Text: Nina Prehofer
Detroit – This city has experienced a lot – probably all the highs and lows you could imagine.
So the new spirit that has recently returned is all the more encouraging, and a promising sign for the future. The first Shinola Hotel, opened 2019 in downtown Detroit, could be taken as a symbol of this renewal.
Launched in 2011 as a watchmaker, the company rapidly became a luxury design brand with an unshakeable commitment to creating things that last. The portfolio of the Detroit-based business includes everything from watches and leather goods to jewellery and audio products.
What all products share is a focus on quality and a passion for producing wonderful experiences for the wearer.
And that was behind the idea for a hotel.
A hotel that was to bring together all Shinola’s expertise in quality, workmanship, people and attention to detail. That the hotel had to be in Detroit was clear from the outset, and it was to be a place that not only welcomed visitors from elsewhere but was also for local residents; somewhere they could experience the world of design made in Detroit. Indeed, the Shinola rapidly became the city’s “living room”.
Small wonder, located as it is in the heart of the historical Woodward shopping district and with its great views inside and out.
Community & people
Daniel Cadell is the Shinola’s creative director. To him, the project was not just about showing how the world of Shinola looks, feels and smells; it was also about community and people. About how people connect with each other. He finds hotels hugely exciting because they are about escapism, luxury and comfort. All this is reflected in the hotel’s interior. This is design you feel can only come from the USA – absolute perfection, but not flat or characterless. Nostalgic, yet modern. Fantastic materials and mattresses made in Michigan, and woodwork from the firm just down the road.
Colour also plays a huge role. The rooms are spacious and every last detail down to the inside of the wardrobe is just right. You can order almost anything from the “menu” in the room – from a 6-dollar water to a 1500-dollar Bluetooth speaker. The Shinola speaker can, of course, also be tested in your room. A well-stocked minibar with sweet and salty snacks practically cries “Go crazy on me!”
Detroit has amazing architecture with breathtaking features
The Shinola is a successful combination of past and future
It is housed in existing buildings that have been revitalised and returned to their former glory. The bar was given a glossy seventies look with lovely rounded edges in the woodwork. Delicious Italian cuisine is served in the restaurant, “San Morello”.
The urban neighbourhood restaurant run by chef Andrew Carmellini offers wonderful, authentic dishes and home-made pasta using local and seasonal produce.
The Shinola Hotel has brought a host of small businesses back to the area that are well worth a visit – whether you come from the suburbs or are in Detroit for the first time.
Detroit is back!