Fort Shelby Hotel

Coming to the wedding from out of town? We recommend you stay at the Fort Shelby Doubletree in Detroit.

Here’s how to make reservations:

Phone: Call 1-313-963-5600 and say you are with the Gumbrecht-Varner wedding, code GVW. You will have to provide a credit card, although you will not be charged until you check out. A confirmation notice can be mailed to you.

Online: Go to and select the dates you plan to stay during the week of Aug. 25. Scroll down to the section for Special Accounts and fill in the Group/Convention field with the code “GVW.” Pick the type of room you would like, provide a credit card, and print the confirmation number.

The Fort Shelby Hotel opened in Detroit in 1916, and was so successful that a 450-room addition designed by famed architect Albert Kahn was added in 1927. That was Detroit’s heyday, though, and the hotel was eventually sold, closed down in 1973 and remade in a short-lived hotel/apartment plan. It fell hard and deep into disrepair. A bright spot, I suppose, came in 1983, when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Renovations began in 2007, and it’s once again a beautiful, comfortable place to stay near the People Mover, Cobo, John K. King Books, the only used bookstore where you can show up with a list and a truly special place, beside that. Also down the block: the Detroit Free Press, where I worked for a few warm and life-changing years in college.

This historic postcard image was provided by Dan Austin, a great friend and proprietor of the fantastic website

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