I have a secret: I like going to Detroit. Which is good, because I go there all the time for work. I pretend as though I’m making great sacrifices for my job, but the truth is…I enjoy it, because staying at The Henry Hotel is like taking a mini-vacation.
GETTING THERE: It’s Detroit (Dearborn, actually). You either take a short cab ride or rent a car (no on-airport rentals). Depending on occupancy, the trip from the parking lot can be a hike, but it’s free and the valet service is speedy.
LOCATION: Fine. A 10-minute drive from the airport and close to I-94 for reaching downtown. Plenty of decent restaurants in the area (but not within walking distance).
SERVICE: Nearly impeccable.The staff are friendly without being obsequious and they’ll recognize you after only a few stays.
ATMOSPHERE: Bright! Ecclectic! Cosmopolitan! Such an improvement from its stuffy, serious old self when The Henry Hotel was a Ritz Carlton. A brilliant Timothy Yanke painting greets you at the front desk, and they don’t scrimp on colorful artwork (Maxx, Tarkay) throughout the property. The decor is ballsy and refreshing: Tiffany Blue walls, chandeliers, glossy white moulding and more glossy white moulding.
ROOMS: Contemporary and luxurious (the two aren’t mutually exclusive but you wouldn’t know that from most properties). Bold prints, plush bedding and marble in the bathroom. Now if they’d only allow me to make it a little warmer in the room…
GYM: Only average, but the granola bars are good.
RESTAURANT/BAR: The Henry Hotel dining room succeeds at being upscale without being formal. Choose from private dining, a communal table, hightops or bar seating. The selection varies from swordfish filets to fish tacos. A mixed clientele makes for interesting people watching and conversation flows at the bar, creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for the solo business traveler – men and women alike. Like elsewhere in the hotel, the customer service is excellent (Audra’s a star), and their secret weapon is Mark, the maitre d’ (he of the almost eerie mental Rolodex of hotel guests), who greets you like a long-lost friend. He has some good stories he could tell, that one.
Oh, and…the wine pour are generous. I LIKE that in a place.
THE CONCIERGE LOUNGE: I saved the best part for last. Marriott Gold Members have 24-hour access to the Concierge Lounge where Natti and Marlene have created a home-away-from-home for them. It’s a pretty sweet concierge lounge, with views that extend to Canada, an extensive newspaper selection, multiple computers and printers, a flat screen tv, complimentary breakfast, a happy hour that you can make a meal out of, and premium liqueurs and desserts at night. Try dipping the Rice Krispie bars in the chocolate fondue in between sips of Grand Marnier.
THE HENRY HOTEL IN CONCLUSION…
The Henry Hotel. Detroit’s oasis. Don’t tell my boss.