Detroit still gets a bad rap these days and I’ll even admit that I was a bit nervous about visiting the Motor City.
Thankfully, after a few days exploring downtown Detroit and the surrounding neighborhoods I realized that the media has blown everything out of proportion and that this lovely Michigan city is perfectly safe for tourists.
During my time in Detroit I was fortunate enough to stay at the Trumbull and Porter Hotel, part of the Ascend Hotel Collection. The Trumbull and Porter recently received a huge multimillion dollar renovation and refurbishment that helped to turn it into more of a boutique hotel rather than just your typical chain/corporate property.
With so many different hotels in Detroit to chose from I believe it’s a good idea to go with one that’s able to offer a more unique and personal experience. Not only is this bound to be more memorable but hotels and accommodation that offer these features can even enhance your trip.
The Trumbull and Porter Hotel definitely meets these requirements and it’s safe to say that it totally made my visit to Detroit better than it otherwise would have been.
The staff were friendly and able to give me insider tips on places to eat and areas to explore nearby. The unique restaurant located at the hotel offered a fine dining experience with a much more laid back vibe. And having other awesome amenities, like the bike rentals, made it easier for me to explore the surrounding area.
As for visiting Detroit, it’s a reasonable 4 hour drive from Toronto including a border crossing and it offers much more when it comes to eating out, things to do, and local activities compared to Buffalo.
For such a long drive it’s a lot easier to spend a night or two in the city to make the most of it and the Trumbull and Porter is perfect for this as it’s near to the bridge border crossing and it’s really easy to access from the highway.
In this post I want to talk a little more about the hotel, the experience that I had during my visit, and share some helpful tips if you’re planning on visiting the property yourself.
The Trumbull and Porter: A Boutique Hotel in Downtown Detroit
Like I mentioned above the Trumbull and Porter Hotel just went through a $9 million renovation that took more than 6 months to complete.
Interestingly enough all of the work done on the property was sourced from local business and companies. For example, the mural outside on the wall was painted by Don Kilpatrick, a local Detroit artist. The custom lighting inside was designed by another local Detroit designer, Colin Tury.
Outside there are bikes that you can rent and these are from Detroit Bikes and were designed specifically for Trumbull and Porter. There are drinks available on the property from Crazy Fresh Coffee and Batch Brewing, two more local companies.
So there really is a lot of local love that went into upgrading the property to its current state and this really shows the dedication that the Ascend Collection has to helping businesses maintain their local roots and connection to the community.
The surrounding neighborhood, known as Corktown, is also experiencing a revival as small business owners and entrepreneurs are moving in to take advantage of the now growing community and affordable rent to get their own businesses up and running. The downtown Detroit area is just a short 20-minute walk away or you could just rent one of the bikes available and be there in 5 minutes.
Some of the other features of the Trumbull and Porter include the Red Dunn Kitchen, an incredible casual yet fine dining restaurant on-site, a variety of different rooms – some of which offer an incredible view of the city, free water and access to a well-equipped gym, and both free and secured parking.
Of course you’ll find suitable wifi to use to stay connected while you’re traveling as well as 24-hour front desk reception so there’s always someone available to help you if you have any questions.
Rates for the hotel start at around $130 depending on the room you choose and how far in advance you place your booking. As for the rooms, there are a few different room types that vary in size and features. I recommend going with a ground floor room if you want to take advantage of a small patio or a higher floor room if you’re hoping for a view of the city.
My Stay at the Trumbull and Porter
I stayed in a Queen Room on the ground floor of the property. I was hoping for something with a view but I was glad to find that my room came with a small private patio that offered a nice view of the interior courtyard.
The room itself was rather spacious and came with a comfortable queen bed, a small couch, desk, plenty of counter space, and a clothing rack.
One thing I noticed right away is that the floor retained its original exposed concrete design rather than being carpeted over. This really helped to add an industrial feel to the room and added to the overall boutique theme of the property.
The bed was comfortable enough, although it was on a slight angle so it took some getting used to, and the large window let in plenty of natural light throughout the day.
Having the desk was a great feature as it allowed me to get some work done without having to sit on the couch or lay on the bed while using my laptop.
One more thing I’d like to mention about the room is that the clothing rack was actually designed by another local Detroit artist so you really get a true community connection when you’re staying in the rooms here at this property.
For two people the room definitely offered enough room to move around and plenty of options for seating or relaxing without bumping into one another.
The bathroom at the Trumbull and Porter was about what you would expect from a hotel and didn’t really come with any unique features or aspects.
Some amenities were provided, in case you forgot anything at home, and I really liked the little bathroom cart that you could use to store your own bathroom essentials on without having to balance everything precariously on the sink.
The bathroom was split into two parts, one with the sink and the other with the shower and toilet, so two people could use it at the same time depending on what you needed.
The shower was a shower/bathtub combination and I didn’t like that the shower head was fixed to the wall, rather than being removable on a hose, which made it harder to use especially for women.
Turning the shower on was also rather unusual and there was a cutout in the glass where you would stick your arm through to fiddle with the knobs to get the shower running. I guess this was a practical design but I found it cramped and annoying to use.
Some other bathroom features including slippers, a bathrobe, hair dryer, iron, and plenty of towels.
Despite having a simple design the bathroom was practical and well-equipped for two people for a short term stay.
I really liked the vibe at Trumbull and Porter and I’m glad that more and more American hotels are going after the “boutique hotel” aspect that you find a lot in Europe.
The check-in process was simple and right after walking into the main entrance I was immediately greeted by one of the receptionists. Less than a few minutes later and I was equipped with information about Detroit and already on my way.
The lobby featured a large seating area with plenty of comfortable chairs and couches. In the corner right beside the on-site restaurant was a small cafe where you could get a nice coffee and relax after a long day exploring the city.
There was a small gift shop where you could buy the blankets and robes that are found in the room and there was even a nifty computer workstation where you could look up more information about Detroit, find somewhere cool to eat nearby, or just send some emails.
I really liked the fruit infused water in the lobby and it was great coming back to the hotel for some ice-cold water waiting and ready to drink.
One more feature about the property I liked was the small courtyard. Depending on when you visit there might be a real fire roaring away and you can sit around the flames and hang with your travel partners or talk to the other guests.
On the third floor of the hotel was a fairly well-equipped gym with dumbbells up to 50 pounds, weight benches, and some other cardio exercise equipment.
The hotel has a great location just 20 minutes away from the heart of downtown Detroit.
It’s also easily accessible by car if you’re driving and Uber/taxi drivers would have no issues finding the property.
I found the area to be completely safe and my girlfriend and I were walking around at night without feeling scared or worrying about the neighborhood that the hotel is in.
Corktown, the neighborhood where the hotel is located, is a historic district just outside of the downtown area and over the past few years it has experienced a renaissance. There are a lot of new businesses starting up, plenty of quirky little shops, cafes, and restaurants to check out, and people are starting to move into the neighborhood which is helping to turn it around in the right direction.
Helpful Tips for Visiting
There is free parking on the hotel property as well as secured parking in a gated lot in the back.
I don’t actually recommend the secured parking unless you’re really worried about your car. It was a hassle to come in and out all the time and it was easier to leave the car out front.
Unless you’re driving a high-end luxury vehicle then you should have no issues parking in the free parking spaces out front.
I also think that the hotel should include parking in the rate rather than gouging customers an extra $10+ per night for secure parking.
I recommend walking downtown rather than driving and trying to find somewhere to park. It’s really easy to walk to anywhere in the downtown area and you can even easily reach the stadium on foot if you’re visiting for a game.
You could also order an Uber if you don’t feel like walking or just rent one of the bikes for a quicker and healthier form of transportation.
Detroit is full of shopping opportunities with some great malls and outlet malls if you want to get some shopping done during your trip.
For outlet mall shopping I recommend checking out the Great Lakes Crossing Outlet on the outskirts of the city.
I found Detroit to be a very safe place to visit and as long as you avoid the more “problematic” neighborhoods outside of the core it’s very unlikely that you’ll run into any issues.
My girlfriend and I walked almost everywhere through many different neighborhoods and areas and no one approached us nor did we see anything remotely dangerous happen.
Everyone we spoke to told us Detroit was safe and I definitely found this to be the case during my visit!
- Visit the hotel website
- Read more guest reviews on TripAdvisor
- More information about Detroit
- Check out my other hotel reviews