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Think fast. Where is the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere? New York? Chicago? Toronto?…..
All good guesses but the answer is surprisingly Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center at 73 stories makes it the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere.
A few weekends ago, I grabbed 2 free Southwest award tickets (One on points, one using a Companion Pass) from Denver to Detroit to attend a wedding hosted at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance. I am not a big Marriott guy so initially I was looking at a SPG redemption at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit which looked quite nice. However, after receiving the invite with a great negotiated rate and learning that the wedding party would be blocked into top floors, the Marriott was a no brainer.
Upon landing at DTW, we grabbed a dirt cheap weekend rental from hotwire and drove the short 25 minutes to downtown Detroit. The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is the center cylindrical tower of the General Motors headquarter complex in downtown Detroit.
There was a self-park option but the upcharge for valet was minimal so we went that route. At check in, the desk agent recognized my Silver elite status and let us know we were blocked into a King on the 63rd floor. As a result, we were directed to the High Rise elevator block.
To me, a Marriott is a Marriott is a Marriott. I find an extremely high level of consistency across the chain, which admittedly is great for most but bores me a bit. This hotel room fit the standard Marriott mold. The room was clean but a little dated. There was a large King bed which was comfortable along with a desk and a sitting chair.
The real draw with this hotel is the view from the room, not the room itself. The hotel features floor to ceiling windows in every room looking out over the Detroit metro area and across the border to Windsor, Canada. The views are spectacular from this hotel because it is by far the tallest building in the city. As someone who frequently selects hotels based on the view from the room, I never thought one of the highest hotel rooms I will ever be assigned would be in Detroit of all places.
The bathroom was functional and was stocked with the Orange Ginger products from Bath and Body Works products.
The reception was held on the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, Coach Insignia. The 360 degree views from the 72nd floor along with the food served were nothing short of spectacular. The next morning we nursed our wedding hangovers with mimosas at the hotel’s forty-two degree north restaurant. The breakfast buffet was quite tasty.
Detroit is actually pretty cool
Generally speaking, Detroit has a pretty negative reputation and rarely tops any best places in the US to visit list. I have been a few times before but stayed primarily in the suburbs with mixed results. Since our hotel was located downtown, we set out to find a few fun things to do downtown and enjoy the city for what it is.
A short drive from downtown is The Heidelberg Project. The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art project located on a block on the East side of Detroit. Artists have essentially taken over a near abandoned street in a rougher part of downtown and transformed it into an outdoor museum. It was quirky and fun.
Living in Chicago Bears country, I know getting into two seats at Soldier Field for even the worst of regular season games can run you North of 500 USD. With an extra day outside of the wedding festivities, we thought we’d try our luck in a smaller market with the Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings game. I went onto the NFL Ticket Exchange and found loads of reasonably priced tickets for the Sunday game. We ended up scoring two tickets in the 8th row for under 200 USD total. Ford Field is only a 10 minute walk from the hotel so this plan worked out nicely.
The game was relatively low scoring but we had a blast checking out a new stadium and cheering for ‘Megatron’, Calvin Johnson.
The bottom line
I am not a big Marriott fan but I am a fan of hotel rooms with a view. The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center has incredible views for the price tag and I was very happy with my decision to stay here. If nothing else, it is fun to brag to your friends that you stayed in the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere.