Downtown Detroit continues to evolve, with more venue options than ever before. One of the most exciting is the shiny new Shinola Hotel, which opened in January of 2019. The stylish 129-room hotel on Woodward Avenue “is a fresh face,” according to account executive Katherine Hartley, as well as one with 16,000 square feet of retail and food and beverage space.

In addition to a unique collection of meeting and event venues, the thoughtfully designed hotel offers creative catering options and personalized service for an unparalleled holiday party,” she says. “The warmth and elegance of the hotel's design, done by Gachot, lends itself as a perfect space to host a memorable party during the cold Detroit winters.”

Chef Andrew Carmellini of the NoHo Hospitality Group oversees the food and beverage offerings, including San Morello, a Southern Italian restaurant serving authentic, wood-fired dishes, pizzas and house-made pastas using local, seasonal ingredients.

On-site spaces include the Evening Bar, a comfortable, classic American bar serving seasonally crafted cocktails and bar bites; the Brakeman, an American beer hall featuring rotating drafts of craft beers from the Midwest; Penny Red’s, a fried chicken restaurant that serves buckets of fried chicken, honey-butter biscuits, and local farm stand sides; the Living Room off the lobby; and the banquet/event spaces that include the sunroom-style Birdy Room, which accommodates 180 standing-style and 70 seated, and Bixby Hall, which accommodates 100 to 180 guests. 

“Many of these spaces can be rented out for private events and include different menu offerings,” Hartley says. She’s especially fond of the Birdy Room, a “unique event space that features vaulted glass ceilings. The bright and airy conservatory offers a verdant and refreshing respite from the energy of downtown and is perfect for taking in the beautiful snowfall during winter,” she says.

And what could be merrier than that?

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Shinola Hotel
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Over the years, any corporate event planner can admit to spending countless hours researching the perfect venue or vendors for their gatherings. After attending or hosting hundreds of events, New York-based Daphne Hoppenot was no stranger to this research and was frustrated by its repetitive nature. However, it was planning her wedding in 2018 that pushed her to realize the lack of resources in the corporate events market compared to the wedding industry, and set out to see if other meetings and events professionals were struggling with the same problem.  

 

Freelancing has become a new ball game since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as many companies cannot afford to keep full-time positions, but still need those tasks completed. Although many more professionals have had to join the freelancing community since March, Tracy Judge had the passion for the freelancing community two years ago–long before the pandemic hit–and founded her company Soundings Connect in order to directly connect meetings and events industry freelancers with customers. 

 

Event planners often prepare for the worst, but one thing they likely didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic when selecting event cancellation insurance policies for their 2020 gatherings. Panicked planners began contacting Marcia McKinney, owner of Northeast Insurance Advisors, in late February and early March, but as meetings and events ground to a halt, they were already out of luck.

“It’s kind of like trying to buy homeowner’s insurance as your house is starting to catch fire... it’s too late,” says McKinney.