From seaside golf clubs to recently revamped lodgings, this Bay Harbor, Michigan, gem is a golfer’s paradise.
Michiganders are fiercely proud of their bond with the great lakes. Memories of vacations spent “Up North” are cherished, and charming coastal towns like Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Petoskey and their surroundings pop with fall colors—and amazing golf courses—like few other destinations in the U.S.
Tucked away on Lake Michigan between Traverse City and the Straits of Mackinac (where the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan are at their closest point) is one of the great hotels not just in the Midwest, but the entire country—The Inn at Bay Harbor.
Named a ‘Top Resort’ and ‘Top Spa’ by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, The Inn at Bay Harbor has been a “must experience” destination since opening in 1998.
The next chapter in its history began last June, when Autograph Collection Hotels, Marriott International’s curated portfolio of properties recognized for celebrating individuality, welcomed it into the fold. The Inn is only the second Autograph Collection Hotel in Michigan, following The Henry in Dearborn, and just one of 90 worldwide.
Owned by Boyne Resorts, The Inn invokes the flair and romance of the great turn-of-the-century northern Michigan inns combining the tradition of a grand hotel with an endless list of modern amenities. It offers 128 guest rooms—including one-, two- and three-bedroom suites— with spacious floor plans and spectacular views, as well as 23 Lakeside Cottages and 14 Cottages at the adjacent Crooked Tree Golf Club. Resort amenities include the award-winning 27-hole Bay Harbor Golf Club, a full-service spa and salon, two restaurants, outdoor patios, a lounge, fitness center and boutique shopping.
4th Hole, Bay Harbor Golf Club Links
“We are beyond proud to be recognized among the most distinct properties in the world as part of the Autograph Collection,” says Michael Costello, president and general manager of The Inn at Bay Harbor. “Our breathtaking setting, resort amenities, and exceptional guest service combine to set us apart as a place like no other.”
Beneficiary of a just-completed $2 million renovation, The Inn’s newly modernized lobby features a towering original Schonbek chandelier and warm ambiance to settle in from a day’s travels. A cozy fireplace flanked by bookshelves adorned with northern Michigan memorabilia beckons a seat in one of many socializing areas featuring deep blue wingback chairs, rich leathers, marble table tops and decorative lighting. Off the lobby are intimate alcoves providing the perfect place for enjoying a glass of wine and quiet conversation.
The resort also features a new restaurant, Vintage Chophouse | Wine Bar, offering the charm of a classic all-American steakhouse complemented by elements of an upscale lounge. Newly renovated one-bedroom Master Suites are another addition, debuting all-new décor designed with classic elements and a modern twist. Warm calming hues and nautical-inspired patterns, textures and art set a relaxing tone. Full kitchens, living areas with Travertine stone fireplaces and balconies showcasing unrivaled views are other calling cards.
Located just next door, Bay Harbor Golf Club is consistently ranked among the country’s best golf experiences. Its three distinct nine-hole courses (The Links, The Preserve and The Quarry) take players on a journey that navigates sweeping bluffs above Lake Michigan, rugged rock formations, natural dunes and lush woodlands.
Designed by renowned architect Arthur Hills, Bay Harbor’s courses are typically played in pairs—each with a different finishing nine—to form three unique 18-hole routings. Whether guests play The Links and The Quarry, The Quarry and The Preserve, The Preserve and The Links, or all 27, the experience tests and rewards players of all skill levels.
Overlooking Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, The Links is reminiscent of Ireland’s famous seaside courses. Miles of shoreline form a backdrop of incomparable beauty, with undulating fairways and slick putting surfaces framed by scrub-covered dunes. The cliff-top, par-5 seventh has been named one of the world’s 500 best holes by GOLF Magazine.
The Preserve features stately trees towering over native grasses, wild flowers and wetlands, all within earshot of Lake Michigan. Its par-3 ninth hole emerges from the forest to a breathtaking coastline setting that leaves a lasting impression.
Widely heralded as one of the world’s most unlikely locations for golf, Th e Quarry winds its way through an immense, abandoned shale quarry. Impressive gorges surrounded by stone cliffs, natural ponds and a gentle waterfall are hallmarks. Whether one makes birdie or bogey, the driveable par-4 sixth is sure to dominate post-round conversation.
And not to be forgotten, just across U.S. 31 sits another 18 holes available to Inn guests: Crooked Tree Golf Club. Carved through centuries-old hardwoods on bluffs high above Bay Harbor, Crooked Tree is more enjoyable than ever thanks to recent renovation work on holes 16-18. Arthur Hills’ design team raised tees and re-designed greens to greatly enhance the layout’s playability.
The Inn and golf club are located a short drive from the aforementioned lakeside resort towns of Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and Petoskey, as well as enchanting Mackinac Island. When visitors aren’t leaf peeping, they can follow in Hemingway’s footsteps (who summered in the area the first 20 years of his life), take in the famous northern Michigan sunsets, explore popular microbreweries and more.
innatbayharbor.com or 866.759.3427