GT Resort & Spa prepares to host the governors

WILLIAMSBURG – The most aggressive renovation project in its 26-year history has dramatically transformed the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa as the Acme landmark prepares to host the nation's governors in 2007.

The 99th Annual National Governor's Association Meeting will be held July 20-23, 2007 at the Resort, which has blocked off 450 rooms for attendees.

"Even though it's more than a year away, preparations are well underway for the meeting," explained Cheryl Ferguson, the Resort's director of sales. "We have monthly discussions with officials of the NGA and recently met with Michigan State Police officials who will be directing security for the event."

The NGA's annual meeting draws approximately 1,200 attendees, including the governors from the 50 states and commonwealths, their spouses and families, governors' staff, and other representatives from state governments, federal government agencies, the White House, private-sector and businesses.

Those attending next year will see a much different Resort than the one that hosted the last NGA meeting held in Michigan, also at the Resort in 1987. Since 2003, more than $11 million has been invested in upgrading nearly every facet of the Resort, including guest rooms, meeting rooms, public areas, and grounds.

But the most striking changes have taken place in the lobby area where a new front desk, fireplace, lobby bar, water wall and a contemporary porte-cochere now welcome visitors. The changes are dramatic-adding lightness and flair to the Resort's main entrance.

Although the lobby is where the most visible changes took place, significant cash-more than $4 million-was invested into remodeling guest rooms in both the hotel and tower.

Important, but less obvious, makeovers include a refurbished laundry, upgraded computer systems, and installation of wireless high-speed Internet access throughout the hotel, tower and spa complex.

"We worked diligently to re-create our facilities and resort Grand Traverse Resort & Spa to grandeur," Executive Vice President and General Manager Andrew M. Bateman said in a statement. "We think our guests will find the Resort to be an amazingly new and inspiring experience."

Other changes scheduled to be completed before the NGA meeting include remodeling of the Trillium restaurant and Spa Grand Traverse.

According to Public Relations Manager J. Michael DeAgostino, the Resort will also be preparing a media center to accommodate the approximately 300 members of the media who will attend the NGA session.

NGA meetings give the governors of all political parties the opportunity to share best practices and to focus on solutions and ideas that improve state government and strengthen the federal-state partnership.

The group's nine-governor executive committee chose Michigan for its gathering because of its outstanding meeting facilities, accommodations, and enthusiasm for hosting the event. This will mark the sixth time that NGA has held its annual meeting in Michigan since its first meeting in the state in 1927.

"There is no other state in the nation more beautiful and magical in the summertime," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm when Traverse City was chosen to host the event.

This year the governors will hold their annual meeting at Charleston Place, in Charleston, SC. To gear up the governors for next year's event, the Grand Traverse Pie Company-working with the Convention & Visitors Bureau-plans to deliver a vanload of fresh-from-the-oven cherry pies to the delegates at the South Carolina resort.

"I think it will definitely help establish northern Michigan as a very active host for next year," said Mike Busley, President of the Grand Traverse Pie Company. "We want them to remember Traverse City as Cherry Country-a very special place." BN