55403 Travel Guide
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.
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.
So far we have heard nothing but good things about the Chambers Hotel Minneapolis, aside from the fact that it's in Minneapolis.
Now the Grey Lady weighs in on the place. Reviewer Elaine Glusac is the second reviewer today to weigh in on "coldness" of a hotel's too modern decor:
A throw rug over the black-stained wood floors would have warmed up my gallery-white standard room, No. 512. But cloudlike feather bedding, down pillows and high-thread-count linens compensate.
In all other areas from room service to helpful staff to hotel amenities (free WiFi) to the dining options ("über-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten" and his Chambers Kitchen), the hotel passes muster. But the crowning glory for the hotel is their $7 million art collection which seems to appeal to two types of clientele according to Glusac:
40-something sophisticates who might buy the modern art on the walls, whereas the younger, bohemian lounge set looked like those who had created it.
Rooms start at $199 a night.
· Chambers Minneapolis: Check In, Check Out [NY Times]
· Minneapolis Gets a Touch of NYC with the Chambers Hotel [HotelChatter]
· Monday Night Reservations at Chambers Kitchen [HotelChatter]
On a Monday night in Minneapolis, we thought we could get a dinner reservation fast and easy. But that's not so at the hip new Chambers Hotel restaurant, The Kitchen.
The hotel is the sister property to the upscale Chambers Hotel in New York City and has only been open for a few months. Unlike the Gramercy Park Hotel, this place has very few hiccups and a still-hot vibe, as evidenced by the tough time wrangling a table at The Kitchen last night.
There was no major event going on in downtown Minnie yet the restaurant was buzzing with activity. The crowd was hip, designer-clad, and spanning all ages. From the young fresh-looking men and women in Prada to the older exec types in YSL suits, the crowd was beautiful and happy.
However, the ambience remained pretty low-key. No one appeared to be eagerly eyeing anyone down for a dueling match of Who's Who in this bar.
More on the restaurant after the jump.
Standing across the street from Target's corporate headquarters is the Graves 601 Hotel, a hybrid of SoHo slick and Minnesota nice which makes it a perfect weekend spot for the uber-hip--so says the NY Times.
Men's magazine Best Life has listed this hotel as one of the boutique hotels to visit with your lady, and the hotel has garned countless recognitions from other travel media.
Our first reaction is that the hotel has it easy since there's probably no other chic boutique hotel in Minneapolis. And the location can't be beat since people doing biz at Target HQ want a convenient place to stay.
But a New Yorker in town on business was wowed by the upscale design, great food, friendly staff and outstanding service. He even went so far as to say:
I was suprised that I was in Minneapolis. From the doormen to the housekeeping, hands down the best service in town--maybe anywhere.
The rooms come with 42-inch plasma TVs, etched-glass headboards, and modern showers with five separate body jets. The hotel's well-regarded restaurant, The Cosmos, is the only AAA Four Diamond restaurant in Minneapolis. Additionally, the hotel is connected to the Skyway, a 7-mile loop of glass-enclosed walkways around downtown to protect you from the cold.
Another bonus is that the hotel offers all this hipness and convenience for $209 a night. The bad news is that once you step outside the hotel, you are still in Minneapolis.
· Graves 601 reviews [TripAdvisor]