The ****** Hotel

Introduction and Upper Floors

The ****** Hotel (originally the ****** House) in Detroit, Michigan is a 20 story hotel which was completed in 1927, back when Detroit was a place that people were willing to talk to their kids about before they were teenagers. We have stayed there two years in a row now. It is a very cheap, anything goes sort of place, with two goth styled nightclubs in the basement, a restaurant on the street, and anywhere from one to two out of six working elevators at any given time. My friends and I try to make it up to Detroit for DEMF / Movement festival every year to listen to techno, have fun, and generally be amazed at what kind of bombed out shithole Detroit is.

Some of my past adventures up in Detroit have included waking up in a haze in the back of a van in the suburbs an hour away with my friends sleeping inside the house we were at, picking up a friend from the 8 mile jail after he wandered 8.5 miles through the city and fell asleep on a random person's couch, and buying weird little squares of paper from people in broad daylight across the street from 5 cops. None of that was nearly as entertaining as 2008, when we explored every closed off area of the hotel we could get ourselves into. This is the story of that.

I arrived late at the hotel. My ride had been dicking around as usual and the car needed a tire changed before we drove. The ride up was one long session of bitching between the driver and some kid that he brought with who was schizo. He hated the schizo kid but needed him to book the hotel reservations and like me comes from a long and proud line of broke-ass white people. We did finally make it up at around 9:00 at night on Saturday after missing several good acts at the festival. Some friends who had flown in from down south met me at the hotel and we went downstairs to the nightclub to meet our friend Molly and have fun. A pipe on the ceiling leaked in my eye and gave me SUPER AIDS (like regular AIDS, but way worse) for the rest of the weekend, and we were treated to some shitty gabber DJ who was playing a track that sounded like a cross between farts and a Japanese man raping a cat loudly. We all left and went to bed early, and my friend Porkchop mentioned that we should go check out the basements the next day as they had been down to a couple rooms there and it was weird. Ok. I'm always down and or up for that.

Before the basement, we decided to check out some abandoned floors. The weird thing about this hotel is that some floors are gutted, some are apartments housing weird random crackheads and hotel employees, and some are just hotel rooms. Unfortunately we didn't find anything interesting that wasn't locked on any of the floors, so I suggested we head up and see if there was roof access. There was, in the form of a dirty boarded up stairway with a couple of loose nails and a steel barrel holding the board in place. This was easily moved out of the way. We squeezed through the small opening and I pulled the board closed behind us for good measure.

The stairs leading up to the roof were very unfinished and dirty, which really says a lot in this building. At the top we were greeted with a small room with a window that had been broken out, a door leading to another room above the elevator shafts, and a hole in the wall into one of the ceiling areas. The wall looked like it had either collapsed or been bashed in near this door and despite my desire to get to the topmost point of the room, I didn't trust the structural integrity of this area and settled for going through the broken window to the roof instead.

There wasn't really much going on up there (which is how I feel 75% of the time these days) but it provided a very good view of the skyscrapers and abandonments in the general area, as well as something I didn't notice until much later when I began looking through these images: at near noon, on a holiday weekend, with a big festival in town, there were scarcely any cars on the streets. It says quite a bit about "Motor City" that so few drive or can afford to. I managed to get a great panorama while I was up there, as well.

After some time on the roof enjoying the view we headed down 18 flights of stairs, checking floors for abandonment along the way. A few were abandoned, including the top "livable" floor with the penthouse, but everything was locked up and we didn't want to walk in on the residents of the few rooms which had been converted to apartments, so we continued down through the wonderfully urine scented stairwells to the abandoned mezzanine on floor three directly above the lobby.

Continue to the mezzanine ->

The front lobby of the ******

Instructions for some kind of bizarre dance in a stairwell

The 21st floor hallway

A friendly looking door leading to the elevator utility areas

This room was located above the elevator shafts

Porkchop and I pose for a picture

The 20th floor hallway

The first floor ballroom, one of the few areas in good shape

Porkchop walks down past the garbage piles in the 20th floor hallway

Another locked utility door

Porkchop walks out onto the roof

Downtown from the roof