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Mackinac’s historic Island House Hotel gets $4M face-lift

February 15, 2019

The 167-year-old Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island is getting a $4 million makeover.

Co-owner Todd Callewaert said it’s the biggest renovation at the hotel along the shoreline on  Main Street in a decade and includes the hotel’s 90-plus rooms, dining room, and outdoor pool area. The project, launched in 2015 and half of the rooms already are finished. The entire makeover is expected to wrap up before the hotel opens on May 1 for the 2019 season.

Fresh paint and new windows were added to dining room, while bedrooms received hardwood floors and phone charging stations.

“We’re very excited about this season coming up,” Callewaert said.

Callewaert’s grandfather, father, and uncle leased the three-acre property, which included the 40,000-square-foot hotel, in 1969 just before it was to be torn down. The family reopened the hotel in 1972 following renovations.

On average, Callewaert said, 30,000 to 40,000 people stay at the hotel annually.

“We’re building it for the future,” Callewaert said. “It’s a constant thing of labor and love on the island and we love to have people come. … We’re very proud of all the things we accomplished over 50 years. And we hope for another 50.”

Opened in 1852, just 16 years after Michigan achieved statehood, it is the oldest hotel on Mackinac Island.

According to the hotel’s website, the building was originally constructed as a beachfront resort. After a change in management, the hotel sat vacated after the last owner, Rose Van Allen Webster, died in 1938.

In process of being taken down, the Callewaert took on the property, which was part of the Mackinac Island State Park.

The website stated that the hotel was recognized as a Michigan Historical Landmark in 1973.

Island House Hotel rooms range from $99 to $399. For more information, call 800-626-6304 or visit https://www.theislandhouse.com