GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A $50 million piece of downtown Grand Rapids’ Studio Park development will welcome its first guests Tuesday.
Canopy by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown is the first hotel of its kind in Michigan. Only 23 other hotels like it exist worldwide, the closest one located about 315 miles away in Columbus, Ohio.
The eight-story hotel at the corner of Ionia Avenue and Oakes Street SW features 155 rooms, a fitness center, a ground-floor restaurant called Portico and Knoop, which owner and operator Lodgco Hospitality says is the largest rooftop restaurant in Grand Rapids.
General Manager Paige Yasenchak says it’s the local touches they’ve added that makes this Canopy stand out from other Grand Rapids hotels. That includes how the team is treating the first guests in each hotel room.
“We did have a guest that reached out to us and they wanted to be the first person to check into the hotel,” explained Yasenchak. “We wanted to make sure that we made that (bucket list wish) come true for him. So we started thinking about other ways that we could make that come true for everyone.”
She says each inaugural visitor will be greeted with a bucket containing local products and “100 Things to Do in Grand Rapids Before You Die.”
That book is also included in the hotel’s retail space, along with Beer City Dog Biscuits, Sister Bee’s lip balm created from locally harvested beeswax, and Wax Poetic’s candles, among other local products.
Also available for purchase are fish fashioned out of antiques and other items people would normally pitch. They’re part of Stephen Palmer’s School of Fish, which swim across the Canopy’s second-floor wall.
Palmer planned to enter the display in this year’s ArtPrize. Although this year’s competition was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic, Canopy is still hosting the installation along with other local artwork.
INSIDE THE ROOMS
West Michigan’s artisan influence stretches to the beds that give Canopy its name.
“Each guest room has a canopy-style bed,” Yasenchak said. “Each one of those, when you go to different Canopies, they are all unique to that hotel.”
The Grand Rapids hotel’s beds are topped with canopies created by local Amish people and contain cooling gel mattresses built by Grand Rapids-based Lady Americana.
Guest rooms range from $150 to over $300 a night. Some include balconies with stunning views of the city’s skyline and extra living spaces. All of the rooms have an espresso maker and WiFi.
Canopy by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown also welcomes dogs that weigh up to 50 pounds. The hotel offers beds, bowls, leashes, treats and other pet perks at check-in. However, owners must pay a $50 non-refundable deposit for their furry friend to stay.
COMMON AREAS’ UNCOMMON DESIGN
From Furniture City to Beer City USA, the city’s history is also on display throughout the hotel.
Four conference rooms are named for styles of beer glasses, beer-infused foods are on the menu and a Beer City mural is on display in the employee break room.
Canopy by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown is one of three places worldwide to host the entire series of Herman Miller picnic posters, offered up by the artist himself. (Herman Miller and New York’s Museum of Modern Art carry the other two collections.)
Uniquely designed chairs, banquettes and tables are scattered throughout the building.
“The hotel… wanted to make sure to celebrate the furniture designers and manufacturers that Grand Rapids is known for. And so you’ll see that throughout the hotel, that nod to mid-century modern and those furniture designers,” she said.
ON THE MENU
Canopy by Hilton also incorporated the city’s German and Dutch heritage into the décor and small plate menu at Knoop, which serves up a charcuterie-board style sampling of bratwursts dubbed the “best of the wurst” and freshly made pretzels displayed in a custom cart from Turkey.
“We have another one of those that we want to take out into the city so that the people can enjoy our pretzels as well, even if they’re not coming into the hotel,” Yasenchak said.
Portico’s menu futures American fare cooked in a hearthstone oven, Madcap coffee and pastries made fresh daily.
Yasenchak says the hotel will hold local tastings nightly so guests can sample what Grand Rapids has to offer, from Madcap coffee to dishes made from local produce. Visitors can also hop onto one of Canopy by Hilton’s complimentary bikes to explore the area.
“I’m proud to call Grand Rapids home and I want to make sure that when people leave here, they really have a good understanding of all that the city has to offer. So we want to bring that to our guests,” she said.
COMFORTS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
COVID-19 has also changed how Canopy by Hilton operates. In addition to traditional cleaning procedures, the team at Canopy by Hilton will sanitize each hotel room, sealing the door when finished.
“The next person who goes into that room will be the guest and they will break that seal and they will have the comfort of knowing that all their spaces within that room have been cleaned and disinfected,” Yasenchak said.
The hotel has also added hand sanitizing stations, installed touchless lighting in hotel rooms and stocked up on disposable masks and gloves for guests who didn’t come prepared.
“Whether it’s an event that you’re holding here or staying in one of our guest rooms, we want to make sure that the guests feel safe,” Yasenchak added.
Visitors can also find comfort in a Canopy by Hilton feature rolled out long before the pandemic: the Break Fast Bag filled with food to start the day.
“You let us know each day if you would like us to fill up your Break Fast Bag. And then in the morning when you wake up, we’ll have that hooked outside your door, hanging there, waiting for you to try,” explained Yasenchak.
Another Canopy bonus is the transfer lounge, which includes lockers and private showers for guests who arrive early or need to store their luggage after checking out.
Canopy is still hiring. Those interested should visit https://www.lodgco.net/careers.