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Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island offers deal to Michigan residents

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

There’s something new under the sun at the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island.

The island’s grand dame lodge is debuting the Laura Bush suite, which joins six other first lady guest rooms. The suite is among features guests will experience during the hotel’s third Celebrate Michigan promotion, during which residents of the state can stay for half the hotel’s usual rate.

The package costs $95 per person, per night (taxes and fees are extra), and is offered May 8, 10, 15-16 and 24. It includes one night’s lodging, a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily, Michigan-themed reception and complimentary golf green fees.

Similar offers in May and September of 2010 sold out the hotel’s entire 385 rooms for several nights within a few hours. It has been so popular, the hotel plans to bring in extra staff to handle reservations. Ten phone lines have been added.

“We booked more than 4,600 room nights from those two promotions,” said Ken Hayward, the hotel’s vice president of sales and marketing. The promotion’s overall success encouraged the venerable property to repeat the offer.

Exposing new guests to the hotel during a period of low occupancy is just one reason for the promotion. Another is to help out the state’s residents facing a tough economy, Hayward said.

“Our reasons for doing it last year still hold true today,” he said. “Despite some improvement, the state’s economy and its citizens are still struggling.”

More than half of the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island's guests are from the Great Lakes State.
“We had people coming to us and writing letters saying they never thought they’d be able (to afford staying) at the Grand,” Hayward said of last year’s promotions.

In 2008 and 2009, Travel+Leisure magazine named the Grand Hotel, which opened in 1887, among the Best Hotels in the World, further listing the property as one of the best resorts in the U.S. and Canada for parents and kids.

Attention to detail, such as the first lady suites designed by Carleton Varney, is what sets the lodging property apart from other resorts. All the former first ladies — from Lady Bird Johnson to Jacqueline Kennedy to Laura Bush — were consulted on the decor for the apartment that bears their name on the third and fourth floors overlooking the Mackinac Bridge.

“As we designed the suites, we wanted to reflect American history, just at the hotel has reflected American history since it opened in 1887,” said Varney, president of Dorothy Draper and Co. of New York. Varney, the hotel’s interior designer, developed the concept for each suite. “The memorabilia and special colors used in each suite reflect the individual tastes of each lady.”

For example, the Kennedy suite features navy blue carpeting with gold presidential eagles and walls painted gold. The armoire and canopy-style bed are powder blue trimmed in 24kt. gold leaf. The Betty Ford room features mint and celadon green damask with cream and a dash of red. The Nancy Reagan room features her signature red, and Laura Bush’s suite features caramel walls, accented with rich aqua, pale blue and cream.

For a fascinating look at the historic property, celebrating its 125th year in 2012, guests may want to take a tour with on-site historian Bob Tagatz. The 90-minute tours are offered several times a week.

“He has a wealth of fascinating anecdotes,” Hayward said of Tagatz.

Here are the details of the Celebrate Michigan promotion:

  • Cost is $95 per person, per night (not including taxes and hotel fees).
  • Guests can stay one or two nights.
  • The resort’s famed five-course dinner is included each night. Men are required to wear jackets and ties; women must wear dresses.
  • Breakfast each morning is part of the package.
  • A round of golf is included at The Jewel, the resort’s 18-hole course.
  • A reception, featuring Michigan wines and food, is included.

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    1. Simply Hotels Admin says:

      This works fine for me in Google Chrome, but thanks for the comment.

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