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Welcome Back to the Grand: Upgrades to the Pool Area Offer New Amenities, Views

By Paul Vachon

Guests arriving for the Mackinac Policy Conference can expect some surprises at the host venue. The venerable Grand Hotel, which has been welcoming guests to Mackinac Island since 1887, has always prided itself on offering the very best in upscale accommodations.

Continuous updates and enhancements to the facility has been a long tradition to the hotel billed as “America’s Summer Place.” Yet in each case, careful consideration is made to respect the building’s historic nature. Since 1989 the hotel has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior.

Over the past winter, the hotel made a number of new and exciting upgrades to the iconic Esther Williams pool. The well thought-out improvements are designed to enhance the  experiences of both leisure and business guests.

Named for the star of the classic 1947 movie This Time For Keeps (which was filmed at the Grand), the historic natatorium boasts the addition of a heated whirlpool, plus an adults-only area that features an infinity edge that is situated to offer stunning views of the island and the Straits of Mackinac. A family-friendly area of the pool includes a zero-depth beach style entry, a play area with water jets, and an ultra-long water slide.

Once out of the water, guests have a bevy of additional amenities to enjoy. Fifteen luxurious cabanas have been installed poolside. Available by reservation, they include access to food and beverage service. New pool furniture graces the deck, terrace, and lawn.

Like all the hotel’s public spaces, the pool area also offers programming and events all throughout the season, including family friendly “dive-in” movie nights.

Renovations were also made to the adjacent structures. The pool house was expanded to include a fitness center and bathhouse with upscale changing rooms, lockers and showers, while a new bar and kitchen were added to serve guests poolside.

On the second floor of the pool house, a new private space was added. Included are rooms for meetings rooms and events, along with a covered outdoor seating area offering panoramic views of the Straits.

Paul Vachon is a freelance writer in Metro Detroit.