Take an early look inside Detroit's Shinola Hotel

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Detroit — The time is ticking down for the opening of the Shinola Hotel.

With the finishing touches being put on one of the most-anticipated overnight destinations in the city's downtown, The Detroit News toured the hotel ahead of the Jan. 2 public opening.

Located in the lower Woodward Avenue shopping district, the Shinola already features several businesses in its 16,000-square-foot ground-floor space for food, beverage and retail.

A seating area with a large fireplace is a feature of the main lobby of the Shinola Hotel, which will open Jan. 2.

The venture between the Detroit-based watch and leather goods manufacturer and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert's real-estate firm, Bedrock, began taking reservations this week for its 129 guest rooms that feature more than 50 configurations. Rates start at $195 per night.

"The team’s been working incredibly hard on this project," Bedrock spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said. "Everyone is excited about what this will mean for Detroit."

The eight-floor hotel, operated by Mac&Lo Hospitality Management & Consulting, combines the restored buildings of the T.B. Rayl & Co. department store and a former Singer sewing-machine store with three new buildings. It also includes a ballroom and a glass-enclosed garden conservatory.

San Morello, the first of three restaurants in the Shinola from chef Andrew Carmellini and his NoHo Hospitality Group, joined locations for outfitter Madewell, local juice bar Drought and the hotel's namesake. The Italian restaurant opens to the public Tuesday.

The new Shinola Hotel is a venture between the Detroit-based watch and leather goods manufacturer and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert's real-estate firm, Bedrock.

Eichinger said the Shinola Hotel places "quality craftsmanship and flawless service at its foundation."

Each room features custom millwork and wallpaper inspired by Shinola audio equipment and patterns found during the renovation process. Guests' keys also may look different than a typical hotel's

“Instead of getting your traditional hotel keys, the rectangular ones that you see," said Andrew Leber, vice president of hospitality for Bedrock, "we’re doing effectively a copy of the technology in those keys, but they look like real keys.”

The Shinola's public living room space features the building’s original staircase and fabric print artwork covers the lobby’s walls. “Everything we’ve done on this project is frankly is not traditional, intentionally so,” Leber said.
The guest rooms mirror elements of the building’s historic details. Marble-pattern wallpaper found during demolition was reproduced and placed inside the bathrooms, Leber said.
Shinola’s brand is also evident in the design.  The bathroom faucet handles mimics the four rivets found on the back of a Shinola case back. “If you’re wearing the watch you’d see that level of detail,” Leber said. “It’s all about the attention to detail.” 
A seventh-floor guest room boasts the hotel’s automated drapery system. “You could control it by the bedside because otherwise you’d be pulling drapes for days trying to get comfortable for bed,” he said. 
Guests can lounge in Detroit-themed boxing robes. 

Leber said a team of 100 from Gachot Studios and Kraemer Design Group carefully selected every piece of art and furniture.  “Everything is in the details," he said.