Pure Michigan, Detroit Foundation Hotel And Royal Park Place Garner Some Notable Awards

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I’m excited that so many Michigan travel campaigns and venues continue to grab the national spotlight. Here’s a look at several award winners named so far this year.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan’s marketing brand was recognized by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) with three Adrian Awards. Pure Michigan has nabbed 23 of these awards since 2013.

GOLD: Pure Michigan won gold in the influencer-marketing category for the “Pure Michigan Hidden Gems” coverage it hosted for The Planet D Adventure Travel Blog and Matador Network.

The Planet D featured several of Michigan’s hidden gems and best-kept secrets while reporting on outdoor recreation, attractions and the state’s beautiful scenery.

In addition to the content, including A love letter to Michigan, that was shared on The Planet D and Matador Networks sites and social media channels, Planet D writers posted details about their visit in real time on social media and did a takeover of the Pure Michigan Snapchat channel.

SILVER: Drone footage of Tahquamenon Falls, called Falling in Love with Pure Michigan, won a silver award in online feature placement category.

The drone footage of Tahquamenon Falls was captured by Dustin Dilworth and D3 Imager and shared by Pure Michigan to provide a stunning view of the Upper Peninsula’s fall colors.

The footage was shared on Pure Michigan’s Facebook channel, providing a view few get to experience. The post garnered 2.7 million views, 52,991 shares and roughly 6,000 comments.

It was picked up by multiple media outlets, including Condé Nast Traveler, earning Pure Michigan a silver medal for its social media reach and use for traditional media outreach.

BRONZE: The brand captured a bronze medal in digital marketing for its Michigan.org: How to Build a Pure-ly Unique Website.

The new michigan.org site, launched in 2017, was part of an ongoing initiative by Travel Michigan to evolve the Pure Michigan campaign into activity, or interest-based marketing, in addition to its traditional marketing strategies.

Another plus: The michigan.org redesign was named Best Travel Website by the Web Marketing Association as part of the 2017 WebAwards.

The Detroit Foundation Hotel

One of downtown Detroit’s newest properties, The Detroit Foundation Hotel, grabbed a Travel + Leisure magazine award as one of the best new and reborn properties worldwide. The hotel also has been featured in Michigan Meetings + Events magazine.

The Detroit Foundation Hotel was one of only seven U.S. hotels on the Travel + Leisure list of 56 hotels worldwide recognized for hospitality excellence worldwide.

The $28-million hotel, owned by the Aparium Hotel Group in Chicago and several local investors, is located across from Cobo Center.

For the hotel’s recognition, Travel + Leisure writer Kristen Dold wrote the following:

“The revived rust belt city finally has a hotel as hip as the millennial makers swarming Detroit’s streets. Built within the city’s former fire department headquarters downtown—open since last May—pays homage to the old Detroit (original details, like the arched, terra-cotta firehouse entrance and red doors remain intact), but drips with the new. A podcast studio that doubles as a gallery faces the street, in-room minibars swap out Snickers for locally made treats and snacks, and collaborations with bustling neighborhood businesses—like in-room suit tailoring with retailer 1701 Bespoke—capture the city’s spirit of communal creativity. (There’s enough luxury, like Le Labo bath products, velvet sofas, and vintage rugs, mixed in to keep the aesthetic cozy.)

“Take at least one meal inside the sprawling Apparatus Room, where the firetrucks used to go—it’s now a playground where Michelin-starred Michigan native Thomas Lents wows with elevated Midwestern ingredients and craft cocktails. You hardly have to step outside of the hotel to soak up the spirit of the city, but be sure to take advantage of the complimentary bike rental: a few blocks south is the Detroit Riverwalk (wave across the water to Canada); a few blocks north sits Campus Martius Park, where a sandy ‘beach’ and lounge chairs pop up in the summer months.”

More Laurels: The Detroit Foundation Hotel also won an Interiors Award in the hotel category, presented by Contract magazine during its 39th Annual Interiors Awards Breakfast in New York City.

The Chicago-based Simeone Deary Design Group melded the past and present into a vibrant 100-room boutique hotel. Says co-owner Gina Geary in the awards story, “A lot of history is built into this hotel and it is our favorite type of project.”

The Detroit architecture firm of McIntosh Poris Associates worked on bringing the 1929 old firehouse back to life.

Reports the jury: “A superb repurposing of a building, this is a great example of taking something old and showing what it can be. The design has great balance of refined materials in a raw space.”

Royal Park Hotel

For the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, more good news came at the Worldhotels Annual Conference in Shanghai, China.

The luxury boutique hotel won its third global award from Worldhotels for Best Experience Creator.

“The award was truly a team effort and we are honored and thrilled to be recognized by Worldhotels. Our team is focused on making memories, traveling like a local and crafting unique experiences on a daily basis for business travelers from all over the globe who arrive as guests, stay as friends and leave as family,” says Susan Keels, director of sales and marketing.

With more than 500 international luxury and upscale hotels in Worldhotels’ portfolio, Royal Park Hotel was the only hotel in the Americas that was honored with such a prestigious award. It also was one of only three hotels recognized for their significant efforts in “Increased Revenue Management YOY.”

“Our recipe is simple, take passion and vision, sprinkle in committed team members, add a pinch of imagination and forget the box,” adds Royal Park General Manager Michael Platt.

Splash Village Hotel

Three cheers for Zehnder’s Splash Village hotel and waterpark in Frankenmuth.

It was recognized for the second time as a winner of the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards in the Hotels for Families category. It ranked 19 on the top-25 in the nation list.

What's new? Send a note with your recent awards and updates to Editor Ron Garbinski.


Metro Public Works recently announced the start of a new glass recycling initiative to being in Lower Broadway in Nashville, TN.

Mayor Megan Barry said it was the city’s first glass bottle recycling initiative. “Lower Broadway has become an international tourist destination, and long-neck bottles are now synonymous with the honky-tonk experience,” Barry said. “For too long, we’ve had to throw away glass that could have been recycled and repurposed. This program is like no other, and we are excited to lead the charge toward a more sustainable city.”


If Michigan were performing like a top 10 state today, there would be:

  • 34,000 more Michigan people working
  • $9,500 more income per person
  • $11,700 more GDP per person

That’s the latest assessment from Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) in its fact-based report on Michigan’s economic competitiveness relative to other states. The 2017 version of this study contains important findings for the meetings and events industry and small business owners.


Naming rights for event venues is big business, even for smaller facilities as the new sign on the former Birch Run Expo Center reveals.

Effective Dec. 22, 2017, the Frankenmuth Credit Union partnered with the Grand Rapids-based GVB Development Group to rename the Birch Run Expo Center located along I-75 near the Premium Outlets mall.