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Inside the Foundation Hotel in downtown Detroit

Old Detroit meets New Detroit

The highly anticipated conversion from the old Detroit Fire Department Headquarters to boutique hotel is finally open in downtown Detroit. Located right across from Cobo Center, the Foundation Hotel has kept the fire department aesthetic, while adding finishing touches from Detroit businesses and artisans.

Aparium Hotel Group has led the redevelopment of the building, plus the adjacent building, once home to Pontchartrain Wine Cellars. Aparium partnered with Detroit-based McIntosh Poris Associates along with Simeone Deary Design Group to create an experience that celebrates Detroit’s past while moving it into the future.

Curbed toured the hotel with Michael Kitchen from Aparium and Gina Deary of Simeone Deary to talk about the new space and what to expect.

When guests walk in, they’ll immediately see the Apparatus Room to the left. The new restaurant (led by two Michelin-starred chef Thomas Lents) opens to the lobby, with guests able to view the kitchen. It creates a communal space, very unique to the industry.

All light fixtures have been custom designed for the space. The charred wood that slightly separates the space was salvaged from the Architectural Salvage Warehouse. The tiling on the walls has simply been cleaned and repaired. A vintage carpet and desk welcome guests into the lobby, along with a retail lobby showroom for local businesses.

Behind the desk, guests can see a video of Detroit manufacturers or makers whose work can be seen throughout the hotel. The team worked with Matt Eaton, Director/Curator of Red Bull House of Art, to identify local artists to source unique elements for the hotel. A rough brick wall in the nearby hallway shows where the two buildings converge.

Stepping off the elevator, the atriums have been kept intact with original marble and flooring throughout. A partnership with Detroit Bikes and Slow Roll allows guests access to bikes to explore the city. Local artists’ work can be seen in the hallways. Here, we see work from Don Kilpatrick.

The 100 guestrooms, which include queen double and king rooms, junior suites, and the Commissioner Suite, each feature a headboard wall constructed by Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit made entirely of repurposed wood. Rooms also feature custom wallpaper from Detroit Wallpaper Co., with printed photographs of historic Detroit architecture. Deep chocolates and pastel metallics with pink and blue accents are reminiscent of the paint colors of 1960-era automobiles.

Each room has its own private bar stocked with local Detroit goodies.

Hotel amenities include Le Labo guest room toiletries, Wi-Fi access, a 24-hour business center kiosk, pet amenities; and 24-hour access to the fitness center with programming by Detroit Body Garage. A collaboration with 1701 Bespoke offers guests access to an in-room, custom suit tailoring experience arranged by the hotel.

The 100-room Foundation Hotel is now open in Detroit. Rooms start at about $209 per night. The hotel also features the Crystal Ballroom atop the former Pontchartrain Wine Cellars, plus ground-level meeting space, which wasn’t quite ready yet when we stopped by to visit. Here are some more photos from around the hotel and Apparatus Room.


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