Historic Holly Hotel serves as film set for Hallmark-style Christmas movie

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That’s a WRAP! (for now!) “Christmas at the Holly Hotel” feature film

The “Hallmark Style” Christmas movie, filmed primarily at the Holly Hotel and Battle Alley, has been completed!

Filming may have started a little late for this movie “Christmas at the Holly Hotel” to have been part of the 2021 Holiday Season,  but word has it that filming has wrapped and the Historic Holly Hotel will be seen as the featured set for a Hallmark-style Christmas movie in 2022.

In this one, Kathy, a big city girl, returns to help her parents run the Holly Hotel for Christmas. There, she meets Matthew, a charming young member of the Holly Police Department, when she is pulled over for a traffic violation. Although unsure of each other at first,  it soon becomes clear that Kathy and Matthew are falling in love. When Kathy’s dream job calls her back to New York City, she must decide.  Will she go, or will she stay and make a home in Holly?

Produced by Joel Paul Reisig–a producer with a claim to some 30 different Michigan-made, family-oriented movies–this is the first that he has done centered around this historic hotel.  Owned since 1978 by George and Chrissy Kutlenios, the hotel is normally heavily decorated for Christmas, the owners decided to keep the decorations up and Reisig and the cast and crew took over the hotel to film “Christmas at The Holly Hotel.”

Significant for its prominent role in the social life of Holly and as an example of the rapidly vanishing railroad hotels once so common in American small towns, the Holly Hotel was the hub of social activity in the early 1900s. Civic and social groups utilized the Hotel while train travelers and salesmen used the public rooms for meets and demonstrations. Sunday Dinner at the Holly Hotel was a formal event for locals and visitors alike, usually preceded by a performance at Baird’s Opera House, one block south.


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Everyone comments that the Holly Hotel feels like Christmas, so, naturally, it makes the perfect setting for a Hallmark-style Christmas movie.


The cast for “Christmas at the Holly Hotel” included Colleen Gentry as Mom,  Shirley Moon Koebbe as Grandma, Andrew Dawe-collins as Mr. Hurst,  Grover McCants as the US President, Karen McCants as the country’s  First Lady, Jerry Narsh as Holly’s police chief,  Nina L Kircher as Nora,  Deborah Chenault Green as Sandra, and Denny Doyle Jr. as Dad. Add this list of talented film actors these unnamed character actors, Mike T. TremblayCallie Bussellm, Brian Papandrea, and  Kristen Hammer.

“There are roughly 10 or so different cable stations or streaming services that run Christmas movies. The last figures I heard were that in 2021, 143 new Christmas movies were purchased when you totaled up all those streaming services,’’ Reisig said during a pause in the activities on the film set. “So there is an enormous market for this kind of thing.”

While filming this movie at the Holly Hotel is a big deal, there have been other major events at the Holly Hotel. In1992, the Holly Hotel was selected by the George Bush Campaign Committee as the only dinner location during President and Mrs. Bush’s Michigan whistle-stop campaign. Every state governor since 1979 has dined at the Holly Hotel.

The Holly Hotel has had its share of celebrity visits. Joel Grey was quoted in the New York Times that the Holly Hotel “…was as good as any four-star New York restaurant.” The Detroit Red Wings have graced the Hotel with a Stanley Cup visit following their championship years.   Showcasing the historic hotel in this movie will certainly give it more exposure.

The scheduled release “Christmas at the Holly Hotel” is for the late Fall, 2022!




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