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This art-filled hotel is like stepping into a cool museum with room service

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As Pablo Picasso said, “Art washes the dust of everyday life from the soul.” Research shows that art is a balm and has great healing power. In fact, studies from the World Health Organization have shown that art can help improve physical and mental health.

Now, more than ever, hotels have added art to their public spaces and guest rooms. But there are hotels filled with works of art and then there is the Daxton Hotel. This new independent boutique hotel in the heart of the cultural hub of Birmingham, Michigan features more than 400 cutting-edge works of art from around the world.

All 151 rooms and suites contain a unique custom-made room. Carefully curated by Saatchi Art, the pieces by artists including Karin Vermeer and Louise “Ouizi” Jones represent multiple mediums including sculpture, collage, photographic drawing, and painting. Many works of art have been specially commissioned for the hotel and feature street art and pop art.

The centerpiece of the hotel lobby is a gold-plated mechanical horse sculpture. Created by Adrian Landon, this metal equine gallops spectacularly in slow motion when a button is pressed. There’s a huge nine-foot-tall shiny fuchsia bunny that seems to be holding court near the elevator bank. The Geode Bar and Lounge is wrapped in an otherworldly geode-shaped metal beam structure above the bar. Even the hotel restaurant‘s light fixture, Madame, is designed to look like an elegant string of pearls draped from the ceiling.

But the art isn’t just on the walls. The hotel staff is equally impressive. As Daxton’s Hotel manager Autumn Griffith oversees more than 150 people. According to studies, women hold only 12% of management positions in hotels, making Griffith a rarity in the industry.

As hotel manager, Griffith oversees the hotel operations team. “But what I’m really doing is making sure that this hard-working group of people have what they need to do their jobs and are able to perform at a very high level,” Griffith shares. “I try to instill in my managers the fact that they are the ones who really shape and influence the company. The seemingly small decisions they make throughout their day are what impact our customers’ experience. »

As Griffith explains, every interaction with every guest matters. And hotel associates gain knowledge from these interactions. “They hear directly from our customers about their wants, needs and impressions,” Griffith shares. “My job is to unleash and harness the expertise of our associates.”

To that extent, they do what they can to make customers feel special. This means remembering them on their next stay, welcoming their children with a backpack full of activities, and ensuring that all the details learned during interactions are used to personalize a stay. There are also nice touches like pantries on each floor that are stocked with pastries, decadent desserts, sodas, and games. The massive tubs contain salts, lavender oil and a scrub brush for a luxurious bath.

Griffith also sees her role as being a vehicle for the owner’s vision and helping to realize that dream. “I play a role in shaping the direction we’re taking at scale based on our owner’s vision, and then I work with our operators and managers to bring that vision to life,” says Griffith. “From finding cruiser bikes and designing picnic packages with the executive chef for our concierge team to offer to our guests, to designing a bespoke set of playing cards, our housekeepers fit in a drawer for a guest to discover, or collaborate with our engineers to build custom planters for our terrace suites to add more privacy and detail to outdoor spaces.

As a child growing up in Cambridge, Ohio, Griffith remembers loving the movie Hello Dolly, especially the scene where everyone meets at the posh Harmonia Gardens restaurant. “It was so grand and romantic. The men in tuxedos. The women in dresses. The private dining areas. The chefs and butler rushed to get ready for Dolly’s arrival dinner and danced all night,” Griffith shares. “The ceremony and the grandeur of it all. I wanted to believe that something like that existed somewhere and be a part of it.

After earning a degree in geology from Ohio University and working with star chef Rick Bayless, Griffith truly understood what a career in hospitality could be like.

“Traveling to Mexico with him on three trips, I learned about food, wine and service on a global scale. Then I had the opportunity to work in a hotel as a manager of bar,” says Griffith. “That was it. I loved the dynamic of a hotel – all departments and outlets under one roof. A dinner for 50 on one floor, a wedding for 200 on another, people sipping drinks at the bar and guests getting ready in their rooms to go out on the town. And there were all the people jostling around the back of the house to make this all happen. She felt the same attraction and sense of romance she felt from Hello Dolly as a child.

Griffith eventually landed a job at Soho House in Chicago. After two years, she was promoted to general manager of Soho House in West Hollywood, one of their most iconic locations. “We had such a talented group of creative and connected people that we were able to let our imaginations run wild when designing events, big and small, and then bringing them to life,” says Griffith. She remembers hosting the Oscars viewing and after party for the cast and crew of Parasite and their production company, Neon Productions, with a full-fledged K Pop band.

“When they announced that Parasite had won Best Picture, the whole place erupted in screams and tears of joy,” Griffith recalled. “After the ceremony, when director Bong Joon-Ho walked in, he was doused in champagne and lifted onto his crew’s shoulders.”

At Soho House, she learned the power of developing a sense of community and connection as well as the importance of creating value for customers. “We spared no expense in organizing events so that members feel part of it,” says Griffith. “While Daxton is clearly not a members club and we don’t have an event model, it’s still important that we add those layers to the experience, so our guests feel connected to Daxton.”

The Daxton Hotel’s Executive Chef, Rece Hogerheide, and his team at Restaurant Madam also elevate the hotel experience to an art. Dedicated to using suppliers and products from their abundant region and sourcing most of their produce from local farms, Hogerheide has a sustainability program in place. “Our compost goes to different farms. The compost we create at the hotel is used to grow the produce we buy back,” says Hogerheide. “Our food waste doesn’t go more than two hours from the hotel.”

Buying several different varietals of tomatoes, Hogerheide loves to marinate and make their signature muffaletta sandwich with homemade charcuterie which customers can pack into elaborate picnic baskets designed for customers who want to cycle to Daxton for a picnic. in one of Birmingham’s many parks. A local farm grows and grinds wheat for their beloved sourdough bread. And every day, they hand-roll over 700 vegan mushroom-filled mushroom balls with mushrooms grown specifically for the hotel. According to Hogerheide, “My joy in making food is the joy it brings to others.”