The Grand Island Mansion is an unexpected find in the Sacramento Delta. Built in the early 1900s by Lewis W. Meyers, the Grand Island Mansion has played host to famous people of the age, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Zara Leander, and Edith Piaf. Today, the mansion is both a tourist destination and a place for special events. When I (Dennis) was previously married, my wedding reception was held at the mansion. It holds a special place in my memory. Knowing that Elke enthusiastically enjoys new adventures and places, I always had it in the back of my mind to visit this destination with her. The mansion offers a Sunday champagne brunch that is truly something to behold! Here, I’d like to share our pictures along with our experience.
When you visit the Grand Island Mansion, parking is often a challenge. There are a very few parking spots on the street. They also have parking in the rear, but it is prioritized for special events and often full. The average Sunday brunch costs $40. Special event brunches, like Mother’s Day and Easter, cost $50. You need to visit their website and request brunch seating well in advance. This place is popular. Available seats go quickly.
On this visit, we took advantage of our own very potent parking chi and found a spot right next to the rear courtyard entrance. The first glimpse of the rear courtyard and pool offers visual delight.
Here are views of the front of the mansion and the main courtyard.
Upon entering the Grand Island Mansion, a hostess greeted us. She took our name and asked us to wait until they had our table ready. I took the opportunity to visit the Grand Dining Hall, which is as bright and open as I remember it.
Classic paintings cover the walls and invite your eyes to wander.
The light in the Grand Dining Hall shines through a wall of windows overlooking the rear courtyard.
I walked back to the waiting area where the hostess scooped us up and brought us to our table, which was in one of the side dining rooms. It was luxuriously decorated. Tables filled up quickly, and the sounds of lively conversation were all around us. The noise level was pleasant, and service was efficient and friendly.
Once Elke and I were seated, we were off to the serving area to gather our food.
There were a number of courses for both vegans and omnivores. The Eggs Benedict was prepared with a slice of ham, but they were happy to make a ham-less version for Elke when we asked them to do so. At the end of the table, not shown here, was a chef serving prime rib. Everything was delicious. Hot foods were hot. Everything was fresh and well-spiced. For dessert, they had custards and mousses and cheesecakes and tarts and truffles. Oh my! Elke and I liked the peach cobbler best, but everything was good. A large bowl of real whipped cream was placed nearby so that we could control our portions. I always enjoy a little peach cobbler on my whipped cream. Thank you!
If Elke and I had one complaint, it was that their coffee was Folgers. With the quality of everything being so high, it seems a no brainer that French press would be served. All things considered though, if you want to plan a romantic, decadent brunch for yourself, this is a good place to do it.
After brunch, Elke and I explored the mansion.
Upstairs, you will find beautifully-decorated rooms, which are used for special events, like weddings. Not all of the rooms are open to the public. We were given access to the Mozart Room. This display is at one of the entrances to the room. Again, there is so much eye candy. Every wall and corner of the mansion has art that seeks to pull you into meditation.
The Mozart Room is opulently furnished.
In addition to the bedrooms, the mansion has a ballroom, a small movie theater, a small bowling alley, a billiards room, and a full bar. Below, you can see the doors to the dressing rooms that were used by Zara Leander, Marlene Dietrich, and Edith Pilaf. It made Elke happy to touch the memories she has around these actresses, who were loved by her own mother.
Elke and I enjoyed our trip to the Grand Island Mansion. It is a piece of California history and a place worth visiting!