Grand Hotel Story

One Hotel. One Rich History.

Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan opened its doors in 1887 as a summer retreat for vacationers who traveled to the area by train and came to the island via steamer and boat. Throughout its tenure as America’s Summer Place, one family nurtured and guided its growth to the stately getaway it is today.

The Musser Family Stewardship

From 1933 through 2019, the Musser family has preserved the history and tradition of Grand Hotel, thoughtfully improving the grand experience of every guest for over 85 years. In October 2019 a new chapter began for Grand Hotel as Pivot Hotel and Resorts, the luxury division of Davidson Hotels & Resorts took over the management for owner, KSL Capital Partners.

Yet, the Musser family legacy at Grand Hotel continues as Dan Musser, III remains Chairman, providing leadership and guidance as he continues to guard the hotel’s legacy as he personally has since 1989 when he was named President. His father R.D. Musser Jr. and mother Amelia bought the hotel in 1979.

“I love greeting the guests,” said Dan. “People come here from all over the world and all walks of life to relax and rest in this beautiful place. We want every person who comes through these doors to feel welcome and special. Our staff and I strive to create and maintain a memorable vacation for everyone.”

“After all, most of what I know about this job, I learned from my family, he said. “My great uncle, W. Stewart Woodfill, bought Grand Hotel in 1933, having started working here in 1919 as a desk clerk. He was very Victorian and serious. He felt children were to be seen and not heard, so I spent most of my time outside.”

That was a sign of the times and his great uncle’s vision for Grand Hotel as a formal, proper, beautiful place. Today it remains formal and proper, but also radiates a warmth and friendliness that adds to its beautiful atmosphere.

Before Dan, R.D. Musser Jr., Dan’s father who passed away in 2013, began working for his uncle in 1951 while in college, starting in the bar and then moving to the kitchen. By 1960, he had worked his way up to President and bought Grand Hotel from his uncle in 1979.

Dan Musser, III started working at the hotel in high school, raking sand traps on The Jewel. He has been a bellhop, bartender, front desk clerk, front desk manager, reservations manager, Vice President and President. “Like my great uncle and dad, I would oversee every role our staff plays, even those behind the scenes. From working with our executive chef to refresh menus every season to weighing in on the staff’s uniforms to checking every room. I like to think I know Grand Hotel inside and out.”

Each family owner has been very hands-on, greeting guests and gracefully dealing with the day-to-day details. Each brought his own improvements, maintaining the hotel’s ambiance yet changing with the times and technology.

Davidson Hotels & Resorts Acquisition

In October 2019, the Musser family finalized the sale of Grand Hotel to KSL Capital Partners. Pivot Hotels & Resorts, the lifestyle and luxury operating division of Davidson Hotels & Resorts, manages the property for KSL.

“It has been an honor and privilege for my family to serve as steward of this incredible Michigan landmark for nearly nine decades. Yet now is the right time to transfer ownership to KSL,” said Musser. “KSL is a seasoned investor in the travel and leisure business, with the resources and capabilities to provide exceptional service. It has owned and operated some of the most prestigious destinations in the world and we are pleased they will help preserve the history and heritage of Grand Hotel.”

This is an exciting new chapter for Grand Hotel and its guests. Its legacy as a premier vacation destination in the State of Michigan will continue for many generations.