Industrial decline has not been kind to Detroit, once a powerhouse of America’s economy. Mass layoffs and urban flight emptied swathes of the historic core, much of which crumbled for decades. Down but not out, Motor City’s renaissance has been under way for a while. The latest brick in that (rising) wall is the Detroit Foundation Hotel, a 100-room offering from the Aparium Hotel Group, which specialises in creating character-packed hotels in second-tier cities.
Occupying the neoclassical block that formerly housed the Fire Department, the makeover is a collaboration between the Simeone Deary Design Group and McIntosh Poris Associates and celebrates Detroit’s manufacturing past while casting a finely-crafted eye at its future. Decorated in an industrial-luxurious palette of chocolate browns, pastel metallics and wallpaper featuring photos of old Detroit, rooms conjure past into present, while down in the Apparatus Room, Michelin-starred Michigan native Thomas Lents showcases local flavour.
Add in the street-front Foundation Studio, a gallery dedicated to local art, which also decorates hotel walls, staff uniforms by the Detroit Denim Company, in-room tailoring courtesy of 1701 Bespoke and locally-made goods in the boutique and it’s clear that when it comes to buffing Detroit’s (rusted) star, this hotel has emerged swinging.