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Trapped in the late 70s: Bell Tower Hotel in Ann Arbor Michigan

May 9, 2013

I don’t know what it is about academia and academic towns, but the hotels in the academia sphere appear to be trapped in the late 70s. (For example, see State College, Palo Alto, Bloomington, and Ann Arbor where I find myself again again.)

Last time I was in Ann Arbor, I tried out the Campus Inn. Three showerheads for them and a resounding “meh.” This time I am staying at the Bell Tower Hotel. It is better, but it’s still trapped in the 70s.

So what does that mean?

That 70s hair.

That 70s hair.

Well, check out this collection of items. First there is the clock, on which I have superimposed my usual alarm clock (an android device). I had to unplug the wood veneer hotel clock radio thing to plug in my phone. (Equals not enough plugs near the bed.)

70's clock technology.

70’s clock technology.

And then there are these country club chairs which my mom had a copy of in her dining room way back in, yes, the late 70s. Their sales people must have been phenomenal, because these chairs are everywhere. (I believe the style is Queen Ann and the nice ones are mahogany or cherry.)

That 70s country club chair.

That 70s country club chair.

The key technology is also solid state. Really solid. Do not lose this key!

Solid state 70s style key technology.

Solid state 70s style key technology.

My great travel people requested a non-plastic shower, and lo and behold there is one! yay.

Glass shower.

Glass shower.

Orange.  Check out the curtains.

Orange. Check out the curtains.

The rest of the suite in room 212 looks like this.

212 Sitting Room.  Dark carpet.  Flowery curtains.

212 Sitting Room. Dark carpet. Flowery curtains.

212 Mirror Bar.

212 Mirror Bar.

212 Bedroom

212 Bedroom

Ultimately, the Bell Tower Hotel is functional and much better than the Campus Inn. But neither hotel is up to world level. Still looking for somewhere hip to stay in Ann Arbor. The Bell Tower Hotel squeeks by with a low four showerheads rating.

On the flip side of the coin, dinner, jazz and cocktails at the The Ravens Club was delightful. The barman on hand, Robyn, was great fun to work with even though he was really busy. He concocted some nice experimental beverages. The best one of the night was what I will call the Ann Arbor Ain’t Manhattan:
1.5 oz Elijah Craig 12 year
1 oz Apero
.5 oz Cardamaro (a house made bitters)
.5 oz “Nectar” sherry
2 t green chartreuse
Stir down. Garnish with orange peel.

Bass player Ron Brooks put together some great jazz sounds heavy on the Thelonious. The food was serviceable and good, but nothing super special. Come for the drinks and the jazz.  εὕρηκα heúrēka

Night two included a visit to the Last Word, which though hard to find is quite fantastic. We had Wiliam Larue Weller bourbon. We had house made concoctions. Like this one which we’ll call the Next to Last Word.
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
.5 oz Punt e mes
.5 Bonal gentian quina
5 drops lemon tree bitters

And then a really bad idea. Cigars at midnight. Oh well.

2 Responses to “Trapped in the late 70s: Bell Tower Hotel in Ann Arbor Michigan”

  1. Mike Ahmadi Says:

    Hey, you INSISTED on the cigars at midnight…and I remember you enjoying them as well. The Grappa definitely went will with the fine smokes.


    • I did not! But I didn’t put up any sort of resistance either. Much fun was had. The problem with cigars is the three day aftertaste. Blech!

      The Moscato grappa was quite fantastic.


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