When a woman with the loveliest blue high heels gets in the elevator at the Detroit Foundation Hotel and says, “We live in town, but stay here sometimes to get away,” you know you’ve landed somewhere special.
The Detroit Foundation Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, in a word, is splendid. Built in 1929 as the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, this historic 100-room independent hotel is a gorgeous renovation. Restored in 2017 to the tune of 28 million dollars, the careful attention to details throughout the hotel stand out. Original features are blended with modern, urban sensibilities. The history of the building as clerks’ offices and sleeping quarters for firefighters who sprang to action hopping on fire trucks to blare forth at any time of day are evident from the reception area to the guest rooms.
In back of the reception desk, a modern painting of a firefighter is a contemporary sentry to the fire fighter faces that are subtle details of the building’s outside facade.
The Apparatus Room, the restaurant/bar combo incorporates the original red-trimmed arched doorways and subway tile walls with an expansive bar, sleek seating, and a fire pit with lounging spots.
Hanging bulb lights at various lengths are arranged along the bar in an artsy look that mixes hip with a Thomas Edison inspired look. Here’s where savoring a hand-crafted cocktail or local beer while enjoying an appetizer before a night on the town is in order. Unfortunately, my going out on the town didn’t involve this stop, but it’s on my list of must-dos on a repeat visit.
Another treat at the Detroit Foundation Hotel is the Chef’s Table. This is a 16 person only dining experience. If you’re ever able to partake in a Chef’s Table event, do. I was fortunate to have a meal for the ages at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. At a chef’s table, the chef, along with his sous-chef team, prepares a few courses meal in front of diners. The Detroit Foundation Hotel’s version incorporates seasonal ingredients. To take in this gastronomic delight, you’ll need reservations for either a Friday or Saturday night. But, for now, alas, the Chef’s Table is on hold.
The rest of the hotel is as artsy, elegant and visually interesting as the restaurant. Guest rooms ranging from the Foundation King to the Commissioner’s Suite, include flat screen TVs equipped with Netflix, in-room locally crafted bar, and furniture that incorporates Detroit’s automobile history. Headboards are made with reclaimed wood and the accent wallpaper is from the Detroit Wallpaper Co. Detroit-made love is also found in the iron-welded door handles from Smith Shop and the leather trays are from Douglas & Co.
With an aim to please, guest services include complimentary Detroit Bikes rentals and an in-house car service that gives guests transportation within a 3 mile radius. The ride is not shabby. A Lincoln Continental and Lincoln Navigator are on hand from 8 am to 8 pm. There is also a 24-hour fitness center and complimentary Wi-Fi.
As a history fan, my favorite find was the hotel’s small museum on the 4th floor. The Heroes Exhibit is an extensive look into Detroit’s firefighting history with artifacts and memorabilia giving a step back in time.
Another lovely hangout spot is the lounge on the third floor that’s part library, part art gallery and part enjoy some quiet. I loved the details here. The leaded glass windows are exquisite.
Room rates start at $245. Overnight parking is $35.
****Currently, due to COVID-19, the Detroit Foundation Hotel is not open, but please put this wonderful hotel on your radar. It’s a Detroit gem. Plus, it’s pet-friendly. With a Dalmatian in the Heroes Exhibit, pet-friendly is fitting.
When, the time comes, you can make reservations at the Detroit Foundation Hotel’s website.
Post and photos, except for guest room photo by Jamie Rhein. Room photo is courtesy of the hotel.