The Amway corporation is an American based company, with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is the largest city on the west side of the state, and with its diverse business structure and absence of the automotive industry, Grand Rapids has not been as hard hit economically as the rest of Michigan. Taking up nearly a full block in downtown Grand Rapids, the Amway Grand Hotel is considered the crown jewel of hotels in the city, boasting a wide range of dignified guests, including several presidents and foreign ambassadors. There are a wide range of room options and recent additions have added a second tower, nearly doubling the overall size of the hotel. If you have business in Grand Rapids, or are just planning a visit, there are some import details regarding the Amway Grand you need to take into consideration.
The Amway Grand hotel is situated right off the highway in the city’s financial district. Across the street from the hotel is the J.D. Marriott Hotel (also owned by Amway Corporation) and kiddy corner to both hotels is a block of restaurants, bars and other activities for those who enjoy a night out. A few blocks away is the Van Andel arena, which not only boasts a minor league hockey and arena football teams, but plays host to big name musicians (such as Sting and Lady Gaga).
The Amway Grand hotel is a combination of colonial architecture and new age construction. The original wing of the building is carefully crafted with brick and concrete, with the inner halls adorned in marble and polished stone (albeit a little gaudy). The recent addition is solid glass that features a winding staircase leading up to the second floor. Wood paneling is everywhere, including many of the rooms. Regardless of the room size you stay in, the hotel has exquisite crown molding and is exceptionally painted, often giving you the feel of being in a European castle (as long as you don’t look down at the tacky carpeting).
Prices at the Amway Grand hotel may be more expensive than any other city in the Midwest (excluding Chicago), even more so than the MGM Grand and Motor City Casino in Detroit. Low end rooms start at nearly $150 a night, with large suites costing well over $1000. This is rather strange for being in a city of less than 200,000 residents. It also doesn’t compare well to other hotels in the city, as every room is nearly double the price (at least) of competing hotels. The Amway Grand wants to make sure you know you’re staying in what it considers a high end hotel, so it has no problem charging more for a bed.
If you’re looking for extra amenities, the Amway Grand it not for you. No matter what room you stay in, you are going to be disappointed. The low end, $150 a night rooms come void of bathrobes, coffee machines, and although you do have basic cable the programming is not in high definition (which is odd when HDTVs are present in the room). Even when you upgrade to the $600 a night suites you receive little additions (although a coffee maker is included this time). Continental breakfasts, which you receive at most other surrounding hotels, is clearly absent, although you are free to pay nearly $20 a head at the hotel’s breakfast restaurant, and you must pay a surcharge to access the Internet outside of the restaurant and bar areas. Even after dropping several hundred dollars on a hotel you are expected to pay a service fee to enter the pool or workout facilities (this is per person, per night). If you are not careful, the add-ons are eventually going to cost more than your already expensive room.
The Amway Grand Hotel not only hosts individuals spending the night, but large scale events such as business conferences and weddings. When signing up for such an event you must do so well in advance, as the days fill in quickly. Thankfully(?) there is a wide range of event rooms, so you shouldn’t have an issue locating space. When designing an event you are given an event planner. This individual is essentially there to make sure your checks don’t bounce, although they are designated to help with your event. However, don’t give the planner any power in decorating your ceremony, and try to work your way around provided equipment, such as platforms and back-drops. This is because not only does the equipment appear as if it is used during marching band practices, but half your requested material may not be provided (i.e. showing up the day before a wedding only to discover the promised backdrop and dividers are not there and there is no way of obtaining them). Essentially, the staff is there to woo you with big dreams, but when it comes down to crunch time the hotel drops the ball, failing to respond to time sensitive emails and leaving you high and dry.
Food is provided by the hotel (you are only allowed to purchase the food through the hotel kitchen), but you must reach a specific price point (this varies depending on the room you use. The food is of poor quality and not worth the $30-$60 a plate cost (for small business meetings you’re betting off finding a local Big Boys, as the food is on par with one another). If you want your wedding reception held at the hotel it is strongly recommended to obtain your cake from the hotel, although it is not required. Even if you don’t purchase your cake from the hotel you are require to pay a $3 a slice cutting fee. Alcohol is also an option when throwing an event, although the drink prices are rather high and the hotel does not police outsiders not invited to the event from ordering up drinks, so you are undoubtedly going to be stuck with a bill that includes a handful of drinks consumed by individuals you’ve never met (with a hand-full of drinks easily costing over $100). If you do decide to go with the Amway Grand for your event, make sure everything is planned out to the minor detail, as the event staff bills you for everything and anything it can, ranging from napkins handed out with your cake to the use of an electrical outlet (written in your bill as a $15 “extension cord” fee, even if you never use an extension cord).
The Amway Grand in Grand Rapids, Michigan is essentially a Lamborghini without an engine. Sure, it looks great on the outside, but with no included features what’s the point of paying the high sticker price. The hotel enjoys boasting about being high class, although it fails to perform in almost category. Most Motel 8s and Econo Lodges provide more for your buck, which compared to the Amway Grand isn’t terribly difficult. For several hundred dollars a night you deserved to be pampered, or at least have a robe for after stepping out of the shower. Instead, Amway is too busy counting up the extra change you’re forced to shell out in order to use any service. You’d think, with all the money the hotel charges for everything it would be at least able to keep its interior decorating up-to-date, although to do so you’d be charged an additional service fee for starring at “High Class” carpeting.