It takes self-confidence to open a new property in an established hotel hub, already populated by facilities representing just about every national chain, plus a few independents. That is exactly what Marriott did with its Towne Place Suites in Ann Arbor, at the Interstate 94 exit closest to the main campus of the University of Michigan. In this instance, Marriott’s brand in the extended stay niche made good, enjoying an occupancy rate that justified the decision.
Of course, whether a hotel is up against nearby competition or not, it has to deliver what guests want in order to keep on attracting paying customers. And with its choice of room offerings, the Ann Arbor Towne Place has been designed to appeal to a wide audience with a variety of preferences.
The hotel’s rooms and suites feature four floor plans, all of which boast the full lineup of amenities that characterizes extended stay properties. Every studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom comes with a complete kitchen equipped with full-sized appliances and stocked with an array of dishes, glasses, mugs and utensils for cooking and eating. Towne Place Suites is generous with these items in order to cut down on the use of dishwashers; in fact, as part of the brand’s commitment to conservation, sensors insure that dishwashers will not run unless they are loaded at least half-full.
The comfortable beds are queen-sized in all suites, and in those studios that offer double queens; kings are available only in select studios. Work stations are features of king studios and one-bedroom suites; desks are replaced by spacious dining tables in double-queen studios and two-bedroom suites. As expected in extended stay hotels these days, there is free wi-fi in all public areas and guest rooms.
Also free are access to the business center and the daily Morning Break breakfast buffet. While the buffet looks limited, served as it is in a very compact space, the selection is more than adequate, including waffles. In addition, even though all rooms have coffeemakers and microwave ovens, hot beverages are dispensed in the adjacent lobby 24/7.
The fitness center and laundry room are open around the clock as well, while the swimming pool and whirlpool come close, remaining open from 6:00 am until 11 pm. Interestingly, both of these areas are handicapped accessible; in fact, a great deal of planning has gone into enhancing accessibility at Towne Place Suites, for both the mobility challenged and hearing impaired (several suites on each floor are specially equipped for the latter).
As mentioned at the outset, one of the hotel’s primary attractions is its convenient location: right off I-94; adjacent to the upscale Briarwood Mall; close to the U-M campus and its sports complex (the famed “Big House” football stadium and Crisler Arena); and just 20 minutes from Detroit’s international airport. The hotel lobby is dominated by the TowneMap, an impressive, colorful, interactive local map highlighting the city’s dining and entertainment options. Although with its own picnic and BBQ areas, in addition to each room’s full kitchen, the Towne Place provides both al fresco and indoor cooking and eating possibilities all on its own.
Number of rooms: 97
Published rates: $98-$389
Text and photos by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of the Ann Arbor Towne Place for purposes of review.