Slumber Party: Where to Stay in Grand Rapids

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Wednesday October 19, 2016

JW Marriott Grand Rapids
JW Marriott Grand Rapids  

Thirty miles east of Lake Michigan, the state's second largest city, Grand Rapids, is experiencing a resurgence in tourism, thanks to its wealth of attractions. It's the hometown of President Gerald Ford, of the famed Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and craft breweries that earned it the moniker "Beer City." It's a city with the heart of a small town, whose residents and hoteliers are equally welcoming.

JW Marriott Grand Rapids
In the downtown area, hotels at every price point flank the picturesque Grand River, welcoming an array of visitors. At the high end, boutique hotel The JW Marriott Grand Rapids brings luxury within reach with its modern design and amenities, including The Spa, where you'll be pampered with massages, manicures, and facials like the Sweet Cherry Rebalancing Facial, which leaves your skin baby-soft. Guests are welcome to use the pool, fitness facilities, steam rooms and Jacuzzi.

There are 23 floors offering 340 rooms, each outfitted with a 42" LCD TV, Aromatherapy Associates bath products, and plush white robes. You'll love what Chef Beau Burnett and Executive Chef Chris Madsen do with locally sourced ingredients and herbs from the onsite garden in their outdoor lounge, the jdek.

The hotel offers complimentary hot breakfast at both their Six.One.Six signature restaurant and the Concierge Lounge, plus an impressively catered happy hour and a nighttime dessert pop-in, for those with a sweet tooth. The hotel's turndown service amps up the level of luxury with a chocolate treat and immaculate attention to detail.

Amwy Grand Plaza Hotel  

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Across the street, the massive Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
offers mid-range accommodations, and its huge conference rooms are popular with business travelers.

The hotel offers 682 rooms ranging from those in the original, historic white brick Pantlind Wing, built in 1913, to more modern river-view rooms and suites located in the huge 1983 floor Glass Tower addition. Soar to the 27th floor where you'll discover Cygnus 27, one of the city's best restaurants, offering Chef Tim Moreno's Latin-inspired tapas menu and scenic views of Grand Rapids.

Guests can take in stunning sculpture installations in the lobby (perfect for selfies and Instagram), part of their renowned Art Prize competition, to grab a nightcap at the hotel's Lumber Baron Bar, where mixologist Kellie Rowland serves up intoxicating concoctions, plus an excellent selection of single-malt scotches.

Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown  

Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown
Down the street, the Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown offers convenience for business and leisure travelers, with a renovation slated for 2017. They've kept the atmosphere festive by complimenting the hotel's 214 rooms and suites with 550 residential units, where locals live cheek by jowl with visitors. Different amenities are provided for each, including separate pool and fitness facilities for hotel guests. With 10,000 square feet of conference space, this is a great location for business travelers. The suites also offer a separate living room with a pull-out sofa bed - ideal for families.

All three hotels are within walking distance of attractions like the Downtown Market, HopCat Brewery, the Gerald R. Ford Museum, the Van Andel Arena, The Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Children's Museum. Venture across the city's charming steel bridges and discover all that Grand Rapids has to offer.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Slumber Party

This story is part of our special report titled Slumber Party. Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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