The historic Book Cadillac, the grande dame of Detroit, was a former shadow of itself until the Cleveland-based Ferchill Group decided to take on this historic hotel and renovate it from top to bottom. With costs of around $200 million, the historic Book Cadillac has become a Westin Hotel property that also features 67 condominiums residences on the higher floors. The Westin Book Cadillac reopened its doors at the beginning of October of 2008 and a grand opening gala evening on October 25, 2008 will officially celebrate the restoration of this historic landmark hotel. I was absolutely fortunate to witness this stunning architectural rebirth just a few days after it became accessible to the public.
John Timko on the rooftop, in the background the Ambassador Bridge
On this sunny Monday morning I met with John Timko, the sales manager of the hotel, who started our tour with a trip to the rooftop of the hotel. Work crews were still working on the top level luxury condos which gave us a chance to go out on the rooftop of the hotel. 31 stories up and without any protective railings, this was a slightly hair-raising yet exhilarating experience.
One of the Westin’s ziggurat’s, framed by the historic Book Tower
I was enthralled by the ziggurats, the hotel’s crowning touches, which have been completely restored with new copper cladding since the original copper pieces had been stolen. The view of downtown Detroit and the Detroit River with Windsor on the other side of the Ambassador Bridge was simply breathtaking. Even more amazing is that once the condos are finished, there will not be any further access to the rooftop. I counted myself really lucky to have experienced the rooftop of the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.
The railings of the Venetian Ballroom are original
John continued the tour with the historic ballroom level which includes three ballrooms, including the Venetian Ballroom that was restored back to its 1924 glory, the true pride and joy of this property. The Italian Garden Room and Crystal Ballroom round out the historic meeting spaces that are located on this level. We also had a look at a variety of corporate meeting rooms as well as the Executive Center on the 19th floor. The Westin Executive Club floor with the concierge lounge is for the use of hotel guests and offers a fabulous view. The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel certainly offers everything a business or leisure traveler would ever want.
The Executive Center on the 19th floor
We also had a look at the Boulevard Room restaurant on the second floor which will be joined by “Roast”, a restaurant run by celebrity chef Michael Symon. The Motor Bar on the second level features cocktails and snacks in a beautifully restored high-ceilinged lounge area. Another restaurant, 24grille, will open in late January of 2009, and the WBC Grab & Go coffee shop, due also to open in January, will provide a casual bistro atmosphere.
Brand-new boardroom at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel
After a visit to the large brand-new Woodward Ballroom which can be subdivided into three segments, we had a sneak peek at the almost completed exercise and pool area. Only the most modern workout equipment awaits exercise-hungry hotel guests. We finished our tour with a view of the front façade of the hotel on Washington Boulevard which illustrates the grandeur of this Art Deco beauty. The Westin Book Cadillac certainly presides again regally over this grand avenue.
The swimming pool in the new addition
Afterwards we headed into the Boulevard Room restaurant to enjoy a delicious sampling of dishes provided by the expert chefs at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.
Under the Westin Hotel & Resorts brand, the historic Book Cadillac Hotel has been completely resurrected in all its glory, successfully combining a tasteful historic restoration with the most modern 21st century amenities. The two nights I spent in the hotel made me appreciate the ideal location of this landmark property that lets you explore all of Detroit’s downtown sights on foot.
My delicous grilled herb-marinated chicken breast
The Westin Book Cadillac is a great example of the transformations that Detroit and many of its buildings have experienced over the past. Despite Detroit’s checkered history and economic challenges, the restoration of the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel is one of the greatest examples of successful architectural preservation and rejuvenation in the entire United States. Now the grande dame of Detroit hotels reigns supreme again on stately Washington Boulevard.
A scrumptious dessert in the Boulevard Room restaurant