Tucked on the banks of the Detroit River, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair is the ‘Motor City’ of Detroit. The free-wheeling city is undergoing a new wave of creativity, extraordinary architecture, and edgy street art. Did you know that Detroit is one of the friendliest gay cities in the American Midwest? In fact, the city gained top scores on the Municipal Equality Index, an annual ranking of support and treatment for LGBTQ people by the Human Rights Campaign. What’s more, we found many gay hotels in Detroit with excellent amenities and staff that LGBTQ travelers absolutely love.
Of all its neighborhoods, Ferndale is the most well-known LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood in metro Detroit. In fact, two of Ferndale’s former mayors are openly gay men! It’s home to many LGBTQ residents, bars, and clubs, which is why we looked for hotels in and around the neighborhood. Besides the amazing location, we also looked at the hotel’s amenities, vibe, budget, and general friendliness of the staff.
But that’s not all that Detroit is famous for, as we found out. We loved exploring the famed Detroit Zoo, one of the world’s largest zoos. Are you theater lovers? Our evening at the 1928-opened Fox Theater, the largest of the original Fox Theaters and one of the world’s most amazing cinemas, was amazing. So, pack your bags and head on a gay cation to the Motor City and stay at one of these amazing LGBTQ-friendly hotels in Detroit.
Table of contents
- The Inn at 97 Winder
- Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
- Trumbull & Porter
- Detroit Foundation Hotel
- Shinola Hotel
- Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney
- The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
- The Dearborn Inn
- MGM Grand Detroit
- Atheneum Suite Hotel
- The Siren
- Our Verdict!
- Just So You Know:
The Inn at 97 Winder
Best heritage inn. Right in the heart of Detroit’s gay scene sits The Inn at 97 Winder, one of the loveliest gay hotels in Detroit. We felt like we were looking at a mansion straight out of Victorian England, for the hotel boasts huge bay windows, a Mansard roof, and Queen Anne stylings. The 1876-built 10-room estate melds old-world luxury with a whimsical boutique coolness. Think kitsch such as classic leather Winchesters, Renaissance-style canvases, and gilded Hindu statues juxtaposed against chandeliers, satin fabric, and vibrant Persian rugs. On the inside, we found a lounge and three parlors, which were the perfect places to relax after a long day of exploring Detroit. We were even served British-style afternoon tea with six different tea kinds, finger sandwiches, and desserts from a local bakery. Oh, and there’s even a limo service that we used to get you around town, and you can too.
“We love offbeat places to stay, and the Inn at 97 Winder fit the bill perfectly. It has the right mix of great digs, excellent amenities, and ambiance to make it a romantic nest in the middle of Detroit.”WOW Travel
The rooms at this beautifully restored Victorian property are full of plush beds, artwork from across the globe, and tons of antiques. What’s more, some of the rooms even have jacuzzi tubs, like our Deluxe Queen Suite. Hence, this inn is also the perfect base for a romantic getaway for LGBTQ travelers in Detroit.
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Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
Best chain hotel. Staying at Marriott has never gone wrong for us, and the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is no exception. It’s one of the best gay-friendly hotels in Detroit and sits in one of the seven interconnected skyscraper towers in the riverside “Ren Cen” complex, thus boasting unparalleled views. In fact, this eye-popping highrise is a city icon and landmark, complete with a sleek metal-and-glass exterior and modern yet soft interiors.
Even though the spectacular view is the mainstay here, we especially loved the hotel’s superb 40th floor. Not only did it have a fitness center where we worked out, but it also had a restaurant with delicious meals and killer views. And when we wanted a nightcap, all we had to do is hop across the lobby to the lobby bar. Did you know that we even began our day on the 40th floor at Starbucks? Yes! Furthermore, the restaurant was the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks with views across the Canadian border before we hit the city’s gay scene.
All rooms are decked out in soft earth hues, swish mod-cons, and a massive workspace. However, what caught our eye was the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, which are particularly romantic at night. Even bathrooms are primed for romance, complete with bathtubs and granite countertops. Since we wanted a premium experience, we went for the rooms above floor 57 for unobstructed river views. Did you know that the Detroit Marriott is also one of the tallest hotels in the US? Yes!
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Trumbull & Porter
Trendiest hotel. Trendy, cool, and funky in every bit, Trumbull & Porter is one of the most stylish gay hotels in Detroit. We were thrilled to have found this boutique stay at an affordable price. With Detroit’s gay scene hardly five minutes away and the neighborhood being a hot and upcoming one, we couldn’t find a better location to explore the city.
As we stepped inside, the lobby has an entire wall dedicated to a love poem to Detroit. What’s more, local artisans have crafted every detail, right from the handmade furniture to the huge mural on the outside. Furthermore, the distressed concrete floors and exposed pipework with quirky feature pieces and splashes of color sum up the hotel’s vibe. We had lots of fun taking pictures for our Instagram feed and stories!
Despite being a boutique hotel, this one overflows with amenities. A concierge service and a 24-hour front desk helped us plan tours around Detroit. After a day of exploring, some of us relaxed at the artisan espresso bar while others worked out at the fitness center. What’s more, the restaurant and bar are very popular and serve all meals. Don’t miss the scrumptious à la carte breakfast of pastries, pancakes, Benedicts, breakfast sandwiches, giant scrambles, and delicious crab artichoke potato hash.
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Detroit Foundation Hotel
How would you like to live in a place that was once a fire station during the 1920s? We were enthralled at the thought too! And that’s how we landed at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, one of the most historic and characterful gay-friendly hotels in Detroit. Armed with oodles of gritty hipster edge, this hotel lies a street away from the Detroit River and a stone’s throw from its gay scene, which is what makes it so gay-popular.
But that’s not all. The hotel fuses modern and historical elements in the design to tell Detroit’s story. In fact, it’s preserved many of the original firehouse features. These include the actual fire poles, the huge arched fire engine doorways, and even the classic red-brick façade. What’s more, modern design elements such as funky crafted furniture complement the historical touches. To sum up, it all feels innately Detroit. Furthermore, we loved digging into meals at the on-site restaurant, along with cocktails at the gorgeous lounge/bar area. Aside from a 24-hour fitness center, the hotel also has complimentary hipster Detroit Bike bicycles and free local shuttles, which we used thoroughly for exploring the city. From the menu of à la carte breakfast, we especially loved the Belgian-style waffles and sourdough pancakes.
Every room in this 100-room hotel is opulent and modern; think repurposed wood walls and original distressed brick floors. Furthermore, they’re offset by pops of color, modern lighting, and slick artisan sofas. While just three rooms have bathtubs, all bathrooms are modern and airy.
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Located in the beating heart of downtown Detroit’s historic shopping district is the majestic Shinola Hotel. One of the most lavish gay hotels in Detroit, this one is for discerning gay travelers looking for a bespoke experience in the heart of it all. We experienced luxury in every form from the minute we set foot into the hotel, such as early 20th-century detailing and handcrafted woodwork. The two-storied ‘Living Room’ next to the reception is a serene haven with a marble fireplace, modern furnishings, and lofty ceilings. In fact, the artwork in the room is curated by the Detroit Gallery Library Street Collective, with the huge ‘Tondo’ being the piece de resistance.
With many food and beverage options, we didn’t even have to leave the hotel for meals. We happily sipped on delicious craft cocktails at the Evening Bar and guzzled beer at The Brakeman. Even breakfast every morning was a decadent affair with ricotta pancakes, egg dishes, pastries, fruits, and cold-pressed juices. Other amenities include a fitness center and even a Shinola boutique shop. The rooms aren’t cookie-cutter either, complete with lots of light from the huge windows and spacious baths. A slew of mod-cons, minibars stocked with local items, custom bathrobes, and Italian cotton sheets make up the rest of the place.
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Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney
One of the chicest gay-friendly hotels in Detroit is Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney. Tucked right in the heart of downtown, it’s within a short drive of the gay scene as well as all the top things to do in Detroit. So, we were able to explore Detroit by day and delve into its gay scene at night, topping off an amazing gaycation in Motor City! Just like other Aloft outposts, this one boasts swish rooms with flat-screen TVs, pillowtop mattresses on plush beds, and even fridges and coffeemakers for our convenience. What we also liked are the huge windows that allow light to pour in, complete with seating areas by the side. We spent many a morning drinking coffee while lounging comfortably on the sofas.
Aloft is perfect for younger LGBTQ travelers who want to enjoy mingling with other travelers. The hotel’s amenities certainly go a long way in fuelling interesting conversations. For instance, the billiards table was a great spot to make new friends, which we did almost every day. Plus, the re:fuel snack bar is excellent, where we could simply grab breakfast and head out to explore the city. The best of them all is the famed W XYZ bar, which is very gay-popular. It offers not only snacks but also wine and cocktails late into the night.
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The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit is not just one of the best gay hotels in Detroit, but it’s also one of the overall best hotels in Detroit. Located right in the heart of downtown, the hotel lies a street away from the Detroit River and is just a five-minute drive from the city’s gay scene as well. The hotel is steeped in history and sits in a 1924-built Renaissance-inspired building that was once the world’s tallest hotel. Rooms and suites are typically Westin, complete with the brand’s “Heavenly” beds with a whopping ten layers of bedding! Aside from being spacious, rooms also have room service, plasma TVs, huge windows, and even jacuzzi tubs.
The Westin, just like any other outpost, features a plethora of amenities for guests. The best of them all is the indoor pool where you can enjoy a languorous swim. Even though there are spa facilities on the property, you can even opt for a romantic in-room massage or body treatment for you and your partner. Do enjoy drinks such as bourbon carrot mule at the Motor Bar, which celebrates Detroit’s automotive heritage. There’s also a steakhouse and a Starbucks on-site, as well as a 24-hour concierge service.
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The Dearborn Inn
Best luxurious inn. Gay travelers who want to stay away from the bustle of Detroit will love the charming and quaint Dearborn Inn. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Detroit, this is one of the most quietly luxurious gay friendly hotels in Detroit. The inn sits in a stately 1931-built home at the site of the former Ford Motor Company in the suburban town of Dearborn. What’s more, it’s surrounded by lush and landscaped grounds, which makes this place very popular for weddings. Aside from rooms and suites, there’s also an option to stay in older-style freestanding homes, but we choose the smaller one, which is the Edgar Allan Poe house. It’s basically a replica of the New York Poe Cottage. Nevertheless, all rooms and homes are decked out in colonial decor and have ornate fireplaces, plush beds, and bathtubs in the bathrooms.
What’s more, the hotel also has a ton of amenities, the most inviting being the outdoor pool. It lies in a lovely fenced-in area overlooking the grounds, complete with loungers to the side. It was our favorite place to spend time when we were not exploring the city or the neighborhood. The place also has an excellent restaurant and tavern that serve cocktails, light and regular meals overlooking the lush lawns.
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MGM Grand Detroit
Most flamboyant hotel. One of the glitziest gay hotels in Detroit is definitely the MGM Grand Detroit. Housed in a Vegas-style casino resort, the MGM Grand is for those LGBTQ travelers who’re partiers and social butterflies and don’t want any quiet until they get back to their rooms!
The hotel is actually a gargantuan entertainment complex and has seven restaurants, a frozen cocktail bar, a virtual golf suite, an event center, and a sports lounge. When we entered, a super-attentive concierge service took over. What’s more, the lobby ceilings are so high that they practically gave us vertigo. The huge indoor pool, one of the few in Detroit’s hotels, makes for a great escape, as does the on-site spa. On days when the Detroit heat got to us, we would enjoy a swim and a lounge, followed by a visit to the spa. Moreover, you’ll also find a fitness center, a sauna, a steam room, and a hot tub here for the ultimate in unwinding.
No two of the 400 rooms at this hotel are the same. Nevertheless, they’re all spacious and come with huge flat-screen HDTVs, complimentary bottled water, and spa-like marble showers with rainfall showerheads in the bathrooms. Dripping with decadence, this hotel is the place to stay if you’re in Detroit to party.
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Atheneum Suite Hotel
One of the chicest gay friendly hotels we found in Detroit is the Atheneum Suite Hotel. This Greektown staple is set in a 19th-century seed warehouse and features Greek-palace themes and columns that totally live up to its name. In fact, every corner of this hotel seemed like an Instagram opportunity!
Even the rooms are no less at this all-suite hotel, and all of them come with marble deep-soaking tubs in the bathrooms! We loved the swanky modern additions, including minibars, MP3 docking stations, and flat-screen TVs that made staying here as comfortable as it gets. Greek columns make an appearance here, too, while light streams in through the huge windows. The sitting areas right next to them were the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning.
Aside from a fitness center, the hotel also offers concierge services and a free shuttle as well. So, we would book tours during the day. In the evening, we’d use the shuttle to get to the gayborhood, which is less than 10 minutes away. The on-site restaurant and bar are also one of the most popular places around for a drink and a meal.
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Sitting atop the list of the best gay hotels in Detroit is the Siren Hotel, a hip boutique hotel that delves deep into Detroit’s history. Set in the once-abandoned Wurlitzer building from 1926, the utterly charming property is right in the thick of things. In fact, the gay scene is no more than a five-minute drive, which is another reason for us choosing this property.
A gorgeous Italian Renaissance exterior aside, the hotel’s design and ethos are modeled after The Siren, a Greek mythology creature that stands for the rebirth of the city of Detroit. The glamorous lobby is like stepping back in time to a 1940s or ’50s film set. For instance, the seating areas have sheer balloon shades, fringed table lamps, and funky antique furniture. At the same time, original features such as plaster ceilings, terracotta signs, and shining travertine floors remain. Amenities include a trendy cocktail lounge, coffee bar, and a small upscale restaurant that serves all meals. Our favorite was the cocktail lounge, Candy Bar, which is also a favorite with local and visiting gays. It has a pink ceiling, a sleek, curved bar, a glittery chandelier, and a glitzy Parisian disco ball.
Rooms range from ‘Hideouts’ or bunks to suites, with the pinnacle being the lofty penthouse. Nevertheless, they all have terrazzo-tiled baths, comfy beds with Italian linens, and non-alcoholic minibars full of gourmet snacks and soft drinks.
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Detroit’s many LGBTQ-friendly hotels are perfect for a wide variety of travelers. However, we’re sure that you’d prefer some hotels over others for certain features, just like us. That’s why we’ve come up with a specialized list below:
- Best heritage inn: The Inn At 97 Winder
- Best chain hotel: Detroit Marriott At The Renaissance Center
- Trendiest hotel: Trumbull & Porter
- Best luxurious inn: The Dearborn Inn
- Most flamboyant hotel: MGM Grand Detroit
Just So You Know:
- Detroit’s Pride event is the largest LGBTQ event in Michigan. But that’s not all. Detroit’s “Hotter Than July” is the world’s longest-running and second-oldest “Black Pride” celebration. This week-long celebration sees the offering of safe spaces for showcasing and educating about the culture.
Get Some Culture in Detroit:
- Motor City Pride: What started as a march downtown has turned into Detroit’s annual LGBTQ pride street festival. The vibrant festival features a colorful Pride parade that celebrates the diversity, love, and lives of the LGBTQ communities in Michigan. Also part of this festival is the Riverside Festival, which is the official two-day pride party held on the riverfront at Hart Plaza. Think live entertainment, a pride picnic, and a beer garden.
- Detroit Architectural Beauty and Hidden Gems Walking Tour: If you’re like us and want to explore Detroit’s best sights, then this tour is perfect. This guided walking excursion left us amazed at Detroit’s lesser-known sites, such as the verdant floating park of Belle Isle.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Detroit:
- Woodward Bar & Grill: This is Detroit’s oldest LGBTQ establishment, which has been around since the 1960s. Tucked in the heart of Midtown, this restaurant serves delicious and simple food and transforms into an LGBTQ space after 5 p.m. Also, it’s especially known for its black LGBTQ crowd. It newly introduced the Woodward Ultra Lounge, which was formerly Whitestar, for the LGBTQ crowd.
- Gigis Gay Bar: This is one of Detroit’s best gay and drag bars and is the perfect place for drinks and a show. Dance the night away at the upstairs bar or enjoy the lively cabaret performances on the lower level.
Best Gay Saunas in Detroit:
- Body Zone: Detroit’s premier gay sauna features a labyrinth of hallways with an open shower room, a steam room, private rooms that can be rented, and lounge areas.