Although Grand Rapids is a fraction of the size of Detroit or Chicago, this city of nearly 200,000, in the heart of western Michigan and just a 45-minute drive from the gay resort towns of Saugatuck and Douglas does have a handful of fun gay bars as well as a long-running men's gay bathhouse, the Diplomat Health Club (2324 S. Division Ave., 616-452-3754). Set in a rather elegant old brick building on a main thoroughfare about 3 miles south of downtown Grand Rapids, the Diplomat opened its doors back in 1980 and continues to draw fairly sizable and loyal crowds, especially on weekends.
The club is open 24/7, offers a number of specials (new members nights, senior 55-and-older specials, college nights, etc.) - basic rates start at just $10 for a day pass, $17 for a locker, and $20 for a small room. This is an older - though generally quite cleanly kept - facility, and the crowd generally tends toward the older side, too, with weekends - as you might expect - the best time to encounter a larger crowd. The staff is very friendly and helpful, however, and this is one bathhouse where you'll encounter very little attitude from fellow patrons.
The owners also used to operate a Diplomat Health Club in Toledo, Ohio and have announced plans, as of this writing, that they're trying to get that club reopened. Also in the cards are efforts to make improvements and renovations to the facility here in Grand Rapids.
If you're on the eastern side of the state, check out the Detroit Gay Bathhouse guide.