Some weekends ago, I was invited by The H Hotel in Midland, Michigan to check out their establishment while visiting the city that surrounds them. It was supposed to be a nice romantic and relaxing weekend with Shomari, but another family issue on his side caused him to have to stay back and for me to go at it alone. Alone – something I really didn’t want to be after the month I had prior to coming. The loss of a family member is already traumatic, but losing a second sibling just hit me harder than even *I* could imagine, and I’ve been through it before. So off I went on my own, and what a time it was. Between the fine dining at Table Restaurant, relaxing at dusk outside of Cafe Zinc to being able to take an early morning, or was it late night swim, in the 24-hour pool area, I left for home feeling rejuvenated and at peace. Make sure to read the entire post, as I have a gift for one reader!
I started the 4-hour trip early that Friday morning. I wanted to arrive before check-in so that I could explore the grounds a bit and get acclimated with the hotel. With descriptive words like luxurious and extravagant, one expects a certain level of care and The H Hotel provided that and more. But first a little about the city that would be my home for three days.
The county seat of Midland County, Midland boasts a small-town feel with just enough to do to keep from becoming bored, but also, enough space to sit and just be. There were plenty of attractions to hold my attention for the weekend, including Dow Gardens and the Whiting Forest within the Gardens. Think that the name Dow is familiar, then you would be right. The famous moniker belongs to Herbert H Dow, founder of Dow Chemical.
Other notable places to visit are the Midland Center for the Arts which boasts two performance venues, two museums, art studios, lecture halls, and historic campus.
Wandering around The H Hotel, you’ll begin to notice a chemical theme. All conference rooms, restaurants, and ballrooms are reflective of the periodic table. Table restaurant, Cafe Zinc, Oxygen Bar, and meeting rooms named after all the phrases you came to know in chemistry class. I’m sure that since the Dow family holds space in the city of Midland, the theme isn’t just a happy coincidence.
Located in the heart of downtown Midland, The H Hotel puts you right on Main street, after a walk through the courtyard, where you can shop, eat, or people watch to your heart’s content. Shops such as Peel and Pare, and Serendipity Road caught my eye, but there were so many more I missed because I came out from exploring the hotel later in the day. An underground parking garage is also available for guests, and you can rest assured that during the dog days of summer, your car won’t be blazing from sitting outside for hours.
The H Hotel
Check-in was a breeze. I will tell you, the main address for the hotel is actually the BACK of the hotel, and quite frankly more picturesque. Anchored on each end by their restaurants, Table and Cafe Zinc, the courtyard welcomed me and I quietly rolled my luggage into the foyer. The lobby was down one floor, but off to the side and unassuming. I was checked in quickly, and off to my room. While I was the room at the far wing of the hallway, it wasn’t a super long walk as there are only 130 rooms in the establishment. Makes for a cozy stay and an easy walk back “home” if you’re super tired.
Because GPS had me coming through cornfields and very rural parts of Michigan, and I lamented about how my dad and husband weren’t with me to read the map so that I could check and doublecheck, but the road soon turned into Main Street, and construction, and it felt like a little slice of suburban Chicago! All was forgotten about my winding drive when I hit this though –
I’ve been wanting a sitting area in my room at home for the longest time, and this gave me SO MANY IDEAS! It was also where I often sat for a bit and just reflected. The blinds behind me are remote-controlled by a panel on the wall next to the bed, so you don’t have to fuddle with drawstrings.
The office space in the room was ample, but I will tell you that the television gave me some pause, so I set it and forget it. Since they had Hallmark Movies & Mysteries I was all set for my background setting. The television does lag a bit, and working it seems to need a secret knowledge that most folks don’t have, however, it didn’t ruin my stay or experience.
I went into town for a bit and explored the Midland Mall and the stores in the surrounding area. I picked up a bathing suit since I happened to leave all of the ones I had at home. The restaurants are plentiful, so no problem there, but I had a 7 pm reservation at Cafe Zinc, and I wasn’t trying to miss it. Since I was alone, I was looking forward to catching up on my reading and eating delicious food. I cozied up with an Agatha Christie book and sat down for what would be a memorable four courses. I’m not often impressed by hotel food. The only time that I’ve had to stop and look around was during a visit to Milwaukee with Shomari for a weekend.
Popular among locals at the farmers market, guests can get a taste of the fresh pastries and bread made by our French Pastry Chef. This modern, 40 seat French bistro is a must experience.
You’ll start to realize that all of the names of the rooms and restaurants
Starting with a glass of Moscato (Bottega Petalo) since I’m a sweet wine drinker was a perfect choice. My appetizer was Escargot a la Bourguignonne and the sauce that the escargot was cooked in was so flavorful I kind of wanted to pick up the cast iron skillet it was served in and slurp it up. I didn’t though. You would be proud of me. Salad of choice was beet & burrata. If you haven’t had burrata cheese before, you’re missing out on life. I’ve been told by Shomari several times that he doesn’t understand my love of earthy flavored foods, but beets are amazing, and beets with cheese are even more amazing. For my entree? I struggled between kurobuta chops, lobster thermidor,
Each course was an improvement on the one before it, and by the time I was finished eating, I felt like I should have rolled my way back to my room. I did make it back to the room though. I changed into my bathing suit after a bit of time and headed down to the swimming pool to hang out. The beautiful thing about their pool? It’s 24 hours, and any time after 11 pm is adults-only, so if you’re childfree for the weekend, you can continue enjoying the silence that it brings.
The great thing about the pool, and I know that some won’t agree, but it’s my review, so there, is the fact that it doesn’t go deeper than 3’6″ and is perfect for those of you who may not be great swimmers, but who also have children who haven’t quite mastered swimming yet. After lessons all year, my children are like fish, so I’m not super worried, but I do breathe easier knowing that they can just stand up in the case of other folks not behaving appropriately in the pool.
The fitness center is also open 24 hours a day just in case you’re up for an early morning or late-night workout.
The next morning, I set off to Cafe Zinc again for breakfast where I enjoyed a morel mushroom and asparagus omelet, and a quiet morning with my book. People watching on the patio, and thoughts about my baby brother, Daniel. I know that typically I’m not reflective of my emotions during hotel reviews, but I need you to know that the staff gave me the room to do what I needed, and totally anticipated my needs and the need for quiet during breakfast.
My Saturday brought me to the Dow Gardens & Whiting Forest. Guests of The H Hotel are given free entrance to the gardens, and could easily spend hours there, exploring and walking through the forests. I did. And I brought a special guest with me as well.
Dow Gardens & Whiting Forest
The Dow Gardens and Whiting Forest are built on the land that the Dow family and the Whiting family (married into the Dow family) lived on back in the 20th century. The space is gorgeous, and before walking into the forest, you are directed through the visitor’s center where you can pick up little trinkets to remind yourself of time spent there. I grabbed seeds for We Sow We Grow and some other goodies before I headed over to the canopy walk further in the forest.
Let me let you know something, I’m afraid of heights. Incredibly, undisputably afraid of heights. The only way that I was going to walk the canopy was if Shomari was with me holding my hand, but I DID cross two bridges that I had to in order to get back and forth to my car. I can’t deny how beautiful and serene it was sitting in the forest. Watching children squeal in delight as they ran on the path ahead of the adults in charge of them. The couples walking hand in hand aimlessly taking in the natural beauty around them. I witness a wedding in session and a playground full of children unaware of time. I sat for a bit and just took in all of my surroundings. The grounds open each morning at 9 am and close at 8:30 pm giving you more than enough time to walk and enjoy nature.
Table Restaurant features a steakhouse menu and environment where guests can share a special evening with a special someone over a sumptuous meal. This bright and elegant setting is excellent for entertaining business clients, friends, and romantic dates.
First, I’m going to admit, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. There was NO WAY that I was going to be able to finish the feast that was laid before me, but I was going to give it the good ol’ college try. My favorite part of this meal? The appetizer and salad, but that’s only because I wasn’t able to get past two bites of my Delmonico Oscar to really relish it. However, I took it home and devoured it and while I wasn’t sitting in a plush chair in Table Restaurant, it was still good. The attention to detail of the server only added to the level of fine dining Table has come to be known for. Adding to the fact that you could totally take your drink to the lounge area which gave me old world smoking room vibes (without the smoke) I felt quite adult as I watched the sky darken as the sun was going down.
Not wanting to head to your room for the evening, but not really wanting to leave the hotel either? Why not a nightcap or bite of dessert from the Oxygen Lounge. During my visit, I had a dessert wine and a salted caramel cheesecake that was made by the pastry chef at Cafe Zinc. Technically, the lounge and cafe are connected by a hallway, so it makes sense for the desserts to come from Cafe Zinc. Either way, the late-night dessert was delicious, and a perfect way to end my second day in Midland.
The H Hotel gave me big-city luxury while being surrounded by small-town feel. My room was comfortable, spacious, and so very relaxing. The attention to detail from the bright whites chosen to decorate the room, to the pops of colors of the accent pillows and chairs was not lost on me. The fact that they also offer those of us who wear makeup a black makeup removal face towel was actually icing on the cake. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt bad at using a bright white towel to remove foundation and the other color enhancements I’ve used on my face, and that’s from a makeup novice. I left the hotel that Sunday morning feeling rejuvenated and way more peaceful than when I arrived. It was time well spent to reflect on this new walk I have, and to still appreciate the time I have left here on Earth.
Now, I’m partnering with The H Hotel to give one of my readers a $100 gift certificate to use towards a stay or a meal. All you need to do is leave a comment below. And if you’re in a state other than Michigan, I’m going to go on record saying, that booking a weekend stay in this small town might be one of the most relaxing things you do this year.
So, answer this questions – when staying in a hotel for a “refresher” what do you most look forward to? The room, the food, or the atmosphere?