The Landmark Inn Changes Hands, Remains Awesome

There’s no question about it: The Landmark Inn is a Marquette institution. It opened as the Hotel Northland in 1930 and immediately became the most opulent tourist destination between Duluth and Mackinac Island. As the Northland, it played host to such celebrities and dignitaries as:

  • Amelia Earhart
  • George C. Scott, Jimmy Stewart, and the rest of the Anatomy of a Murder cast and crew
  • Duke Ellington and Louie Armstrong
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Maya Angelou
  • Abbott & Costello (both of them!)

With about 100 rooms, the Hotel Northland was tough to maintain, and a sagging economy forced its closure in the early 1980s. But in the 1990s, new ownership (Christine and Bruce Pesola) transformed it into a modern — yet still classic-feeling — hotel that reclaimed a place among Marquette’s most noteworthy landmarks. Hey, maybe that’s why they renamed it the Landmark Inn!

How It Looks Today

These days, the Landmark Inn has all the trappings of a modern hotel with none of the faceless sterility. Given the old-school opulence of the place, rooms rent at surprisingly reasonable prices, and the sheer abundance of rooms means it’s usually not hard to find a reservation (though you’ll want to reserve your spot plenty of time in advance during peak periods, like graduation time and the holiday season.

The Landmark is also known for its super-popular bars and restaurants. There’s three in the massive building, in fact. Capers Restaurant is a high-end bastion of refinement that features such classic menu items as seared tuna, wild mushroom risotto and rack of lamb. It also boasts an imposing wine list, so it’s a great choice for an anniversary dinner or celebratory event.

Northland Pub, also located on the ground floor, is a more approachable spot that hosts live music throughout the week, from Queen City Trio during Sunday brunch to Thursday nights with Billy Alberts. Northland’s happy hours are legendary in Marquette, featuring $3.50 pints and $2.50 bottled beers. There are great weekly specials too, like the Sunday Bloody Mary bar and half-off wine on Wednesdays.

At the top of the Landmark lies the North Star Lounge, a classy, intimate establishment that boasts nearly panoramic views of Marquette, Lake Superior and the U.P. interior. Though there’s a full bar menu — similar to the Northland Pub — the real stars of the show here are the classic cocktails: playful martinis, savory Manhattans and refreshing Margaritas, depending on the season. Heather Adams plays a weekly set on Sunday evenings, so be sure to start your week with a nightcap here.

A Change of Ownership, Not a Change of Focus

The Landmark Inn changed hands this fall, ending the beloved former owners’ 17-year run at the helm. The new owner, Minneapolis-based Graves Hospitality, has stressed that it won’t change the winning formula that has made the Landmark an Upper Peninsula institution. In fact, one of Graves’ partners — and a key player in the transaction — is Matt Mering, a Marquette native and proud booster of his hometown. Mering, who grew up within walking distance of the hotel, describes it as “the living room of Marquette,” and says that Graves “looks at [itself] as long-term steward of the Landmark Inn.” Importantly, all three bars and restaurants will remain open after the transition, though there’s talk of making Capers a bit more accessible to the general public.

Hours and Contact Information

Capers Restaurant is open for breakfast 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, and for brunch 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. all days. The Northland Pub opens daily at 11 a.m., closing at 12 a.m. on Sunday through Wednesday, 1 a.m. on Thursday, and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Food is served daily from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The North Star Lounge is open daily at 5 p.m. and closes at management’s discretion.

To get in touch with the Landmark’s front desk, call (906) 228-2580. The toll-free reservation hotline is (888) 752-6362.