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Best Places to Stay on Mackinac Island

Resorts, Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts and Condos

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You won't find chain hotels on Mackinac Island -- that would ruin the ambiance. You see, Mackinac Island is a state of mind and, thanks to the efforts of Islanders, a place in time. The character of Mackinac Island's main street and buildings reflects its history and gives visitors a sense of strolling through a by-gone era. The lack of cars and use of horses and bicycles only enhances this effect. If you choose to stay overnight on the island, you've got some interesting choices to make in terms of accommodations, most of which are set out in the list of places to stay on Mackinac Island.

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
The Grand Hotel is a point-of-destination resort. In other words, its history, amenities, hospitality and location make it a vacation experience in its own right, even if you don't make it to any other part of the island. The hotel excels in pampering you as it takes you back in time to a different era of luxury, when guests dressed for dinner and traveled by horse-drawn carriage.

Amenities: The hotel packages include access to the longest front porch in the world, meticulously-groomed lawns, entertainment, and meals. The dinner service is a highlight, served as it is the long, chandelier-encrusted dining room with unparalleled service. The multi-course meal is a culinary delight.

Rooms and Building: That being said, the rooms themselves are kind of incidental to the experience. The room we enjoyed was spacious, obviously updated, nicely decorated and outfitted with lots of pillows and extra coffee; but it was at the back of the hotel and had a nothing view. The building also has signs of age in places that come off as “old” rather than “historic.” For instance, the hallways on the guest-room floors have exposed plumbing along the ceiling and somewhat uneven floors.

Mission Point Resort

Mission Point
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
Mission Point is probably the Grand Hotel's biggest competition in that it gives guests to the island a choice of resort. That being said, it provides a vastly different experience in terms of service and amenities. While Mission Point has some history in its own right – it utilizes buildings that once held an 1820s Indian school and 1950s Moral Re-Armament ("MRA") Conference Center -- its resort amenities are not automatically part of the package for guests. In fact, the various fees added to the bill and charged along the way make the stay a lot more expensive than anticipated.

Amenities: The resort's biggest draw is its location along the waterfront, as well as the bicycle highway, M-185 (Lake Shore Boulevard). Its property includes tennis courts, putting course and large lawn filled with Adirondack chairs. The resort also has an awe-inspiring lobby in the main building that includes four fireplaces and an impressive, tepee-like atrium lined with rough-hewn logs. While the Mission Point Resort does have several amenities aimed at kids and families, most can be enjoyed whether or not you are a guest of the resort.

Hotels

Hotels are relatively few on the island compared with other types of accommodations, and they are mostly located along the main tourist drag of the downtown area and ferry ports.

Lake View Hotel

Lake View Hotel on Mackinac Island
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
The Lake View Hotel is a great choice for families. While its name is a bit of a misnomer – it mainly overlooks the other side of Lakeshore Boulevard, the downtown area's main street – the hotel is conveniently located. From the outside, it looks a little tired and Old-West like, but the inside has been extensively renovated with rooms off a multistory atrium that overlooks the indoor pool. Of course, the amplified noise of many kids splashing about can be its own consideration.

Iroquois Hotel

Iroquois Hotel on Mackinac Island
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

The Iroquois Hotel has a great location at one end of the shopping district along the waterfront. It has a lawn filled with Adirondack chairs. It also has an excellent fine-dining restaurant, wonderful hospitality and beautiful rooms with nice touches.

Inns and Bed & Breakfasts

Inns and Bed & Breakfasts come in all shapes and sizes on the island, mainly because they are the type of accommodations most able to take advantage of the historic buildings. You can opt for a smallish room in a bed & breakfast located right along the water with superior amenities and a full breakfast or a big room with a Jacuzzi and a fireplace in a smaller bed & breakfast set a little further apart from the main tourist area. Most do of the inns and bed & breakfasts do a nice job of capturing the early 1900s era. You just have to decide what amenities are most important to you. To help you along, here are few quick and dirty reviews:

Bay View of Mackinac

Bay View Inn on Mackinac Island
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
Great Location and Meals: The Bay View Inn is located right on the water overlooking the docks. The rooms are somewhat small, but this fact is more than made up for by the extra touches. For instance, the building has a roof-top patio with an unparalleled view of the lake and downtown area. The Inn also includes a sit-down breakfast and dessert hour that is served by waitstaff in a nicely appointed dining room.

Cottage Inn

Cottage Inn on Mackinac Island
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
Nice Value: Cottage Inn is a small bed & breakfast located off of Market Street with recently updated rooms and suites. While a good price, the staff was inattentive and the small breakfast buffet uninspired.

Inn on Mackinac Island

The Inn on Mackinac
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
Nice Combination of Amenities: The Inn on Mackinac Island is located on Lakeshore Boulevard half way to Mission Point. The building faces the water but most of its small but nicely furnished rooms are located down its length and don't have a view. The bed & breakfast does have some nice features, though, like a roof-top pool, balconies, and a coffee cafe overlooking the boulevard. Breakfast is served as a buffet in a dining room.

Island House

Island House on Mackinac Island
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
Large Inn with Nice Location: The Island House felt tired rather than historic. While it has a plumb location on Lakeshore Boulevard that is set apart from the busy tourist stores and restaurants, its rooms were on the small side. The restaurant did not impress.

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