Grand Hotel Opens 2015 Season with New Cupola Suites
MACKINAC ISLAND, MI—Grand Hotel, the world’s largest summer hotel, opens for its 2015 season May 1 with the addition of new Cupola Suites on the hotel’s fourth floor and a lengthened season that will include the first Halloween Weekend in its 129-year history.
The new Cupola Suites are adjacent to the Musser Suite that was added on the west end of the fourth floor in 2014 and are part of an ongoing project that will add additional fourth floor rooms and suites over the next two winters. This year’s addition is comprised of four bedrooms and two parlors. Guests will have the option of staying in one bedroom, one bedroom with a parlor or two bedrooms with a parlor, depending on their needs.
“This new addition offers a spectacular view of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge,” said Grand Hotel President R. D. “Dan” Musser III. “When the fourth floor project is completed, Grand Hotel’s roofline will look very similar to when it first opened in 1887.”
“The new rooms are in keeping with our goal of maintaining a sense of continuity and timelessness at Grand Hotel, while at the same time adjusting to changes in the world around us by making improvements and adding amenities for guests to enjoy. The rooms added this year will increase our full complement of rooms to 390.”
Grand Hotel is adding seven days to its season for 2015, opening its doors on May 1 and closing November 2. Highlights for the season include two new weekend packages – A Dorothy Draper School of Decorating weekend June 12-14 and the Halloween at the Grand Weekend package October 30-November 1.
Carleton Varney, president of the New York-based Dorothy Draper Co. Inc., has been Grand Hotel’s decorator for 40 years. He will personally host the Dorothy Draper School of Decorating weekend, where participants will learn about the distinctive Dorothy Draper style of creating beautiful bold interiors during two separate sessions.
“This weekend is an opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in the bright beautiful colors that can be found throughout Grand Hotel,” Varney said.
The Halloween weekend, the first in Grand Hotel history, will be complete with a haunted trail, a pumpkin carving contest, free admission to the island’s Haunted Theatre and an evening costume party.
Musser said other changes that past guests will notice this season include new sculptured flower beds in the Tea Garden, a reconfigured stream next to the 7th fairway on the Grand nine portion of The Jewel golf course, and additional flat screen televisions in more than 100 rooms.
A key factor in Grand Hotel’s continued presence as an iconic destination known throughout the world is the continuity that comes from having members of the same family involved in its operations.
“This season will be the 97th season that a member of my family has been involved in operating Grand Hotel,” said Musser. “That continuity of management has been a major part of maintaining the unique ambiance for which Grand Hotel is known.”
In 1919, Musser’s Great Uncle, W. Stewart Woodfill, went to work at Grand Hotel’s front desk. Fourteen years later, in March 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression at a time when all the nation’s banks had been closed, Woodfill was the sole bidder in an auction to take the hotel out of receivership. R. D. Musser Jr., who was his nephew, went to work at the hotel in 1951, became president in 1960 and purchased the hotel from Woodfill in 1979.
R. D. “Dan” Musser III and Vice President Mimi Cunningham became the third generation of their family to take the helm of the hotel in 1989. Dan is responsible for all day-today operations of Grand Hotel, while Mimi is responsible for the hotel’s retail operation – eleven shops including a salon and spa, fine jewelry, cut flowers, clothing and gifts. In addition, her department runs Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, a summer children’s program and the hotel’s art exhibit.
In addition to its regular season opening May 1, Grand Hotel will once again offer an early opening from April 23-30, with rooms available for $205 including a continental breakfast. Lunch and dinner are available at The Gate House and Cawthorne’s Village Inn restaurants, both operated by Grand Hotel. Grand Hotel opens for the season with its “Titanic at the Grand” weekend May 1-3. Guests will be able to celebrate the history, majesty and intrigue of the RMS Titanic. Titanic expert Robert Stack, a member of several Titanic organizations who has traveled around the world to interview families of survivors of the ship, will share stories from survivors who traveled in first and third class on the ship.
Other weekend packages include the 66th Annual Lilac Festival June 5-14, Grand Hotel Arts Weekend June 26-28, Old Fashioned Mackinac Fourth of July Celebration July 2-5, Summer Wine Appreciation Weekend July 10-12, Grand Hotel’s Labor Day Jazz Weekend September 4-7, Fall Wine Appreciation Weekend September 11-13, Grand Hotel History Weekend September 25-27, Ballroom Dancing Weekend October 9-11 and Murder Mystery Weekend October 23-25.
The hotel continues another tradition when it hosts its annual Somewhere In Time weekend celebration October 16-18. This event will include a screening of the movie, which was filmed at Grand Hotel, as well as an opportunity to meet with invited cast and crew, who will return to Grand Hotel to mark the 35th anniversary of the movie’s release.
Grand Hotel features more than three dozen historic suites at the hotel named after former U.S. presidents, first ladies and other historical periods and individuals. Each named suite features a distinct thematic design, furnishings and ambiance that accurately capture the place, time and lifestyle suggested in the names.
Grand Hotel is continually recognized for the quality of its hospitality. It has been honored again in 2015 as one of Travel & Leisure magazine’s Top 500 Hotels in the World and has been named a winner of the AAA Four Diamond Award for the 22nd consecutive year. Condé Nast Traveler ranked it as a “Best Resort in the Midwest” and Grand Hotel received the Trip Advisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence.
Grand Hotel, America’s Original Grand Hotel, has been one of America's premier summer vacation spots since it opened on July 10, 1887 to receive summer vacationers who arrived by lake-steamer or by rail.
Grand Hotel is located on Mackinac Island, Michigan where there are no motorized vehicles and the island is only accessible by ferry or airplane. The hotel is open from the first weekend in May through the end of October. The 390-room hotel is a National Historic Landmark and a proud member of Historic Hotels of America.
For More Information Contact:
Ken Hayward, Executive Vice President
and Managing Director
Peter Van Dyke
Berg Muirhead and Associates