Grand Hotel Inside Out: Nooks, Crannies, and All – A $10 Self-Guided Tour for Mackinac Island Visitors

Mackinac Grand Hotel - VanderWeide

Welcome to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island!

Ah, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. This timeless Michigan venue is known for its rich past, timeless elegance, lush gardens, and never-ending front porch.

It really is an irresistible destination, especially if you’re interested in architecture, Mackinac Island history, or culture.

Mackinac Island Grand Hotel - VanderWeide

Maybe some day I’ll be able to check an overnight stay off of my bucket list.

Take a Self-Guided Tour of The Grand Hotel

Because that “some day” won’t be happening anytime soon, I found a different way to step into this luxurious slice of history: I bought a ticket for the self-guided tour.

That’s right – you don’t have to be a guest to experience the colorful inner halls of this Victorian-era gem.

Just pay the guest admission fee and you can wander the grounds of the Grand Hotel all day long.

Here’s what you can see and do on the tour:

Yes, the Grand Hotel is a Michigan Icon

Address: 286 Grand Ave, Mackinac Island, MI 49757

The 1887 Grand Hotel is a National Historic Landmark that captures over a century of Mackinac Island’s story.

Entrance Grand Hotel - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Stepping inside, guests and visitors get a glimpse into the past through its vast array of photographs, artifacts, and intriguing stories.

Here’s how to get inside:

Grand Hotel Tour Hours & Admission

At just $10 per adult and $5 for ages 6-9, the hotel’s inviting spaces are open to daytime guests daily from 9 AM to 6 PM. (Those 5 and under get to explore free of charge.)

The tour admissions desk is located at the East Entrance, near – but not in – Sadie’s Ice Cream Shop.

East Entrance Grand Hotel
East Entrance Stairs – Grand Hotel

Self-guided Grand Hotel tour admission can be purchased in person or online.

Admission - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Grand Hotel Admission Desk

With your admission, you’ll get several coupons as well as a stamped brochure, which gives access to the grand porch, public areas, and gorgeous grounds.

Brochure - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Note: the pool and guest room areas are exclusive to hotel guests; a Grand Hotel pool day pass is not available.

This is a look at many (but not all) stops available with a day pass.

The Famous Grand Hotel Porch

Welcome to the World’s Longest Front Porch! This iconic 660-foot long relaxation station is an absolute must-see.

Here, an endless line of white rocking chairs begs the question: which one will you choose?

Grand Hotel Porch and Blue Ceiling on Grand Hotel tour

No matter, they all lull and soothe the same in their front-porch kind of way.

Mackinac Grand Hotel Porch View

While you rock, notice the vibrant red geraniums lining the banister – a Grand Hotel trademark, while a life-sized chess game adds a touch of fun.

Mackinac Grand Hotel Porch Chess - VanderWeide

Front Porch Ceiling Color: Look up at the front porch ceiling and you’ll notice it’s painted a lovely shade of aquamarine blue. What you don’t see: nesting birds.

This “Dew Kiss” turquoise paint shade (Pittsburgh Paints Dew Kiss) is an aesthetic and ingenious bird-deterrent, as are other blue-hued ceiling colors.

Good to know: Stepping onto the Grand Hotel’s inviting red-carpeted stairs requires a $10 admission fee. Unlike other hotels, casual walk-ins to the lobby aren’t permitted here.

Great Lawn & Gardens

Second to the front porch, the exquisite Grand Hotel gardens and lawns also cannot be missed. They’re legendary!

The cool Mackinac summer growing season means an explosion of color in the gardens, courtesy of the thousands of annuals and perennials planted here. Be on the lookout for geraniums, roses, peonies, daisies, coleus, cosmos, lilies, begonias and more.

Cheery flowers, fountains, and a life-sized chess game flank the giant lawn to brighten the day.

Mackinac Grand Hotel Chess on Lawn - VanderWeide

In what looks to go on for a mile or more, annuals line the front of the hotel, layering color in a spectacular way.

Mackinac Grand Hotel Lawn Fountain - VanderWeide

You’ll be hard-pressed to leave this floral wonderland!

Find the Secret Garden

Perhaps the most exciting garden of all is the secret garden.

It really is a secret.

It doesn’t show up on the hotel map, and when you’re walking the grounds, there is no sign.

We walked past the entrance twice and had to diligently look for the entrance in the hedge to finally spot its location.

Secret Garden Grand Hotel Mackinac Island - VW
Grand Hotel Secret Garden

As you wind your way into the labyrinth-like secret garden, get ready. The first scene is the most breath-taking: from your spot, look up to see the Grand Hotel perched above a river of colorful garden blossoms.

Hall of History

Located on the main level near the admission desk, the Hall of History includes a treasure trove of artifacts from the “Somewhere in Time” movie.

Somewhere in Time Grand Hotel

Fun Fact: The 1980 film Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer, was filmed on location at Grand Hotel. Every year, the movie’s huge fan club meets at Grand Hotel in late October.

You’ll also find historic photos of this great destination, plus numerous celebrities and politicians who’ve visited the Grand Hotel and other monumental events.

Hall of History Grand Hotel - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel Dining

All Grand Hotel restaurants and bars are open to non-hotel guests.

Salle a Manger

Also known as the Main Dining Room, Salle A Manger is where you can eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner while overlooking the world’s longest porch and the Straits of Mackinac.

Main Dining Room Salle a Manger - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Grand Luncheon Experience

Are you looking for a Grand Hotel Lunch?

The Grand Luncheon Experience, available daily in the main dining room from noon – 2 PM, with a spread of salads, cheeses, meats, seafood, fresh fruit, and topped off with  a lavish and bountiful dessert display. 

2023 Pricing:

  • Adults: $75
  • Children: $37
View from Grand Hotel Hall  - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Dinner in the Main Dining Room

Served from 6:30 PM – 8:45 PM, this five-course meal begins with an appetizer followed by soup, salad, entrée, and dessert.

  • Adults: $121; Children: $63 (2023 pricing)
  • Reservations accepted for parties of 10 or more people. To make a reservation dial the Concierge at (906) 847-3331 ext. 567

The Parlor

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea, a British tradition from the 1840s to tide over hunger before evening meals, continues in The Parlor at the Grand Hotel.

Enjoy live harp music while sampling tasty bites and premium teas.

The Parlor - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Served Daily
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

2023 Afternoon Tea Prices
Adults: $65 + tax
Ages 6 – 17: $32.50 + tax
Non-Hotel Guest Admission Fee: $10

The Parlor after Dinner

The Parlor is also the place for the harpist to play during post-dinner coffee (demitasse) while guests anticipate the opening of the Terrace Room for dancing.  

Parlor - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Cupola Bar

Ascend the winding staircase to the 5th floor, or take the red elevator next to the large ship, to reach the Cupola Bar.

Cupola Bar Grand Hotel - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Here, starry carpeting and one of the best views on Mackinac Island create an unforgettable experience.

Open daily from noon – 11:00 PM.

View From Cupola Bar - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Terrace Room

Every evening after dinner, the Grand Hotel’s live orchestra fills the Terrace Room with music, keeping a long-standing tradition of late-night dancing alive.

Terrace Room - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Dancing is open to the public!

Make sure to follow the dress code, grab a cocktail, and dance your heart out. Daily: 9:30 PM – 11:30 PM

More Stops on the Self-Guided Tour

Audoban Wine Bar

Next to the Parlor, the Audoban Wine Bar serves cocktails, wine, and sells cigars.

Geranium Bar

Surrounded by their signature geraniums and just off of the front porch, the Geranium Bar is where you can order up a Big Porch Ale.

It’s brewed specially for the Grand Hotel by Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI.

Trophy Room

Sadie (the family dog the ice cream place is named after) needed a place to keep her dog-show trophies. Today, you can view her impressive prizes in the Trophy Room.

Grand Hotel Shopping & Snacks

The Grand Hotel offers a range of shopping and dining options, on which you can use some of your coupons..

Admission - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Pamper yourself at Astor’s Salon and Spa, pick up fresh flowers from Margaret’s Garden, or grab a scoop of ice cream from Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor

Open to the public daily from 11 AM – 10 PM, Sadie’s scoops up Michigan ice cream from Gurnsey Farms Dairy.

Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor - Grand Hotel photo

Woodlands Activity Center

Enjoy the 18-hole mini golf course at the Woodlands Activity Center or the  Cedar Grove Bike Track for some added adventure (fee, reservation required.)

Miniature Golf

Miniature Golf at Grand Hotel - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Greenhouse & Nature Center

Garden Center - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Bike Rentals & Cedar Grove Bike Track

Bikes For Rent - Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

More Grand Hotel Tours

Don’t forget to check out the additional tours and activities, included with admission, pending availability.

  • Grand Hotel Garden Tour: Enjoy a guided tour of Grand Hotel’s elaborate flower beds and a staggering variety of plants and flowers. Garden tours are available on select dates throughout peak season.
  • History of Grand Hotel Part I & Part II, Movies on Mackinac, or the Prohibition & the Roaring 20’s at Grand Hotel tour: Complimentary to Grand Hotel guests & day visitors.

Visit the Concierge Desk for the weekly schedule of History Tours and Lectures.

Mackinac Island Grand Hotel sign - VanderWeide


How long does it take to tour the Grand Hotel?

Plan on at least an hour to do a very quick walk-through of the property. If you want to dig in, dine, lounge on the porch, or play lawn games, plan to stay onsite for 3 – 4 hours.

Does the Grand Hotel have a dress code?

Yes, there is a dress code at the Grand Hotel. During the day, the code is casual resort clothing. After 6:00 PM, gentlemen are required to wear a suit or sport coat, necktie, and dress pants. Ladies wear dresses, skirts, dress slacks, or other dressy attire.

Tell us About Your Grand Hotel Visit!

We’d love to hear about your Grand Hotel experiences, thoughts, or questions.

Leave a comment below and we’ll see if we can help you out – or maybe you’ll be doing the helping – thank you in advance!

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