Commonly known as the Motor City, these days Detroit is brimming with culture and life and should definitely be part of your itinerary if you’re touring the States. A singular metropolitan representation of the American experience, while news headlines about Detroit have tended to dwell on its decay and bankruptcy, in reality and on the ground there’s plenty to impress even the most discerning of travellers in this vibrant, progressive and charming city, not least a visit to Hitsville USA, where Berry Gordy introduced the world to the likes of Diana Ross, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and many other Motown legends.
In the decades before it sat silently decaying, the Wurlitzer Building at 1509 Broadway was filled with music, home to one of the largest music stores in the world and helped to thrill thousands of theatre-going Detroiters. Designed by Detroit architect Robert Finn in an elegant Renaissance Revival style, built by the Otto Misch Company and opened on 8th December 1926, the 14-storey building once housed the Wurlitzer Company which made pianos, organs, radios, and, most famously, jukeboxes.
The Wurlitzer company left sometime before the 1970s and was followed by various tenants, although the building was never again fully let. By the mid 1980s, without any tenants, the tall, narrow and abandoned building fell into disrepair. Sadly, the historic landmark started to fall to pieces at the beginning of this decade.
Thankfully in 2015 the Wurlitzer Building was rescued from what seemed like almost certain demolition, when developer ASH NYC bought it to renovate and transform into The Siren Hotel which opened a few months ago retaining many 1920s features which were preserved during its conversion. Original Terracotta signage, beautiful travertine floors and plaster ceiling details have been updated with pastel colours and rich materials to maintain the essence of the building.
The 106 off-white guest rooms are accentuated with timber floors, white veined black marble, hues of pinks and oxblood, and plush, angular navy blue-upholstered furniture. Custom blankets on the beds were designed by graduate students from a nearby art academy.
Unusually for such a small hotel, the building also includes seven dining and drinking areas, two retail spaces, and a 14th floor rooftop bar that boasts impressive views into Canada across the Detroit River.