Travel

Titanic at the Grand

If you’ve stayed at the Grand Hotel, you’ve experienced that sensation of feeling like you’re on a ship – but on land.

So, it’s no surprise that the majestic hotel could play host to an event celebrating the history and opulence of the Titanic, the doomed passenger liner that sank after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage 100 years ago this month.

Titanic at the Grand takes place May 4-6, the same weekend the Mackinac Island hotel opens for the summer. A sense of the Titanic is recreated with costumed actors (playing the Unsinkable Molly Brown, for instance), the hotel orchestra performing music played on the ship, and a five-course meal and appetizers that incorporate the 11-course dinner served to first-class passengers on the night of the sinking. The menu will include Oysters a la Russe, roast duckling and lamb with mint sauce.

Guests, who are encouraged to wear period-correct attire, will assume the roles of actual Titanic passengers. On Saturday evening, when the collision takes place, guests will learn if they survived the sinking. Last year, during the hotel’s inaugural Titanic weekend, the hotel staff donned lifejackets and ice cubes were tossed in the air outside the ballroom for added effect.

“It’s not like a happily ever after thing – it was such a tragedy,” said Ken Hayward, the hotel’s executive vice president and managing director, but noted the styles, luxuries and personalities – including John Jacob Astor (whose family had ties to the island) — play well with themes associated with the hotel.

Last year’s Titanic weekend was a big success and drew 450 guests. Sales are on pace to match last year’s. “There’s been a lot of word of mouth and people coming back and bringing friends,”Hayward said, adding the hotel is partnering with Double Exposure Inc., an event management and entertainment company from Bloomfield Hills, for the Titanic weekend.

And like any Grand Hotel weekend, the package includes full breakfast and five-course dinner daily. Friday evening includes a Bon Boyage party, and a screening of the 1953 film Titanic, which starred Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb. A Saturday evening reception offers a photo opportunity in front of a backdrop of the famous Titanic staircase. There also will be a Titanic fashion show and seminars with Titanic experts.

The cost is $769 per couple or $669 for a single. Information: Titanic at the Grand.

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.