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“Mid Town Gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Inn on Ferry Street

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Inn on Ferry Street
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   84 E. Ferry St., Detroit, MI 48202   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 34 Hotels in Detroit
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Mid Town Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

Two of us, one from Chicago and the other from San Francisco, stayed here to see Detroit. The presence of the Inn is a significant element in the area's recovery - and it is a perfect place to see the DIA and the Midtown Area. Impeccably helpful staff, sumptuous breakfast, a great suite in the carriage house - who could ask for more? They referred us to dinners at the Midtown Grille and Maccaby's - fine dining choices. And don't forget the Motown Museum!

Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
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348 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (53)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Paradise, Michigan
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

This was a great place to stay in a great location in Detroit. We got 20% off our stay by showing our Tigers ticket, and the shuttle to and from the game was a stress-free experience.

The bed was very comfy, and our room was surprisingly quiet. Way quieter than the hotel we stayed at the night before! The breakfast had yummy fresh fruit, eggs with fixings, and good strong coffee (real plates & silverware, too).

Will definitely stay here again, it is 100 times better than a smokey casino!

Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Decline of the American Empire….? Bull-XXXX! Canadians visit Detroit.

Last fall we took a romantic weekend trip to Detroit. It’s a trip that still sticks with us.

At the border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge, there was about an hour long line-up (this is encouraging! this is the busiest border crossing between US/Canada and rumours are that 5 hour waits are typical.) We pull up to the customs gate and after giving the border guard our passports (mine accidentally filled with a chocolate bar wrapper) the guy starts to get a little agitated with us. Why are you coming to the US? ...."Oh for the weekend"...And where are you going?..."Detroit"...Why? (he must have figured we were smuggling drugs or high to provide THAT answer). "Well we are seeing the sights". What sights? "Um well. The Institute of Arts" (I started to crack under the interrogation, and was soon imagining a strip search) at which point the navigator kicks in with a variety of cultural explanations. The questioning goes on for about another 10 minutes, and basically it was WHAT ARE YOU NUTS GOING TO DETROIT? Not exactly the Welcome to Detroit Tourism Bureau. They might want to invite some of these border guards to the city.

We then wind our way to the top Trip Advisor spot in Detroit - The Inn on Ferry Street. Hmmm, I’m not exactly a fan of internet advice, the Detroit Tunnel is the 27th ranked attraction, but it’s all we have to go on. The inn is a national historic site, about 2 miles from heart of downtown – and also in the heart of the academic/cultural district.

VERY very nice, beautiful, comfortable, huge rooms, meticulously restored, high quality silent AC, peaceful, a free gourmet breakfast, outstandingly friendly staff. IF you ever go to Detroit this is the place to stay. We were lucky to have booked the week prior and still get a room. I can't think of a nicer place I have ever stayed! They had a free shuttle to everywhere within a 5 mile radius. The inn is owned by the Detroit Institute of Arts but run by a NGO crackerjack of a woman we never get to meet, Sue Mosey. She is known as the “Mayor of Midtown” and her fingerprints are all over the neighbourhood. Her rep is part Donald Trump, part Martha Stewart and part Nucky Thompson. She is a testament to the power of the individual in America – the underdog rising to the challenge with unbridled optimism.

So, after checking in we get shuttled down to the Riverfront and rent some bikes. A crisp November day but sunny and about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. We go to Belle Isle - which Detroit is in the process of liquidating. As everyone has heard, Detroit is in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings and is officially being run by a state appointed administrator - not a Mayor, which is part of our fascination. The newly elected Mayor is more of a figurehead than ever before, and is quoted in the paper as “trying to figure out the uneasy” relationship with the trustee. This is new governance territory for everyone. 2 hours later we return the bikes and walk a mile up to the Eastern Market, which we find out is the largest farmer’s market in America. We are there late in the afternoon and the vendors are semi packing up and the 5 mile line of traffic to get there has disappeared, but the energy still lingers. We duck into Bert's Blues Cafe for some late Saturday afternoon karaoke by the lively locals! The place was wall to wall packed and everyone is enjoying themselves. We order food and then are joined by some locals at our table – afterwards we both wish we had waited to see what they ordered. The catfish looks great. When in Rome, order what the Romans do. Later I learn our 1 mile walk from the Riverfront was thru one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Detroit (the grass covered tennis courts, (due to neglect) gave it away for me. What kind of Neanderthal plays on grass - except for the English! The random walk through a Dutch architect’s legacy also fools us.

A wedding party pulls up for a photo shoot in the fenced walkway over the freeway which has become an extension of the market. After shopping at the Eastern Market for wine and cheese (from some insistent Turkish fellow) we call the shuttle for pick up. The "plan" was to ease into Detroit - go to the "safe" places first and then venture to "danger" after talking to the locals.

Sunday AM. How dangerous could Detroit be? We set out with 2 missions...visit the notorious pet-coke pile on the Detroit river and visit some "blighted" but not "dangerous" neighbourhoods. A tricky bulls eye in Detroit?

The pet coke pile is a result of residue from Alberta tar sands being refined. Pet coke is the junk left over and is nastier than coal. We have a connection to this because some of it eventually finds its way to our home province, Nova Scotia. It is being burned in our electrical plants. The NY Times recently covered a story about the appearance of this pet coke pile and how it has been growing. However, the pet coke pile has been run out of town – I guess the Koch brothers couldn’t take the local heat. The pet coke pile has disappeared as fast as it appeared. So governance seems to be still working, and at an astonishing speed for anywhere.

Onto the Rouge River - ugly industrial brought to you by FORD. Technically this is Dearborn. An unbelievable scale to the plant. Then we cross town to the peculiarly named Brightmoor – which must be the most stark example of the de-suburbanization, depopulation that is happening in Detroit. The population has shrunk from 1.8 million people to around 750,000. People are fleeing and there is some friction between Detroit and the cities that circle it.

This Brightmoor neighbourhood can be visited virtually in Google street view, but it doesn't do the impact justice...the best way to describe this is being caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse movie. This is a typical suburban hood with modest houses and then all of a sudden... crack looking houses, boarded up houses, burned down houses - or in an interesting twist "green" spaces where derelict houses have been torn down, dug up and removed.

The city of Detroit figures it has 100,000 houses to demolish currently. They are doing about 10,000 per year. We promise each other to come back in 20 years and have a picnic in the wilderness or farm fields that are coming. The best way to describe the random patchwork of "ok" houses and blighted homes is to describe it as a virus. Random, Viscous, and Financially Lethal. In an example of capitalism’s vultures, I read about an Irish guy in Ireland saying they were getting pitches from real estate agents there encouraging investment in Detroit - but he wasn't sure about which areas were best so was looking for advice online! PT Barnum is alive and well.

This Brightmoor hood was TOTALLY decimated. I'd guess for every normal looking house there were 6 empty lots or burned out or boarded up or crack looking houses. The schools were abandoned, the streets were abandoned. No kids anywhere. We drive for miles and miles around the neighbourhood, feeling squeamish and a little guilty, but you need to see it to understand the resiliency and commitment of the community to never give up. The juxtaposition of hopelessness and determination can’t be more profound. Small, grassroots attempts are being made everywhere to stop the bleeding.

Then we came upon a traffic jam and parking nightmare...centered around a church. I estimate that there must be 80%+ attendance from the whole community. Hundreds of cars and a few people rushing in a few minutes late to grab their seats.

After Brightmoor we cruised 7 & 8 mile. Stopping at a MacDonalds on 8 Mile road for a cookie and smoothie snack. The MacDonald’s is new having opened less than 2 weeks prior. It proudly displays a nice letter from the Mayor. A new MacDonalds, a sure sign of Amercan rejuvenation? We then stumble upon the Ford House and take the tour.

As an engineer I’m hardly a qualified critic of culture and taste, but it feels gaudy. The gold faucets and overdone details. The building of an empire. All designed with isolation, privacy and security in mind. No doubt a prison for the Ford children. Too much time and money and obsession with things. The rich get richer, and the poor get, well…

Back to Inn. We go for lunch at the Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes. Yumm. A TV in the place says bad girls go to Montreal, but I suspect it will have to be updated to direct them to Toronto now. Our Ford Nation was still only in warm up mode that weekend. We ask about the meaning of the quote in the window. Nobody seems to know. My english teacher mother would be disappointed in my lack of awareness. It is attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald:
“I said, SMALL town…he must know what a small town is…well, he’s no use to us if Detroit is his idea of a small town…”
We drop the questioning and forget about it.

Then to the DIA (hmmm.) 1 block from the Inn. After a snooze we get the shuttle to Cliffe Bell's jazz club. Great food, great music. Hard to believe on a Sunday night in Detroit.

And then it comes to me as I strike the keys recounting this romantic weekend – Gatsby! That is it. The quote is from Gatsby, and of course. The Ford House, 500 horsepower boats to get to the Rouge River plant, man made islands to launch his boat. The Casino of Belle Island, that wasn’t a Casino. The Valley of Ashes. Jazz, the music plays on.

The decline of the American Empire? Nonsense.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Augusta, GA
Top Contributor
693 reviews 693 reviews
127 hotel reviews
Reviews in 223 cities Reviews in 223 cities
313 helpful votes 313 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

This inn is actually made up of four or five separate buildings. We were in the Pungs building in room 1102. Our room was large with a lot of amenities. The staff here bent over backwards to make sure everything was to our liking and that we had everything we needed. They were so helpful and hard-working. It is in a great location, and they have a shuttle service to boot. My only complaint is that the breakfast buffet is ambitious but not well executed, and the layout of the buffet tables to the room and the dining tables is a little crowded and awkwardly arranged. There is a lot of stepping around people and tables.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
128 reviews 128 reviews
75 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

Really not much to add to the many excellent reviews. Nice buildings, large room, courteous service, tasty breakfast (and chocolate chip cookie, both from a local bakery). I esp. have to give props to the various guys who ran around figuring out the key problem, TV issue and drove the shuttle. Would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

These are just a few of the words to describe my fantastic stay at the Inn on Ferry Street. The staff made my stay comfortable and serene!

Three people stand out in particular - Helena and the Torence(s) :)!! Helena kept me calm when I misplaced my cellphone, and she helped me find it. I inadvertently left it on the airport shuttle. The younger Torence helped me with my luggage and let me know about all that the Inn on Ferry Street had to offer. He also drove me back and forth in the hotel shuttle bus to a destination that I requested. Older Torence helped me get my airplane boarding pass and he shared with me wonderful things that I could experience in Detroit.

The Inn is extremely clean and its furnishings are classic. It gives the Inn lots of personality! I felt like I was in someone's home as opposed to the sterile environment of some of the chain hotels. I've never stayed in an Inn so this was truly a wonderful experience for me.

One of the best treats is the LOCATION. Close to everything that I wanted to experience from the museums and the retsurants. Either a short shuttle drive or ride. You can even walk to some of the museums.

I will definitely stay at the Inn on Ferry Street again. This was my first time in Detroit which was very memorable because of the serenity I experienced at the Inn!

Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Joseph, Michigan
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

If you are visiting Detroit, this is the place to stay! The restored homes that comprise the Inn on Ferry Street are literally around the corner from the Detroit Institute of Art and a multitude of other museums. Also very conveniently located to large medical facilities. And with their fabulous shuttle service (free, unlimited transportation within 5 mile radius), you are minutes away from Comerica, Ford Field, Joe Louis, Greektown, the casinos, theaters and numerous restaurants. The Inn even offers a discount if you have tickets to a event downtown.
I can't say enough about how gracious the staff was. We arrived late in the evening-- no problem. One of our electronic keys didn't function-- we were offered complimentary wine. We asked for shuttle transportation to the Eastern Market. The driver was prompt, met us with an umbrella since it was raining and urged us take it along to the Market. Saved us from getting soaked.
We stayed in a suite in the Roehm House which was quite comfortable and tastefully decorated.
My only complaint would be that the tv was located in an armoire in the bedroom. I would have preferred it in the sitting room.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Inn on Ferry Street

Address: 84 E. Ferry St., Detroit, MI 48202
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Michigan > Detroit
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Detroit
#2 Business Hotel in Detroit
#3 Family Hotel in Detroit
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Inn on Ferry Street 3.5*
Number of rooms: 40
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Inn On Ferry Street Hotel Detroit

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