Luxury Watch Brand’s Shinola Hotel Makes Waves in Detroit

02.20.19 | By
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The luxury brand Shinola, most often associated with premium watches and leather goods, has set foot into the world of hospitality and it’s making waves in America. With a clear decision to not be clumped into the same cluster of hotels along the East and West coasts, the Shinola Hotel is a refreshing and modern 129-room residence in the heart of Detroit that shows how spaces can look both fancy and familiar.

Designed by Gachot Studios with architecture by Kraemer Design Group, they took an old T B Rayl & Co hardware store and Singer sewing machine shop and created a coherent design aesthetic throughout the interiors filled with warm caramels, deep greens and a “Shinola blue” — a color specially designed by Gachot Studios from a paint chip in the original Singer building.

Shinola saw this project as a way to bring manufacturing back through the industrial veins in Detroit. The hotel, they imagined, would provide jobs for local residents, especially because the leather components for Shinola products (some of which are exclusively designed for this hotel) would be assembled in Shinola’s factory in Detroit.

Shinola and Bedrock worked with creative studios around Michigan to produce and manufacture much of the furniture, wall coverings and accessories that adorn the hotel. Pewabic was tapped to make ceramics, Boom Stone Company for the stone finishes in the guest rooms, and Great Lakes Stainless for the decorative metals in the hotel’s public spaces.

Shinola has received its share of criticism in recent years. The Federal Trade Commission in 2016 ordered Shinola to stop using the phrase “Where America is Made” because certain watches under the brand were produced completely outside the United States.

Nevertheless, the Shinola Hotel has big aspirations. It hopes to become Detroit’s “living room” and do its part in promoting Detroit as a lifestyle destination to domestic and international travelers.

What: Shinola Hotel
Where: 1400 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
How much? Room prices start at USD $225
Highlights: A modern hotel transformed from an old Singer sewing factory aspires to become the “living room” of Downtown Detroit.
Design draw: This luxurious hotel uses made in America furniture, wall coverings, ceramics and stone and bronze finishes to pay tribute to the industrial beat of Detroit.
Book it: Visit Shinola Hotel

Photos courtesy of Nicole Franzen for Shinola Hotel.

Keshia grew up in Singapore and moved to the U.S. to attend Dartmouth College. When she was living abroad after graduation, a chance enrollment at the Architectural Association Visiting School led to her becoming enamored with door schedules and architectural écriture. She's particularly interested in design for aging, rural architecture, and Asian design heritage.