Port Huron’s new boutique hotel graces the downtown riverfront with historic charm, modern comfort and eco-consciousness.
By Dianna Stampfler
Nearly a century ago, the Federal Commercial and Savings Bank opened at the corner of Military and Water streets along the Black River in downtown Port Huron. Its stately facade would later house the Michigan National Bank (a name which remains boldly emblazoned on the side of the building) before being recently transformed into the latest CityFlats boutique hotel at 405 Water Street.
The CityFlats brand was launched in 2008 by Charles “Chuck” Reid of Zeeland-based Charter House Innovations to showcase the company’s sustainable designs. The inaugural Holland location (rebranded this past spring as Tulyp Hotel – Tapestry Collection by Hilton) was the first hotel in the Midwest and only the second in the world to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification. A second CityFlats opened in downtown Grand Rapids in 2011 in the former Fox Jewelers building (also LEED Gold), followed by the Port Huron location in June 2022 – the first boutique hotel in the city of nearly 29,000 residents.
“We are proud to be an independently-owned, eco-chic, boutique hotel where historic charm meets modern comfort,” says Sara Bower, director of sales and marketing for Charter House Innovations – which also owns Sperry’s Moviehouse locations in Port Huron and Holland.
Each of the property’s 18 rooms is uniquely curated, with no two identical rooms. The elegant master suite, which affords views of both downtown Port Huron and the Black River, features a rounded living room and large bathroom – complete with a walk-in shower and soaking tub.
“Our eco-consciousness can be found in the details of our building’s renovation: sustainable cork flooring, energy-efficient lighting and plumbing, and naturally hypoallergenic bamboo linens,” notes Bower. “Many guests are especially smitten with our beds and pillows, which is fabulous because our mattresses (CityDrem) are custom designed for our hotel, and our pillows are high-end luxury to ensure guests can truly relax. For our entire property, we strive for the perfect balance of comfort and sustainability.”
In addition to the comfortably stylish guest rooms, CityFlats Port Huron boasts an opulent 300-person main level ballroom within the grand banking hall from the early 1900s, complete with 30-foot-tall windows, towering ceilings, marble columns, gold leafing details and the original bank vault – a popular spot for guest photographs.
“The Ballroom also offers a new sound system and customizable spectrum lighting options throughout the space to bring an upscale ambiance to the events we host – whether that’s a corporate celebration, anniversary or birthday party or something else entirely,” Bower says. “One of our wedding coordinators recently said we’ve become a popular venue for Canadian American couples, because Sarnia, Canada is literally right across the water from us.”
Guests, visitors, and locals alike will find plenty to whet their appetites at CitySide restaurant, a recreated blend of former on-site eateries that reopened this summer. During the boating season, the CityFloats bar-barge is a hot spot along the hotel’s riverside terrace for classic cocktails and a variety of mouth-watering appetizers and entrees. It’s also a prime location for viewing the annual Bayview to Mackinac Yacht Race, held each July and recognized as one of the longest and most challenging freshwater boat races in the world (first held in 1925).
“This boutique hotel is one of our newer additions to the Thumbcoast, and it’s a well-done collaboration of modern-styled rooms housed in a historic building,” says Katie Stepp, Marketing Manager at the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Best of all, it’s centrally located on the maritime waterfront in downtown Port Huron with entertainment, eateries, and shopping.”
In June 2023, CityFlats Port Huron (as well as the Grand Rapids location) announced a partnership with Choice Brand – Ascend Hotel Collection®, a collective of independent, upscale boutique hotels.
“What makes Ascend® particularly special is that we can remain an autonomous and local brand, while continuing to offer a personalized experience for our guests,” Bower says. “The rewards program through Choice allows for guests to trust that they will find that personal, boutique experience wherever they wish to go and easily find properties in cities throughout the U.S. and worldwide. We also love that they’re committed to eco-friendliness too.”