Tag: Detroit HotelsView All Tags
When Richard Branson was asked at the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s direct service from Heathrow to Detroit whether he had any plans for a Virgin Hotel in Motor City, we assumed he was just being polite.
“I’d love it if we could find the right site for a Virgin Hotel,” he said at the press conference. “We’ll talk,” said Wayne County Exec Warren Evans. “I’ve got an existing jail site that could work.”
Everyone chuckled, and assumed that was that.
But now it seems we may have been making one assumption too many, because in an interview with D Business, Branson expanded on his idea.
The David Whitney building isn’t just in Downtown Detroit; it’s a historic 1915 skyscraper in Downtown Detroit, that locals told us was designed by Daniel Burnham, though Wikipedia says no. Either way, it’s a historic, 19-story building that used to be home to offices – doctors, dentists, even a plastic surgeon – and now has the Aloft on floors 1-9 and apartments above it. Before reopening (officially in April, soft opening last December), it was undergoing a four year restoration. Before that, it was derelict for 15 years. This is a pretty big deal.
Last week we gave you a peek at the Aloft Detroit and its wonderful gatekeeper, the top hatted Christopher Roddy. We promised we’d take you on a proper tour soon – and we will! But before we look at the new Detroit hotel scene, let’s have a moment of silence for the old one.
The historic Park Avenue Hotel was once one of the swankiest hotels in the city, owned by hotel mogul Lew Tuller and designed by Louis Kamper, who also did the Book-Cadillac Hotel – now the Westin Book Cadillac.
How their fortunes have changed. While the Westin was charging $250 a night last week when we were in town, the Park Avenue Hotel got its death sentence on Friday, when the Detroit Historical Commission voted 3-1 to have it demolished.
The top hat – the bow tie – is this really Detroit?
When we checked into the Aloft Detroit yesterday, there were two things that wowed us: the jaw-dropping central atrium of the David Whitney Building, and the friendly reception from the British-styled doorman. Was this part of the uniform or was it a special outfit to greet a planeload of Brits off the first Virgin Atlantic flight from London?
We asked the doorman – or Doorman/Greeter as his official title is. Christopher Roddy is his name and he told us that his hat – so English wedding! – is not part of the uniform. He bought it 11 years ago from Henry the Hatter - a Detroit hatmaker since 1893.
The bowtie isn’t Aloft’s, either – he bought that, too. The look he’s going for: Mr French, an English butler on a TV show from his childhood. We haven’t seen the show, but he has the English butler look on fleek.
It’s always great to hear of an endangered landmark that may be saved from the wrecking ball and given back to its city as a hotel. When such salvaging happens in Detroit, it especially thrilling as we are all rooting for Motor City to make a comeback. Here is what we know about the latest effort to turn an abandoned building in Detroit into a hip, hotel (as if there was any other kind.)
Brooklyn-based developers ASH NYC have a contract to buy one of the most delapidated, graffiti adorned, buildings in Detroit for conversion to a boutique hotel. The slender 14-story building, pictured above, was once offices and a retail music center for Wurlitzer, the American company acclaimed for its organs and pianos, but who also made jukeboxes and electric guitars. Yes, we're already imagining some of these musical instruments displayed inside the new hotel.
Our calls have been answered!The former headquarters building of the Detroit Fire Department officially be turned into the Foundation Hotel in late 2015 after an extensive renovation.
Aside from the novelty of staying in an old fire house, you have to feel at least a little comfort in knowing that the building was probably (we hope) up to speed on its fire protection and alarm systems. If nothing more, it is a cool building that should translate well into a 100-room boutique hotel. And maybe, this could be the start of a new trend since Andre Balzas is turning another fire station in London into a hotel.
The new hotel in Detroit will be managed by Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group, who also operate the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, another historic building conversion. The fire house building, located at 250 West Larned in Downtown Detroit, once accommodated most of the city's emergency fire service needs. The building is included in the National Register of Historic Places, though oddly it is not a city or state-listed landmark.
It was built in 1929 in the popular Neoclassical style that dressed up many a governmental building. It remained a working fire station until 2011, after which it was used as headquarter offices.
We had high hopes when rapper DMX appeared on "Fix My Life" a show from Oprah Winfrey's OWN network. After all, if anyone could get 42-year old Ruff Ryder Earl Simmons to calm the hell down from a self-professed life of promiscuity and substance abuse, than super-healer Iyanla Vanzant could do it. Well, DMX was having none of it, ended up cussing Vanzant out. Intervention? #fail.
So, we're not surprised to see this video from TMZ showing Dark Man X stripping off his boxer shorts, then running around in the nude (and court-ordered house-arrest ankle bracelet) around a Detroit hotel hallway.
But, the question is, did DMX get charged with indecent exposure from the video below?
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We've already had a busy morning as far as new hotels news goes. But there's even more. Here's a short list of new hotels coming to a city near you:
· Hotel Van Zandt, Austin: Kimpton Hotels will open a new hotel in Austin in 2015 in the city's historic Rainey Street District. The 16-story hotel will feature 322 guest rooms, over 12,000 square feet total event and meeting space, achef-driven restaurant, lobby cafe and pool deck and bar. Interior designer Mark Zeff will oversee the interior design of the Hotel Van Zandt and its restaurant. Kimpton has also made announcements for new properties in Savannah, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Palm Springs, Sedona and Grand Cayman so there will be lots more Kimptons to choose from in the coming years.
· Fairmont Austin: Speaking of Austin, construction should begin on the new Fairmont Hotel at 101.Red River Street later this fall, according to this report. The 1,000-room hotel will cost nearly half a billion to build and should open sometime in 2016.
· The Archer Napa: The Archer in New York City hasn't opened yet (that's happening early next year) but already they've announced a second Archer Hotel for Napa Valley. The Archer Napa will be a new-build luxury hotel at the First Street site of the former Merrill’s building, adjacent to The Shops at Napa Center. LogdeWorks and Zapolski Real Estate have partnered up on the seven-story property which will reflect "a casual elegance, organic to the Napa aesthetic. " No opening date has been set yet.
Earth Day has come and gone, and we've seen our fair share of odd hotels, so this one shouldn't really ring our bell that much. But we kind of love it because its innovative in a city that is close to our heart--Detroit. And anything that we see that's about bringing positive light to the city, we're 'bout it.
The latest venture (besides the firehouse-turned hotel) comes from a company called Collision Works. In partnership with an organization called Kickstarter, they raised over $43K to build a 36-room boutique hotel made from cargo containers.
Yeah, that was the part that threw us off, too.
But these recycled vessels are apparently made of sturdy stock and perfect for what is being called "Cargotecture". Collision Works plans to open the First Container on May 18, to coincide with Eastern Market’s Flower Day, when 200,000 visitors are expected to pass through the prototype space and showroom, located near Shed 5 at the corner of Russell and Wilkins Streets.
"Now is a great time to collaborate with the community to create quality programming and creative experiences around storytelling. What we learn here we will take with us to the hotel, ” said Shel Kimen, Founder and CEO of Collision Works, in a statement.
Collision Works is working with the City of Detroit to buy the lot at 1923 Division along the Dequindre Cut, where they hope the hotel will find its home.
No word yet on how much a cargo-container room will cost, but he certainly hope it errs on the affordable side. We'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one.
[Photo: Collision Works]
Say what you want about Detroit and its bad rap, we think it’s a seriously inventive city that won’t let hard knocks destroy its spirit and we've said just as much on our brother site, Jaunted. It’s the place that'll take an old 1929 brick firehouse and decide to turn it into a $23 million boutique hotel.
The Detroit City Council is being asked to approve a deal to sell the Hans Gehrke-designed building across from Cobo Center to developer Walter Cohen and his group, 21 Century Holdings. The price? Just $1.25 million. That’s cheaper than a Brooklyn condo, to give you some perspective.
Airport hotels get a pretty bad rap. Sure, there are the greasy, grimy ones, but we like to think that for every one of those, there's a perfectly clean business-friendly oneor, even better, an airport hotel with the luxury of an airport view. All this week we'll be taking a look at a few of our favorite hotels for plane spotting.
Detroit-Metro Airport (DTW) consists of two terminals; this is important to know because they're far apart, with separate freeway exits and everything. For plane spotting, you'll want to hit up the larger, newer of the two: McNamara. At the center of its 70+ gates is the Westin, with easy access to the in-terminal tram and its own TSA security lane and everything. It's pretty nifty.
Could there be actual good news on the horizon for Detroit and its (lack of) hotel scene? The Free Press reports that a hotel developer is working with IHG to create a Crowne Plaza Detroit in what was once the Hotel Pontchartrain/Hotel Riverside near the convention centre.
That's 413 rooms to come back onto the market possibly next year, though the bigger news is still the in-development Aloft Downtown Detroit. At 136 rooms, the Aloft won't have the bulk of the Pontchartrain, but will have a position in a landmark, Burnham-designed building and an overall fresher design.
If both plans come through, the Aloft and Crown Plaza will debut around the same timelate-ish 2013. Fingers crossed that it coincides with the beginning of a boom in interest in Detroit. We already don't mind going to hang out in Motown; now it's time for others to follow.