Michigan Vacation Packages
Are you looking to escape the stress of everyday life? To disconnect and discover the beauty of somewhere new, somewhere miles away from ordinary? Our Michigan vacation packages are designed to get you there.
Whether you're pursuing a weekend spa-cation, championship golf package, romantic getaway in Michigan, or an all-encompassing family vacation, you can be sure that a vacation at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa will leave you revitalized and inspired.
HydraFacial delivers results on first treatmentBy Cymbre Foster
When Spa Grand Traverse cosmetologist Sandra Umstead received her first HydraFacial, the results were so amazing that she knew it was something she wanted her clients to experience as well.
HydraFacial is a patented technology that marries a deeply cleansing facial treatment with relaxation.
“After just one visit, this medical-grade procedure leaves the skin with improved clarity, texture, and tone,” Umstead says.
I admit I needed convincing that it could be that good when I arrived at the spa for my first HydraFacial. Truth be told, I’d rather spend my money on a new pair of shoes than skin care, and I didn’t think she would be able to do that much with my neglected, sun-damaged, slightly saggy, middle-aged skin.
Was I ever wrong.
A HydraFacial is a three-part treatment that begins with cleansing that removes dead skin cells and excess oil from the skin. Next, salicylic and glycolic acids are applied to break up any dirt and oil that's clogging pores. Then the HydraPeel Tip is used to painlessly suction out blackheads, dirt, oil, and impurities, while hydrating, plumping, and nourishing serums are simultaneously applied to the skin.
“No more manual extractions that may leave the skin blotchy and inflamed,” Umstead says. “The powerful serums break it all down, allowing the vacuum to pull it all up.”
The best part is that after just one HydraFacial, you will see immediate results. I certainly did.
“This treatment satisfies our need for instant gratification, so clients can’t wait for the next treatment,” Umstead says.
Corrine Olson is one of those clients.
“My favorite facial at the spa is the HydraFacial,” she says. “It’s the first time I can say that I noticed results.”
Each treatment starts with before and after photos.
“We have the ability to compare them side by side after your treatment,” Umstead explains. “This allows us to better track your progress every time you come in.”
For many clients, seeing those results is motivation not just to come back, but also to continue better skin-care regimens at home.
Umstead pulled up my pictures, and, to my surprise, I had fewer lines on my face and my skin was truly hydrated — literally glowing, in fact.
Part of a Skin-Care Routine
Since Umstead has consistently treated herself to HydraFacials, she no longer needs to wear makeup. Her skin did look flawless.
For long-term benefits and correction purposes, Umstead recommends treatments every six weeks. For maintenance, she suggests having one each season.
“This treatment is fairly active, and I like to think of it as waking up the skin,” she says.
“It’s invigorating and satisfying in many ways, which keeps clients coming back for more.”
When a friend commented on how nice my skin looked the day after my HydraFacial, I had to agree.
“You will leave with your skin glowing, looking healthy, hydrated, and with overall better skin tone,” Olson says. “I plan on keeping this as part of my skin-care routine.”
Still the Best: The Bear at 35
Iconic course remains top on golfers’ must-play listsBy Tom Lang
The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa comes out of hibernation each spring to test the best and entertain golfers of all skill levels.
2020 marks The Bear’s 35th awakening since Jack Nicklaus created his spectacular signature design in 1985.
Nationally ranked in the top 100 courses and consistently rated as one of Michigan’s toughest, The Bear has for decades drawn golfers who are looking for a chance to tame the challenge to northern Lower Michigan.
“The Bear has the reputation of being difficult, but it also has the reputation of being fair,” says Tom McGee, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa director of golf operations. “Golfers tell us they like the challenge. And they tell us each of the holes is so unique and memorable that no two holes are the same.
“It’s one of those golf courses where you have to think a lot, you need to look at the surroundings, and I think people appreciate that more and they concentrate more when playing it, as opposed to most other golf courses.”
An Unusual Course
That’s exactly what Nicklaus intended when he was commissioned to create his biggest golf-skills challenge of that era. The Bear plays to 7,078 yards from the championship tees. It has four lakes, 10 holes with water hazards and only one hole with no bunkers.
“That was kind of an unusual golf course (at the time),” Nicklaus said in a recent visit to Michigan. “The owner at that time wanted the longest course in Michigan, over 7,000 yards, par 72 and the highest course rating (for toughness). I did all three of those … and, of course, the golf course was really difficult.”
The Bear is a links-style course with mature trees surrounding the outer edges of the property. The course features undulating, multi-tiered greens, moguls, mounds, and deep pot bunkers that guard the greens and thick grassy rough. The rough has been cut back away from the fairways over the years to somewhat soften Nicklaus’ original design. Tee boxes have been added to provide more variety and shorter yardages.
Lakes, ponds, hardwood forests, streams, and orchards are home to a variety of wildlife and add more golf hazards to navigate. The course is a certified member of the Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program.
The fairways give The Bear its unique look. Elevated from the rough on many holes, the fairways appear to be floating above the surrounding property. The design also punishes shots that roll off the fairway and get hung up in the second cut of grass, creating a more severe side-hill position. Nicklaus later incorporated that design element into his signature course near Palm Springs, California.
“Growing up in southern Michigan, this is one of the top five courses you always hear about that need to be on your list to play,” said golfer John Barkalow of Schoolcraft, Michigan, after playing The Bear for the first time in late 2019. “It was challenging yet playable. I’m certainly not a fantastic golfer, but I was able to shoot my average score.”
His playing partner that day, Brian Kowalski of Bowling Green, Ohio, added, “My first impressions were intimidating, but I wanted to try it because it’s listed as one of the top golf courses in Michigan. I definitely want to come back here and also try The Wolverine and Spruce Run. Always great golf in Northern Michigan.”
While The Bear sees most of its play by the average golfer, throughout the years it has hosted the state’s premier state championship — the Michigan Open — more times than any other golf course. (See related story on page xx.) And not long after The Bear opened, it hosted the PGA Champions Tour Ameritech Senior Open in 1990, won by global fan favorite Chi Chi Rodriguez.
“The Bear was the hardest course, as Jack built it, when it opened in 1985, and it’s withstood the test of time,” McGee says. “It’s still very attractive, people still love to play it, and those who come to the Resort, if they’re going to play one golf course, they choose The Bear.”
Simply the Best
Resort garners top convention center awardBy Emily Doran
Being named “Best Convention Center” by Michigan Meetings + Events in 2019 is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication from the staff at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
Boasting 86,500 square feet of meeting space, the Resort has established itself as a major hub for state, corporate, and private events. While the Resort has earned other accolades from Michigan Meeting + Events, including “Best Golf Venue” in 2019 and previous years, this is the first time the resort has snagged the “Best Convention Center” title (in the Non-University category). The award was determined in part through a readers’ poll, meaning clients and colleagues weighed in to push the results the Resort’s way.
“The award is, quite frankly, a reflection of our service, our food and beverage — the total meeting package,” says Ryan Buck, director of sales.
The honor also helps the Resort, which is booked by hundreds of groups a year, compete against larger venues like Detroit’s TCF Center (formerly the Cobo Center) and Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Buck says.
“It puts us on a different level in a way, in a playing field commensurate with those other amazing venues that we have across the board, and it really shows the true capacities that we have,” he says. “These types of things help us establish legitimacy and credibility as an independent property.”
Certain features at the Resort help it stand out. For one thing, the convention space is wide open — no pillars.
“You don’t normally see that, especially with ballrooms like ours — 19,000 square feet,” says Buck, referencing the recently renovated Governors’ Hall. “Not having any pillars is a really distinct advantage.”
Other amenities, including a spacious loading dock, make the space particularly appealing to vendors.
“Another thing that we hear as feedback, and I see all the time, is it’s just easy to do business here,” Buck says.
Those and other features keep many clients, including the Michigan Credit Union League, coming back year after year. The League has been hosting events at the resort for more than two decades, booking all or most of the meeting areas and rooms to fit between 500 and 1,200 people, depending on the event.
For Janet Ormsby, senior director of events at the League, the Resort’s perks go beyond renovated spaces and beautiful grounds to include the staff.
“They’re just great people to work with,” she says.