Most people don’t think of Detroit when they think of a tourist destination. The city has suffered considerably in the last century – much of the population has moved into the outlying suburbs, crime has surged and empty buildings dot its cold, Michigan skyline.
The last several years have brought significant effort to revitalize the downtown area, however. Led by reconstruction of the Tigers’ and Lions’ stadiums, several pockets in the inner city are once again starting to flourish. Events like the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) are perennial favorites among visitors while Hockeytown and The Old Shillelagh keep drinkers out late at night.
In addition to the new entertainment percolating in the city, several casinos have invested heavily in the downtown area, with two, the MGM Grand and the Motor City just finishing construction on two new huge, luxury casinos and hotels.
This article focuses on the newly developing Motor City Casino. Check out Gadling’s earlier article on the MGM Grand.
Motor City Casino – an introduction
Situated in the heart of Downtown Detroit, Motor City Casino (MCC) and hotel is a commanding structure in the Detroit skyline. Owned by Miriam Illich, the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, MCC is the only casino owned entirely by a woman. Renovations throughout the property are ongoing through beginning of the third quarter, with a new four-star hotel opened late last year and several smaller pockets of construction ongoing.
Gadling will cover the main aspects of the casino in four categories: Gaming, Dining, Nightlife and Hotel.Motor City Casino — Gaming
The board of directors worked hard with Chip Foose, senior casino designer to create a retro “Motor-city” vibe to the property. Design aspects of the automotive world are sprinkled throughout the casino — rows of mirrors resembling hubcaps, lines on the ceiling shaped like vehicle fairings.
Large swaths of the casino floor are underneath intelligent lighting networks, a series of LEDs that can change the color of the ceiling or portions thereof in an instant. This network is linked to LCD monitors circling the floor, resulting in a gentle color transition between the decorum. At one end of the casino floor is a series of glass tubes through which the light is projected, creating a pixelated matrix on which the lights can project images and gradients.
Nearly 100,000 square feet of gaming area is planned for after the renovation, including over 2,500 gaming machines and 53 tables. The poker room (complete with free snack bar), inset beneath the gaming floor hosts twelve tables with the typical bets in the 50/200 range.
A vip room lies just behind the gaming floor, ominously guarded by MCC staff, where you can play both slots and table games in lumberjack proportions. Behind this section is a special lounge area for VIP members to access their own buffet and beverage service.
Motor City Casino – Dining
Motor City’s boasts the ownership of Detroit’s only AAA four-diamond restaurant, Iridescence. Situated on the 16th floor of the property, diners face the western skyline as entrees like Cornish Game Hen and Ahi Tuna are served in style. Tall, vaulted ceilings help create an open, airy atmosphere that can be tuned to the mood of the clientèle; as pictured, hues of blue and red softly illuminate the dining floor as the Ambassador Bridge is seen through the dining window. Average entrees are in the 35$ range.
The a standard casino buffet is on the lower level of the property, offering a wide range of contemporary fare, with special nights set aside for seafood and soul food nights. Average buffet prices during the week are approximately 20$.
Additionally, small pockets of dining establishments are cradled in corners of the casino. The lower level casino has a small sports bar at the end of the floor where pub food and beer can be consumed within spitting distance of the gaming. The Motor City Pit Stop and Grand River Deli serve similar purposes.
Motor City Casino – Nightlife
Construction workers are just putting the finishing touches on Amnesia, Motor City’s new ultra-lounge slated to open up in May. Located on the 16th floor next to Iridescence, this lounge also reflects the retro, automotive undertones that the rest of the casino features. Facing the western Detroit skyline, the top floor of Amnesia will be reserved strictly for bottle service while lower sections of the bar will cater to casual drinkers.
In addition to Amnesia, a variety of watering holes are scattered throughout the casino floor and property. The end of the main floor hosts a stage for live performances in a constant cycle of live entertainment and activity. Just underneath, the sports bar also serves as close gaming access to alcohol.
At the opposite end of the gaming floor, the bar On Air is an interesting take on integrated entertainment. Above the standard bar are several DJ stations from which a variety of radio shows (internally and externally) can broadcast. For example, if a local radio station wants to broadcast their sports show from the gaming floor, they can bring minimal equipment, plug in to the Motor City’s station and start beaming their signal immediately.
Motor City Casino – Hotel and Spa
The finest section of the Motor City properties is undoubtedly the hotel. The lobby is pictured above. This 17 story, 400 room tower, includes 40 suites and one master suite overlooking the Detroit skyline.
Each room is equipped with the latest in technological amenities, from 37″ flat panel televisions on which you can order room service and check your flight status to mobile phones that you can take around the entire casino property.
Rooms are tastefully decorated in dark wooden hues with thick, lavish sheets and superior mattresses. Another nice touch is that there are live plants in every room, creating a fresher clean atmosphere that most standard hotels lack.
Motor City’s Spa (pictured, left) just opened up this month, featuring separate areas for men’s and women’s pampering, including treatment rooms, a whirlpool, sauna and a rain bench as well as a full fitness area with about twenty machines.
Rack rates run about 200$ per room with an additional fee for spa service.