Reopening of 2 metro Detroit hotels to offer more meeting space

April 30, 2016 8:00 a.m. Updated

Nearly 40,000 square feet of meeting space is set to come back on the metro Detroit market this year with the reopening of two long-shuttered hotels. Renovations are underway at the former Metropolitan Hotel in Romulus, which operated for a time as a Doubletree. The hotel, on Wick Road near I-94, is expected to reopen this summer as the Radisson Hotel Detroit Metro Airport. It will include about 15,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. Further to the north and east, the former Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn of Southfield on Telegraph Road, notable for its round tower, is being converted to three hotels with more than 400 rooms.

The tower is visible from nearby I-696 and M-10. The Best Western Premier flag the first in Michigan will fly over the tower when it opens late this year or early next year. It will include about 25,000 square feet of banquet, meeting and event space and be the first of three hotels planned for the property. There is demand for both hotels about to reopen. Romulus and Southfield are two different markets all together, said Michael O’Callaghan, executive vice president and COO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The first, near the airport, is convenient and targeted for business travelers, while the second is near a large number of automotive and other commercial customers, he said.

“Demand has increased pretty nicely since 2003, yet the … supply hasn’t,” O’Callaghan said.

“This is a good way to provide an increase in supply. These are both full-service hotels, and the community needs that product to attract meetings, in particular, and to provide enhanced facilities for social functions.”

Room in Romulus

In Romulus, Henderson, Nev.-based RKJ Hotel Management LLC is investing millions to renovate the former Metropolitan, which had been vacant for about two years, owner Jeff Katofsky said. He acquired the hotel for $8.5 million as well as the St. Clair Inn and, soon, the Sugar Loaf Resort in Cedar he said, as part of the settlement of a lawsuit tied to hotels in other states with the previous Metropolitan owner, Remo Polselli.

Polselli is also the former owner of the Hotel St. Regis in Detroit and the Plaza Hotel in Southfield. Katofsky said he’s spending more to redo the Romulus hotel than he paid for it.

“The bones of the hotel are fabulous; it just needed a complete enema, quite frankly,” he said.

Every inch of the hotel is being redone, from the lightbulbs and fixtures, to the wallpaper and paint, to the flooring and door knobs. Katofsky describes the overall look the renovations are targeting as “homey.”

The hotel will be among the first to incorporate the look of Radisson’s new prototype rooms, Katofsky said. They are anchored by a neutral color scheme and include large televisions mounted on the walls, luggage holders built into the lower areas of the furniture, oversized chairs and USB and electric cords and plugs in the headboards and desks. About 210 of the 274 rooms at the hotel are set to open in July, and the remainder in the second tower by mid-August, along with an executive concierge suite offering food and beverage service to guests staying in that tower, Katofsky said.

Julie Brezina Interior Design is the designer on the project, and Coast to Coast Renovation is overseeing the engineering and construction work. When complete, the hotel lobby will have the look and feel of a living room with a cozy fireplace, Katofsky said.

The front desk has been relocated, and walls have been removed to open up the front bar area and restaurant, which will now be behind the bar. Andy Warhol paintings will hang in the lobby and meeting spaces, Katofsky said, noting they’re among his favorites. The pool area will be redone, and a larger, private business center will be installed where the gift shop previously was located, near the meeting rooms, he said.

“We have just over 15,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space there, which I think is the most of any hotel in Romulus outside of the airport.”

It includes a boardroom near the back of the hotel, and next to it an additional meeting room that Katofsky said will be converted into a high-end, private dining room for 20-25 people.

“It will be the perfect spot for (people) that have meetings and want to have food,” he said, noting the private dining room’s d cor will be different than anything else in the hotel.

“Think gluttonous King Henry VIII style,” with bottles of wine and books lining the walls and high-backed chairs, Katofsky said. The hotel’s restaurant will be operated by its management company, Rosemont, Ill.-based First Hospitality, which manages several other hotels in the region and state, including the Hampton Inn Ann Arbor-North, Hilton Garden Inn Plymouth, Residence Inn Ann Arbor and Residence Inn Grand Rapids West.

The restaurant will connect with the hotel’s meeting rooms and offer guests more upscale dinners, while a hotel bar will accommodate guests looking for a burger. Room rates are expected to be in the range of $105-$150, said Dan Smith, senior vice president of asset management at First Hospitality. Bryan Dickey, who most recently was general manager of the Radisson Baltimore North, has been named general manager of the Romulus hotel.

Dickey previously held management roles at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, McCamly Plaza Hotel in Battle Creek, Treetops Resort in Gaylord and Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island. With Dickey on board, Smith said the plan is to hire about 100 to staff the hotel, meeting and banquet and food and beverage functions at the Radisson Romulus, including “a top young chef,” Smith said. Katofsky, a lawyer and commercial developer, said he’s found that when he renovates old buildings in desirable locations, “everyone else in the neighborhood beautifies themselves, as well.”

“I fully expect that to happen here. When we redo the hotel, my competitors are going to have to redo themselves, as well.”

Can the Romulus market support the additional meeting and hotel space?

“I think it can,” O’Callaghan said, noting the Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport and the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport, located within McNamara Terminal, are both doing well.

The corporate base in that area, led by the auto industry, is strong, he said.

“They are the people who are going to have the meetings in there, and then there will (also be) a certain amount of social stuff on the weekends,” along with business from the people who fly in for a day or day and a half and then fly back out, O’Callaghan said. The Romulus market ran close to 68 percent average occupancy last year, which exceeded the region’s occupancy of 66 percent, he said.

Southfield space

Another 25,000 square feet of meeting space is set to come back on the market in Southfield. New Zealand investors ownership group Kiwi Hospitality Detroit LLC purchased the former Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn of Southfield a year ago for $2.5 million from Amvet Holdings, which had bought it in March 2011 for $1.2 million, according to the city.

Kiwi is in the midst of a $12 million renovation that will convert the property, which had been shuttered for about seven years, to three separate hotels focused on energy efficiency and sustainable operation, Kiwi principal J.C. Chaturvedi said in an email. The hotels that are part of the project are:

  • The Best Western Premier, an upscale, full-service hotel with about 200 rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting space, set to open late this year or early in 2017 in the round, 16-story tower.
  • Executive Residency by Best Western, an extended-stay hotel with 64 rooms, housed in the two-story building on the property, expected to open during the first quarter of 2017.
  • La Quinta Inn and Suites, a short-term stay, limited-service hotel in the five-story building with about 100 rooms, expected to open early in 2018.

Ground-floor and rooftop restaurants will also be renovated as part of the project, which will include 441 parking spaces, according to the city, and is expected to create about 71 jobs.

The city approved a commercial exemption certificate for the project in February, abating property taxes on it for up to 10 years. It also agreed to reimburse Kiwi about $1 million of its investment costs in the property, beginning in year 11. And it’s still trying to negotiate a state incentive for the project with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said Rochelle Freeman, Southfield’s business and economic development director.

In addition to internal renovations, which span the entire hotel, Kiwi has already repainted and updated the exterior of the round tower, said Terry Croad, Southfield’s city planner. It’s proposing some architectural and accent lighting on the tower and landscaping updates, a water fountain and some art on the site, he said.

“Not only will (the site) be occupied, but the curb appeal will be upgraded significantly.”

Chaturvedi said Kiwi plans to return the property to “iconic status,” serving both local and international communities. The developer was drawn to the site because of the large number of companies operating along Telegraph Road and its proximity to the interstate and highways, he said.

He believes the meeting space it will bring back online will fill a need for additional small to large spaces in the area for business and personal events. Kiwi hasn’t yet selected an operator or operators for the hotels but plans to in due course, he said. Freeman said Chaturvedi has told the city his son, who lives in Australia, is expected to come here to manage the property.

Chaturvedi declined to say which general contractors are a part of the project, saying only that there “are different and divided roles for various agencies.”

The tier-one automotive suppliers in Southfield have been doing very well and hiring, Freeman said.

“They bring in a tremendous amount of traffic and guests from around the world to do business with them.”

Before it closed in 2009, the meeting space on the property served as a regional facility, Freeman said, accommodating groups as large as 800 people.

“The meeting space was missed.”

Where Will Americans Travel in 2016?

Where Will Americans Travel In 2016?

Click to view slideshow of Top 10 Travel Predictions for 2016 makes travel predictions for the year 2016 based on current trends -Many underrated domestic and international destinations forecasted to gain traction for their unique offerings

DALLAS November 19, 2015 In a constantly evolving tourism industry, new offerings, attractions and experiences are making travelers more apt to explore unique and underrated destinations to satisfy their inner wanderlust. As 2016 rapidly approaches, is revealing its Top 10 Travel Predictions for the new year through an analysis of travel demand changes over the last two years* on the website.

For 2016 we re foreseeing an interesting mix of trending and often overlooked destinations with something for every type of traveler no matter your budget, climate preference, preferred language or lifestyle, said Josh Belkin, VP and general manager, North America for

1. Queens will overtake Brooklyn as the most popular destination for New York visitors staying in the outer boroughs. While the hipster haven has experienced steady growth in travel demand over the past two years (approximately two-thirds increase in travel demand), Queens is catching up quickly (nearly 150 percent increase) with an eclectic food scene and several boutique hotels like The One Boutique Hotel1 in Flushing and Z NYC Hotel2 in Long Island City.

2. Dallas will make a significant leap in popularity after seeing a nearly 40 percent increase in travel demand since last year. In addition to offering great shopping, arts and dining options, Dallas has made a focused effort to welcome more diverse visitors including LGBT travelers.

3. Anaheim will see a large surge in tourism beyond theme park visitors. The city is increasing in popularity faster than any other major California destination (up 40 percent over 2014), and with a convention center expansion and new hotel openings in the coming year, that trend will continue.

4. Milwaukee will become a Top 50 Domestic Destination in the Hotel Price Index (HPI ). As the 2nd most popular Midwestern city, Milwaukee has seen a more than 70 percent increase since 2013, and has been included on countless lists of underrated cities due to its strong food and beer scene and great shopping and entertainment options.


Oregon s smaller cities will benefit more from marijuana tourism than Portland. Portland saw a more than 25 percent increase in travel demand compared to 2014, but Ashland the closest city to California with recreational marijuana shops and Eugene closest to Idaho experienced the two largest increases in the state at 65 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

6. Buffalo will emerge as a top travel destination. The Rust Belt cities have all experienced significant growth in travel demand over the last two years. Cleveland (up more than 70 percent), Detroit (up nearly 70 percent) and Pittsburgh (up more than 60 percent) each benefitted from the upswing in visitors, but Buffalo, with the highest increase in demand (over 90 percent) will be the city to watch in 2016. The city is developing its waterfront and Main Street areas and is growing as a foodie destination.

7. Mexico will attract more travelers beyond its top destinations. Major Mexican destinations such as Mexico City, Cancun and Riviera Maya have experienced a surge in tourism in recent years and expects that trend to spill over into other Mexican cities as well. Since 2013, cities such as Ciudad Juarez (more than four-fold increase in travel demand) and Tijuana (more than three-fold increase) have benefited from local tourism efforts and increased safety.

8. Phuket will become a Top 40 International Destination in the 2016 HPI. Thailand s tourism council is expecting a record 30 million visitors this yeari but it s not just Bangkok that is attracting travelers. Phuket, the country s largest island, has experienced significant increase in travel demand (over 70 percent over 2014).

9. Under-the-radar Canadian destinations will continue to shine in 2016. The province of Ontario is home to perennial Top 15 International Destinations-Toronto and Niagara Falls according to the HPI, but over the last two years, the region has seen the most growth in travel demand in lesser-known destinations such as Toronto s neighbor Mississauga, the border city of Windsor and the scenic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, with each more than doubling.

10. The Norwegian capitol of Oslo will become a top Scandinavian destination for American travelers. Known as one of the world s cleanest cities, Oslo has experienced the largest increase in travel demand among all European destinations since 2013 (up over 180 percent).

To find more travel ideas and tips, follow on Twitter at @hotelsdotcom and #TravelPredictions.

*Percentage changes over 2014 based on travel demand on the U.S. site January 1 October 31, 2014 compared to January 1 October 31, 2015; Percentage changes over 2013 based on changes in travel demand January 1 October 31, 2013 compared to January 1 October 31, 2015


About ( L.P. operates, a leading online accommodation booking website with properties ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts to local favorites and bed & breakfasts, together with all the information needed to book the perfect stay. Special apps for mobile phones and tablets can also be downloaded enabling customers to book on the go with access to 20,000 last minute deals.

About the HPI

The HPI4 is a report that looks at travel demand and hotel prices in cities all around the world. The data is based on bookings made through the website and the prices listed are the actual prices paid by Americans not advertised rates. The latest report is based on data from January 1 June 30, 2015.

2015, LP., The Obvious Choice, Hotel Price Index, HPI and the logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of, LP in the U.S.

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  1. ^ The One Boutique Hotel (
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Stories of Spirit…Celebrating Halloween | Salicrow's Stories of Spirit

Stories Of Spirit…Celebrating Halloween | Salicrow's Stories Of SpiritWe are quickly approaching my absolute favorite Discount Holidays © holiday of the year .Samhain, or Halloween as it is more commonly known. Samhain is one of the cross quarter dates, falling directly between the Autumnal Equinox & the Winter Solstice. In the Celtic Wheel of the Year it is the beginning or New Year.

It is a time of mystery and shadow, a time betwixt & between the worlds when the veil separating the world of the living, the world of the dead is at its thinnest. Halloween or All Hallow s Eve is the name most commonly used to refer to the Discount Holidays © holiday that falls on October the 31st. In the culture of modern day United States it is celebrated with costumes, candy and everything a bit scary. I love Halloween first of all I am a self confessed costume geek, so any chance to put on my finery I am there. I often have a series of costumes over the holiday, because one is just not enough. I also love candy, yes I truly do But if I were to take away all the costumes and sugary delight I would still find this to be my favorite Discount Holidays © holiday of all. For Samhain (the original name for Halloween) is really about honoring our Beloved Dead.

Giving thanks and remembrance to those who have entered the land of the Dead before us. It is a time when the spirits of the dead are know to be closest to us. To the Celts this was a time of reverence and homage as well as a time when the local folk tread lightly for fear of offending the spirits. Many of the traditions we celebrate to this day got their start in the rituals of Samhain & the Celtic people who gave honor and respect to their dead and the fae spirits at this time. I love seeing how things have carried over, from one culture to another, the traditions of modern day Halloween & their origins in the Celtic Samhain. For example the jack o latern got it s start in Ireland where they were originally carved out of turnips & beets. They were carved with faces to honor the spirits and at the same time ward them away.

They did not seek to ward away their own loved ones, but as the Veil is particularly thin at this time they wanted to make sure that lost spirits did not show up uninvited. The Irish brought this tradition with them when they came to the United States & with a little adaption of course to the pumpkin our Halloween Jack o Lantern was born. If you really want to dig into the juicy business of where things came from I recommend you read Halloween spells, recipes and customs by Silver Ravenwolf or hit the google search engine. My personal celebration of Samhain & Halloween is a month long affair with costume parties, ritual celebration, personal ceremony of honoring and of course treats. I start my embrace of Halloween pretty much as soon as I see the calendar say October. This is a powerful time of year for the Dead and as a Medium that means a busy time of year for me. I do a lot of public events allowing people the opportunity to witness and experience personally the realness of the Spirit world.

First and foremost this is a time of honoring for me. I start by setting up a family alter with pictures of my Beloved Dead my Grammy Brown, my father Richard, my doorman Adam, and the rest of my spirit family. I place pictures & items of remembrance on the Alter so that I am thinking about them and honoring them every day. This is a simple tradition and one I encourage you to do. You will not only find it heartwarming, but it blends in with the traditional decorations of Halloween nicely. CREATING A FAMILY ALTER FOR SAMHAIN

Stories Of Spirit…Celebrating Halloween | Salicrow's Stories Of Spirit

If you do not have an alter space in your home already, no worries its super simple. Find a shelf, counter, end table or top of a book case.

Clean it of all debris, paperwork, odds and ends. Now go collect pictures, jewelry, and mementos that you have of your loved ones who have passed. This is easier done with small items, but not to worry if you have a quilt made by your great grandmother, pull it out and put it on your bed or couch for the Discount Holidays © holiday season. Once you have collected your pictures and family items set them up on your shelf, arrange them so that you like looking at them. I like to add a candle to my alter. I light it each day for a few moments and give thanks for all who have walked before me, my ancestors and guides who have made my life easier or more full from knowing them. Some cultures will have you leave items of food as an offering for the dead, although I find that this has its purpose it is not necessary. What is necessary is the honor and love that you put into your alter. In seeking connection to ourselves it is important that we look at that which we came from.


Stories Of Spirit…Celebrating Halloween | Salicrow's Stories Of Spirit

I spend a lot of time in ceremony during the Samhain season. This year my sister Sandy & I will be offering an extended weekend of Spirit Communication @ the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT on the weekend of November 13th, 14th & 15th. For details check out the events page for the Resort at lakemoreyresort.com1 I spend a lot of time helping others make contact with their Beloved Dead and Ancestors during the Halloween season, as important as I find this, it is also important for me to honor my Beloved Dead, as well. That I save for Samhain/Halloween itself


Stories Of Spirit…Celebrating Halloween | Salicrow's Stories Of Spirit

Costumes, revelry and a bit of indulgence also play a key part in this holiday. As I said earlier I am a serious costumer I don t just wear a costume, I become the character. Whether I head to a friends party or go celebrate with the natives of the Kingdom, I will most certainly be celebrating. I love to work manifestation into my Halloween happenings and often the field of play is where this happens.

I like to take the opportunity to let loose of the norm and play with the possibilities that are abundant at this time for Samhain/Halloween is also a harvest holiday. It is the 3rd harvest holiday (Lughnassah, Mabon & Samhain) and is considered the New Years Eve of the Celtic Wheel of the Year. Like New Years eve in modern culture it is a time to make commitments to oneself, and propel our dreams into the betwixt & between, that which has not yet become. Weaving dreams into our world is easy to do when you have a dance floor and some good music. Just hold onto your thought and move to the rhythm. Know that dreams we weave at Samhain will have time to gestate over the long winter. Just like the Earth we are part of we will be moving into a time of dreaming, a time when our outward movements are subdued and our imaginations are ripe.

Spreading love-salicrow

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