The Detroit Foundation Hotel

Once the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, now a 100-room hub of hospitality and design

The five story, 100-room Detroit Foundation Hotel embodies much of the Motor City’s distinct charm. Once the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, the Neoclassical brick building is now an art-rich center awash in amenities and ideally situated downtown. The property incorporates everything from 3,000 square feet of communal space, meeting rooms and a rooftop ballroom with view to an exemplary restaurant. Design here aims to bridge the past and the future—and succeeds with modern and industrial flourishes set amidst vintage pieces. The hotel says they are just getting going, and planning on rolling out a few more noteworthy features in the coming months.

With floor-and-a-half tall ceilings, the lobby has a grand feeling that is warm and eclectic yet harmonious with its mix of found furniture, modern art and pieces by local artisans. Just to the side of the lobby The Foundation Studio houses exhibitions for Detroit artists. Windows here allow those passing by to see what’s going on inside. A room/studio for podcasts and video is a clever and appreciated amenity.

Beyond the basics we’ve come to expect—a fitness center, quality linens, etc—a few additions caught our attention. The bathroom features Le Labo toiletries and the in-room private bar has Our Vodka’s Detroit expression as well as chocolates by BonBonBon our favorite local purveyor. Both are nice touches. Guests have complimentary access to Slow Roll edition bikes by ​Detroit Bikes, and the entire hotel is pet friendly (and even has its own range of pet amenities). All of this emphasizes the importance of modernity (not reclamation) of this hotel.

While in Chicago—as the Executive Chef of Sixteen—Chef Thomas Lents accrued a two-Michelin-star rating. Here, Lents returns to his home state of Michigan and has opened The Apparatus Room, featuring a menu focused on hearty, nuanced Midwestern ingredients. Much attention has been paid to the cocktails as well. The restaurant and its open kitchen are not separated from the hotel lobby and lounge so there’s a nice flow of energy from one section of the lobby level to the next.

Room options range from queen and king rooms to junior suites and the xl Commissioner Suite. ​Each room’s color profile aims to remind guests of 1960-era automobiles, and are decorated with wallpaper from the ​Detroit Wallpaper Co​.. These are cozy rooms with space to breathe that strike a balance between being both chic and accessible. While they lack the all-important in-room coffee amenity, they present old car fuses in a beautiful leather tray that can be used as tokens for free Anthology coffee at the lobby bar.

Detroit Foundation Hotel rates begin at $239 a night. The hotel is located at 250 Larned Street, Detroit which is directly across from the Cobo Convention Center—a convenience for any of us attending the annual motor show or other conventions.

Images courtesy of The Foundation Hotel