“Tell me, is this the city you expected to find?” I’ve been asked this question, in various forms, by half a dozen different Detroiters since I arrived. On this occasion I’m talking to Sergio Maclean. We’re chatting in the art-filled lounge of the Shinola Hotel. He and his partner Audrey have been running operations here since January when, to much fanfare, the luxury goods brand Shinola opened the swish, valet-guarded doors of its first hotel, here in the heart of Downtown.

The property is sumptuous and welcoming. Sunlight floods through tall windows, glinting off bespoke furnishings and mirrors. Art Deco flourishes speak of the city’s heyday and, in a proud nod to its musical heritage, there’s a turntable in every room and a collection of Motown records to flick through. Outside, a wide boulevard cuts a canyon through handsome Roaring Twenties skyscrapers. For the first time in a generation, the city’s historic centre is flush with new boutiques, hotels and bars, and the streets are lively and safe into the small hours. I tell Sergio the truth: I’d envisioned something a little more dystopian.

Luckily, he doesn’t hold it against me. “For years the only story the media wanted to tell about Detroit was negative, about crime or depopulation…

Read online in full at telegraph.co.uk

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