Northern Michigan’s Gem: The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The iconic Tower at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The iconic Tower at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

A Luxury Resort Surrounded by Sweeping Vistas & Magnificent Lake Michigan
By: Charlene & Richard Mixa

Seeking a respite from the Florida heat, we felt “the call” for a visit to Northern Michigan Here we look forward to cooler temperatures along with lush forests, rolling greens, grape vineyards, cherry orchards and the sparkling, sugar-sand shores of Grand Traverse Bay. A favorite premier destination resort is the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa with its iconic glass Tower, creating sky-high experience and expansive views of the scenic landscape.

Tower King Suite

Tower King Suite

Spending a couple of weeks in the exciting Northern Michigan area, a visit at the award winning Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is a great start to our getaway. Ah! Our King Room on the 15th floor in the newly renovated17-story Tower is decorated in a high sleek modern style with a warm touch. This tranquil escape features a décor inspired by the regions landscape of forest and bays with a mix of weathered and dark woods, creamy whites and blue hues. Awesome wall-to-wall windows provide expansive views of golf courses, Grand Traverse Bay, and the magnificent Old Mission Peninsula. Luxury and comfort are foremost with this spacious room from the cozy plush linens, a comfy couch, large screen TV and large bathroom. Extra touches are the mini fridge and wet bar area.

The relaxing Spa Lounge

The relaxing Spa Lounge

Now to RELAX and REFRESH! After a multi-day drive from Florida, we are definitely in need of a healthy balance of body, mind and spirit. Quickly welcomed at the Spa Grand Traverse, we change into plush robes and sip refreshing cucumber water as we destress in the tranquil lounge area. AH! Under the firm, yet gentle hands of my masseuse my tired achy muscles relax and I slip into a quiet solitude. The Signature Massage has a good gentle soothing pressure. While we chatted some, it was good to totally relax. The Signature Massage finishes with a mild facial massage and misting of the face. AHHHH! Blissful! After the massage, I delight in time in the steam room and sauna before joining Richard in the pool area. Since the indoor pools are busy this afternoon, we opt for the solitude of the outdoor whirlpool to continue the relaxation of our weary bodies. Afterwards in the lounge with its comfy chaise lounge chairs and cozy candles and fireplace we continue to destress. A delightful respite, we nibble on the hearty snacks, sip the cucumber water, and place the eucalyptus ice cold cloth over our foreheads. No deadlines, no hurry, just serenity. The Spa visit restores our vitality, renews our senses and revives our inner being. Um, is an afternoon nap in order before dinner. Yes!

GTR Dining_Aerie_Restaurant_Lounge2_Hi_ResViews from the 16th floor of Aerie Restaurant & Lounge in the iconic Tower of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa offers miles of panoramic views. The premier restaurant at the resort is definitely its crown jewel for a fabulous dining experience. On this cloudy evening we have views of rain over Traverse City, Old Mission Peninsula, and Grand Traverse Bay. Watching the weather change around the area creates its own excitement and entertainment. All the while we delight in our multi-course dinners. Beginning with the tantalizing appetizer of the Bay Scallop Ceviche, followed by a rich creamy Clam Chowder with hearty chunks of clam and confit potatoes, and a fresh crisp House Salad. The tender Rack of Lamb is accompanied by a rich parmesan risotto and fried garbanzo beans. Magnificent! A local favorite is the mouthwatering Michigan Walleye with its creamed sweet corn, candied bacon and fresh popcorn. Superb! Each dish bring its own unique flavors. The dessert of a Sorbet Trio is light with sweet, sour, and tangy sorbets of raspberry, passion fruit and guava. The wait staff is knowledgeable and very helpful in recommendations for dining choices, wines and beer. During dinner the rains pass over the Tower. Hurrah! Just as dinner ends the sun pops out giving a wonderful sunset for a delightful finale.

With an early tee time for golf, we are thrilled to find that the Sweetwater Café actually opens before 7:00 AM. Now we enjoy a leisurely breakfast before golf. While there is an option for a breakfast buffet, we opt to order from the menu. The eggs and corned beef hash is huge! As are the eggs and country fried potatoes. Definitely a hearty breakfast to get us through a morning of golf.

No. 13 The Wolverine

No. 13 The Wolverine

Under cloudy skies with an 8:18 AM tee time, we arrive early to warm up before tackling The Wolverine Golf Course, a
Gary Player design. It truly offers challenges to golfers of all levels. Variety is the spice of life and variety is found on this demanding course that brings so many nuances. We thoroughly revel in this demanding course and its variety of challenges. Teeing off high above the first hole is exciting as we take on “The Wolverine.” The front nine winds through lowland terrain with water and wetlands to attempt to avoid. Fantastic! We are both on our game today and making some spectacular shots. Umm! Having just played in 90+ degree Florida weather we ponder if the cooler weather is helping us play so much better. As we make the turn on the back nine the course meanders to higher terrain with hardwoods, rolling hills and terrific views of East Grand Traverse Bay. For two senior golfers, we are both thrilled to find our zone today on this challenging course with both scoring under 90. Drats! A couple of holes on the back nine “zapped our zone” preventing even better scores for the day. It is a great course, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The Wolverine has us wanting to come back for more.

Cheers! A finale to our visit to The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is a tasty lunch at The Grill. Reliving our morning of golf and some spectacular shots, it’s a great lunch. The menu offers some unique offerings to normal bar menus. I am thrilled with the Bologna Sandwich (with a twist). A thick slap fried bologna with a Muenster cheese is very flavorful and filling. Richard is pleased with the very filling pork BBQ quesadilla. Again, servings are generous. While it was a short respite, we leave The Grand Travers Resort and Spa relaxed, refreshed, sated and happy that we tamed “The Wolverine!”

If you go:
As a destination resort, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has activities that will please guests of all ages. Golfers will be thrilled with the diversity of its three Championship golf courses and tennis players will delight in their tennis program, as well as, five indoor tennis courts. Sink your toes into the sands of a Private Beach Club on Lake Michigan, take a dip in the four indoor/outdoor pools, enjoy the laughter of kids playing in an Indoor Water Playground, or relax in the indoor/outdoor hot tubs. Get your heart pumping at the 100,000 square-foot Health Club. Take a ride on an elliptical bicycle! Spin the wheel or place a bet at the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. While staying on property keeps one busy, be sure to venture out to Traverse City for great shopping, visiting a microbrewery, wine tasting on Old Mission Peninsula, a cruise on the bay and stop by the former asylum that is now the Village of Grand Traverse Common.  Visit the Traverse City Visitors Center for ideas and suggestions on the many “things to do.”  Northern Michigan has plenty of activities!

The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, 100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd., Acme, MI 49610-0404
231-534-6000
www.grandtraverseresort.com

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About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.

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