MN Travel Guide
The opening of the 2014-2015 NFL season has been severely tarnished by the off-season antics of some of the league's star players.
First, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens was caught on video punching, then dragging his then-fiancee, now wife in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. Next, it was revealed that Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings took a switch (better known as a tree branch) and repeatedly hit his four-year-old son with it. While Rice was suspended and cut from the Ravens, Peterson was only deactivated from Sunday's game. Yet the way he chose to discipline his son cost his team a very big sponsorship partner.
Radisson Hotels, whose U.S. headquarters are in Minnesota, have decided to suspend their sponsorship of the Vikings while they "evaluate the facts and circumstances." Radisson's parent company, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, also put this statement out: “Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children.”
The suspension was put in place just hours after the general manager of the Vikings gave a press conference about reinstating Peterson while the GM was stood in front of backdrop that held both the Vikings and the Radisson logo. Since the questionable behavior of NFL players off the field will continue to be a topic through the rest of the season, we suggest all hotels look carefully at the teams they sponsor and if necessary, follow Radisson's lead.
[Photo via Daily Norseman]
After starting out life as an independent hotel back in 2006, the stylish Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis (directly across from the Target headquarters) has been managed by Wyndham Hotels for the past four years, with the original owners--the Graves Hospitality Corporation--still involved. But that's soon going to change.
Loews Hotels announced last week that they would be buying the 255-room hotel in a deal that is expected to close next month. There's no word on what exactly the new name will be. We're guessing the Graves name will be taken off and something traditional like Loews Minneapolis will be put forth. And of course, all of the Loews standard amenities and services (like free WiFi) will be put in as well.
Right now, room rates at the Graves 601 are at $359 for a superior king or a superior double. The website is completely junky (there's even music playing) so we hope Loews can fix that up real quick.
[Photo: Graves 601/Facebook]
When we saw how dog-friendly the Grand Hotel Minneapolis is, we were sad we didn't bring our pup with us to the Midwest. But we were traveling with our girlfriends en route to a wedding and what we did discover is that this Kimpton property downtown makes the perfect pad for a good, old-fashioned girly catch-up.
Our Queen Queen Deluxe was super spacious, and had lots of cute and comfy touches, from the chaise lounge to the signature zebra-print Kimpton robes and full-size dispensers of C.O. Bigelow toiletries in the shower.
Check out our room video and photo gallery and you'll see just how well this spread can accommodate three chicks keen on doing very little but lounging about, drinking some wine, snacking on Twizzlers and talking until the wee hours of the night.
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We don't often get to the Midwest so we get very curious about the hotels there. We were thrilled to find on a recent stay at the Grand Hotel Minneapolis that this one totally lives up to its Kimpton reputation for being dog-friendly.
It certainly helped that the day after we checked-in was 'Take Your Dog to Work Day,' which the hotel seemed intent on celebrating. The front desk staff told us they were expecting a few canine guests to check in that day as well, so there were plenty of beds, bowls and treats for them on hand.
Take a peek at our spin through the lobby and a few other spaces at The Grand, and you'll see pet-friendly touches and a pretty nice looking place for humans to hang out, too.
Last month, there were rumblings that Radisson Blu would be opening in the Mall of America in Minnesota and now it's been confirmed--Radission Blu Mall of America will open in late 2012. The Star-Tribune reports:
The $115 million, 501-room hotel will anchor the south side of the Bloomington mall, between Macy's and Bloomingdale's, and will be the first to be connected to the mall via skyway.
Don't think you can wait until 2012 to experience a Radisson Blu and its free WiFi? The brand's first U.S. hotel will actually open in Chicago in fall of 2011.
Now, we're super excited for Radission Blu, a rather savvy European hotel brand, to continue its expansion into America. We just hope they consider other places than the Midwest.
[Photo via The Star Tribune]
Is the WiFi free? Does the gym have good machines? All these things get noticed when checking into a hotel, but what about the atmosphere of the placespecifically the art on the walls or on the floor? All this week, we'll be highlighting properties around the world that do their artwork right, and the specific pieces you should stare long and hard at when next you drop by.
Today: Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis' Burnet Art Gallery.
Many months ago, a friend sent us a curious photo via text message. It was a picture of one of artist Damien Hirst's embalmed sharks, and our friend said that this piece resided at a hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's too bad we don't have the (low-quality) image anymore, but it's obvious from this piece and the 250+ others they own, that Le Meridien Chambers was built to be on our list of Art Hotels.
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There are already at least a dozen hotels a short shuttle bus ride away from the Mall of America, bus is that enough? No, sir! After all, the mall itself has over 520 stores—and more are in the works. The hotel is part of that expansion plan, which—if all goes well—will add an additional 5.6 million square feet to the massive temple of consumerism.
The Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reports that the 501-room hotel will no longer be a Renaissance property, with Marriott International pulling out of the project as funding efforts stalled. Now, Radisson Blu and Sheraton are said to be the top brands tipped to manage the hotel.
Wyndham Hotels / Graves Hospitality / Minneapolis Hotels / Hotel Rebranding / Hotel Name Changes / Michael Graves / → All Tags
It looks like Wyndham Hotels is doing their best to gussy up their brand not just by introducing a "fashion" hotel to NYC but also by snapping up cool, independent hotels like the Graves 601 in Minneapolis.
The 255-room hotel has just joined the Wyndham family and it's official name will now be: Graves 601 Hotel, Wyndham Grand. But that seems to be the only thing that's changing here. The hotel is not undergoing any on-site changes, aside from adding "Wyndham Grand" to the signage, said Benjamin Graves, the Graves Hospitality president, in a statement:
A guest snapshot of Hotel Ivy
"You're gonnnna make it after all!" So goes the cheery theme song to Mary Tyler Moore, which gets us thinking about visiting Minneapolis just about every time we catch a rerun on television. Finally, we've stumbled across a hotel that "suddenly made [a trip]...seem worthwhile"—at least from the looks of things.
Just two years ago, Starwood opened a very, very debonair luxury hotel—the Hotel Ivy—in "the heart of downtown," as these things go. While some might think Minneapolis is all lakes and industry, the city has a very active theater and arts scene which Ivy's urbane air is aligned with. It also boasts some hefty rock star cred, given that Prince was born and bred there, so we could see being a choice hotel for touring acts.
Minnesota’s Niceguy image scarcely needs polishing, but those ever-friendly Midwesterners have gone ahead and stepped up their do-goodery once again. That’s right, Minneapolis's prairie-chic Graves 601 Hotel recently unveiled a new “Giving Room” package that helps guests give back the community without even lifting a finger.
All guests who book the “Giving Room” promo have to do is, well, pay for a standard room rate. In exchange, Graves Hospitality will donate a night of housing at a local shelter for a needy child or family, with the donation placed in the guest’s name.
Graves Hospitality is working with a local family organization called Perspectives, which works to break the cycle for at-risk families and children. Of course, there's a limited number of packages available each night, but we say kudos to Graves.
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has long been known for its top-tier medical services. And as it turns out, there’s a luxury hotel next door with exclusive amenities to match the hospital’s reputation.
The International Hotel prescribes, well, a pillbox full of unexpected amenities for its “highly affluent medical travelers” (aka Mayo outpatients) — including personal escorts to Mayo Clinic appointments and “Ask Mayo” buttons on the room phones that directly connect to Mayo nurses. And here’s something even we’ve never heard of: “purified air pillows.”
The hotel describes its design as “stylish European” with “anything at anytime” service, like pre-arrival phone calls to ensure guest rooms are dialed to the desired temp and stocked with the right foods and drinks. Some 360 global newspapers are available upon request. Room service is top notch, too, able to accommodate any number of dietary restrictions.
If the Minnesota countryside seems like an odd choice for an international hotel, consider that 5,300 international guests travel to Mayo Clinic annually, with 80 percent of outpatients looking for a four- to five-night stay.
Rates start at $450 for an executive room with a king bed.
Busted. That's what happened to three party-goers at the W Minneapolis on New Year's Eve who were arrested for base-jumping 32 stories off the Foshay Tower, the 80-year-old building which houses the W Hotel.
Investigators said David Juntunen, 36, of Minneapolis and three other men took the elevator up to the 30th floor around 1 p.m. Wednesday and bought tickets to the observation deck. Officials said the men then walked up one floor higher and used a wrench to unbolt a ceiling gate. That is where police said Juntunen jumped more than 400-feet with a parachute. The group video taped the jump and left without incident.
Apparently these base-jumpers didn't know the first rule of committing a crime (if indeed base-jumping is a crime.) The trio partied in the hotel's living room bar with a laptop and were overheard bragging about the jump, even showing some video they took to other peeps at the bar. Hotel security called the police, who arrived to arrest the trio. They resisted arrest and are now cooling their heels in jail, accused of obstructing the legal process.