Today, I’m going to do a quick rundown of what are, in my belief, the best hotels on Mackinac Island. Most hotels have this weird “1890s wallpaper” aesthetic, so none of them are going to feel like a JW Marriott or a Four Seasons, but they still have a lot to offer. Once you’ve figured out the best time to visit Mackinac, you need a place to stay- and I’m here today to help out a bit!
If you’re thinking about staying on Mackinac Island for your visit, give these hotels your consideration:
Top 5 Hotels on Mackinac Island
How we chose our top 5
Because I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a decent amount of time on the Island, and I have a couple of close friendships with people who live there full-time, I have a slightly different perspective on Mackinac Island’s hotels. Some of the Island’s most famous hotels are a lot less impressive in person, especially when you consider what it’s actually like to stay there, not just peruse internet photos.
So, with that experience in mind, I created this 5-hotel list with the following things in mind:
- Value for the money: if it’s expensive, is it justified? If it’s cheap, is it still worth the downgrade? It’s not always about how much you spend, it’s about how well you spend.
- Distance from city center: Mackinac Island’s main streets get loud and crowded during the day. I gave extra preference to hotels that separate you a little bit, because the added serenity makes a huge difference.
- Amenities: Most hotels on Mackinac Island are very traditional, often built 90+ years ago. I don’t knock a hotel for not having all the modern amenities, but the ones that do have pools, dining, and spa options definitely get a bonus.
- Personal preference: Since this isn’t TripAdvisor, I took a little liberty in choosing the hotels that I personally think are the best after having stayed in some, dined in others, and gotten an up-close look at others. Because of that, some of the most popular options didn’t make the list, because I just didn’t buy the hype.
- Deals and package rates: Most every hotel offers some sort of deals and packages, but some are better than others. Mission Point Resort, for example, has some stellar vacation packages and dirt cheap early-season rates, which boosted its ranking.
- Only hotels: I kept cottages, condos, and B&Bs off the list, because it would be like comparing apples to oranges.
- No sponsored hotels: I’m not getting paid to mention any of these hotels; they accurately reflect our favorites.
Now that we’ve covered why a hotel has made the list, let’s take a look at the 5 best hotels on Mackinac Island:
1. Mission Point Resort: The Best by a Mile
- Average nightly price (September): $270-$1,700, depending on the room
- Key features: Full-on resort hotel with multiple dining, entertainment, and relaxation options.
- Who it’s best for: Literally everyone, from the youngest children to the oldest and crankiest.
Mission Point is a bit more tucked away than the rest of the hotels on the island. It’s about a mile away from where the ferries dock, but with plenty of porters, horses, and bicycles around, it’s easy to get to. And, it keeps you far away from all the noise and children shouting about fudge.
Even more, Mission Point offers the only true waterfront green area of any Mackinac hotel: the large lawn that covers a few acres of pristine lakeside real estate.
The best thing about this resort is how wonderfully peaceful and quiet it was when I was there. It truly lived up to what I wanted when I got on the ferry to Mackinac Island: tranquility and solitude.
Mission Point is a full-on resort, with multiple restaurants, coffee shops, a pool and fitness center, and even a well-maintained mini-golf course! The best part about walking around the resort (aside from being separated from the downtown crowds) was the flowers.
Mission Point Resort meticulously maintains the property and keeps tens of thousands of flowers looking impeccable each day of the tourist season. The grounds crew is friendly and helpful, and their ability to plan out a colorful, intense display of flowers literally everywhere on the resort is admirable.
In my opinion, it’s the best of the Mackinac Island hotels, and the competition isn’t even that close. The food is stellar, the great lawn is something out of a movie, and the amenities are unbeatable.
It’s not cheap – the $270/night is for a small room without a view – but with plenty of discounts for veterans, seniors, and other groups as well as a bunch of different vacation packages, you can save a lot. Even paying full price, you get more than your money’s worth, which is a big part of what makes Mission Point the best hotel on the island.
2. The Hotel Iroquois: Mackinac Island, Perfected
- Average nightly price (September): $450-$2,200
- Key features: Incredible views, a legendary restaurant, and the quintessential Mackinac vibe
- Who it’s best for: Couples who want nothing more than to sit back and enjoy a classy getaway
This Mackinac Island hotel makes our list not because of the rooms (though they are much nicer than what you’d find in some of the other hotels on the main strip), but because of the location. It sits on an amazing piece of ground, right against the water. You can watch boats sail by to your heart’s content at Mackinaw Island’s Hotel Iroquois.
Hotel Iroquois also has one of the best restaurants on the island right downstairs: Carriage House Dining. It sits right on the water, the food is phenomenal, and the ambience is exactly what you pictured when you first started imagining a Mackinac Island vacation.
The rooms and suites at Hotel Iroquois are more tastefully-designed than many of the other hotels I saw, but they still have that old school coastal vacation feel. It’s a hotel that I have a fondness for, mostly because of the waterfront location and incredible dining!
3. Bicycle Street Inn: Location, Luxury, and Lounging
- Average nightly price (September): $1000
- Key features: New hotel with luxury everything
- Who it’s best for: Couples with expensive taste and cash to blow
One of the newest Mackinac Island hotels, Bicycle Street Inn isn’t exactly what you’d expect from other Mackinac Island hotels. It has a much newer and more contemporary aesthetic, and it makes me wish I had a grand to drop on lodging every night! The vibe is less wallpaper and green paint and more rich earth tones and sophisticated touches.
Some of the amenities that make it stand out:
- Fiber internet connection
- No expense spared in room design
- Fitness and business centers
- Premium downtown location
The downtown location is convenient, but makes it hard to avoid the mid-day crowds. If the day-trippers don’t bother you, this luxurious and modern hotel is the place to be. It’s the most highly rated downtown hotel for a reason!
4. Island House
- Average nightly price (September): 475-$1,400
- Key features: Right across from the harbord, a 170-year old hotel that defines Mackinac living
- Who it’s best for: Honeymooners, retirees, yacht owners, and anyone looking to live like an old-school aristocrat
The Island House was a serious contender for #1 overall. It’s sitting at number 4 because the nightly price is on the high end and the vacation packages aren’t quite as good as Mission Point’s. That said, this hotel is simply stunning. Whether you’re sitting on rocking chairs on the porch and watching the boats come in, dining in upscale style at the historic 1852 Grill Room, or just lounging in your gorgeous room, the Island House has it all.
The Island House was completed in 1852, back when photography had just been invented and the US had a population of just 23 million people. In the 170 years since, it’s remained one of the most sought-after hotels not just on the island, but in the entire Great Lakes region. Conde Nast calls it one of the region’s 10 best hotels and with just a couple dozen rooms, it can be hard to book, especially if your dates aren’t flexible.
The Island House is in a much quieter spot than most hotels on the island. It’s also one of the nicest: the rooms, common areas, and amenities are immaculate. The dining options, pool and hot tubs, and wi-fi are also among the best the island has to offer. It’s so nice, so conveniently located, and so full of relaxation options that you might find yourself hard-pressed to leave the property (though you absolutely should) during your stay.
This hotel is number 4 on our list, but that really just boils down to pricing. The rooms are a little bit too expensive, and they sell out a little too quick, to make it the best hotel for everyone. But, if you’ve got the money and a chance to book a room that’s still available, I suggest jumping!
5. Chippewa Hotel Waterfront: History, Food, and Views
- Average nightly price (September): $280-700
- Key features: 120 year old hotel with classic Mackinac aesthetic, great location, great restaurant just downstairs
- Who it’s best for: People looking to combine luxury lodging with day drinking and a classic island experience.
This Victorian hotel first opened in 1902; in the 120 years since, its reputation has only grown. The famous Pink Pony restaurant occupies a large part of the first floor, and it offers some of the best food, drinks, and views on the entire island.
The Chippewa is also the cheapest hotel on the list, which isn’t a knock against it at all. The wallpaper might not match your tastes, but it does represent what Mackinac Island has looked like for the last century or so, and it’s not afraid to keep that tradition rather than updating itself to look like a Courtyard hotel. And, even though I don’t like wallpaper, I love that the Chippewa stays true to its roots while maintaining a high standard of quality and cleanliness.
The Chippewa also has a great location: it’s right on the edge of the island’s main strip, with shopping to your left and Fort Mackinac to your right. The Pink Pony was once named one of America’s 10 most popular restaurants, and it’s a can’t-miss stop on any Mackinac Island vacation done right.
The Grand Hotel: Not Top 5 for me, but maybe for you
- Average nightly price (September): $450/night
- Key features: Most famous hotel on the island, incredibly pricey, comes with a golf course, manicured gardens, and employees in white gloves
- Who it’s best for: Older couples looking for a hotel experience straight out of the 1800s
There’s no easy way to put this: unless you’re a specific type of person, The Grand Hotel is not at all the place you want to be. It’s incredibly overpriced, not as nice as some of the island’s other hotels, and feels like a place where people pay for the name rather than the experience.
That’s not to say it isn’t nice – it is beyond nice – it’s just that it’s hard for me to see the price as being worth it. It’s also a bit pretentious to the eyes of many, myself included. I’m not a “wear a jacket to dinner” type of guy, and if you aren’t either, the Grand is best appreciated from a distance.
This is the perfect hotel for people who actually fit the description of the Grand’s clientele:
- Older couples,
- With lots of disposable income,
- And tastes that include upscale dining, golf, and traditional service
The Grand Hotel is the one that most people hear about first, and it’s by far the most famous, but that doesn’t make it the best one. If you look at the website and it fits your vibes, you’ll have a great time. But, I don’t think that most people will actually find the Grand Hotel to be everything it promises to be.
The Grand isn’t exactly well-loved by its employees, either. Talk to any non-management worker on the island and they’ll tell you the same thing: the Grand is routinely named the worst place to work by other employees. Sure, every hotel job sucks in some way, but for it to be widely known as the worst place to work doesn’t make it kind of place I want to spend my money on.
Conclusion: Mackinac Island’s Best Hotels
Finding hotels in Mackinac island isn’t difficult- there are a couple dozen to choose from. The best hotels, though, are the ones that make every dollar worth spending, promote a relaxed state of mind, and let you enjoy the scenery without interruption.