Alabama to Louisiana Road Trip {Point Clear & Fairhope: The Grand Hotel & Mardi Gras}

For the second leg of the trip, we spent two night at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama.

Alabama to Louisiana Road Trip

Part 1: Birmingham {Grand Bohemian Hotel & Habitat Feed and Social}
Part 2: Demopolis {Gaineswood Plantation}
Part 3: Point Clear & Fairhope {The Grand Hotel & Mardi Gras}
Part 4: New Orleans {Mother’s Restaurant, Airboat Tour, Mr. B’s Bistro, Voodoo Bonelady Tour}
Part 5: New Orleans {St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, Central Grocery, Cafe du Monde, Preservation Hall & The Grill Room}
Part 6: New Orleans {New Orleans School of Cooking, National WWII Museum, Commander’s Palace}
Part 7: New Orleans {Mardi Gras World, Superior Seafood, Uptown Acorn}
Part 8: New Orleans {Windsor Court Hotel}

The Grand Hotel

I’ve heard about The Grand Hotel multiple times over the years, and was excited to be able to add a stay to our itinerary. The resort opened in 1847 and has a proud history of being both the queen of Southern resorts and a vital part of military service.

We stayed in the original building, one of a few in this sprawling resort set on 550 acres on the Gulf Coast surrounded by Mobile Bay.

We had cloudy weather with on and off drizzle, but it didn’t diminish the natural beauty of the resort. The grounds are immaculately landscaped and we found it to be a lovely mix of quiet relaxation and good, old-fashioned family fun.

The resort was originally built as a two-story building with 40 rooms in 1847. Guests traveled to the Grand Hotel by steamboats and docked at what is now the marina. This fireplace room is the heart of the original building and our room was just off of it. From early morning coffee to champagne punch on Sunday morning (in silver punch bowls, no less), it was a hubbub of activity. I saw more people reading a newspaper in a chair by a fire than I’ve seen in the last 20 years combined. :-) There is a small history museum right off of this area with a wealth of information about the resort’s storied past.

Each day, the Grand Hotel honors its wartime history with a fascinating recount of it’s role in the defense of our nation. We said the pledge of allegiance and recognized those in the group that are or have served. The presentation concludes with a cannon firing on the edge of Mobile Bay, after which everyone returns inside for tea and cookies.

From its strategic location on Mobile Bay, the Grand has also played a pivotal role in defending our nation as a vital military staging site, and its ties to American freedom span two centuries and two wars. Standing as a hospital during the Civil War and later as host to key training operations during World War II, this is hallowed ground. It was here, on the sands of Point Clear, where Allied forces’ finest trained in Operation Ivory Soap, a classified military operation that played a vital part in World War II’s final push.

We did our best to try allll the food. Haha! There are a variety of dining options, primarily centered right around the fireplace in the main building. Bucky’s is a lounge and casual eatery by day, and a piano bar by night. It has beautiful sweeping views of the water and opens on to a stunning patio under majestic oaks. Also, I’m not sure I can ever eat a club sandwich again without pimento cheese. Yum!

The 1847 Bar is home to the beverage arts, with Grand Garden-to-glass crafted cocktails, local libations and signature wines. We absolutely loved our happy hour here and are still talking about the cocktails. They are the most beautifully prepared and served drinks we’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying! Honey had the Smokin’ Old and I did the Violet Beauregard. It was an excellent experience. We snacked on more pimento cheese – served with pork rinds, pickles and hot crackers, all of which were delicious.

We dined at Southern Roots one evening, after making and changing our plan four times. The restaurant itself is gorgeous, and the food was fine but expensive.

One of my favorite parts about our stay was our room. The resort is newly renovated and does a wonderful job at staying fresh and new, while keeping so much character.

This is a two queen room with a sleeper sofa and I studied every lovely detail! The art, furnishings, lighting, bathroom – all of it was wonderful!

This image was framed in our room, but also in The Grand coffee table book. I studied it from inside and out and am convinced it could have been our room. :-)

As far as activities, I think you could spend a week here and not do it all. We barely scratched the surface. In addition to golf, tennis, beach and spa, there are pools, an activity lawn, board games, kids camp activities, fishing, canoeing, and countless other water activities. There are roaring firepits in the evenings with cocktails, music and ‘smores. It is an enchanting destination filled with Southern charm.

Main pool (closed for reno)

Activity Lawn – putting green, cornhole, ladder golf, croquet, horseshoes
Beach and volleyball

We used the indoor pool in the spa building. The spa looked lovely, but I didn’t partake.

We spent one of our evenings in Fairhope to see the Knights of Ecor Rouge parade and experience Mardi Gras on Alabama’s Eastern shore. Needless to say, the boys LOVED their first Mardi Gras parade. We were told to bring bags for our “throws”, but didn’t listen. And so, we walked away grinning from ear to ear with necks full of beads and pockets overflowing with moonpies, balls, glow sticks, cups, Frisbees, you name it.

At the recommendation of my friend K (former Fairhope resident who helped us plan out this evening), we dined at Dragonfly after the parade. It was delicious! I had to laugh when the cheese dip came with pork rinds. My pork rind intake in the three days I spent in Alabama was approximately 4 million times that of the last 40 years. I sent her a funny text and she replied… “Do you know what we’d say about that in Alabama?” Me… “I have no idea.” Her… “Roll Tide!” :-)

It was a charming town and a charming night. I said at least ten times that I felt like I was living in an episode of Gilmore Girls.

After a measly three days and two nights, I am FAR from an expert on The Grand. I will and can confidently say, however, that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for a lovely week of rest, relaxation and fun. For my Atlanta friends, it is an easy drive and a wonderful, under the radar alternative to the usual haunts within driving distance. My only regret from these few days is that they we barely scraped the surface of everything The Grand has to offer and a drizzly day just exacerbated that.

This concludes the Alabama portion of the trip. We enjoyed such lovely Southern hospitality from Birmingham to Point Clear and between. Next stop: Louisiana!

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5 thoughts on “Alabama to Louisiana Road Trip {Point Clear & Fairhope: The Grand Hotel & Mardi Gras}

  1. The Grand is wonderful in the Summer months too, with bike rides along the bay & the two pools (children & adults only). Next trip, you really must work in a trip to Bellingrath Gardens. You will not be disappointed!

  2. My daughter and I had a girls weekend at The Grand several years ago and we loved it! The Grand was so relaxing and the town of Fairhope was just a joy to visit. I hope your plans include stopping in Baton Rouge for The Spanish Town parade on Saturday. It is a lot of fun and family friendly.

  3. Good morning, Amanda! I have never stayed at the Grand Hotel but have visited an several trips to Fairhope with my daughter. Both times, we were there at Christmas time, and the hotel is decorated beautifully. My parents spent their honeymoon there, and my sister spent her first wedding anniversary there. I have to say that pimento cheese is to die for, and I did get the club sandwich, which was way too much to finish. I hope you enjoy your time in NOLA with Ron and Jeff and enjoying Mardi Gras! xoxo

    1. What wonderful memories! Three of us shared one club and one cheeseburger! You are right – portions were huge.

  4. It’s absolutely gorgeous!! I love any experience that combines elegance, history and family fun. Have a wonderful vacation!

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