The Artsy Trumbull and Porter Detroit Hotel
April 3, 2020
Riley Contributor Mary Noe pays a visit to Motor City to sample the chic accommodations at Trumbull and Porter Detroit, the city’s trendiest luxury boutique hotel
Nothing about ‘The D’ these days is typical, and that holds true for one of Detroit’s best boutique hotels. With a history as eclectic as the evolution of Motor City itself, what started as a basic Holiday Inn during the 1960s has been reborn as the striking Trumbull and Porter Hotel, a recently renovated artistic retreat in historic Corktown.
Trumbull and Porter was the first boutique hotel to open in Detroit, and was responsible for starting the craze of boutique developments throughout the city. Trumbull and Porter’s leadership team (including Barry Caplan of Access Hotels & Resorts) worked with Patrick Thompson Design on the property renovation, and enlisted Laura Reagan of Easel Art Consulting to assist in curating pieces to incorporate into the redesign.
This collaboration and local inspiration influenced every design decision, from the selection of art to the design of the guest rooms and public spaces. A strong sense of community and artistic pride is found throughout the property, which is also home to the acclaimed Red Dunn Kitchen and a spacious outdoor courtyard and bar area that’s a warm weather hot spot for live music and amazing Motor City views.
Trumbull and Porter Detroit – Luxury with an Artistic Esthetic
In the current hotel landscape, trendy and industrial can lean towards cold and impersonal. But not at Trumbull and Porter Detroit, an Ascend Hotel Collection member. While the artwork, design, and attention to detail support meaningful and serious devotion to Detroit and its environs, humor and luxe comfort is mixed in.
Throughout the property, fun but significant design details are centered around items that pay homage to Detroit and its past. The main lobby and lounge areas are reminiscent of a comfortable mid-century modern living room, with low-slung custom furniture perfect for gathering. Two vintage typewriters from the Burroughs Adding Machine Company – founded in Detroit in 1886 – are displayed in the aptly named Burroughs Lounge, which features an espresso bar serving Detroit’s own Cadillac coffee and delectable house-made pastries.
The theme of the adjacent Red Dunn Kitchen, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, was sparked by a portrait of a champion cockerel that was discovered on-site during the hefty renovation. The seasonal scratch kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and delivers room service.
Sleek lighting fixtures designed by local craftsman Colin Tury emit a moody glow over the soft leather wrap-around booths in the hip bar, which is detailed in dark blue tile. The low-key gathering spot serves the full restaurant menu, and is a local favorite for cocktails, beer from Detroit’s Batch Brewing Company, and late-night chats.
Luxury Lifestyles Indoors and Outdoors
The main open-concept restaurant space and the private dining room both open onto an outdoor courtyard that doubles as a beer garden during the warmer months. Rimmed with the hotel’s iconic murals, the spacious lawn area is outfitted with a ‘cowboy kettle campfire’ ringed with comfy Adirondack chairs. The seasonal outdoor Pump Room bar features specialty cocktails, and an outdoor stage is perfect for al fresco concerts with the Detroit skyline as an impressive backdrop.
The 144 guest rooms are furnished with clean-lined custom furniture crafted by Michigan artisans, including Herman Miller side tables and desk chairs. Prints from Detroit Type Wood Co cheekily remind guests that Detroit is the ‘Paris of the Midwest’. High-quality linens, luxury bath products, robes, slippers, and ultra-soft blankets made exclusively for the hotel ensure that guests will enjoy the trendy vibe wrapped in comfort.
Windows in city-view rooms frame the Detroit skyline and offer a stunning panorama of Motown and the Canadian city of Windsor across the Detroit River. Room service from Red Dunn Kitchen is another available plus.
Riley Recommends: During the warmer months, reserve a ground-floor patio room for easy access to the outdoor courtyard.
Showcasing Detroit’s Murals and Artists
Some of Detroit’s best visual artists were commissioned to create work for Trumbull and Porter, and the artwork and craftsmanship displayed throughout the property is beautifully curated to engage and stimulate.
Massive murals on the outside walls of the hotel signal that something special is going on inside. A bold composition by Corktown’s Don Kilpatrick beckons above the lobby entrance. Detroit artist Ouizi’s marvelous Wildflowers of Michiganmural adorns one of the hotel’s larger exterior walls – vivid petals set against a dark background, detailing iconic Michigan flowers that bloom during spring and summer.
Another favorite outdoor mural is Michelle Tanguay’s Space, which pairs bold geometric shapes against a pale background.
Says Tanguay: “While designing the hotel mural, I found myself thinking of the David Blair quote, ‘I stay even when I go’. The quote inspired me to create geometric shapes that are descending away from the wall leaving a shadow, a shadow symbolic of our memories of Detroit that will live on with us even when we go.”
Tanguay is referring to beloved poet, songwriter, and spoken word artist David Blair, who adopted Detroit as his hometown and passed away in 2011. Blair was an inspiration for much of Trumbull and Porter’s aesthetic warmth. The words of his poem Detroit (While I Was Away) are an homage to Motor City, and are emblazoned across the main lobby lounge wall. His thoughts, ‘I stay, even when I go’, serve as a credo for the property, and are inscribed on the guest room note cards.
Local creator Dustin Cook’s Shape Shifter is displayed in Burroughs Lounge. The vibrantly-hued piece is “all about the signals, logos, old painted signs, graffiti and more that we experience and see in Detroit. Layered symbols and shapes that have this constant feeling of movement, sound, and playfulness embody Detroit’s core. The hotel is a true representation of the re-birth of the city through the help of artwork.”
Best Places to Visit in Detroit for Downtown Attractions
Trumbull and Porter’s Corktown home, in Detroit’s oldest existing neighborhood, has a compelling story as well. According to The Detroit Historical Society, the area gleaned its name from the many Irish immigrants who fled to Detroit from County Cork during the Great Potato Famine in the 1840s.
Over the decades to follow, Corktown became a dynamic, multi-cultural neighborhood. The area’s remaining residential section was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is designated as a Historic District of the City of Detroit. Along with much of Motor City, Corktown has been rejuvenating since the early 2000s, and the area is now home to some of ‘The D’s’ best restaurants, bars, breweries, and specialty shops.
Trumbull and Porter is a hip anchor in Corktown and has been an integral part of the area’s revival, and is fast becoming one of best places to visit in the city for luxury lifestyles and unique experiences. The hotel is located less than a mile from the historic Michigan Central Station, the distinguished but derelict former train depot which is being meticulously restored by Ford Motor Company as the cornerstone of their new Corktown campus. This 1.2 million-square-foot innovation hub for Ford’s electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle teams will continue to breathe new life into this trend-setting neighborhood.
Trumbull and Porter’s quiet location is conveniently close to the most popular downtown Detroit attractions. Catch a Detroit Red Wings or Pistons game at the brand new Little Caesars Arena, check out the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, or cheer on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Other fun things to do in Detroit include visiting the nearby MGM Grand Detroit Casino, the Renaissance Center, Cobo Convention Center, the Ambassador Bridge (gateway to Canada), the Henry Ford Museum, and the Greektown and Mexicantown neighborhoods.
Riley Recommends: Rent Trumbull and Porter’s custom-made cycles, designed by Detroit Bikes (the city’s premier bicycle manufacturer) and head to the Detroit Riverwalk. This 3.5 path along the Detroit River offers nature areas, parks, fountains, restaurants, and gorgeous views of both Detroit and Canada.
A Unique Artisan Experience at Trumbull and Porter Detroit
The Detroit boutique hotel and artisan experience continues to evolve at Trumbull and Porter as new artwork is added. Staff members are professional and welcoming and seem happy to be there – and happy to share their piece of Detroit with guests.
Indeed, Trumbull and Porter may be the perfect representation of ‘We Are Detroit’. In a city fiercely protective of its people, its history, and its legacy, the hotel team’s philosophy seems to mirror that of Detroit: ‘Community Is What Makes Us Strong – Together We Are Better’.
From the thoughtful and thought-provoking design details to the engaging staff members, Trumbull and Porter showcases the best of Detroit in a vibrant boutique property. To learn more about this chic luxury hotel, visit the Turnbull and Porter Detroit website at https://trumbullandporterhotel.com.
Contributor Mary Noe is a freelance writer who offers a fresh approach on local happenings, keeping readers current on travel, community, and lifestyle trends.