The Grand Experience

For the past few days, I have been really busy here in the Grand Hotel. Thankfully, it’s not because of work. I’ve been utilizing my employee perks and trying out Grand Hotel’s amenities. Initially, I thought of blogging this in a chronological order. Instead, I chose to categorize it. Sorta.

Grand Hotel is known for its two main amenities: the Main Dining Room and Front Porch.

Main Dining Room

Grand Hotel’s Main Dining Room is huge! It can sit upto a thousand people. That’s right. A thousand people. I don’t want to go into detail about it. All I can say is it’s really glorious. I know because I started working there before I acquired my second job (which became my initial job after a few months). The Main Dining Room, or MDR as we like to call it, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all of which are open to the public. I was lucky enough to try all three with minimal slash zero expenses.

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day; often neglected by majority. I don’t understand why some people choose to skip it. I only do so if I have no choice.

I was able to try having breakfast in the MDR for free when my friend Jessa, an FO clerk, was given breakfast tickets by a guest with a hectic schedule. Along with Ela (Concierge) and Ben (Coffee Break), we dined there on an early Thursday morning.

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I swear, their eggs were scrumptious! I always have mine over medium. They cooked it just right. That was only the first of many more dining opportunities I have yet to type.

Lunch – often the first meal of many; not for me, though. As for lunch, the hotel has two options: the Grand Luncheon Buffet at the MDR, and light lunches at Carleton’s Tea Store.

The Grand Luncheon Buffet starts at 12NN and last seating is at 2PM. This is what most of non-guests come here for, bombarding us with questions regarding it. I tried it yesterday, again, for free, thanks to Jessa. Ela came along with us. Yesterday was also my final day off of the season.

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There were two lines of buffet tables; they expected more than two hundred people. That’s a lot. Most of the people were part of the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association convention which was held here in the hotel.

I ate a lot of shrimp. That was pretty much the highlight of my lunch. The entrées were meh. The desserts were good, but lacked variety. It used to be that they had macaroons and rum cakes, two of my best desserts. They didn’t have it yesterday. We left the MDR with our waists two inches bigger. We were so full!

As for Carleton’s, earlier this week, my friend Ysh and I ordered Ham and Swiss Panini’s. It was good. The manager took our order and he was really nice. I also took a couple slices of fudge which was by the counter for free taste.

Dinner – [insert description here]. Sorry for being so lazy. That description thing was getting old. But enough of that. Let me try to describe my two consecutive nights at the MDR. TWO consecutive nights of fine-dining.

The first was on the 20th. I got an out-of-the-blue invite from Brenda, my co-worker since December. She had a night off, couldn’t find anything better to do, and was bored. I accepted the invite. When it comes to food, money is no object.

Me and Brenda

The MDR serves five-course meals for dinner. For some, that’s a lot of food. Well, it is. But I wasn’t gonna let this chance of eating a five-course meal slip away. Not to mention, our entire meal was discounted generously. I ordered one from each course, wrapping it up with a huge scoop of my favorite ice cream flavor – Mackinac Fudge (with tons of fudge sauce). I won’t include the photo of the dessert mainly because I couldn’t get a good (or even decent) shot of it. Just take my word for it; that flavor is the best on the island.

Toast!

Jumbo Shrimp-Crawfish

Chicken Broth

Salad

Lamb Shank

 

My bosses: Sir Marsh and Sir Steadly

My second fine-dining experience was on the next day. I wore the exact same blue H&M jacket. I didn’t really have much of a choice. It was JJ’s. I don’t have a jacket. Never really considered buying one. That was the only piece of clothing I repeated though. The rest of my look was redesigned. There were seven of us: Me, Jemuel, Meliza, Mico, Chiara, Kaicy, and JJ. Not sure if there was supposed to be an eighth one to turn our odd-numbered group to an even one.

Our server was Pao, a fellow Filipino. Pao was an excellent server. He made sure we felt the essence of fine-dining. He suggested that we be honest, letting him know if what we ordered were not to our liking. He was more than happy to replace our food if we wanted to. The food was delicious, in my opinion. Our smiles were more than enough to convey how we loved the service. Thumbs up!

Front Porch

Grand Hotel’s famous colonial Front Porch is 660 feet, making it the longest porch in the world. Divided into two: East and West, Grand Hotel’s front porch is a unique architectural masterpiece. White rocking chairs, beverage servers, and everyday people fill the porch. I’ve been working for the hotel since May, but I realized that I’ve never set foot on it and actually grasped its splendor. From my point of view, it really is magnificent. All the hype its getting is worthy to some extent.

Grand Hotel's Front Porch

Yesterday, after the Grand Luncheon Buffet, Jessa and I strolled on the East side of the porch. The weather was random, but it was nippy with plenty of sunlight.

Jessa

The hue chess set on the East End

It used to be that the porch was booming with people earlier this season. But as the days pass by and the end of the season nearing, the number of daily visitors reduced significantly. Nowadays, there are hardly any people there, except when the Grand hosts weddings or certain events. The beauty of the porch is unaffected by this, though.

Dorothy Draper Suite

I must admit, after trying out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a stroll on the porch, I thought my Grand Hotel experience was complete. Boy was I wrong. I never took into account an overnight stay, mainly because it never crossed my mind, until last night. When my roomie, JJ, got home, he told me to change.

“We’re staying overnight at the Grand. Kaicy got a room and all five of us (Me, Kaicy, JJ, Chiara, and Mico) should be present.”

Kaicy was lucky enough to get a named room (which are really hard to get). Not to mention it was a suite – the Dorothy Draper Suite. Carleton Varney, the person who designed the Grand Hotel in its late 19th century decor, was Dorothy Draper’s protege. The motif was red. The suite was spacious. It had a little shelf filled with books near the entrance. An enormous red bed was at the center of the room. Facing the bed was a red sofa and a mini flatscreen TV. The bathroom was located on the east end of the suite.

Sad to say, I don’t have any pictures of the suite. I was overwhelmed with the idea of staying. I know my description hardly suffices, but it’s all I got. One thing I’d like to note is that I slept like a baby last night. I slept so soundly that a million alarms were no match for my powerful sleeping skills. I was the first person to sleep and the last person to wake up.

Now, I can say for certain, that staying overnight at the Dorothy Draper marked the completion of my Grand Experience.

Live healthy. Live grand.

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