A sweeping renovation to an historic Neo-Renaissance skyscraper in Detroit’s Grand Circus Park Historic District creates an interior that seamlessly blends the building’s gilded grandeur with a genuine sense of approachability. The heart of the renovation is the soaring four-story atrium that sits beneath an ornate skylight. Elaborate white terra cotta stonework, rich slabs of marble and accents of mahogany and gold provide a sophisticated backdrop for finishes and furnishing that set a more residential and intimate tone. At once elegant and informal, the space welcomes guests and locals to unwind in Detroit’s Grand Living Room.

The hotel’s understated reception area is tucked into an inviting corner off the main atrium. Visitors are greeted by deep mahogany paneled millwork and soaring coffered ceilings. Chesterfield sofas, rows of hardbound books and crackling fires evoke the plush parlors and reading rooms of eras long past and offer the perfect respite from the fast-paced clip of the modern world. Off the reception area, through a graceful archway, sits the lobby bar. Simple and understated, it’s the ideal setting to recapture some of the glamour of travel before turning in for the night.

Stepping into the guestrooms at the David Whitney is like going through a portal into a gentler, more gracious time. Inspired by the legendary hospitality of Mr. Whitney and his wife, Flora, the guestrooms pay homage to an era when the act of hosting was elevated to an art form.  Custom casegoods sit on a traditional Persian rug that is laced with deep reds, oranges, and blues. Rich wood trim accent a traditional William Morris wall covering detail at the upper walls and understated full-height drapery draw the visitor’s eye up to the room’s high ceiling and perfect proportions. Carved into the wall is a corbeled desk niche in a dark persimmon that houses a delicate desk, cane back chair and swooping sconce with a soft linen shade.

The guestrooms at the David Whitney achieve a timelessness that is indicative of spaces that emphasize taste and understated beauty over trends, a space that has the sort of sophisticated effortlessness reminiscent of a genuinely gracious host. The result is accommodation that makes everyone feel perfectly at home, not a guest at all.


Detroit, Michigan




John D'Angelo

  • Interior Design
  • Furniture Specification
  • Furniture Procurement
Project Team
  • Patrick Thompson
  • Jennifer Bueso
  • Mary Eskin
  • Heather McKeon
  • Katelyn McCoy
  • Scott Furkas