When the Roxbury Group finished the renovation of the David Whitney Building 10 years ago, an Aloft hotel moved into the historic building. While it was a success, when it came time for a refresh, the owners decided to move in a new direction.

It's now the Hotel David Whitney, rebranded to an Autograph Hotel (both Aloft and Autograph fall under Marriott). This allowed the owners to create a more historic design to reflect its elegant architecture. We toured the newly refreshed historic building this week.

"We thought about what we wanted this building to be," said Stacy Fox, principal, Roxbury Group. "This building was greater than the sum of its parts. It could hold a more elevated brand." 

With Autograph, they had more flexibility with the design. Fox says its now an homage to the early 20th century. One noticeable change when you walk in the building now is that instead of the modern XYZ bar, the space is the reception area and the Library Bar, with rich wood, shelves of books, leather furniture, and a piano. A garden area outside the Library will open this spring.

The Library BarRobin Runyan

"The David Whitney, with its legacy, we had a story to tell and we wanted to tell that story with how we finished the rooms and common areas," said Fox. "It now has more of a grand residential feel."

Many of the chairs in the lobby and throughout the building were sourced from the Detroit Athletic Club. One of the only known original portraits of David Whitney hangs in the Library. On the second level, the salons and ballroom have been refreshed, and guests can visit the Gallery, with art curated from the Detroit Historical Society. 

In the guest rooms, guests can expect to find a color palette based on the floral wallpaper trim in the bedrooms. They partnered with the Detroit City Distillery on a bar cart for every room with unique cocktails. Some residential apartments were converted to guest suites, offering a kitchen and more space for travelers.

A kitchen in a guest suite.Robin Runyan

The hotel now has 160 rooms, compared to 136 with the Aloft. The building has 80 apartments, down from 105 before.

Fox says guests should be able to expect interesting spaces to explore on the common floors. They'll also have historic postcards located in each guest room that they can send to their friends and family.

The large space that was mostly empty on the Woodward corner is now Presley's, a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

See more photos in the gallery above.