By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Michigan’s Premier Resort for Recreation, Relaxation, and more!
Grand Views! Grand Golf! Grand Spa! Grand Dining! Impressive and awesome, Michigan’s Premier Resort, the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa is “totally” grand. A sprawling 900-acre resort with 54 holes of championship golf, stunning views of Grand Traverse Bay, choice dining, a sensational spa, and plenty of recreational activities, it is a magnificent year round destination. Located on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, the Resort is just around the bend from thrilling Traverse City, Michigan. A place for couples, families and groups to enjoy a “grand time!”
Grand Views and Outstanding Accommodations
Shimmering waters of Grand Traverse Bay with emerald green golf courses winding through the gentle hills and orchards of northern Michigan is a welcoming scene from our 12th floor room in the Tower. The 17-story glass Tower glistens in this natural setting. Our panoramic view is fabulous for watching a sunset, the changing weather, or enjoying the breathtaking landscape. Accommodation options are endless at the Resort with its 600 rooms, suites, and condominiums. Our grandly appointed room in addition to normal resort room features has comfy arm chairs, a desk and a wet bar area with a refrigerator. A Jacuzzi whirlpool tub, large counter and even a phone are in the spacious bathroom. We especially like the refrigerator and wet bar area for convenience of light snacks and a cold breakfast each day.
Grand Championship Golf
Tackling The Bear! Definitely “the toughest course in the Midwest!” A fabulous Jack Nicklaus designed links-style course with Bentgrass tees, greens and fairways, The Bear challenges every golfer. Featuring Scottish terraced fairways, tiered greens, deep grassy roughs, moguls, mounds, deep pot bunkers and other hazards I wish to forget. Lakes, ponds, hardwood forests, streams, and fruit orchards are home to a variety of wildlife giving The Bear a special character. Holes have plenty of rolling mounds of native grass or huge bunkers protecting the greens. Fairways may start out wide but then constrict or disappear to peninsula tiered greens. A unique course that incorporates flexibility, versatility, and playability but sometimes is “unbearable”.
Bring plenty of balls! Miss the fairway into tall native grasses and balls are gobbled up. With pars on three of the par-3, even No. 9 with it island green reminiscent of the Island Hole of TPC Sawgrass, these at least offset double bogies on other holes. A dramatic finish is No. 18, a par-4 with a picturesque view of the pond, fountain and stone clubhouse. The backdrop is the hotel with the sparkling Tower standing above all. Choices are needed here with split fairways to go over water on the second shot or go around the pond. Don’t gloat, just when we think we’ve tamed The Bear, it “charges” with a new challenge. Remember: it’s “just a game.” A yardage book is a must! A demanding and often frustrating course to tame, The Bear is a “grand” course and a “must play” while in the northern Michigan area.
After our morning round of golf we relax over tasty lunches of fresh perch sandwiches at The Grille. I’m ready for relaxation but Richard prepares to tackle the Gary Player designed Wolverine Golf Course. Providing a distinctly Northwood golf experience, The Wolverine has each nine offering its own special demands. Weaving through water and marshy wetlands on the front nine where approach shots must avoid water hazards and bunkers. The Wolverine’s back nine brings a different dimension to the game with the highland terrain along the hardwoods. It has fantastic views of Grand Traverse Bay, the Grand Traverse courses and the Tower along with offering plenty of unique challenges. Richard tames The Wolverine! Finishing his round Richard regains his golf karma and is fully recovered from his few scratches from The Bear.
A Grand Spa & a Grand Health Club
Stimulate the body, mind and spirit or Get Fit! Grand and glorious, the Spa at Grand Traverse is an impressive 7,000 square-foot Michigan spa. Plus, fitness buffs will be impressed with year-round recreation at the 100,000 square-foot health club with up-to-date exercise equipment, classes, indoor tennis courts, and indoor pools all adjacent to the Spa. Families and children will delight in 15,000-square foot Indoor Water Playground and children’s center.
I check in an hour early beginning my spa journey of relaxation and rejuvenation. After a few laps in the mineral pool, I soak in the whirlpool with pulsating jets soothing my tired muscles. In the Spa Lounge and relaxation room, I continue to wind down. My first treatment is the Grape Wine Peel and Peptide Power Facial, an ultra firming power-packed treatment to enhance my skin’s tone, texture and appearance. For the facial cleansing, the technician uses a skin care brush which allows the product to better penetrate my skin. The Grape Wine Peel, a “natural” alternative to harsh peels, is a multi-fruit acid peel with a combination of fresh fruit pulp to gently exfoliate the skin and white wine grapes that condition and softens my skin. Afterwards my face feels so soft and glows. Even better, many of the fine lines and wrinkles are diminished. Next is the Cherry Infused Massage. Being in the Cherry Capital, it is only natural that Spa Grand Traverse incorporates this fabulous fruit into their menu of spa services. A classic Swedish massage, the Cherry Infused Massage incorporates the spa’s signature blends of cherry oil creating the ultimate in relaxation. Ah! My Spa Grand Traverse treatments leave me revitalized, renewed, and rejuvenated.
Elegant Dining and Fantastic Views! Ready for a special dinner, we take the elevator to the Tower’s 16th floor, to the Aerie Restaurant and Lounge, the crown jewel of dining of the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. Seated at a window table we enjoy the serene beauty of the grand panoramic views of East Grand Traverse Bay, the Old Mission Peninsula, and the Resort’s golf courses. Aerie is a fabulous fine dining restaurant and we savor a wonderful romantic dinner as the sunsets behind the Peninsula and Grand Traverse Bay. With the Tower being the only 17-story building in the entire Grand Traverse Bay area, Aerie can boast being the “highest” dining experience. Aerie is unforgettable! The service is superb, our dinners have full bold tantalizing flavors, and the restaurant offers an expansive wine list. It is a fabulous restaurant with an international flair and truly a place to go for a romantic evening, special celebration or business with a special client. Their Sunday Brunch sounds decadent. Over a glass of wine and a delectable cheesecake platter of three mini cheesecakes, we toast our fantastic visit at the Grand Traverse Resort.
The Resort has it all! We could be totally entertained without leaving the property but there is also a lot to do in Traverse City and the Old Mission Peninsula. Downtown Traverse City has unique trendy and upscale shops along with variety of eateries. With accolades of National Georgraphic.com’s one of America’s Top Adventure Towns, on AOL Travel News list of Top 10 “Coolest Towns in the States”, and Bon Appétit magazine’s 2010 Top “Foodie Town” it’s a town to explore.
The Visitors Bureau staff is excellent for planning special excursions or just getting information of the area. We pick up the pamphlet of the “Wineries of the Old Mission Peninsula” for an afternoon of tasting Michigan wines. Beer drinkers, never fear, there is even a brochure for a sampling the “Traverse City Microbrews & Taprooms.” Get on the water! Take advantage of the beaches of Grand Traverse Resort to take a dip in the bay or set sail on the Traverse City Tall Ship Company Schooner Manitou. Traverse City, Old Mission Peninsula, and Grand Traverse Bay offer plenty of choice for activities. We have a grand time and a grand visit at northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse Resort & Spa!
If you go:
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, 100 Grand Traverse Village Boulevard, P.O. Box 404, Acme, Michigan 49610-0404
231-534-6000 or 800-748-0303