Smart Luxury: Grand Rapids

by  Jaymie DeGaetano | Feb 3, 2017
JW Marriott, Grand Rapids
JW Marriott, Grand Rapids

Luxury and Grand Rapids may not seem like an obvious pair. But Michigan's Second City offers upscale accommodation, an emerging fine dining scene, and cultural attractions that you would expect from a much larger city — all at much more affordable prices. Here, a quick guide to a Grand Rapids getaway that will satisfy the choosiest of travelers, all without breaking the bank.

Where to Stay

In the heart of downtown alongside the Grand River, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel welcomes guests with an impressive Beaux-Arts-style lobby. The hotel opened in 1913 as the Pantlind Hotel, and it currently includes a 29-story glass tower addition with rooms starting at $229 per night.

Guests who prefer a more modern aesthetic can head to the JW Marriott Grand Rapids (from $249 per night) — the first JW property in the Midwest. For a relaxing afternoon, book a treatment at the hotel’s spa, then take a dip next door in the fitness center’s indoor pool, which overlooks the river. Or, if you’re planning a night on the town, start with small plates and cocktails on-site at JDEK, one of the city’s few riverfront dining venues.

Where to Wine & Dine

Chef Wolfgang Puck chose Grand Rapids as the first location for his new Kitchen by Woflgang Puck restaurant concept. The menu consists of globally-inspired comfort foods with locally-sourced ingredients. Highlights include Wolfgang’s signature truffle chips, a butternut squash pizza with caramelized onions and brussels sprouts, and a Hong Kong-style salmon.

For dinner with a view, head up to Cygnus27, on the 27th floor of the Amway Plaza. Time your dinner to enjoy a panoramic sunset over the Grand River and the city. Restaurants with great views often serve disappointing food, but not this one. Latin-influenced tapas and main plates earned the dining room AAA’s 4-Diamond certificate. Not to miss — blue corn-crusted calamari, chorizo croquettes with orange marmalade, and the Michigan striped bass.

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