by Caroline Costello
Located eight miles from Traverse City, Grand Traverse Resort is a great weekend getaway for families. The hotel has a private freshwater beach, a small indoor water park, onsite family dining, and seasonal activities for active families including kayaking and cross-country skiing. The 600 rooms on the property include hotel and tower guestrooms and suites, as well as condos. You may find there is no reason to leave the resort’s 900-acre grounds, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Grand Traverse Resort is surrounded by a pastoral countryside evocative, some say, of Tuscany. Nearby Traverse City is known as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” and the region is full of charming orchards, vineyards and forests. Traverse City also hosts the annual Nickelodeon Great Family Fun Festival, and its own annual Cherry Festival, both events that are popular with families.
Our Editor Loves
- Private freshwater beach on Lake Michigan
- 15,000-square-foot indoor water park
- Condos with kitchenettes available
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
There are three lodging options at the Grand Traverse Resort: tower, hotel and condominium.
Hotel rooms are located in the resort's six-story hotel building, and come with one king and full-size sofa bed, or two double beds. Hotel amenities include hair dryers, cable television, complimentary high-speed Internet access and complimentary weekday newspapers.
The resort's new Tower accommodations house rooms and suites with one king bed or two queen beds. Tower amenities include Jacuzzis, bathroom phones, cable, complimentary high-speed Internet access, complimentary weekday newspapers and refrigerators.
Condominiums are located near the golf course or the shores of Lake Michigan. The resort's condos, which are privately owned and operated in a rental management program, range from studio to three-bedrooms and include a dining area with kitchenette, and a living room with a queen-size sleeper sofa.
The fall colors around Traverse City were dynamic and vivid this week as we drove through the country side on our way to the resort. Our stay was "fall-tastic" and the amenities were enjoyable. From the 9th floor we had a beautiful view of the bay and the sunsets and sunrises were extraordinary as the array of light glistened on the fall colors surrounding the resort. Rooms were cozy and spacious and the beds were very comfortable. We definitely recommend a fall trip here...not too busy like the summer.
This is my second stay at Grand Traverse. Last year, I stayed in a beautiful condo down the street from the Resort. This time, I stayed inside the hotel. Here are a few notes:
1. There are two sections of the Resort - the "Hotel" and the "Towers". I hear the Towers have been remodeled are are very nice. The "Hotel" is what I can't recommend.
2. The room was old, very old. NO open plugs except in the bathroom. Hello? It's 2019.
3. The sink in the bathroom did not drain.
4. There is no fridge. Again, it's 2019. EVERY hotel room has a fridge.
5. The A/C/Heater unit was SO loud. Again, it's old and clunky. However, it kept me up all night long.
Whenever I've traveled to Traverse City, I've always wanted to stay here. In fact, before this trip had planned to bring my Mom up to stay here for a Girls Weekend. Scratch that, will not return.
A 15,000-square-foot indoor water playground entertains youngsters with a 70-foot waterslide, water basketball nets, pools and a zero-depth entry sprayground. There's also a children's center at the hotel, the Cub House, which offers full- and half-day childcare programs for kids ages 8 and younger. Kids spending time at the Cub House play games, do arts and crafts or listen to stories. Children ages 6 to 12 can take part in Kids' Night Out programs on Friday and Saturday evenings. Advance reservations are required for childcare programs.
The resort boasts a kids' game room, spa, health club, two indoor and two outdoor swimming pools, on-site shopping, and three golf courses. Many other activities for guests staying at the Grand Traverse Resort vary seasonally. In the winter, rent cross-country ski equipment, show shoes or ice skates from the resort's on-site Nordic Center, or enjoy skiing at nearby downhill ski slopes. During the summer, get active with your family on Lake Michigan. Rent kayaks, jet skis, water skis, paddle boats and other equipment from Native Waves Watersports at the Resort's private Beach Club on East Grand Traverse Bay. A shuttle is available to the nearby Beach Club. During March, the family-friendly Nickelodeon Great Family Fun Festival is held in Traverse City.
The Grand Traverse Resort has three restaurants, all of which have children's menus. Aerie Restaurant and Lounge serves casual American fare for dinner and dessert alongside sweeping views of resort golf courses and East Grand Traverse Bay. Kids' menu items include traditional favorites like fish sticks, chicken tenders, grilled cheese sandwiches, and veggies and fruit with dip.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered at the Sweetwater American Bistro. The Sweetwater children's menu includes items like a cinnamon swirled French toast for breakfast, and Kraft macaroni and cheese, and hamburgers for lunch or dinner. Sweetwater also has a breakfast buffet with special prices for kids.
The Grille is open seasonally from April to October, and is located in the resort's Clubhouse. At The Grille, club fare like soup and sandwiches is served for lunch and dinner only. The Grille kids' menu lists dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and personal pizzas. Keep in mind that while the kids' menus at all three restaurants do serve some of the same dishes, each menu is different. For example, kids can only order pizza at The Grille.