Looking for a moment to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Get details on what’s going on at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, to help you start planning your trip Up North. Plus, for those that don’t want to take a big trip, find some staycation ideas in Detroit too.
Boyne Mountain Resort Reaches New Heights
“Just sit on back, nice and low,” a lift attendant advises as the dark green chairlift known as the Hemlock — interestingly, the oldest in the world, dating to 1936 — scoops up waiting riders and begins its ascent up the mountain.
The destination: SkyBridge Michigan, the world’s longest timber suspension bridge (at 1,200 feet long and 118 feet high) with 360-degree views of the surrounding valley. It opened in October 2022 and has attracted thousands of thrill seekers ever since.
SkyBridge has gained national attention and is part of Boyne Mountain Resort’s ambitious Renaissance 2.0 plan, which includes attractions, new technology and lift innovations, green initiatives, lodging improvements, and other upgrades to the 75-year-old facility.
The northern Michigan landmark, which opened in 1948, also features the state’s largest indoor waterpark, renowned golf courses, a state-of-the-art spa, and seasonal activities such as skiing (downhill and cross-country), horseback riding, ice skating, and zip-lining — more than enough to keep visitors of all ages busy for a weekend and beyond.
Walking on Air
At the top of the mountain, plaques on the wooden trusses at both ends explain that the new bridge pays homage to northern Michigan’s long logging history. They also share fun facts, including that the foundation contains more than 1 million pounds of concrete, the bridge weighs 40,000 pounds and contains 8,000 bolts, and the design was inspired by the “M” in the Pure Michigan logo.
The bridge and the new eight-person Disciples 8 chairlift are the latest of the resort’s ongoing improvements and part of its 2030 growth plan, says resort spokesperson Erin Ernst.
“We had a bridge at a sister property in Gatlinburg [Tennessee], and it was hugely popular there,” she explains. “Boyne Mountain offered the right topography and landscape and the perfect four-season climate.” In winter, you can watch skiers traverse the terrain below.
Sharon and Joe Horton of Spring Lake were among those enjoying a recent getaway at the resort and included a trek across the bridge as part of their activities. “It was our little adventure for the day,” Sharon says, adding, “We would absolutely do it again. … The views are fabulous.”
Brent Fountain, who works as a bartender at the resort’s Stein Eriksen’s restaurant, can often be found halfway across, helping the hesitant over the four see-through glass panes in the bridge’s middle.
“The first time across, most people are looking at their feet in absolute panic,” he explains with a grin. A $25 ticket entitles you to as many trips across as you’d like, and many people make the one-way crossing only to loop around and do it again. “The second time,” Fountain says, “most people enjoy it more and really appreciate the view.”
Many also post close-ups of their feet and tag them with #GetPastTheGlass to prove they made it across.
The bridge is open year-round, with beer, wine, and firepits available at the top, weather permitting. You can also stop for a drink at the Eagle’s Nest at the mountain’s summit before crossing to fuel your courage or after to toast your bravery (if you go, be sure to check out the ski memorabilia from Boyne’s early days).
Fountain says he never tires of the trip across, no matter how many times he has done it. “I just love it,” he says. “It’s like walking on thin air.”
After a full day of activities, rest at the recently renovated, 35-room Chalet Edelweiss, another Renaissance 2.0 project. Once known as the Edelweiss Lodge, the property sits strategically at the foot of the mountain, with great views of and easy access to the slopes and other Boyne facilities.
Ernst says Edelweiss has long been known as “one of the premier ski-in, ski-out properties in the country” and is part of the resort’s original trio of accommodations, alongside the traditional Clock Tower Lodge and Boynehof. (Other lodgings include the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa and a variety of villas, cabins, and condominiums.)
In winter, Edelweiss is surrounded by snow on all four sides, Ernst points out. But while the mountain’s many pleasures are perennial, the 1963 lodge hadn’t aged well.
It “was very cool and very unique but also very dated,” she explains, hence the “down to the studs” renovation designed to turn it into the resort’s most upscale lodging that was completed in January 2022.
Newly decorated in trendy Nordic style, rooms include a variety of amenities, from Lindor pillow chocolates and an in-room coffee station stocked with signature Alpine Blend pour-over coffee to an aromatic pillow spray and plush faux-fur pillows and European linens. Danish-style hygge — loosely defined as “coziness” and “well-being” by The New York Times — has clearly arrived in northern Michigan.
Besides the renovated rooms, which range in size from compact to roomy based on the price and building location, the chalet offers enticing public spaces that include the lower-level Nordic Cirque Sauna, with a bracing three- step relaxation ritual that includes a dry sauna, cold shower, and rest and recovery period. Or you could just lounge in the nearby sitting room, home to a roaring fire, a large dining table, comfortable seating, and a variety of coffee-table books on — not surprisingly — Nordic design and skiing.
Add-on possibilities include a couples massage in the resort’s spa and reservations at on-site restaurants Everett’s and Stein Eriksen’s. The latter offers a fondue dinner at the foot of the slopes in season and a new SkyBridge Snowshoe Supper, with two sittings each Saturday through March.
The Snowshoe Supper includes a chairlift ride to the top of the mountain, a snowshoe trek across the bridge and down the mountain, a bonfire and drinks, and a prime rib and shrimp buffet dinner at the bottom. The $120-per-person event takes place weather permitting.
“We have to have enough snow, obviously,” Ernst adds.
Rates start at $175. Visit boynemountain.com for more information.
In need of a getaway but looking to stay closer to home? Detroit’s ongoing renaissance has resulted in an influx of chic boutique hotels, many with views of the nearby downtown skyline. The following hotels offer relaxing and luxurious city sanctuaries. One is sure to be your perfect urban escape.
Detroit Foundation Hotel
“We kept all of the imperfections along with all of the beauty,” explains general manager James Dannecker, as he points out the white subway tile, high ceilings, and other original features in the restored Detroit Foundation Hotel.
Located across from Huntington Place (formerly Cobo Hall), the 100-room boutique-style hotel opened in 2017 out of two historic Detroit buildings: the Detroit Fire Department headquarters, built in 1929, and the Pontchartrain Wine Cellars, which dates back to the late 19th century.
Where possible, the design team reused original architectural features. Where it wasn’t, they sourced vintage elements from other Detroit locations, Dannecker explains. “Our goal was to lean into the city’s renaissance and rebuild Detroit with Detroit.”
The rooms feature beds with reclaimed wood headboards and wallpaper depicting local landmarks, custom designed by Detroit Wallpaper Co. In-room snacks include Germack nuts and other Michigan products. Guests looking to catch up on some reading will also find copies of Detroit: The Dream Is Now by Michel Arnaud.
Those who splurge on the oversize Commissioner’s Suite can spread out in a wood-paneled space that served as the fire department commissioner’s office in the 1930s, complete with a full-size pool table, luxe leather furniture, and a king-size bed.
There’s no need to leave the building when it comes time for dinner. The first-floor Apparatus Room, once a storage site for fire equipment (the name is original), is today one of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants.
Room rates start at $279.
Near Grand Circus Park in the formerly abandoned Wurlitzer Building, where musical instruments were once made and sold, stands The Siren, a newish (2018) hotel inspired by the city’s Old World lodgings. The 1926 Italian Renaissance-style building stood empty for decades before it was purchased in 2015 and renovated into the 106-room hotel with five food and beverage spaces, two retail shops, and more.
Look up when you enter the lobby, and you’ll see an exposed and faded original ceiling fragment, an atmospheric nod to the building’s history and one that also inspired the hotel’s color palette.
Unabashedly romantic, the moody lobby also includes gilded mirrors, a reclaimed disco ball, and French-inspired antiques, including a canopied and painted bed. Walk through the beaded curtain at the back, and you’ll find Candy Bar, a tiny pink palace of a watering hole capped by a vintage Murano glass chandelier found in Paris.
Farther back is Albena, an eight-seat chef’s table that serves two seven-course meals daily, and the entrance to Sid Gold’s Request Room, a hidden piano bar open Wednesday through Saturday. Come summer, it will also be home to a new rooftop bar.
“Every room is different,” assistant general manager Ash Haque says of the accommodations, and many sport views of surrounding structures such as Comerica Park and the Detroit Athletic Club. “They’re not big and grand — more cozy and chic,” he explains.
Suites have loft-style layouts and circular staircases with velvet sofas, tables, and eagle’s-eye views of the surrounding cityscape. Book the penthouse suite, and you’ll enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows, your own dining room, and a second-floor bedroom.
Rooms start at $229.
Request a Gallery King junior suite at the eight-story Shinola Hotel, and you’ll be treated to a space with seven huge, almost floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over Woodward Avenue. Depending on the room’s location, views range from the new skyscraper rising from the former Hudson’s site to the Guardian and Penobscot buildings, or even Campus Martius Park in the distance.
When you’re able to tear yourself away from ogling the vintage facades around and below you, press a button that whisks the shades shut. Only then can you appreciate the room’s interior, decorated with subtle blond furniture and a contemporary palette of black, white, and tan.
The same restful hues are echoed in furnishings, including the king-size bed and velvet sofa, as well as the oversize bathroom, stocked with high-end toiletries and a boxer-style hooded robe with “Detroit” emblazoned on the back.
Thoughtful extras include a Shinola blanket, a sleep machine tucked in a bedside drawer, and a “You Look Beautiful” card in the vanity drawer.
The hotel, the flagship of the ever-expanding Detroit-based brand, opened in 2019 with 129 rooms in a collection of historic buildings on the corner of Woodward and Grand River, once home to the T.B. Rayl Co. department store and Singer sewing machine company.
Room sizes vary, but all include the same carefully curated furnishings and Detroit-centric amenities. If you’re looking to splurge, consider The Canfield suite, which includes a separate dining area and a living room gas fireplace. In the evening, relax in one of the public areas filled with Motown art or dine in one of the on-site restaurants, such as San Morello, which serves up southern Italian cuisine. Rooms start at $235.
The Detroit Club
Leaded-glass windows frame the entrance to this venerable structure built in 1891 to house Detroit’s oldest club. Inside, elegantly restored public rooms on the first floor offer a taste of what the city would have been like in the late 19th century.
“They don’t build like this anymore,” says sales and marketing manager Matthew Laurinec, whose goal is to share the architectural treasure with a wider audience.
The club opened its 21 rooms to the public after a complete renovation in 2018, he says (nonmember guests are required to purchase a $25 club pass, which entitles them to full membership privileges during their stay).
The public areas and original 10 rooms were renovated, and 11 new luxury suites added, carved from second-floor spaces that once comprised a ballroom and conference area. Premium king suites are surprisingly spacious, and many offer in-room Jacuzzis or clawfoot tubs.
One room has a nonworking fireplace that once occupied the ballroom; another has views of the Penobscot Building, the former Detroit Free Press building, and the Guardian Building, as well as a private patio.
“All are different, so you get a unique experience every time you stay,” Laurinec says.
Enjoy a drink and live music in The Library cocktail bar, or dine at Bohemia, the on-site restaurant. Afterward, escape the winter chill in the club’s lower-level spa, a onetime bowling alley that now includes a fitness room and an enclosed saltwater grotto, where you can enjoy Champagne and a charcuterie board while you soak. Rates start at $350.
Trumbull & Porter Hotel
Huge red lips mark the door to the Rolling Stones Suite at Corktown’s 144-room Trumbull & Porter Hotel. Located a little farther out of town, this onetime Holiday Inn hosted the iconic band in 1964, when they played at Olympia Stadium.
The Detroit Free Press detailed the band’s stay, noting that the general manager at the time had to call the police to help manage crowds.
The two-room first-floor suite is the hotel’s largest and most popular, with a king-size bed, a separate sitting area, and its own mini-kitchen. It’s decorated with Stones-inspired murals and memorabilia, including photos, album covers, newspaper clippings, and even a vintage guitar. You can even spin a few tunes on the in-room record player.
All rooms feature locally sourced furniture, textiles, and design; romantic king suites with whirlpool feature in-room Jacuzzis. While you won’t get penthouse views from this four-story hotel, you can see the Penobscot and the Renaissance Center in the distance from Trumbull-facing rooms.
Two blocks from where Tiger Stadium stood, the sleek urban space includes custom-made furniture by Detroit artisans and works by city-centric artists.
Walk into the lobby, and you’ll find poetry by local David Blair emblazoned on a large wall, as well as plants, books, old Burroughs adding machines, and the nearby Burroughs Lounge, where you can get pour-over coffee and baked goods.
The hotel’s restaurant, Red Dunn Kitchen, is temporarily closed and is expected to reopen later this year. Rates start at $179 for a standard queen room.
This story is from the February 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.