Mackinac Island sees first new hotel in more than a decade


The three-story Bicycle Street Inn & Suites on Main Street in Mackinac Island will include 36 guest rooms, including 22 balcony suites with panoramic lake and island views. Courtesy Bicycle Inn & Suites

Visiting Mackinac Island is like taking a trip back in time. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and a primary activity for visitors is catching one of the many historical re-enactment shows. So it’s no surprise that the current supply of hotels on the island does not feature many of the amenities that today’s travelers have become accustomed to.

Bicycle Street Inn & Suites hopes to change that come May 2013. That is when the new hotel is expected to open. The first newly constructed hotel in more than a decade, it boasts not only an array of modern-day amenities but also some of the largest rooms available on the island.

“Typically, the smallest room in this new property will be larger than the largest room in most of the other hotel properties on the island. . . . These rooms will sleep up to six people,” said Mark Alexander, the hotel’s manager of marketing and advertising.

Located on Main Street, Bicycle Street Inn & Suites will be a three story mixed-use building. The upper level will house 36 guest rooms, including 22 balcony suites with panoramic lake and island views. The suites will range from 400 to 700 square feet and will include a separate living room and large bathroom. The rooms will all come equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and two flat-panel televisions.

The 12,700 square foot main level will include the hotel lobby and an open concept retail market, which will be anchored by well-known merchant Sanders Candy and independent restaurant 21 Speed Grill and Greens.

“Many of the structures on the island are very old, so they are fixed up and cosmetically improved. But this is a brand new facility with state-of-the-art amenities, which the owner felt that the public is looking for,” Alexander said. “When you come into Mackinaw City or some of the other tourist destinations in northern Michigan, it’s typically global hotel chains with modern amenities for unbelievable prices. . . . People have to compete with all the tourists going to Mackinaw City and getting a small hotel room at a Days Inn or something similar that could be had for $69 a night and have all the modern amenities that the old hotels on the island can’t provide — they provide the charm and the ambiance. The owner felt that they are trying to create a heightened experience for the traveler who is willing and able to try something like that on the island.”

The hope is that the increased amenities and on-site food and retail options will add a competitive segment to the market that encourages visitors to spend their nights there instead of hopping the last ferry back to Mackinaw City.

The suites are expected to rent for $155-$420 per night.

Although it is a modern building, the design was inspired by turn of the century, neo-classic-style architecture and will feature a Mansard roof, which should help it fit in with its historic surroundings, he said.

Land for new construction is scarce on the island, and the new hotel was only made possible by demolishing a previously existing rooming house and re-building on that property, within the same dimensions of the previously existing building, Alexander said.

Another factor that limits new construction is the aging sewer system. To ensure that it is able to manage any new development, commercial projects must have resident-equivalency units be offset based on square footage of the property. Those are only made available in limited amounts each year, so a business may have to spend a few years purchasing them before it has enough for its planned project.

The hotel expects to have its reservation system and website up and operating in early January. Guests may book their reservation by telephone or online.

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