By Mark Chesnut
The “Motor City” moniker may refer to automobiles, but the city of Detroit — home to a bustling international airport that is a major Delta hub — is increasingly pushing to be known as a motor that drives meetings, conventions and business travel.
Downtown Detroit has increasingly more to offer business travelers. Cobo Center, a conference and exhibition center, is undergoing a $300 million rebirth that has resulted in 25,000 square feet of additional event space. The Cobo Arena, the former home of the Detroit Pistons, is being relaunched as a 40,000-square-foot ballroom.
The variety of cultural institutions located in and around Detroit are also well positioned to host private groups and events. Major business-friendly attractions include Comerica Park, the Joe Louis Arena, Ford Field, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Science Center, the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village and the Motown Historical Museum.
Top hotel choices in downtown Detroit include The Westin Book Cadillac, which recently completed a $200 million renovation, and the MGM Grand Detroit, which is billed as the first Las Vegas-style hotel and entertainment complex to open in a city center.
Detroit’s tourism officials describe its outlying area as the “surprising suburbs,” since they say that the region’s beauty, diversity and quality of service might surprise some visitors. The largest independent meeting space here is Suburban Collection Showplace, located in the city of Novi.
Top hotel choices in Detroit’s suburbs include the Baronette Renaissance Detroit-Novi, Hyatt Regency Dearborn, The Westin Southfield Detroit and the The Inn at St. John’s, which has interesting event facilities including an Italianate medieval chapel that accommodates 300.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on business and leisure travel to Latin America.