A June 2002 trip
to Detroit by friskycelery
Quote: Most people who stay in downtown Detroit are here on business. Here are some tips for the business traveler.
Probably the most interesting thing to do downtown is to visit Greektown. This is a
several block long district that stretches along Monroe from Randolph to St. Antoine. It is
about a half mile from Cobo Hall, less than that from the RenCen. Lots of restaurants
here, most of them Greek (surprise!).
Another fun thing to do is to take trip through the Renaissance Center, the building
that dominates Detroit's skyline. There’s a General Motors’ exhibit on the lower level.
Just west of the RenCen is the Mariner's Church. This is the church referenced in the song
"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Each year Mariner's Church holds a service in
remembrance of the men who died when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank.
I don't gamble, so I can't tell you much about Detroit's casinos. There’s a new casino
in Greektown, and Casino Windsor across the river in Windsor Ontario. Check the local
newspapers for casino specials.
Hotel | "Marriott Hotel"
The Renaissance Center, also known as the RenCen, the Tinsel Towers, or The Tubes, consists of four round towers around a central, round, core. The Marriott is located in the core. Since the building is round, the rooms are wedge-shaped, and surprisingly small. The view is dependent on which direction your room faces: looking south, you get a nice view of the Detroit River and neighboring Windsor, Ontario. Looking north, you get to see the back of the GM sign and the surrounding office towers.
Standard amenities came with the room. The shampoo and lotion was from Neutrogena, which I thought was a nice touch. The desk was a two part desk that could be configured into an L shape. The desk had a good lamp with a data port in the base. There was a comfortable lounge chair with a footstool, but no reading lamp. Sigh.
The front desk staff was friendly. When I explained that my seminar was not going to adjourn until after the noon checkout time, they reminded me that I could ask for a later
checkout time. If there was a concierge, I did not see him. A copy of USA Today,
along with my bill, was under my door before 5:00 am.
If you are doing business with General Motors at the RenCen, this Marriott, or the Marriott Courtyard in the adjoining Millender Center, are probably your best choices. Parking for both hotels is in the Millender Center parking garage.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 20, 2002
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
Detroit, Michigan 48243
Restaurant | "Fishbone's Rythm Kitchen Cafe"
Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Cafe is in Greektown, though it is decidedly not a Greek restaurant. Walking into Fishbone's is a little like walking into a restaurant by the French Market in New Orleans, except the accents are different. This restaurant has a fine funky feel to it, with mosaic tile designs on the floors and walls, and a stamped tin ceiling. Upon entering, you are invited to pick a string of Mardi Gras beads from a big tin tub. The color of the beads is supposed to tell your fortune.
I visited Fishbone's with six other people. We were greeted and seated promptly. This was a
Monday night, and the place does get more crowded on weekends. Our server took the request for separate checks in stride (which would never have happened if the place was actually in New Orleans). We were served drinks quickly, and complimentary bread and garlic butter appeared right away.
The menu relies heavily on seafood with a Cajun flair: Crawfish Etoufee, Seafood Gumbo, and four, count 'em four, different oyster appetizers. Chicken, ribs, steak, and pasta are also available. Sandwiches are huge, and are easily a meal in themselves. Entrees range in price from $8.95 for Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage, to $25.95 for Five Lamb Chops with two side orders.
Sandwiches cover a wide variety, from BBQ Pork to Chicken Caesar to Soft Shell Crab. Price are between $6.95 and $8.95. All sandwiches come with fries. They also have a Muffuletta sandwich, a New Orleans staple, for $8.25.
Our meal was a bit slow coming, but considering the size of the group and the variety of orders, the wait was not out of line.
I had the Grilled Chicken Caesar Po-Boy sandwich, and it was OK. It consisted of a whole (not half) chicken breast with lettuce and Caesar dressing on crusty bread. The chicken was a little dry, but the dressing was tasty. This was accompanied by pretty good steak fries, and was more than I could eat.
The rest of my group had roast beef sandwiches, which were universally pronounced good, or a seafood entree, which was also agreed to be good. The only dish that was not particularly well received was the Chicken with Andouille Sausage, but that was more due to the preferences of the diner.
Our bill was brought in good order, and every one left here feeling full and flush.
Recommendation: The food is good, if not outstanding, and there is plenty of it. The ambiance is wonderful. This is the place to come with friends or colleagues, not for a quiet romantic dinner. They understand diners on expense account, and don't mind separate checks. Fishbone's is in walking distance of the RenCen and Cobo Hall.
Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Cafe
400 Monroe Street
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 23, 2002
Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Cafe
400 Monroe St
Detroit, Michigan 48226
+1 313 965 4600
Attraction | "The Detroit Renaissance Center"
Most of the buildings now house various GM activities. There are some retail shops on the ground floor, and more are planned. The Marriott hotel takes up the center core of the building. If you are here to do business with General Motors, the GM Visitors' Center is on the second floor, by the escalator, near the connecting skywalk with the Millender Center.
This has got to be one of the world's most confusing buildings to navigate. If you have business here, make sure you know in which tower you are supposed to be. And remember, just because you can see your destination, that doesn't mean that you can get there from where you are standing. Luckily, there are a number of security personnel, discreetly attired in blue blazers, who will cheeerfully direct you to your destination, or at least to the next guard who will give you your next set of directions.
General Motors has a display on the ground floor which is semi-interesting. I wouldn't go there just for their car display. The revolving restaurant at the top of the RenCen is currently closed for renovation, but when it’s open, it is worth the trip just for the view. The elevators to get to the observation level and revolving restaurant are glass walled and run on the outside of the building. It's an experience in itself to take them to the top. The view from the observation level is wonderful.
There are a number of shops in the RenCen, and the lower level has a Food Court, with typical Food Court choices. The adjoining Millender Center, reached by way of a skywalk across Jefferson Avenue, has a Starbucks, and is also a convenient place to park if you are doing business at the RenCen.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 7, 2002
Detroit, Michigan 48201