If there’s one thing that’s sure to change your mind about the accommodation, food, and shopping options in the slowly-but-surely-reviving city of Detroit, it’s a night or two (or four) at The Townsend Hotel.

In the 16 years since its grand opening, the 150 room hotel has become the place to stay for visiting celebrities and sports stars (whom the professionally discreet staff refers to as “those really tall people”). It would be fair to say that the elite are attracted to the 2006 Conde Nast Traveler Gold List award-winning property because it’s a luxe, private haven in the swanky Detroit suburb of Birmingham.

But you don’t have to be trying to elude the paparazzi to appreciate the hotel and its location, especially if you’re a shopper.

The tidy, tree-lined, village-like blocks surrounding the hotel are home to a weeks’ worth of shopping for everything from chic and cheeky baby clothes to heirloom quality jewelery to gorgeous additions for your home and your closet. Think Lily Pulitzer, Design Within Reach, Nicole Miller, Waterworks plus dozens of locally owned boutiques bursting with charm.

All that credit card swiping and shopping bag hoisting is sure to work up an appetite. When hunger strikes, one of Detroit’s most passionately-loved local hamburger joints is just a few blocks off the main shopping drag. The tiny, no-frills Hunter House Hamburgers (you’ll eat sitting on a stool at the counter and don’t expect anything but burgers on the menu) attracts quick-snackers like you, flirting teenagers, harried moms grabbing take out for the gang and older couples who seem to have been eating there for years. Or grab a Greek salad and a Coney Dog (a Detroit invention, not a Coney Island specialty) at nearby Leo’s Coney Island diner-style restaurant. Either option will have you fueled up and back in the shops in no time.

For a more elegant—but not stuffy—meal, don’t miss The Townsend Hotel’s Rugby Grille, recipient of a 2006 Best Restaurant award from the Zagat Survey. I’m still dreaming about the grapefruit segments stewed in lavender infused honey that I enjoyed one morning for breakfast.

Back in your room, the hotel has thoughtfully lined all the drawers so you can chicly unpack your new clothing purchases. And speaking of chic, bathrooms feature a Jacuzzi tub and L’Occitane and Bulgari bath products that let you soak in style. But the best part of the room is saved for last. In a world where hotels seem to have gone bananas for beds, the Townsend’s takes the cake with an extra-deep mattress dressed in Egyptian cotton sheet that can best be described as creamy (not too silky, not too stiff) and topped off with a  custom-made Italian duvet from Linea Roma.

You don’t so much get into this bed as melt into it, which makes it dangerously tempting to never get out again. But complimentary coffee with your wake up call helps—as does the lure of all those shops just waiting for you a few steps away.

The Townsend Hotel
100 Townsend Street

, Michigan 48009
Phone: (248) 642-7900



Our review of this hotel was originally published by iTraveliShop

Visit our Travel Features page and our Hotel & Restaurant Reviews page to see all of our freelance travel stories.

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