Accommodations: Murray (ask for historic rooms), Inn on Mackinac (B&B), Market Street Inn (only 7 rooms, quiet), Iroquois, Island House (indoor pool), the Pontiac Lodge. Haan's 1830 Inn (B&B) is nice; we hear that Bayview (B&B), Metevier Inn (B&B), Cloughan's (B&B), and the Lakeview (indoor pool) are also. Mission Point (outdoor pool, suites, kids program, babysitting) is nice, but best not too stay too early in the season the crew is new and the service might not be the best). We were disappointed with the Chippewa when we stayed there a few years ago, but they completely renovated for 1995, so it might be worth checking out. Accomodations downtown may be noiser at night than those farther out of town.
We've gone up in the Winter every winter since 1990. We usually stay at the Pontiac Lodge. This was about the only place to stay when we started our winter excursions. The rooms here are nice efficiencies. They have a refrigerator, stove and microwave (no oven). There are washers and dryers here as well. When we've stayed we didn't even have to do the dishes. The possible only problem is negotiating the back stairs with a pair of skis in hand. The advantage is that it is located right next to the Village Inn restaurant.
We also stayed at Bogan Lane Bed and Breakfast. Trish was a very nice host, and the breads she baked for breakfast were very good. Bogan Lane used to be a personal home until it was converted to a B&B a few years ago. On the plus sidethere is a nice fireplace in the living room. On the down side, Bogan Lane is on the east end of town, while any restaurants on on the west end.
The best in our opinion is Grand Hotel (yes, that's the way they like it.Not The Grand Hotel, just Grand Hotel); ask for packages (this year they have some great deals); regular room prices vary with whether or not you have a view. They are divided into Category I - small interior (view of the back), Cat. II - small lakeview or large interior (small lakeview is just that - small and average decor whereas a large interior has view of the back but very nice decor), Cat. III large lakeview - very nice rooms, some with balcony, and Cat. IV - named rooms, suites - about the size of Cat. III, some larger, each is unique. Packages are usually Cat. I, although on our first trip we booked in Nov. or Dec. and wrote a letter saying it was a first trip there, etc., and we were given a lakeview. This tends to happen if they are lightly booked and you made your reservation early. If you aren't happy with your room, too small, too noisy, etc. call the front desk and tell them, they will try and find you another room if one is available. Our room this year was in a noisy location and we explained the problem and were given another room.
Most of the hotels will have someone at the dock to handle your luggage (B & Bs might not). You can check in any time at the hotels and they will store your luggage until your room is ready. Same with coming back. Let the desk know when you want your luggage taken to the dock and what ferry line you are using. You may have to allow 2 hours for them to pick up the luggage and get it to the dock. They will take care of it and your luggage will be stored for you on the mainland if it arrives before you do.
If staying at Grand Hotel there is a lot to do, lots of places to eat. When you get a menu for breakfast you can choose as many items as you like. At dinner, you get your choice of appetizer, soup, salad, main dish and dessert. Everything is great, and the specials are usually very good. Carlton's tea shop is a good place for lunch, along with the pool grill and the restaurant at the golf course. Most of the places that serve sandwiches give you fruit or coleslaw and chips with the sandwich. The picnic lunches are very good, and if you get the basket for two,you get to keep the glasses, tablecloth and basket. If you get flowers for the room or a wine and cheese basket you can keep the vase, baskets, glasses.
If you have any problems at all they will solve them quickly. When you arrive at the boat dock, someone will take care of your luggage, You can either walkup, take a city taxi, or wait for the burgundy Grand Hotel taxis. When you arrive at the hotel, you want to go in the ground level; don't go up the red carpeted stairs. The buffet lunch is wonderful, but you have to have a big appetite to get your money's worth. If they offer tours of the kitchen, hotel or gardens, take them, they are very informative, especially if you are into gardening. They also have high tea (extra charge) in the afternoon, and demitasse in the evening (no charge), and movies in the evening, along with dancing and other entertainment. They have a great kids program, children's activities rooms and babysitting. There is a dress code for dinner. Get in line early and ask for a window table. The service everywhere is wonderful. When we took our daughter they laundered her diapers and clothes at a reasonable charge. They also do dry cleaning, massages, have an exercise center, hair salon, flower shop, a pantry in every room, and new this year a wine and coffee room. Dan is the coffee hound in the family. He found that they use prepackaged espresso packets in their machine. Not the best way to make espresso in his opinion. They also will take your photograph and have it ready the next day, with no obligation to purchase.
Entertainment at Grand Hotel is certainly abundant in the evening. There's the Cupola Bar with piano music and a singer. Dan really likes the cupola since it gives such a nice view of the lake. This is especially nice when the moon is shining on the water. The Terrace Room with Bob Snyder and his orchestra. Mostly he plays jazz and big band style. The Jockey Club usually has someone with a guitar playing. Dan also likes the Jockey Club since he doesn't have to wear a coat and tie there in the evening. They also have the best selection of beers at Grand Hotel (when asked for a dark beer on the Terrace Room, the waiter said he had Samuel Adams. Not really a dark beer, but it was better than the rest). The Jockey Club has Guiness, Bass Ale, etc.
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