround your pumpkin patch with a series of borders and you’re sure to have a family heirloom.

Punkin’ Patch

2-Day Class  – Wednesday & Thursday – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m..
Project: Straits of Mackinac
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Named after Bonnie’s previous visit to Mackinac Island. This beautiful quilt boasts the cool, calming colors of Lake Michigan and it’s surrounding waterways. The blocks are traditional, yet complex and we are very excited to see this quilt in person!

Straits of Mackinac

Rebekah L. Smith

Rebeka L. Smith

Rebekah L. Smith is a folk artist working in the areas of painting and wool applique. Her style is inspired by American antiques and decorative arts. She is the author of two books and has been selected for the Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts for several years.  Come to savor the richness and beauty of her wool applique designs. She will ignite your passion with her simple elegant designs.

Rebekah L. Smith’s Schedule:

1 1/2 Day Class – Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project:  A Basket of Beauties 
Class Level: All Levels
Description: This project is a take on the beautiful geraniums of summer that invoke
feelings of a different era. The project includes a wicker hanging basket and luscious wools to adorn it. In this class, Rebekah will teach you how to transfer, cut out and stitch your project using traditional methods of wool applique. She will also instruct students in embellishment stitches and finishing of basket details. Kit Required, $50 (includes basket)

Basket of Beauties

2-Day Class –  Tuesday & Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Mackinac Medallion Table Rug 
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Architecture was the inspiration for this piece. Mackinac Island is filled with beautiful houses
and buildings featuring elements from the Victorian age. This project features some of these along with designs
found in the garden. In this class, she will teach you all of her basic fundamentals for wool applique and gives
you the freedom for alternate color choices. Kit Required, $95.

1 1/2- Day Class – Thursday and Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Sewing Book
Class Level: Intermediate
Description: This project is great for anyone who loves to sew! The sewing book has a wool applique cover,
interior needle flap, pincushion, and pocket for keeping all your stitching tools close at hand. Students will be given
pre-work so previous stitching knowledge is required. Students will be instructed on how to construct their sewing
books and add finishing touches. Kit Required, $80

Large Sewing Book
Large Sewing Book Option

Melinda Bula

Creating and designing is an obsession with Melinda and whether it is fabric, wallpaper, or quilts, it is her passion.  Her Fabulous Fusible Flowers quilts are one of a kind. With the wonderful look of a painting, she uses fabric and thread to create beautifully artistic quilts. She is the author of two books and has been featured on “The Quilt Show” and teaches in the U.S. and internationally.  Her art is dynamic and modern. She will truly motivate you.  

Melinda Bula’s Schedule:

1- 1/2 Day Class: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Monday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Iris
Class Level: All Levels
Description:  Now, you too, can make this beautiful Iris Flower quilt that was featured in American Quilter and on the cover of the magazine. Learn how to create amazing fusible flowers, build your flower in layers, choose just the right values in your fabric, and make your flower look real. Melinda has put together hand-dyed fabric kits in a choice of Iris colors. Kit Required, $65.


1-Day Class: Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Coneflower
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Make this fun and easy coneflower quilt that even a beginner can master. Learn how to create
these amazing fusible flowers that look like a painting without any paint. Melinda will show you how to build
your flower layers, how to choose just the right values in your fabric and how to make your flower look real. Kit Required $35


1-Day Class: Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Clematis
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Look through the eyes of an artist as Melinda shows how she builds her award-winning flower
quilts. See how color and values add depth and realism to your work. Learn how she layers her colors just like
paint to make her flowers pop. She has created a special fabric kit for this class in a choice of three clematis colors. Kit Required, $65.


1-Day Class: Thursday  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Renegade Thread Play
Class Level: All Levels
Description: This is a technique class! Learn how to shade and highlight your flowers with thread to add dimension to your quilts. Learn how to master your machine with Melinda’s amazing tips and tricks, and how to add a beautiful layer of thread painting to any quilt. You will be learning skill builders that will get you ready to finish your flowers with thread. Kit Required, $45.

Renegade Thread

Pam Beal

Pam Beal

Pam Beal is a professional instructor and improvisational quilt maker from the Liberated School of Design, she borrows from and builds on tradition.  She makes freestyle quilts through a process of adventurous discovery.  She contributes to the preservation of an ancient skill of hand quilting.  She is inspired by music, nature, study and life experiences.  Pam promotes independence and discovery in her classroom for students to create their own quilts.  Let her style stir your adventurous side.

Pam Beal’s Schedule:

1 ½ Day Class – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m
Project: Improv in Cloth- Small Studies
Class Level: All Levels

Description:  Improvise and enjoy an immersion in design. Explore color, line, and technique through a series of small quilt studies. Small Studies offer a good challenge, allow ideas to develop and improvisation to flourish.

Improv Small Studies

2- Day Class – Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Abstract Designing in Quilts
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Improvise on tradition and consider the trusted square, medallion, log cabin, strings, etc. Amish quilts were the first to enthrall the arts community followed by the quilts of Gee’s Bend. We have a long, rich tradition to inspire us!

Abstract Designing in Quilts

1 1/2-day Class –  Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. & Friday  9:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
Project: Studio Hand Quilting
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Discover free form hand quilting. Adapt the fundamentals and create expressive stitches by hand. Through random, playful lines you will stitch your original whole cloth quilt.

Studio Hand Quilting

Mary Elizabeth Kinch

Mary Elizabeth Kinch is a Canadian, quilt maker, fabric designer, teacher, speaker, and collector Mary is the co-author of two bestselling books and believes in stretching traditional boundaries and creating quilts with a subtle salute to the past.  Her recent work examines the interpretation of traditional quilt designs through “gestured appliqued lines” and the quilting stitch.  She creates quilts with small pieces and enticing designs.  Let her encourage and inspire you in her class. 

Mary Elizabeth’s Schedule:

2 Day Class: Monday & Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Project: Grand Feathers Quilt
Class Level: All Levels

Description: When I last taught at Grand Hotel, I saw in the hotel brochure a picture of an antique quilt displayed on the wall of one of the guest rooms. Once I saw it I wanted to create my own rendition of it. Join me for the big reveal of my quilt, done in bright, colorful Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and make your own version of this gorgeous vintage treasure. We will be using the Apliquick®™ technique for turned edge applique; if you love traditional needle turn applique, or if you have had trouble with it in the past, this innovative process, which is fast, easy and precise, is for you. And of course, we’ll take a field trip to see the original quilt!

Grand Feathers Quilt

1-Day Class: Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Class Level: All Levels
Project: Foothills Quilt
Description: This class is based on a late 1800’s Canadian antique quilt and is chock-a-block with
discoveries. Study the original quilt for all of its quirks and originality – details that you can consider using in your own version of this quilt. Discover important lessons: the role of value, impact of color and how sashing can be a game changer. We will also explore a novel construction approach. Join me as we investigate the spirited design of the original quilt and be inspired, as you make your own. Pattern Required.

Foot Hills Quilt

1-Day Class: Thursday  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Class Level: All Levels
Project: The Zen of Precision Hand Piecing 
Description: Experience a new, deeper quilting calm as you enjoy the relaxing satisfaction of the needle
drawing thread. Hand piecing is the epitome of the slow stitching movement and in this class, you will learn a
stitching technique that is easy on the fingers. As well, you will learn tips to working with templates, successful
curves and points, how to stay organized, and the bonus of how to easily make an applique wee circles. You will
have so much fun you won’t want to stop stitching. Pattern Required, $22

Hand Piecing

1/2-Day Class: Friday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Class Level: All Levels
Project: My Favorite Antique Quilts
Description: Discover free form hand quilting. Adapt the fundamentals
and create expressive stitches by hand. Through random,
playful lines you will stitch your original whole cloth quilt.

Michele Mueller

Michele Mueller
  • As a Michigan featured artist, Michele Mueller will show class attendees how to make various designs using her punch needle rug hooking technique including “Race Day” a Mackinac Island- inspired creation and more! Michele has a design studio in Elk Rapids, MI, “The Wild Hare Rug Studio”, where she hand dyes wool to create designs you are sure to love. Wool rug yarn or wool fabric strips are worked through a base cloth by punch needle to create her beautiful and whimsical designs such as sheep against a country landscape. Michele describes the technique as “very calming” as you “paint and draw” using her rug hooking technique.   Michele became certified as a rug hooking teacher in Vermont which honed her skills for needle punch and her passion is contagious!

Michele Mueller’s Schedule:

1 Evening Class – Monday – 5:00 p.m – 8:00 p.m.
Project: Framed Art
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Create your own 8” X 8” framed piece of artwork using the punch needle rug hooking technique. Kit Required, $35

Michele Mueller

1 Evening Class – Thursday – 5:00 p.m – 8:00 p.m.
Project: Miniature Punch Needle Embroidery
Class Level: All Levels
Description: Have you been tempted to try Miniature Punch Needle Embroidery? This workshop will help you get started. This needle art uses a pen like tool and embroidery floss to create miniature works of art. Once you get started you will not want to stop! Kit Required, $22. 

     Miniature Punch Needle

For questions regarding class registration or seminar information, please call Carmen Hartwig at 231-357-6999 or email:needleart@grandhotel.com.

You may also visit our website www.grandhotel.com/needleart .  For hotel information, please call reservations at 1-800-334-7263.

Grand Hotel in Spring

Vote for the LEGO Model of Grand Hotel by Engineer Dr. David Lorch

Vote for the LEGO model of Grand Hotel

We are excited to share the news that Grand Hotel has the opportunity to become a LEGO set sold in stores across the country. BUT first, we need your help! We need 10,000 supporters to make this LEGO set a reality and have LEGO consider it as a real kit and make it available in retail stores.

David Lorch’s LEGO model idea of Grand Hotel.
Meet Dr. David Lorch, the mind behind the display. 

The Original 9 foot LEGO model featured during the hotel’s 130th Anniversary

Many of you may remember the 9 foot model of Grand Hotel that University of Michigan Engineer, Dr. David Lorch designed and built for Grand Hotel’s 130th Anniversary; after building this model David was inspired to create a LEGO set of Grand Hotel that had the potential for everyone to build and experience! 

David Lorch’s 9 foot model of Grand Hotel built for the 130th Anniversary. David is pictured with his wife Alivia.
Detail of David Lorch’s 9 foot model of Grand Hotel built for the 130th Anniversary

David’s Story

When you travel across the Mackinac Bridge to or from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it is impossible to miss the beauty of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in the view. The view I saw traveling across the bridge inspired me, a LEGO fan, to make a model of Grand Hotel. After building a 9-foot-long version of the large building, I took on the challenge to build a model on a scale better suited for a LEGO set. 

Having lived in Michigan most of my life, the story and beauty of Grand Hotel really stuck with me as I learned more about its stately structure and history. Grand Hotel is a family owned National Historic Landmark, a point of pride for the great state of Michigan and has been for 131 years. Situated on the travel destination of Mackinac Island of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Grand Hotel is surrounded by lush landscapes and horse-drawn carriages (no cars allowed on the island).


Grand Hotel’s age is not its only impressive feat: the front porch at 660 feet long is the world’s longest and its original wood framed structure was built in only 90 days! The porch is also well known for its many white rocking chairs where you can sit back and relax looking out over the Straits of Mackinac and its pots of thousands of blooming red geraniums, the hotel’s signature flower. All of this produces an environment of vibrant colors which was exciting to represent with LEGO pieces. I especially enjoyed using flat azure-colored pieces attached upside down on the porch ceiling of the model to match the sky blue that can be seen painted on the hotel.

In the following video, you can see this 710-piece model and it’s journey to Mackinac Island to stroll around the hotel that it was designed after. 



We hope you will get to build this set and experience the timelessness of Grand Hotel, America’s Summer Place.


How to Vote and become a Supporter:

To VOTE go to ideas.lego.com. 

– You will be taken to Grand Hotel’s LEGO model page. 

-You will be required to log-in or create an account.

-After doing so it will require you to enter an authorization code and then validate your email address.

-After validating your email address you’ll be able to log in and support David’s Grand Hotel LEGO set and hopefully, one day has the opportunity to build it yourself!

– Please let us know you voted and share to social media and use the hashtag #legograndhotel.

Thank you for your support!

Read David’s story from 2017 on Mlive about his 9 foot model >>https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/07/engineer_builds_9-foot_mackina.html
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