Photo | Gabi Garrett
New amenities at The Grand Hotel include the Bayside Grill and The Grand Hall, which is open for breakfast daily and Sunday brunch. The Oak & Azalea Resort Shop opened last week and the farm-to-table restaurant Southern Roots and 1847 Bar will open in mid-September.
By Gabi Garrett/Contributing Writer
“We’ve been farm to table since 1847,” Grand Hotel Marketing Director Kevin Hellmich said with a smile as he walked me around The Grand’s picturequese courtyards.
People often ask about farm-to-table food as a trend, but while most things come in and out of fashion, The Grand Hotel stays true to its classic and historic roots.
In the beginning, The Grand Hotel opened its doors many times to “launch,” though most attempts in the late 1800s and early 1900s were halted, namely due to the nation needing its location.
In 1864, a portion of the hotel became a Confederate hospital during the Civil War. A cemetery was built for about 300 Confederate soldiers near the 18th tee of The Grand’s Azalea course.
The hotel was also home to a top-secret mission, “Project Ivory Soap,” in 1944. This project was named for the training the Army and Air Force completed at The Grand Hotel because of its waterfront location and the need for floating repair facilities.
The men were trained to live and operate at sea at the historic hotel in Point Clear. “Ivory Soap” became the nickname of this training operation, due to the fact that Ivory Soap floats. (You can try it at home, folks.)
Earlier this month, The Grand Hotel opened its doors to Lagniappe to allow a first look at the renovations being completed, including its restaurants and spa. Its unveiling as The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, is Wednesday, Aug. 29.
New amenities include the Bayside Grill and The Grand Hall, which is open for breakfast daily and Sunday brunch. The Oak & Azalea Resort Shop opened last week and the farm-to-table restaurant Southern Roots and 1847 Bar will open in mid-September.
The spa looks like something out of a European magazine or a dream, including a grotto-style pool and complimentary mimosas. It’s an all-around treat.
“What most guests don’t know is you can enjoy the spa services without staying at our hotel. In fact, most services will give you access to the property all day long,” said new Spa Director Tiffany Cameron.
What began as a trip to explore the upgraded aspects of The Grand Hotel turned into multiple hours enjoying the property and even sitting down with the hotel’s resident historian, Kevin Hellmich.
A resident historian seems necessary for a property with not one historical marker but five. The hotel offers history lessons and cannon firings to honor the military each day, and to salute those who have passed through the historic resort.
As we continued our tour, I learned many people tend to stick around The Grand Hotel. In fact, legendary bartender Bucky Miller was such an influence on the resort that they named the bar after him. Bucky’s Lounge still serves his signature drink, which Bucky loved to complete with mint from The Grand’s garden.
“If you listen to the guests, they will tell you what they want [on renovations], they will also tell you how long they’ve been coming,” Hellmich said, noting most guests return every year and love to share, whether it’s their second or 30th year returning.
Hellmich shared a sweet story that stuck with me, about a woman in her mid-90s who called his hotel landline to let him know she wouldn’t be there for Easter this year.
“She wanted me to know she wouldn’t be able to make it, and then proceeded to name several longtime employees to say hello to for her. Her granddaughter had put the ax on her traveling because she’d just completed a book on positive thinking and needed to rest after her book tour,” Hellmich explained.
This may seem unique, especially compared to an “average” hotel, but Hellmich delved further on the phone call and learned this woman had been attending The Grand Hotel since she was a little girl. This would have been close to her 90th visit on Easter!
The historic, elegant hotel is more than just a “nice” place to visit, it’s full of history, activities and rich with nature, including monarch butterflies, pelicans, grand oaks and more.
The Grand Hotel is open to Lakewood Country Club members, property guests and those who enjoy spa services.
If you’re ready to explore your backyard, visit
grand1847.com or call 251-928-9201.