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Inside the revamped Detroit Club

The private club is reopening after a big renovation.

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Walking into the Detroit Club is like stepping back in time. The four-story building, designed by Wilson Eyre, opened in 1892 at its current location on Fort and Cass. The Detroit Club has remained active throughout the years, hosting members like Henry Ford, Walter P. Chrysler, and Hazen S. Pingree. New owners Emre and Lynn Uralli purchased the property in 2014 and decided to renovate the historic building. The new look remains formal and elegant, respecting its history while updating for the modern member. After the two and a half year renovation, it’s ready to reopen.

When guests enter on the first floor, they’ll see the only space open to the public—the Grille Room restaurant, which will be available by reservation only. In the lobby, visitors will also notice a counter with historical artifacts. To the right, the Great Room offers a place to relax—on this occasion, it was set up for cocktails and appetizers.

In the neighboring library, visitors will notice hardwood floors that were once covered by carpeting. Much of the furniture is original, but has been reupholstered to get rid of 135 years of cigar smoke. Above the fireplace, a replica Remington painting hangs. The Detroit Club had the original painting until the late 1970s, when they sold it to keep the club operational. Word is it sold then for approximately $400,000; it reportedly sold at auction for $5.6 million in 2013.

The library is the only place where visitors can use their laptops or tablets. Around the corner, two phone booths sit. These (along with a couple more on the upper floors) are the only places in the building where guests can use their cell phones.

In the basement, the club used to have a bowling alley. In most recent years, it’s been used for storage. Now guests will find a spa, complete with massage rooms, a jacuzzi, a fitness center, and very luxurious locker rooms. Many of the walls down here were covered in plaster and when removed, revealed the lovely brickwork and archways you can see now.

The women’s sauna

The fourth floor, which in the past had a gym and an employee locker room, now has ten guest rooms that can be used by members or their friends and family. The rooms differ just slightly in decor, and include Smart TVs, leopard print carpet, and sometimes a clawfoot tub.

The third floor is home to the ornate Presidential Ballroom, which has hosted four presidents. The third floor also has a billiards room and a new addition—a cigar bar that looks more modern than the other spaces. The cigar bar also has lockers where members can keep their private stash.

The cigar bar

On the second floor, a Grand Ballroom can host large gatherings, while the Lafayette Room—which seats about 60—can be used for meetings or luncheons. The Grand Ballroom was the billiards room, and also hosted art shows in the past—railings hang from the ceiling.

The new owners also added ladies restrooms in the renovation, since in the past, it was a mens-only club. The Detroit Club is also available for weddings and events; it helps to know a member. And the price for membership? According to the Detroit Free Press, rates could start with a $3,500 entrance fee, plus a monthly fee of $250 (fees are less for those under 36). Here’s a look around the newly renovated, old school club.

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