One of a four part series Play, Stay, Savor & Unwind as printed in The Golf Explorer magazine, volume 1, issue 1.
By R.J. Weick
Take a look at some of the great places to play, stay, dine, and unwind in the greater Grand Rapids area in The Golf Explorer’s first golfing tour series.
Fueled by an industrious and creative momentum, Grand Rapids has become a vibrant and booming metropolis in recent years to now be considered among the top destinations in the country. With recent accolades by The New York Times as one of the “52 Places to Go in 2016,” and as the #1 U.S. Travel Destination in 2014, Grand Rapids provides visitors with a robust social, cultural, and recreational experience
The metropolitan area has been recognized as a destination for the arts, wine, food, festivals, golf, and of course, craft beer; which has led to its nickname as Beer City U.S.A. There are more than 28 public golf courses within close proximity of the iconic downtown skyline.
It is also home to Gerald R. Ford International Airport, which is the second largest airport in the state offering 120 nonstop flights to nearly 23 major market destinations. The award-winning airport is conveniently located less than 15 miles of downtown Grand Rapids and has also been recognized by the Airports Council International-North America for its environmental stewardship and for providing first-class travel experience.
From runway to fairway, Grand Rapids offers a myriad of possibilities for the avid golfer and enthusiast alike during their stay. Whether planning a visit for leisure or business, Grand Rapids is a great destination for golfing and exploring the sights. The following are just a few notable selections of places to stay:
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
187 Monroe Ave. N.W., Grand Rapids
The grandeur and touch of elegance in the Pantlind Lobby at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel transcends time; transporting guests back to a time when splendid furnishing, dazzling chandeliers, and rich colors reigned. While the hotel’s foundation dates back to 1913, the light and elegant neoclassical interior design still evident to this day was completed in 1916 by designers Warren and Wetmore who found inspiration in the work of Scottish architect Robert Adam.
After acquiring the historic hotel in 1979, the Amway Corporation restored the building and added the Glass Tower in 1983. Now, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is complete with 47,000 square-feet of meeting space, four ballrooms, 42 meeting rooms with modern technology, more than six different dining experiences, fitness center, Spa and Salon, and more than 680 guest rooms ranging from historical to contemporary design.
Restored fixtures, decorative moldings, wood furnishings, and period artwork intertwine with the modern amenities and an artful balance of form and function at the downtown Grand Rapids hotel.
JW Marriott Grand Rapids
235 Louis St. N.W., Grand Rapids
The reflective glass, curved exterior of this hotel along the Grand River in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids has been an iconic part of the skyline for years. With 23 floors comprising more than 330 rooms and suites designed with a touch of elegant sophistication has redefined the approachable luxury niche in the hospitality market.
The JW Marriott Grand Rapids offers an ambiance of rich craftsmanship meticulously designed for both leisure and corporate guests, paired with quality service that has come to be expected of the Marriott International Inc.’s performance luxury hotel brand. Not only does the hotel provide amenities such as a full-service spa, fitness center, pool, and dining options, but also is connected to a climate-controlled skywalk offering accessibility to the 250,000-square-foot DeVos Place and the 12,000-square-foot Van Andel Arena.
CityFlats Hotel Grand Rapids
83 Monroe Center St. N.W., Grand Rapids
A truly modern take on the hospitality industry, CityFlatsHotel Grand Rapids not only features crisp, clean lines and minimalist style, but also is LEED Gold Certified for its eco-friendly design. The hotel’s approximately 28 rooms feature large wells or floor-to-ceiling windows to take advantage of the natural lighting, cork flooring, bamboo linens, locally manufactured furniture, iPod docking stations, exposed brick walls, and reclaimed woods, glass, and plastics.
The boutique hotel line also offers additional amenities and gathering places such as The Ballroom, which accommodates up to 200 guests; CitySēn Lounge and City Brü; and The Parlour, which is a new Blow Dry Bar.
The Lafayette House Bed & Breakfast
135 Lafayette Ave. N.E., Grand Rapids
Originally built in 1874 by Emmon Ware of Ware & Tucker Lumber Company, the home was extensively renovated and restored to a single family home in the late 1970s by the Hoort family. The Lafayette House officially opened its doors to the public as a full-service bed and breakfast in late 2013.
Located in Heritage Hill in downtown Grand Rapids, the residence is among a collection of 19th and early 20th century homes comprising architectural styles dating from the 1840s. Its exterior originally featured wooden clapboards, a stone foundation, a rounded arched roof overhanging the doorway, and flanking columns.
Unique characteristics in the interior of The Lafayette House comprise: a 13-foot high main living room ceiling, original crown molding, and a domed ceiling complete with an antique chandelier in the formal dining room. The Lafayette House provides breakfast every morning, spacious guest rooms with elegant décor and artwork from local artists, private bathrooms, and heated floors.
Other notable Stays
Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Grand Rapids
11 Monroe Ave. N.W., Grand Rapids
Prairieside Suites Luxury Bed & Breakfast
3180 Washington Ave. S.W., Grandville