Michael Weber hears it from friends, he hears it from fellow members of the Washtenaw County Hotel Association, and he hears it from guests who have stayed at his Weber’s Boutique Hotel in Ann Arbor during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People are saying they’re getting a bit stir-crazy,” Weber said. “They’re ready for a break and a release to get them out of their houses. They just want to do something that lets them focus on having fun and relaxing.”
Destination Ann Arbor and the hotel association are providing a solution with the first-ever Ann Arbor Area Hotel Week, an innovative promotion that offers incredible room deals, upgrades and dining packages to coincide with the region’s restaurant week that runs Feb. 21 to Feb. 26.
“There’s a lot of energy with restaurant week, and this adds to the excitement and the ability to do something that is a change of pace,” said Weber, the president of the hotel group. “It’s a great opportunity for a staycation or for people to come and see what Ann Arbor has to offer.”
Find your Hotel Week deal: A complete list of all discounts and packages
The annual restaurant week celebrates the dining scene as chefs and staffs show off creative menus at affordable prices. Nearly 20 eateries are participating in the event with dine-in and to-go meals, including family-sized options. Menus offer a variety of meals, including vegetarian and vegan options as well as two and three-course selections.
New this year are online demonstrations from Vinology’s James Beard Award winner Alex Young, who will teach viewers how to make his famous fried chicken, and Zingerman’s Deli Chef Rodger Bowser showing how to make its legendary Chicken Pot Pie.
“Restaurants are putting their best foot forward to highlight what they do best and to make something new for their guests,” said Sandra Andrade, the executive director of Main Street Ann Arbor, which organizes the week. “This is about connecting with the community and keeping this great dining culture thriving.”
Andrade said the synergy and partnership between Hotel Week and Restaurant Week comes at a critical time for the hospitality industry. While the plight of restaurants has been well publicized, the impact of the pandemic has also battered hotels with minimal business and leisure travel and no convention or event traffic.
“The whole hospitality sector has taken such a big hit this year and that makes this even more important to get out there and support your favorite places or try something new,” she said. “It’s really exciting to have these events work together and support each other.”
The exclusive, limited time offers at area hotels can be found here, and while some are only available during the promotion week, others will allow and encourage guests to book packages now and stay later in the year.
Jamie Vecchioni, the director of sales and marketing at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, said hotels are committed to making the week enjoyable for guests.
“This is such a cool idea because there are so many great restaurants and so many great hotel properties in our area for people to experience,” Vecchioni said. “This is a perfect time to pair a delicious meal with a night out in a comfortable room.”
Participating restaurants and hotels have been practicing and adhering to strict safety and sanitation guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing signs and safety partitions are installed throughout properties and mask use is mandatory in common areas.
“The protocols are really important to us as an industry because we’re all in this together,” she said. “We encourage people to come now if they’re ready or to join us later in the year if they want to wait. We are excited to greet you.”