Resort Revamp

Mission Point’s latest renovations honor the property’s historic Mackinac Island roots and add splashes of color.
The dining area was updated with custom-made chairs, new booths, flooring, and more. Diners can now see out to the lake.

The circular Round Island Kitchen bar at Mission Point Resort ranked among my favorite Mackinac Island spots whenever I wanted to enjoy a few tall tonics in peace.

It felt intimate, was seldom crowded before evening, and was secluded from the island hustle. Sitting at the high-top tables along the curved wall, delightfully perched above the M-185 bike loop around the island, my friends and I always enjoyed the spectacular unobstructed window views of the Straits of Mackinac, the up-close freighter traffic gliding by, and the beautiful resort grounds leading to the water’s edge.

So when I first heard about Mission Point’s plans last year to redo its dining room and that beloved bar area, I wondered how they could make a great thing even better.

After checking in with the resort’s Liz Ware, I can tell you that what Mission Point has done is an upgrade many will embrace.

“You’ll love it,” promises the vice president of sales and marketing who’s also part of the Ware family, which purchased the resort in late 2014. “When you look at all we did over the winter and how we created this wonderful new living room environment that flows from our main lobby into the dining room and beyond, you won’t be disappointed.”

That project included $3.5-million worth of resort updates for the 2023 season.

“We redid the lobby area and the Round Island dining room inside and outside. Every year we put lots of money into renovations, and this is our largest public space update so far,” she says.

“The planning for this started long ago. We took the feedback from more than 600 guests and clients when we asked them what they liked and what they wanted to see improved. Our goal with these renovations was to keep the authenticity of this historic structure and to focus on what it feels like to be on Mackinac Island. They told us we needed to lighten things up, and they shared comments on how they couldn’t see the water.”

Ware says the renovations were a labor of love. “We lightened the restaurant walls with fresh paint colors and furniture fabrics, to reflect the colors of the lake and the flowers outside. All the original wood beams were untouched. We took out the big stone fireplace because it wasn’t necessary — basically, that space was used as a service area for waitstaff. Guests now can see the water from the lobby and the dining room. The redesigned bar is larger, with new seating, which we doubled. It’s one big, round circle in the same location, so you’ll still have all your favorite views.”

The log truss teepee lobby features new kids’ seating, blue carpeting, and white paint tones, and furnishings that reflect outside colors.

The dining area was updated with custom-made chairs, new booths, flooring, windows, patio doors, and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

A big plus is the opportunity for al fresco dining. A heated pergola system with louvers and screens that can detect rain over the patio will allow guests to remain on the deck when the weather changes. “It’s so sophisticated,” Ware says. “The patio is a great place to enjoy our farm-to-ferry dining and be outside all the time. We can turn on the night lights, which can change colors, (and turn on the) fans or heaters, even in the summer.”

The vaulted, rotunda-style log truss teepee lobby also underwent big changes. New blue carpeting and white paint tones, reflecting the floral colors outside, help brighten the entire area. The front desk was pulled out into the main space and was remade with rocks and stones from the island to match those found at Fort Mackinac, Ste. Anne’s Cemetery, and the island bluffs. Wooden planks found on the property, remnants of old bleachers, and 18 chairs from the original 1950s-era lobby were refurbished to use in the redesign.

The bell station was moved into a pavilion outside the lobby, freeing up more space inside, and the outdated library was painted and re-carpeted to reflect a modern feel. All the books and cases remain.

“The huge custom-made rug, its inlays, new windows, HVAC in the lobby, comfortable new furniture, and more make this Mackinac Island’s newest living room,” Ware says. “It’s a fun, relaxed space to greet friends and family, play cards, sit by the fireplace with a glass of wine, or just hang out.

“Since purchasing the resort, we’ve put some $18 million into renovations, and we’ll continue to renovate our public spaces. Our huge fine arts building, for example, is underutilized, so there are lots of opportunities to grow and build there, and we’re continuing to make our food and beverage operations even more outstanding. Another project we completed over the winter was installing new carpeting in our biggest ballroom (the Sound Stage), which took it from dark and old to bright and beautiful. You’ll be blown away with it now. Our sales team was very happy with that one,” Ware says.

Progressive AE of Grand Rapids handled the architectural and engineering duties, while its design team assisted Ware, who served as the project lead, and Ware’s staff with integrating Mission Point’s brand guidelines and color palettes.

“It’s so important for us to do what our guests wanted, to elevate our facilities and remain authentic to Mackinac Island. I think this will be such an exciting season with all we’ve done. We’re becoming more in the public eye, and our team (roughly 290-320 summer employees) is really excited about that,” she concludes.


Mission Point Resort

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