Don't expect to win the title of Most Famous Meeting Planner at Grand Traverse (MI) Resort. That title will probably be held forever by Bill Clinton, who in 1987, while governor of Arkansas, served as meeting planner for the National Governors' Association Conference. But not being a celebrity shouldn't stop you from considering this 660-room waterside resort.
Grand Traverse is now owned by KSL Corporation, which also owns three other destination golf resorts: PGA West and La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, CA, and Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami. Golf, of course, is Grand Traverse's premiere attraction. The Bear, the renowned course designed by Jack Nicklaus, winds around hardwood forests, lakes, streams, and fruit orchards. (Golfers don't have to bring their own snacks--they can just pick an apple from a tree.) Spruce Run, designed by Bill Newcomb, overlooks East Grand Traverse Bay.
The resort has two more courses in the planning stages. The Gary Player signature course, Northern Knight, is scheduled for a 1999 opening. The Lee Trevino course is slated to open sometime after 2000. Construction of a new clubhouse will begin this spring and finish in conjunction with the opening of the Gary Player course.
For those who don't play golf, the resort offers plenty of year-round diversions. At a private beach on the shores of the oceanic East Grand Traverse Bay, guests can swim, or rent jet skis and pedal boats. The Village Pathway, a trail network, offers guests the opportunity to walk, hike, or run during the summer, and cross-country ski in winter. Other amenities include a health club with indoor and outdoor pools, and racquetball and tennis courts.
The resort features more than 49,000 square feet of meeting space, which can be divided into 30 meeting rooms. The Governor's Hall, the resort's largest meeting room at 20,160 square feet, was completed for the governors' conference that Clinton planned. The indoor tennis courts can be reconfigured for use as exhibition halls, providing 30,000 square feet of space with 30-foot ceilings. For outdoor functions, planners can use the canopy-topped, 8,000-square-foot Traverse Pavilion, and the 6,000-square-foot Plaza. For theme parties, take advantage of the region's lumber industry by arranging a lumberjack show, complete with log-rolling and ax-throwing.
Grand Traverse is six miles northeast of Traverse City, within a day's drive of most major Midwest cities. Cherry Capital Airport is ten minutes from the resort, with gateway service from Detroit and Chicago.