Grand Hotel Opens for the 125th Season on May 6

 Introducing the Laura Bush Suite and Enhanced Amenities

Grand Hotel opens for its 125th season as America’s Summer Place May 6 featuring the debut of the Laura Bush Suite and other new amenities to keep guests healthy and connected.

“The Laura Bush Suite is the seventh First Lady Suite at Grand Hotel,” said Hotel President R. D. (Dan) Musser III. “We are very proud that each of these distinguished women would not only allow us to name a suite after them but would participate in designing the suite. These suites add to the unique, historic nature of Grand Hotel.”

The enhanced amenities are an outgrowth of partnerships Grand Hotel has developed with other Michigan-based companies.

“Michigan is home to many exceptional companies that provide world-class services locally and internationally,” said Musser. “These partnerships have presented us with the unique opportunity to support our state economy and enhance our guests’ experience. We are very fortunate to have these corporate friends and look forward to introducing our new amenities this season.”

“Live Healthy. Live Grand,” a program that provides guests with healthy eating and exercise options, was developed in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). The “Live Healthy. Live Grand” plan includes healthy choices on Grand Hotel menus created by Chef Hans Werner Burtscher, and a daily planner with exercise options, fun facts, stress-reducing tips, and a food and exercise log. The 21-day planner will allow guests to track their progress in continuing healthy habits after they return home.

“Together with Grand Hotel, BCBSM sees Mackinac Island as a fantastic opportunity and a great place to get people focused on their health and physical well-being,” said BCBSM President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp.

The hotel has also worked with AT&T to help guests stay connected while on Mackinac Island through the installation of new technology that improves cell phone reception in and around the hotel.

Additionally, guests will have further comfort during their stay with 180 new “Grand Hotel Touch of Softness Sleep Sets” that are manufactured and branded specially for Grand Hotel by Capitol Bedding, a Lansing-based, family-owned company that has partnered with the hotel for more than 30 years. The custom-made beds can also be purchased by Grand Hotel guests in the hotel shop Mackinac Market to provide them with a Grand night of sleep at home.

Guests this season will also notice changes as they take their carriage ride or walk up Grand Hill. At the base of the hill, The Gate House restaurant will have a new club room available for private events. Additionally, Grand Hotel has planted 20 new Autumn Blaze Maple trees lining Grand Hill on Cadotte Avenue. The Autumn Blaze maples are a hybrid of two maples native to Michigan, the Red Maple and Silver Maple.

The Laura Bush Suite 
The Laura Bush Suite was designed by Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Company of New York, the interior designer for Grand Hotel. The room will feature French vanilla custom wallpaper, custom jade and soft cream carpet, original white Dorothy Draper heirlooms, and other accessories befitting of Laura Bush.

“The Laura Bush Suite, in contrast to the other First Lady Suites, will reflect simplicity in styling that is characteristic of the manner house look,” Varney said. “The colors for the suite have been adapted from those in the background of her official first lady portrait that hangs in the White House.”

Varney, who was the interior decorator for the Carter White House, has designed all seven of the First Lady Suites, six of them in consultation with the First Lady for whom the suite is named.

Each First Lady Suite’s design includes a replica of the official White House portrait of the first lady for which the suite is named, a brass plate over the door with the first lady’s signature, an autographed book from each first lady taken from Varney’s personal collection, custom fabrics and rugs, and antiques that fit the room.

The First Lady Suites debuted in 1998 with the first five named for Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, all of whom were consulted in the design process. The Jacqueline Kennedy Suite was added in 2002. The First Lady Suites are part of more than 35 named hotel rooms in the 385-room Grand Hotel.

Guests can also enjoy a variety of Grand Hotel packages including the popular Mackinac Island Lilac Festival package in June, the Labor Day Jazz Weekend in September and the “Somewhere in Time” weekend in October. For prices and reservations, visit or call 800.33 GRAND (4-7263)

Grand Hotel is continually recognized for the quality of its hospitality. It is listed again in 2011 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 17th consecutive year. The T+L 500 is a guide to the best hotels and includes overall descriptions and expert insight about each of the 500 hotels in three categories: Competitive Edge, Best Rooms to Book, and What Not to Miss. Condé Nast Traveler named Grand Hotel one of their Top 125 Golf Resorts in the April 2011 issue.

Grand Hotel, the world’s largest summer 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.

2011 marks the 78th consecutive year the hotel has been under the stewardship of the same family. In March 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression at a time when all the nation’s banks had been closed, W. Stewart Woodfill was the sole bidder in an auction to take the hotel out of receivership. His nephew, R. D. (Dan) Musser II, became president in 1960 and purchased the hotel from Woodfill in 1979.

President R. D. (Dan) Musser III and Vice President Mimi Musser Cunningham became the third generation of their family to take the helm of the hotel in 1989. Dan is responsible for all day-to-day operations of Grand Hotel, while Mimi is responsible for the management and buying for all nine Grand Hotel shops.

Throughout its history, Grand Hotel has hosted dignitaries from around the country and the world, including five U.S. Presidents (Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton).