Let me tell you about hotel websites that advertise "continental breakfast" -- don't believe them! Do not think they will have scrumptious pastries that will look like these sweet confections!
It was Sunday, on our Detroit trip, and at the St. Regis, we went downstairs, hungry for breakfast -- only to find cold, tiny bagels-from-a-bag (with no toaster), one muffin, a few faux-Danish pastries from a box (and cold), little boxes of cereal and only one carton of milk, watered down OJ and no tea.
We made the best of it, headed to the DIA for more art and then had brunch at the Whitney.
Going to the Whitney is a big deal. It's a converted historical mansion on Woodward Ave. in Detroit. It was the home of lumber baron David Whitney, built 1890-94. Construction of the 32-room home (with 218 windows, 20 fireplaces, a secret vault in the dining room and an elevator) was $400,000. Built with South Dakota Jasper (a pink granite), it has a soft, rosy hue.
We walked in on a cold, sunny morning, finding warmth in the "walk-in" fireplace in the great hall.
Having come off a recent Downton Abbey binge, I felt as close to Abbey-like here as I ever have!
The Tiffany windows made for a glorious photo backdrop!
From the minute you enter, you feel special. The fireplace in the hall had a roaring fire; a massive staircase went up two flights.
There were places to pause or wait for your table -- comfy furniture in the upper hall and tiny drawing rooms.
And, there were numerous private dining areas as well.
The chandeliers were beautiful -- David Whitney's buddy did the original "electrification." His name was Thomas Edison.
I was impressed with the woodwork and elegant art nouveau ironwork -- it was spectacular.
And when you came down the central staircase, you felt as though you had "arrived."It was my "Lady Grantham" moment.
We were on the main floor in a cozy corner. The never-ending mimosas began as soon as we were seated!
Our room was bright, facing the street. This photo was taken as we were about the last to leave; it was full when we arrived.
There were lovely touches -- a beautiful fireplace with a golden clock.
Rick and I couldn't resist!
This adjacent dining room was lovely too, with a cozier feel.
The Whitney isn't like going to Denny's! The brunch was delicious -- perfectly prepared food with some interesting things that I love -- salmon, shrimp and grits, and crepes, along with the usual breakfast fare.
And of course, the dessert and pastry table was to die for!
Of course, before I left, I had to hit the bathroom. And of course, I was impressed! Definitely not your put-it-together-yourself bathroom etagiere from Target!
After the Whitney family sold the house in the 1920s, it became the Wayne County Medical Society, then the Visiting Nurses Association. (Imagine going to work here!). The property was purchased privately in 1980 by David Kughn, who converted it into "An American Restaurant in an American Palace." It is currently owned by Bud Liebler, a man with a mission to refresh and revitalize the property and keep it functioning as a Detroit icon for generations to come.
Ah, farewell, Whitney. We won't be able to afford you for a long while, but it was fabulous while it lasted, and a wonderful way to end our Detroit weekend!
One more post on Detroit -- coming soon -- about the Diego Rivera mural! And for some eye candy illustrations related to a good fairy tale (or twenty!) AND for a look at Madresfield, a book about the manor house that inspired "Brideshead Revisited," check out Chopsticks and String.
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