MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A newly completed project restores the historic Grand Hotel to its original roofline while maintaining the bright and bold atmosphere guests expect when they stay at the Mackinac Island icon.
Four new Cupola Suites display modern design from the inside, but make the hotel’s exterior look similar to photos dating back to the late-1800s.
24 Hour News 8 was invited inside for a look at the project ahead of the hotel’s official opening for the 133rd season.
“The original hotel had dormers across the top and they disappeared in 1913,” Grand Hotel Historian Bob Tagatz told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. “We built a bank of windows on the third floor and now we’ve created the fourth floor. When you come up to the front of the hotel, it looks very similar to what it did in 1887.”
DECADES IN THE MAKING
Grand Hotel President Dan Musser first recommended building the roofline up when he was still in college. The hotel has been in his family for generations.
“It’s taken me 30 years to get here but we’re here,” Musser said while sitting in one of the new suites. “I’ve always felt and my dad always said, ‘It doesn’t cost a dime to ask gentlemen to put a coat and tie on at night.’ It changes the atmosphere. There’s a few traditions that we have that I think make Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island special.”
One of the traditions the hotel is known for is striking room designs that incorporate vivid colors and patterns.
Below is a gallery of 360-degree videos so you can explore the newly-completed Cupola Suites, which stay true to those expectations.
>>App users: Click here for 360-degree view of rooms
WEST MICHIGAN INFLUENCE
Each of the new suites has a touch of West Michigan in them. Kindel Furniture in Wyoming says it created the the trellis beds and pinwheel chests in each of the suites.
Amy Wolbert of Kindel Furniture says the company has been furnishing the Grand Hotel for many years.
>>App users: See photos of the furniture here.
Wolbert says Kindel Furniture and the Grand Hotel also worked together to create a collection of furniture guests can purchase on the hotel’s website. Some of the pieces feature geraniums hand painted by Kindel artisan Lily Jancic.
A NEW SEASON
Friday marks the first night the hotel will be fully open for the 2019 season. Guests who arrived earlier have had a sneak peek at the work done since the grounds closed in October.
Grand Hotel Executive Vice President and Managing Director Ken Hayward said he always looks forward to seeing the first guest check in.
“You always have those butterflies before the first game of the year or first act in a play, so I think there’s a lot of nervous energy around here. We’re anxious to get going,” he said. “It’s great to see guests in the building again because it doesn’t feel quite right when we don’t have guests.”
At the height of the season, the hotel will welcome about 1,000 guests per night. More than 700 employees will be ensuring they all experience a memorable visit to the island.