Friday, Jun. 04, 2010

Atheneum Suite Hotel

The Atheneum certainly has location working for it: It's right in the heart of Greektown's vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene and convenient to theaters, Comerica Park, and Ford Field football stadium. The 174-suite hotel's Greek theme is apparent from the moment you step into the dark, high-ceilinged lobby, with its two-story mural of muscular gods lounging in decadent Mount Olympus style. While all rooms are spacious and well-appointed, ask for one of the newly updated suites. Otherwise, there's a chance you'll wind up with a huge hot tub practically in the center of the suite — which, depending on your perspective (and companion), might seem embarrassingly awkward or wonderfully kitschy.

Insider Tip: The Greektown Casino is right down the block from the hotel, so look into the hotel's perennial Greektown Casino Package, which includes a gambling voucher and dinner at the famed Pegasus Taverna.

Room to Book: Senators suites have conference tables, a wet bar, flat-screen TVs and whirlpool tubs (comfortably located in the bathroom).

MGM Grand Detroit Hotel

With a Vegas-esque level of luxury, complete with plasma TVs in the bathroom mirrors, the MGM Grand is a rare find in the Motor City. When this $800 million property opened in October 2007, most of the focus was on the glitzy 100,000-sq.-ft. casino and roster of celebrity chef-run restaurants. But the attached 18-story hotel is plush enough to warrant attention even from nongamblers. Decorated in soothing shades of tan, burgundy and olive, the resort's 400 rooms offer pristine sanctuary in sharp contrast to the frenetic casino scene.

Insider Tip: Unfortunately, there's not much worth walking to near the hotel, but a free shuttle ferries guests to and from downtown attractions.

Room to Book: Corner suites are huge — a whopping 1,000 square feet — and boast floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows for city views.

The Inn at St. John's

In an upscale suburb halfway between downtown and Ann Arbor, this former seminary and Archdiocese of Detroit headquarters reopened as a 118-room boutique hotel in 2006. A sense of peace still imbues the property, which includes an Italianate medieval chapel that can host 300 guests. Rooms boast 12-ft. ceilings, beds draped with an inviting mountain of pillows, granite countertops in bathrooms, and views of woods and the hotel's 27-hole golf course.

Insider Tip: With such a chapel, the hotel is a magnet for weddings; avoid weekends unless you don't mind the likelihood of encountering late-night partiers.

Room to Book: Ambassador suites feature separate dining rooms and balconies that overlook the manicured garden.

The Inn on Ferry Street

Four turn-of-the-century mansions and two carriage houses have been transformed into this delightful 40-room inn, located on a quiet residential street near the Detroit Institute of Arts. Owners worked diligently to restore the place to period grandeur, polishing Victorian turrets, grand fireplaces and ornate staircase railings. They also installed elegant, modern bathrooms and adorned rooms with antiques and four-poster beds. Welcome touches include cookies on arrival, coffee, tea and fresh fruit available all day, a huge breakfast spread in the exquisite main parlor, plus Wi-Fi, all complimentary. Word has it a friendly female ghost decked in a wedding dress roams the halls at night.

Insider Tip: Take time out to read by the roaring fireplace in the Scott House parlor.

Room to Book: The Asian-influenced second floor suite in the Roehm House offers a private balcony and Jacuzzi tub.

Westin Book Cadillac

Shuttered for almost a quarter-century, this grand 1924 hotel recently underwent a $200 million makeover courtesy of Westin. The stunning limestone and brick Italian Renaissance-style exterior was lovingly preserved, while the interior wrapped its renovation in 2008. Three ballrooms, two restaurants, pool, spa and a sophisticated lobby bar are now in prime condition, as are 455 guest rooms, all of which are large but vary in layout and configuration, as they had to fit inside the Roaring Twenties-era building.

Insider Tip: Head to the hotel chophouse, Roast, for wild boar rack with salsa verde and pickled chile.

Room to Book: Traditional King rooms are standard but spacious, and decorated with clean-line modern furniture and flat-screen televisions.