Yet unlike other resorts from the Gilded Age that burned to the ground or faded, the Grand Hotel has managed to maintain its grace and dignity. It still hosts all manner of celebrities and politicians—five U.S. presidents to date—and still offers a sip of a truly bygone era with high tea in the parlor each afternoon and demitasse served after dinner each evening. Room rates still include a five-course dinner in the soaring main dining room. For men, the evening (6pm) dress code calls for jackets and ties, and for women, skirts, dresses, or formal pantsuits.
The Grand Hotel’s time-capsule setting prompted director Jeannot Szwarc to choose it as the location for the 1980 film Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer. For whatever reason, the movie has developed a huge following; its fan club reunites at the hotel each year in late October.
While room rates can get outright absurd (from $475, with doubles from $275), they include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and perhaps can be considered a worthwhile splurge if you’d like to experience a level of hospitality reminiscent of the Gilded Age. A more affordable option is to stay just one night for the experience and then book a room at a cheaper lodging on or off the island for the rest of your visit.
Enjoy this moment in time—take tea, loll in the beautifully landscaped pool, or dance to the swing orchestra in the Terrace Room. Nonguests can sneak a peek at the hotel’s public areas and grounds for a mildly unreasonable fee ($10 adults, $5 children, free under age 4). It’s used to thin the sightseers more than anything. Highly recommended are a stroll through the grounds, which are filled with Victorian gardens, with 25,000 tulips in spring; and a visit to the snazzy Cupola Bar, with views halfway to Wisconsin.
Each of the 385 rooms is decorated differently. Since 2007, and for the first time in its history, the entire hotel is air-conditioned.
Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.