Mackinac Island’s Island House Hotel a Finalist in 2022 Historic Hotels of America

 Mackinac Island, Michigan, Tuesday, September 20, 2022 – Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, is pleased to announce it is a nominee finalist for Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel and Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel. Each year, the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence honor, encourage and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence are presented to historic hotels and hoteliers demonstrating innovative leadership, stewardship, and contribution to furthering the recognition, preservation, and celebration of preeminent historic hotels and their histories. 

Winners will be announced at the 2022 Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence Ceremony and Gala at the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in Point Clear, Alabama (USA) on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at 7 pm. The award winners will be announced in front of an audience of owners, general managers, senior decision-makers, and guests representing many of the finest historic hotels from around the world. 

Island House Hotel, Mackinac Island, is one of more than 300 hotels and resorts throughout the country that is recognized by Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture, and ambiance. 

“We are delighted to recognize Mackinac Island’s Island House Hotel in being nominated for Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel and Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel” said Lawrence P. Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “This hotel is part of a select group of nominee finalists.”

“We are grateful to be among such a noteworthy list of distinguished properties.” Todd Callewaert, Family Steward of the Historic Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island. 

Initially constructed for Charles O’Malley in 1852, the Island House was one of the first summer hotels on Mackinac Island. Over the years, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and New York socialites enjoyed afternoon high teas and full orchestra ballroom dancing. After the passing of owner Rose Webster in 1938, the hotel stood vacant for several years until it was leased to the Moral Rearmament Association (MRA) from the Mackinac Island State Park. The group moved in 1949 and the hotel stood vacant for decades deteriorating until it was slated for demolition in 1969 by the Chairman of the Mackinac Island State Park. Harry Ryba, son James, and son-in-law Victor Callewaert, recognized the Island House’s importance as a Michigan landmark, leased the hotel from the park commission, and began plans for returning the estate to its former glory. In 2019 the Ryba-Callewaert family celebrated the 50th anniversary of the rescue of the Island House Hotel from imminent destruction. 

In 2020, Island House Hotel received an Award for Excellence by Historic Hotels of America, naming the Callewaert family Legendary Family of the Year for their commitment to the preservation of the historic hotel. 

The Callewaert family has continued to add contemporary conveniences while preserving the allure of its historic ambiance, serving to maintain Mackinac Island’s oldest operating hotel, Historic Hotels of America member, and designated State of Michigan landmark. Today, at any given time, you will find generations of the Ryba- Callewaert family at the hotel.

A multi-million dollar renovation was recently completed of the 94 guest rooms, public spaces and the two onsite restaurants, 1852 Grill Room & Ice House BBQ. Open May through October, the hotel offers several packages, specials, & events for an authentic Mackinac Island stay. 

For a complete history of the Island House Hotel, visit and for comprehensive Callewaert family history, visit

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