In 1914, construction on a new 19-storey building began at the junction of Park Avenue, Woodward Avenue, and Washington Boulevard in Detroit. Named in homage to the great lumber and shipping magnate David Whitney Jr., this was the skyscraper of its time and instantly became an American classic. With a massive 4-storey atrium, it was hard not to be instantly impressed walking into this symbol of America’s great golden age, and thankfully that feeling persists through to modern times. Although the Whitney sat in disuse for years, it was recently remodeled inside and out, bringing back that grand old era and making it accessible for today’s visitors. It was also my home base during my most recent visit to Detroit, thanks to the gorgeous hotel that calls the Whitney home.
I was visiting Detroit as part of my ongoing partnership with Marriott International to highlight some of my favorite American weekend getaways, and I was thrilled that in Detroit that meant a stay at an Aloft property. In case you’re not familiar with them, Aloft Hotels were once part of Starwood, which is now Marriott, and are very much known for their emphasis on architecture and quirky design style. If I had to categorize them, I’d put them in the W Hotel family, but with a twist. The Aloft at the David Whitney was part of the remodeling process nearly from the start and, as such, the brand was able to help create spaces that make sense for guests. The rooms feature large windows, modern decor, huge TVs, plush platform beds and the Bliss spa amenities that I have come to love over the years. Aloft occupies floors 3-9 of the Whitney, and my own view of downtown Detroit was incredible.
Location is important to me when I travel, and I was thrilled with the central location of the Aloft. In the heart of downtown Detroit next to the Grand Circus, it was easy to access the Detroit People Mover and Q-Line to some of the city’s most important destinations. For places a little further afield, an Uber was a quick and inexpensive tap away, and there are even a few restaurants nearby for evening meal options. More than the street the hotel calls home, the David Whitney building itself added a lot to my own enjoyment. The architecture really is stunning and they’ve done a great job bringing it back to life. Detroit is home to any number of fantastic older buildings, and to stay in one of them was an absolute treat.
Service and Food
Embellishments are fine, but ultimately it’s the service that defines any great hotel, and at the Aloft Detroit I was impressed every step of the way. You can usually tell how your stay is going to be with how you’re greeted, and with an enthusiastic doorman and incredibly professional front desk staff, the perfect tone was set right away. But it didn’t end there; throughout my stay staff members were on-hand to answer any and all questions I had, never with a hint of annoyance, no matter how silly my question. Their in-house restaurant and bar is also important to note. Just as the hotel hearkens back to another era, so does the w xyz bar. In a great balance, the history of the Whitney is counterbalanced by fun and quirky cocktails with staff up to the challenge of adding some pizazz to the historic building. Overall, my stay at the Aloft Detroit was fun and restful, essentially everything one needs from a great hotel experience.
Perfect Detroit Home Base
I was in town though to continue my explorations of Detroit, a city that has become a personal favorite. There’s a lot to see and do here, so much so that I created an entire Detroit mini-guide to crafting the perfect weekend getaway. After several years the image of Detroit is finally changing and I for one couldn’t be more excited. Known for years simply as the city that went bankrupt, Detroit had a perception problem that I’m sure was hard to shake. People weren’t visiting for the incredible food or the museums, they were there for other reasons but in 2019 the city has turned a corner, once again reimagined itself and visitors are returning to those places within the city that never went away, people just forgot about them. I’ve been to Motor City a couple of times and I honestly love visiting. There’s more to see and do in Detroit than in most cities its size, and when you add in outstanding food, relaxing hotels and kind people, that’s the recipe for a perfect weekend getaway destination.