Away From The Leather And Towards The Light: Shinola Opens First Hotel In Detroit



If you’d heard the name Shinola before, we wouldn’t be surprised. The seven-year-old company (a baby by America’s standards, especially when compared to giants like Tiffany and Co.) is currently reaching outside of its comfort zone of watch and leather goods to create a branch in a new sector: the hospitality industry. After a celebratory grand opening ceremony in mid-December, the new, shiny Shinola hotel is set to fully open its doors on January 2, 2019.

Just how does an American luxury goods brand break into the hotel business? The industries do have some similarities: both sell luxury, either in material form or through an experience.

In the end, up to 95% of new products will fail, and the services industry can be equally cutthroat. Despite the risk, the watch and leather goods maker saw an opportunity and partnered with Dan Gilbert’s real estate firm Bedrock to set down high-quality hospitality roots in Detroit.

“The hotel is outfitted to host unforgettable events, either within the exquisite hard-wood floored ballroom, or the garden-like, glass-enclosed Conservatory, or within one of the six other dining spaces offering menus ranging from southern Italian to craft beer and snacks,” Bedrock wrote in a news release.

Given their history caring for and crafting high quality leather goods, we’re sure the 129 guest rooms — with their 50 different room configurations that are “beautifully appointed with custom millwork,” boast “wallpaper inspired by patterns found during the renovation process,” and even Shinola audio equipment — will be well-treated and meticulously maintained; after all, a leather goods manufacturer knows that leather must be conditioned every six months to ensure the piece’s beauty and durability are reinforced.

In keeping with its luxurious retail past, the Shinola offers unique in-house shopping opportunities.

“Specially-curated onsite shopping options within historic storefronts and lining the brick alley offer a mix of global brands like Madewell and Le Labo and homegrown businesses like Drought and Good Neighbor that celebrate the Detroit entrepreneurial spirit Shinola embodies.”

Add in a Southern Italian themed restaurant run by Andrew Carmellini (a James Beard winner and a Michelin Star-rated chef who has 25 years of experience in the biz), and you’ve got a guaranteed success. The ceremonial lighting of its exterior signage in Downtown Detroit took place during the grand opening in December; since it’s been proven that anyone living within a five-mile radius will see that iconic sign between 50 and 60 times a month, there’s no doubt that business will start rolling in.

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