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- Best Overall: JW Marriot Grand Rapids – See Rates at TripAdvisor "This Marriot has definitely raised the standard for quality accommodations."
- Best Urban Experience: Shinola – See Rates at TripAdvisor "The Shinola mixes hip and cosmopolitan while respecting a rich history."
- Best Bed and Breakfast: Sherwood Forest Inn – See Rates at TripAdvisor "Ideally located in a picturesque setting, gorgeously decorated, warm and welcoming - this is everything a B&B should be."
- Most Historical: Grand Hotel – See Rates at TripAdvisor "Guests will never forget the spectacular views from a rocking chair overlooking the Straits of Mackinac."
- Best for Families: Great Wolf Lodge – See Rates at TripAdvisor "There are endless amenities that will keep any kid entertained, including a camp, a water park, and themed quests."
- Best for Couples: Chateau Chantal – See Rates at TripAdvisor "The setting is at its most romantic in autumn when the leaf colors change."
- Best for Business: Westin Book Cadillac Detroit – See Rates at TripAdvisor "The hotel is tricked out with the signature Westin Heavenly beds and baths, ample meeting space and several dining options."
- Best in Winter: Mountain Grand Lodge, Avalanche Bay, Boyne Mountain – See Rates at TripAdvisor "For those who prefer to enjoy the cold, there is snowshoeing, ice skating and winter horseback riding available."
- Best LGBTQ-Friendly: The Dunes Resort – See Rates at TripAdvisor "The vibrant LGBTQ social scene is centered at the Dunes Resort, which happens to be the largest gay resort in the Midwest."
Best Overall: JW Marriot Grand Rapids
This is the first JW hotel to open in the Midwest, and it has definitely raised the standard for quality accommodations. The location is incredible – right on the banks of the picturesque, bridge-laden Grand River and connected via climate-controlled skywalk to the downtown convention center and the Van Andel Arena.
It is located directly in the heart of the thriving Grand Rapids culture district, meaning the best restaurants, museums (UICA is highly recommended) and nightlife is just a short walk away. River-view rooms are where it’s at, but all rooms are spacious with luxe bedding and separate bath and shower with dual shower head.
The fitness center is conveniently open 24 hours a day, and the warm indoor lap pool with panoramic views is one of the finest in the city. The JW shines in gastronomy – from Margaux’s French Bistro to the more cosmopolitan vibe of six.one.six (Grand Rapids’ area code), both restaurants offer impeccable food with a casual, non-pretentious vibe.
There is an on-site Starbucks for to-go coffee fixes, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Guests who are 62 years or old can conveniently count on a 15 percent discount on their room rate.
Best Urban Experience: Shinola
Anyone who still thinks of Detroit as a has-been city well past its prime needs to book a stay at the Shinola to see what the new Detroit has to offer. The Shinola mixes hip and cosmopolitan while respecting a rich history. An example is Parker’s Alley adjoining the hotel, alive with music and local shops of global brands and homegrown businesses. The alley name is an homage to Thomas Parker, a man who became one of the first black landowners in the city of Detroit.
Guestrooms are varied in size and price but have modern amenities such as Chromecast and Apple TV, a Shinola Bluetooth Speaker System and Rayl’s bath products. Some rooms even come with turntables with a classic record collection.
The food on-site offers something for every taste – from the more upscale San Morello, Chef Andrew Carmellini’s Italian neighborhood restaurant, to the craft brews and Detroit-style fried chicken and honey-butter biscuits at The Brakeman and Penny Red's. For guests looking to stay active, there is a fitness center featuring Technogym equipment and Peloton bikes.
Best Bed and Breakfast: Sherwood Forest Inn
The Sherwood Forest embodies everything a memorable bed and breakfast should be – ideally located in a picturesque setting, gorgeously decorated, warm and welcoming with a large wrap-around porch and serving up ample food made with love. This inn is in Douglas, just a couple of minutes' walk from Douglas Beach on Lake Michigan (bicycles are also available to cruise down the lakeshore). With advanced notice, a picnic basket will be ready for guests filled with gourmet sandwiches, spritzers, fruit, and dessert. Breakfast is an event in itself worth the entire stay – think prosciutto ricotta omelets, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, Croque madame, eggs in a basket, French toast with creme fraiche and fresh berries, and raspberry streusel. They do happily accommodate gluten-free or any other dietary needs.
Along with regular rooms, there are three suites available. The Safari Suite is decorated with authentic South African artwork and includes a large sitting area, glass tiled shower and claw foot tub, complemented by a private deck set in the woods. The second suite reproduces the serenity of the north woods with a stone-mantle gas fireplace alongside the two-person Jacuzzi. The third suite features the same amenities but is decorated in the flair of the late 19th century.
For beer lovers, there is a weekend package that gives access to a local brewing company’s facilities, where guests can choose from 70 recipes to craft 60 bottles of their ideal beer to take home.
Most Historical: Grand Hotel
Located on northern Michigan’s famed Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-in-naw), this hotel has been charming guests since 1887 and is accessed only by a ferry. Guests will never forget the spectacular views from a rocking chair overlooking the Straits of Mackinac from the world’s longest porch. This hotel has third-generation owners who celebrate the setting – a place where time still moves at the pace of horse-drawn carriages and bicycles (the island is car-free).
Traditions such as Afternoon Tea in the Parlor and nightly dancing remain a central part of the guest experience. The hotel offers guest rooms uniquely decorated by interior designer Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Co. Suites are massive yet cozy and can easily accommodate families. Golfers can take on the Jewel course and tennis lovers will enjoy the three clay courts.
Notable are the gardens, where visitors can see over 150 varieties of flowers during a single visit, including geraniums, roses, peonies, coleus, garden heliotropes, cosmos, lilies, daisies, and begonias. Historic Hotels of America has named the Grand Hotel’s gardens to their list of the Top 25 Most Majestic Gardens in the country.
Best for Families: Great Wolf Lodge
The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City has a massive indoor water park that will keep any kid entertained. There are family raft rides, slides, splash zones, obstacle courses, lazy rivers and even toddler areas with pools and slides, all kept at a balmy 84 degrees year-round. Families can play a round of mini-golf, bowl, or play in the arcade together.
The hotel also offers organized “quests” for kids to go on to help them get off technology and explore the lodge. In addition to a spa for the adults, there is one made just for kids. There are multiple suite options, but families should book the Kid Kamp, with its tent-themed bunks, or the Wolf Den Suite with its “cave” sleeping area for kids.
The lodge does not mess around with fancy food – kid-friendly options abound like simple pizza, salad, and soda delivery to the room. Parents will appreciate the Wine Down service, where wine is delivered to the room nightly.
Best for Couples: Chateau Chantal
Just 12 miles north of Traverse City on the Old Mission Peninsula, this is luxury B&B lodging with breathtaking views, quiet country roads, local beaches, and wineries all around. The 11 rooms range from spacious suites to comfortable rooms and have high ceilings, elegant furniture, a wet bar, a whirlpool tub, and balconies with great views. At the inn, you will find sitting areas, fireplaces, and large breakfasts. There is a winery on-site and guests can book a private tour (a VIP Winery Tour & Island Room Experience can cater to the exact preferences of the guests), or they can attend a wine boot camp as a couple.
The setting is at its most romantic in autumn when the leaf colors change, and the hotel offers a special Mulled Wine Package with a warming pot of Chateau Chantal’s mulled cherry wine, a cheese plate, and fresh-baked baguettes. The Films and Fondue package is perfect for couples looking for a relaxed night in, with a DVD player and movies, fresh fruit, chocolate fondue and wine delivered to the room. Not just a summer or autumn destination, guests should consider cozying up in the winter when large discounts are offered.
Best for Business: Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
After a $200 million renovation in 2008, The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit is back to its distinguished glory and on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1924 in the Italian Renaissance style, this building used to be the world's tallest hotel and helped turn Washington Avenue into the “Fifth Avenue of the Midwest.” Today it's tricked out with the signature Westin Heavenly beds and baths, ample meeting space and several dining options for casual business meetings, including celebrity chef Michael Symon's ROAST restaurant.
For more formal gatherings, there is over 35,000 square feet of event space, including the Venetian, Woodward and Crystal Ballrooms. The Washington and Jefferson Boardrooms provide an excellent setting for seminars and small conferences. Meeting planners are readily available to manage audiovisual technology, video conferencing, presentation tools and catering, and there is a 24-hour business center with copy and print facilities.
Best in Winter: Mountain Grand Lodge, Avalanche Bay, Boyne Mountain
Winter brings significant snowfall to much of the state, with as much as 200 inches per year falling in areas around the Great Lakes. In addition to skiing, Boyne Mountain offers Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay. At 88,000 square feet, Avalanche Bay features slides, rides, kids’ pools, climbing walls, a lazy river, and even a surf simulator. For those who prefer to enjoy the cold, there is snowshoeing, zip-lining, fat tire biking, ice skating, and winter horseback riding available.
With 220 hotel rooms and several one-, two- and three-bedroom suites all connected to the Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa is the ideal place to get out and about during the day, enjoy a spa treatment late afternoon at the 19,500-square-foot spa, and rest up snug and cozy in the evenings.
Best LGBTQ-Friendly: The Dunes Resort
Nestled amongst massive sand dunes along the western shore of Lake Michigan, the twin resort communities of Saugatuck and Douglas are widely known as the preeminent gay beach destination in the entire Midwest. While the area offers many charming bed and breakfasts and kitschy motels, the vibrant social scene is centered at the Dunes Resort, which happens to be the largest gay resort in the Midwest.
There is a nightclub, cabaret, game room and huge outdoor patio, all within walking distance of bars and restaurants and just a bike ride from the beach.
Rooms range from simple dorm-style "bunk" rooms with shared bath to larger one- and two-bedroom cottages with kitchenettes (these are the furthest away from the nightclub for guests wanting a more chill vibe). There is always a line-up of events, from karaoke to Sunday Tea Dances, but it’s in summer when the place really comes alive both day and night.
While none of the accommodations here are luxurious, most guests come for the welcoming party scene as opposed to the rooms or amenities.