On a recent trip to Traverse City, the new Hotel Indigo caught my eye. It stood out from the crowd of mostly older chains with its distinctive modern design. It is also in a prime location on the edge of the downtown area. There are few reviews and not a lot of information, so it was difficult to tell if the service and comfort would match the sleek style. With sky high summer pricing going into effect, I decided to stay just one night for the experience and see if it would remain on my list for a Fall color tour base.
The Hotel Indigo opened in 2016 and is one of the very few lodging options within the highly walkable downtown Traverse City. Situated in the northwest corner of town, it boats lake front views on one side and an upcoming section of trendy shops and eateries on the other. The hotel consists of 4 stories with 107 rooms. & suites and 7 fully accessible rooms are available. A rooftop lounge offers spectacular views and several comfortable seating areas to relax with friends.
The rooms are about average size for a mid-range hotel and decorated in an industrial/modern style. Furniture is a mix of rustic and modern textures with the wall behind the beds being covered in a giant picture. The furniture had more of a prefab cheap feel than sturdy industrial. The floors are wood with a an area rug under the beds and there is very limited seating for the size of the room. The room was clean and the beds decently comfortable, but nothing to write home about. The foyer was large, but mostly wasted space. One item that stood out was the lack of a mini-fridge; something you’d expect at this price range.
The hotel is situated across the street from the lake with a small parking lot and park in between. The room still offered a decent view and road noise isn’t nearly as bad as in other city hotels I’ve stayed. Traffic likely will only bother light sleepers.
The bathroom was spacious and clean. The shower is an open concept with plenty of room, but that also limits the possibility of having more than one person get ready in the morning. Separating the vanity area into the largely empty foyer may have been a better use of space. The bathroom has a sliding barn door, which looks interesting but in the real world ended up being awkward to open/close.
I’m not completely sold on the concept. It had the feel of trying to do something fancy with a limited budget and came off feeling more like a college dorm than high style. It will appeal to some younger travelers and couples, but not a good fit for families.
The hotel offers a few standard amenities, such as a fitness room and business center and conference room. No pool or spa, but the lake is across the street for summer time fun. Valet parking is required and a $12 per night charge is assessed. The valets were prompt and helpful with luggage. There are a few parking spaces near the entrance if you will be needing you car soon. Handicap spaces are also available for easy access.
Hotel Dining and Bars
The main lobby has a long bar facing the lake (and traffic) and there is also a nice sitting area. A coffee bar is available in the mornings, though I didn’t get a chance to see what they were offering.
We ate breakfast at the main restaurant, Warehouse Kitchen + Cork. The food was good with the locally baked bread being the standout. The waitresses were attentive and even offered a cup of coffee for the road. There was a $10 for two breakfasts offer with the room booking, otherwise it would have been a pricey morning meal. A basic eggs, hash browns, and toast is around $12.
Lunch and dinner are available, though the restaurant didn’t appear to be open when we checked in around 2pm. I had to look up the menus online since there were none in the room. The menu selections and pricing seem a bit random; trying to be a bit too upscale. Reviews I’ve read are mixed so far. The hotel website lists room service, though there was no menu in the room or even a list of services. With all of the excellent restaurants within walking distance, it’s a hard sell.
The standout at Hotel Indigo is a the rooftop lounge, H&L Social. The open air space consists of a bar and a large area with comfortable chairs, couches, and tables for people to gather. The views are amazing with the lake to one side and city all around. Prices for drinks are within reason with local wines and beers on tap. There is a food service window, but prices there were on the high side. I spoke to a few locals at the bar and it seems to be a regular gathering place. Once again, there was no information in the room or elevator listing and I would not have even known about the bar without research.
Hotel Staff and Maintenance
Overall, the hotel staff were friendly and helpful. The valets were quick and always offered to help with luggage. The hotel itself was clean and I didn’t see any glaring maintenance issues or housekeeping. The only problem was the conspicuous lack of information about the hotel and local attractions in the room. This was really noticeable in such a touristy area. We were on the go so I didn’t have a chance to talk to the staff about their recommended restaurants, activities, etc.
This doesn’t happen often, but I’m having a tough time deciding if I like this hotel or not. The rooms felt cheap, but were clean. The hotel itself is gorgeous and you can’t beat the location downtown. The restaurant was lacking direction, but the roof top lounge was superb. Pricing was competitive with other mid-range chains, but Indigo has the location advantage.
In the end I would recommend Hotel Indigo for travelers looking for a prime location in downtown Traverse City; more interested in the downtown than the beach. The location also provides easy access to local destinations, whether you’re heading to the wineries or a visit to the Lake Michigan shore. However, I don’t think this is a good fit for most families. The rooms aren’t all that comfortable for kids and the restaurants are more adult-oriented. With so many older chains and little access to downtown, the Indigo warrants consideration for a Traverse City vacation.