Inside The Historic Detroit Fire Department Headquarters That Found New Life As A Hotel

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For the past few years I have been patiently waiting for the Detroit Foundation Hotel to open. That wait is finally over.

The former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters went through extensive renovations to become a hotel.

The building we’re going to talk about today was built in 1929, but this plot of land, according to Historic Detroit, had consistently housed fire equipment from 1840 until the Detroit Fire Department moved out in 2013.

The location right across the street from Cobo Center and the amenities I’m about to show you are going to make this a go-to place to stay for those who have corporate spending accounts. For us locals, The Apparatus Room, being as well executed as it is, should make a neat addition to the drinking and dining scene.

Let’s take a look.

To say it exceeded my expectations is an understatement. This place is beautiful. The attention to detail is fantastic.

When you enter the hotel you will encounter the front desk. I personally love how small this lobby is, plus look at the front desk. It looks like it could have been your grandmother’s buffet.

There are two shelves that have goods for purchase in the lobby. You will be able to find all kinds of local goodies on these shelves. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.

I immediately noticed that they carry Sfumato Fragrances, and I might have cheered a bit. Which made my husband look at me like I was a weirdo. We just featured Kevin and Jane on our Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast.

The next big thing I saw was pieces from Encapsulate1 SHREDS from Detroit Wick. SHREDS takes pieces from guns that have been destroyed and turns them into pieces of art.

Once you are through the lobby you will find the Apparatus Room, which is the Detroit Foundation’s restaurant and bar.

I can definitely see myself coming over from our office for happy hour. Who am I kidding, this bar makes me want to have a liquid lunch.

I can just see sitting around that fire place later in the fall and winter. I’d probably spend some time checking out those newspaper clippings from a bygone era.

Let’s move over to the dining room and open air kitchen. The kitchen is ran by Executive Chef Thomas Lents.

During the party they had a spread of heavy appetizers and everything we tried was delicious. 
The restaurant will offer dinners breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week. They will also offer brunch on the weekends. If you are wanting to eat in the dining room, reservations are recommended.

Just a word to the wise, the bench seats have a lot of sink to them when you sit down.

While walking through the hallway to get to the Chef’s Table I looked up and saw yet another beautiful lighting fixture. Like I said, attention to detail. 

Does anyone else love the look of white subway tile?

The Chef’s Table is located on the second floor and overlooks the lobby and Apparatus Room.

The Chef’s Table will not only have ticket pre-fixed meals from Chef Lents but will also serve as an incubator for up and coming chefs.

One night you could be eating a $10 bowl of pho and the next night there could be a $300 meal from one of the best chefs in the world. While we were checking out the Chef’s Table we got the chance to try a hot and cold spring pea soup with a mint foam. My husband is not a fan of pea soup, but even he liked this amuse bouche.

Let’s get to the real meat and potatoes of this hotel…the rooms.

The Foundation has 100 guest rooms. Guests have a choice between queen, king, Junior Suite, and the Commissioner’s Room.

Welcome to the third floor of the Foundation Hotel. The Commissioner’s Room is located on this floor.

The art throughout the hotel features Detroit artists. This wall is filled with pieces from Don Kilpatrick.

I have a fascination with old windows. It’s probably because I am the daughter of a window washer.

Knock, knock housekeeping! Who needs a sock on the door when you have this slick leather privacy placard. 

It is a bit hard to see in this picture, but the wall was made up of reclaimed wood which was from Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit.

This trippy wallpaper is actually made up of architecture photos from around Detroit. The wallpaper was made by Detroit Wallpaper.

I’ve been in a lot of hotel rooms, and I have never seen a set up quite like this. I know you can’t see it from here, but in the middle of the dresser there is a charging station with two USB ports. Like I said, attention to detail.

Let’s take a closer look at what is on this shelving unit, because there are a ton of goodies on there.

The private bar is made up of goodies made in Detroit and Michigan. You’ve got Bon Bon Bon, Germack, McClure’s Pickle Chips, Mitten Bites, and Zingerman’s Candy Bars. As for the drinks you can find some Our/Detroit Vodka, local beer, and pop.

Each room also has a candle that was hand poured by Detroit Rose. Detroit Foundation Hotel also has it’s own fragrance by Detroit Rose called The Foundation Smoke. The Foundation Smoke is going to remind you a little bit of campfire.

There was one thing lacking in the rooms, and that was a coffee maker. I know I can’t be the only one who doesn’t use in room coffee makers. Anyway, guests can get a complimentary cup of coffee or tea if they trade in one of these fuses at the bar downstairs.

However, I know quite a few people that if they stayed in a place like this would smuggle in a flask of coffee and toss it in the mini fridge because they’d need it before they see other humans.

There is so much whimsy in this hotel, but it wasn’t shoved down our throat. My husband is one of those people who doesn’t look at the amenities for a hotel. He only really cares if the rooms are clean and that there isn’t bed bugs, so if he was impressed you know you’ve done something right.

I am really looking forward to staying at this hotel for a staycation. From what I have seen on the Detroit Foundation Hotel website the cheapest room is currently $209 for a night. This is pretty comparable to other hotels in the area.

The Detroit Foundation Hotel is now open and is located at 250 W. Larned Street Detroit, Michigan 48226.

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