The land for the hotel was bought in 1886. During this time the popularity of the island for a summer get away was exploding. Tourists were coming from as far as Chicago to see the scenic beauty of this quiet island. The Grand Hotel was built to cater to the wealthier tourists that came from afar to relax in peace. It was during the construction of the hotel that an untold number of bones were unearthed. Most of the bones were relocated, but it is said that some of these old skeletons still remain beneath the foundation of this luxourious hotel.
In 1887 the hotel opened and it was a success from the beginning. During the long summers every room was filled. Of course during the winter, when the bitter Northern Michingan wind freezes the lake and burries the hotel in snow, the hotel was still mostly empty. In the 1890's, the hotel's owners proudly announced that they had built the longest porch in the world around the beautiful hotel. In 1895, Mark Twain came for a reading in the Hotel's grand salon. The Hotel was often host to famous people and a couple of movies were shot at the hotel. The most recent film shot there was made in the 1980's and stared Christopher Reeves as a love struck playwright. The film was called Somewhere in Time.