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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.
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.
The party featured a faux funeral procession with ladies in minis pallbearing a coffin filled with top-shelf vodka. We can't figure out why on God's green earth the hotel's promoters decided on this odd performance piece, but can only assume it has something to do with a misdirected attempt to be ironically cool and shocking.
Further, the hotel's "living room" (lobby) is filled with custom-made pleather chairs. And it calls its bathrooms "water closets" to add a cherry on the pretension sundae. Though we have to admit, it looks like you get a killer view of the Twin Cities from inside the tub in the hotel's suites. CityPages has a great photo album to check out from the bash here.
At first glance, you would not think the The Hotel Minneapolis is a Doubletree Hotel, except perhaps if it weren't for the cookies. But indeed this boutique hotel is part of the Doubletree family and we have to say it's one of the best-looking DTs ever. Check out these guest rooms. And like all boutique hotels, The Hotel Minneapolis has a restaurant and lobby bar as well as room service.
Now the hotel is wearing its heart on its sleeve, or rather, in its hallway, lobby, street, and city. Calling themselves the heart of the city, the hotel has been trying to win the hearts of Minneapolans all year in anticipation of their August opening.
First they celebrated National Chocolate Chip Day with cookies for the whole city, then they hit up local concerts with room furniture to give the Twin Cities an early taste of their hot, new place. For the opening party last weekend, they reunited big 80s R&B band, The Time.
We can only hope that this week's Republic National Convention taking place in Minneapolis will be as exciting as the DNC last week in Denver.
The GOP is off to a pretty good start with John McCain's VP selection, Sarah Palin, who has some interesting family drama going on. But we here at HotelChatter are more interested at what's going on at the hotels.
Last time we checked on the progress of the historical renovation that will become the W Minneapolis - The Foshay, they were predicting an opening date of July 28--a date that's obviously now been and gone.
Now the W Minneapolis is lining up for an August 13 opening--that's this Wednesday. The opening special rate is $155 a night (up until September 30) but you have to book by the end of today! If you miss that there is also a three nights for two deal going.
We're intrigued by a note on the W Minneapolis website, and it's something you should know if you're planning a stay for mid-September. A "large private event" is booked in for September 17 and 18 (mid-week) which might cause some "noise and inconvenience" in the public parts of the hotel.
While the Democrats have designated the Hyatt Regency in Denver as their headquarters hotel for the Democratic National Convention this summer, the Republicans have picked a bunch of hotels for their convention to be held this September in Minneapolis.
Guess what? The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis gets a shout-out as the headquarters hotel. (Hmmm does Hyatt have a partnership with U.S. political parties?)
The Arizona delegation with "presumptive" presidential candidate John McCain will stay at the upscale Saint Paul Hotel but it's not confirmed that McCain will actually stay there.
A bunch of area hotels will be getting some business--all the major big box hotel brands included.
The Republican National Convention's Committee on Arrangements has booked more than 16,000 hotel rooms in 101 area hotels for use during the convention, which will take place Sept. 1-4. Thirty-five hotels will combine to host the state and territory delegations; the remaining hotels will host other visitors, including party officials and an estimated 15,000 media members.
Ka-ching for Minneapolis!
We've stayed in our share of hotels fashioned out of historic buildings. Usually, we're appreciating the free WiFi too much to actually notice. But the new W Hotel Minneapolis might be a bit different.
It's inside the landmark Foshay Building, and workers have already uncovered and refurbished an arcade ceiling in the main entryway. Upstairs, offices are being gutted and turned into rooms. The boardroom used by the building's former owner, Wilbur Foshay, will be a new bar and restaurant, with original mahogany paneling and casement windows intact.
By the time the work is finished--and who knows when that'll be--investors will have dumped $75 million into the project, five times what they paid for the actual building. Right now, the opening date is set for July 28, 2008.
The W expansion train keeps on trucking. Minneapolis will get its first W Hotel next year, if all goes according to plan. The Starwood brand plans to turn the historic Foshay Tower into a 229-room hotel with 18 suites and lots of meeting space.
The Foshay is a sort-of miniature Chrysler Building, an opulent skyscraper built at the height of the art deco age. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so it'll be interesting to see if the refit is actually finished in under a year. (The W planned for DC is also in a historic building.)
Besides the standard laundry list of in-room amenities, the plan for the W Minneapolis-The Foshay includes two bars, a restaurant and an observation deck on the 31st floor. It also connects with the Nicollet Mall via skybridge, so you won't have to actually go outside to go shopping.
Could Minneapolis be a new hotspot? Normally, we wouldn't think so but with the opening two weeks ago of the Chambers Minneapolis, a sister hotel to the New York City location, we're starting to rethink our position on this. Perhaps Target Headquarters is really changing the city.
The hotel is calling itself a luxury art hotel, having employed the NYC architecture firm the Rockwell Group and the celebrity "art of food" chef Jean Georges. There is also an art collection throughout the hotel much like Gramercy Park Hotel except instead of Warhol and Picasso, the hotel is featuring works of Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread and Maurizio Catalan.
Upping the art theme is the hotel's location next to the Art Institute and within the city's Hennepin Theater district.
Gridskipper reports on some of the hotel's amenities as well as when to go:
wifi, dark wood, heated floors, tiled bathrooms, and a restaurant by some expansionist NY chef done good (in this case Jean-George Vongerichten). The floors come heated, the view comes crammed with architecture (Minneapolis is home to work by Frank Gehry, Cesar Pelli, Michael Graves and Herzog & de Meuron among others), and the hotel's sixty rooms start at $450 a pop. But if you must go, then go soon: now through December, travelers to the Twin Cities can enjoy a Grand Opening rate, (king studios from $225).
However, there's no way of booking online so you do have to actually call the hotel to get a room. Don't worry, they are really friendly. We spoke with them today and it looks like King Studios are booked up most weekends but the Deluxe studios are going for $240 a night.
And like Gridskipper, we recommend you go sooner rather than later but that's just because we wouldn't be caught dead in Minneapolis in the dead of winter.