I just got back from a whirlwind 10 day road trip that culminated in Chicago, IL, where I attended the BlogHer and TBEX conferences. It was an action packed week and a half, which started with a delightful stay (is there any other kind?) at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan.
Ritz-Carlton Dearborn, Michigan
You heard me right, yes, there’s a Ritz in Detroit.
When I was putting together the itinerary for this roadtrip, which included picking up a Ford Mustang in Dearborn, my contact at Ford mentioned that the Dearborn Ritz is very close to the corporate offices.
“There’s a Ritz in Detroit?” I said, trying to keep the amazement out of my voice because I’m polite like that.
“Yes! And it’s really affordable, and nice,” she replied.
Since I have a great PR contact for the Ritz, my next call was to her. She confirmed the existence of the property, and even better offered to comp a night there so I could try it out. I’m smart, I immediately said “YES, PLEASE!”
It was a quick visit, but I was able to check out all of the things I care about: room comfort, cashews, mirrors & lighting.
Pretty room at the Ritz-Carlton Dearborn
The Dearborn Ritz-Carlton seems to be one of the older properties. It was impeccably clean, just a little staid in the decor. We had a room with two double beds, and it was a decent size, not huge, but spacious enough for two adults to be comfortable. It was surprising to see that the TV wasn’t an HD flat screen, but it really didn’t make any difference to us. We watched “Grease” and it was just as Shamalama Ding Dong magical as ever.
The bathroom was good sized, the shower cap thoughtfully came with a little hair tie, and the amenities were these gorgeous smelling Bulgari soaps and lotions. Slathering them on, you totally get that “Yeah, I’m at the Ritz, baby!” feeling of luxury.
The Mini-Bar Situation
The Hospitality Suite, where they keep the free booze & candy
There is no mini-bar at this Ritz … because they don’t need one. Instead there is a Hospitality Suite on the top floor where they have five different “food presentations” through the day. In wedding planning lingo, this translates to “heavy hors d’oeuvres all day, all night.” Over the course of four visits (during a 12 hour stay, yes, we were a little embarrassed, but it was irresistible!) we sampled bruschetta, fresh fruit salad, s’mores, and bagels with smoked salmon. And so much more!
The Hospitality Suite also is stocked with Ritz-Carlton branded bottled waters, sodas, coffee, teas, and bottom-less bowls of Rolos, Reese’s peanut butter cups, cookies, granola bars, and more snacks galore.
There are comfy chairs, a beautiful view, and did I mention the open bar? Red, white and sparkling wine, plus your basic hard liquors in drinkable brands, i.e. Absolute vodka. And there was always a gracious attendant on hand to get you anything else necessary to make you happy.
And Then We Got Room Service
Don’t judge, but yes we also ordered room service (which we paid for — only the room was comp’d.) Maybe because the last place I got room service was in NYC, these prices seemed amazingly affordable to me. The usual litmus test, a pot of coffee, was only $8. I’ve been charged as much $40 for one, to give you some perspective.
There was a nice range of pasta ($13 for penne), salads ($9 for a Caesar) and burgers ($15) on the menu, with a great kids menu that included a PB&J with the crust cut off for just $7. Nice touch with the crust, right? But of course it is the Ritz.
Mirrors & Lighting
The dark and classic lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Dearborn
Light is always my issue in hotels. There is usually a good reading light by the bed, but the rest of the room is in shadows and darkness. Why is it so hard to make the rest of the room bright enough to do stuff like repack your bags that are filled with black clothing? Or put on makeup anywhere besides the bathroom?
Our room at the Dearborn Ritz was tastefully lit, but it wasn’t very bright. I decided to wait until the morning, when I could open the curtains, and let in sunlight, to repack my bags.
Having more mirrors in the room would have helped a lot, both to amplify the lighting, and to make it easier to get ready. Besides the mirror in the bathroom, there was only one other mirror, behind the closet door. It was inconveniently far away from both the lights and the window, so we couldn’t use it to do makeup.
Thanks to the doorman for taking this photo!
You stay at a Ritz-Carlton for the service, and the Dearborn property definitely holds up that tradition. I heard “It’s my pleasure” echoing off the walls, and it was always delivered in a sincere, low-key way. After helping us load our bags into our cherry red 2010 Mustang, the doorman spent another ten minutes taking pictures for us and giving us directions to our next stop.
A quick check on the Ritz-Carlton site just pulled up rates starting at $139/night. While you can certainly get a less expensive room in the Dearborn/Detroit area, that’s a pretty amazing rate for a night at a luxury hotel. I’d stay there again just for the Hospitality Suite and the Bulgari amenities!