Saint John’s Resort’s $40 million renovation is spectacular
Remember the first time you watched “The Wizard of Oz” and the movie suddenly shifted from dreary black-and-white to stunning technicolor?
I experienced a similar feeling last week when I escaped a cold, gray mid-January afternoon by walking into the main entrance of the newly-renovated Saint John’s Resort in Plymouth Township.
Dazzling chandeliers hang from the ornate ceiling, colorful paintings are strategically aligned on the walls and stylish new furniture provides a welcoming touch to visitors.
If I had walked in a straight line another 50 feet past the threshold, I would have entered the former seminary’s epic chapel, which will maintain its lasting grace without need for any touch-ups.
Built in 1948 — nine years after “Oz was released — Saint John’s has always been a land of aahhhhs, but once its $40 million upgrade is complete, guests need to be prepared to be blown away by its blend of history, elegance and one-of-a-kind sights.
“I have been a part of several hotel openings and transitions — including three in Dubai (the largest city in the United Arab Emirates), Trump Hotel Toronto and the St. Regis Toronto — and Saint John’s is my favorite,” said Fadi Sibani, Saint John’s director of sales and marketing. “There’s so much history in this building and it’s such a beautiful place. You can be standing in sections of this resort and you’d swear you were in Europe.”
Vibrant changes while maintaining history
Sibani is far from alone in his admiration of the renovated building.
“Today I had a client come in who had been visiting this place for several years and she absolutely loved the changes that have been made,” Sibani said. “She was impressed that we didn’t take away from the building’s history. We’re never going to replace the original marble and the details all around the property.”
The most spectacular additions to the resort are undeniably a 17,000-square-foot ballroom called the Monarch, which will be illuminated during daylight hours by natural light that will flow in through three skylights and a 200-foot-long wall of glass.
“It’s going to be like something never seen before in Michigan,” Sibani said. “I love every square foot of this place, but the Monarch is going to be my favorite space.”
Unlike any other event space in state
The Monarch will be the site of a variety of life-impacting events, Sibani said, including weddings, receptions, galas, large conferences and concerts.
“It will feature water fountains and fire pits,” he revealed. “In the courtyard, instead of real grass we’re laying turf, to make it easier for the ladies wearing heels.”
A 6,200-square-foot garden pavilion, which will be used primarily for weddings, receptions and golf outings (the resort’s former 27-hole course is being replaced by an 18-hole championship-caliber layout, seven-hole par 3 course and 18-hole putting facility), is expected to be operational in June.
“We already have about 80 bookings for the garden pavilion,” Sibani noted.
The Saint John’s renovation started in early-2022 with the renovation of all 118 guest-room bathrooms. The facility’s two existing ballrooms — the Mosaic and the Provincial — were spruced up with new carpet, wallpaper, sconces and chandeliers.
One curving hallway is decorated by stunning paintings, including work by Northville resident Denise Cassidy.
Profits donated to charities
A speakeasy-style wine bar called The Grotto will open in May, if not before, Sibani said, with a casual restaurant that will tie in with the golf course set to open later this year.
The property has been owned since 2020 by the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation, which does not keep a cent of revenue that is generated by the resort, Sibani said.
“All of the money this beautiful place raises is distributed to charities around the world,” he said. “It’s a way for Mr. Pulte’s children to honor their father’s legacy and community work.”
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