Travels21 Jun 2009 03:59 am

I like to tell people I love hotels so much because I spent a great deal of my youth¬† living in them. I’m not completely convinced of this reasoning myself, but I’ve told people this so often I am starting to believe it! Truth be told: I just love the design and transient feeling of “home.”

My friend Jayson got married at the end of May in a small suburb of Minneapolis, and I attended the wedding after visiting Las Vegas. I had a hell of a time deciding what hotel to stay at during my visit.

I have visited Minneapolis many times (mostly visiting as a poor student), but never stayed downtown proper, so I narrowed my search to that area. After much deliberation over the various arty and fancy hotels  including Graves601 and Chambers, I finally decided on the new W Hotel Foshay.

Foshay Tower Postcard

The hotel moved into a building that was originally erected in 1929. Every room is slightly different. A lot of this is due to the fact that the building is a mild obelisk shape, with each floor being smaller than the one below.

There was a lot of cool history in the place: it was billed as the “the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi” when it was built as the namesake (and residence) of a local business & utilities tycoon. However, six weeks after it opened to great fanfare in Minneapolis, it closed. The Great Depression had begun. Mr. Foshay ended up in jail!

The hotel was renovated by Starwood hotels over a period of a few years after being offices for decades. The Minneapolis-Star Tribune has a fascinating look into the renovations as they happened in a slideshow. They have really embraced the art deco feel and it was a neat place to stay.

It has been open for just under a year now. It really topped out on the trendy meters, but I’m glad I stayed there. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get back to Minneapolis, so it was a nice way to revisit the city.

minneapolis18

At night, the letters light up!

foshayfog

Credit: SnapShutter on the Twin Cities Photoblog

The ornate elevator doors.

Elevator door detail.

The colour of the lobby changed with the time of day. I saw it green and blue later in the afternoon. The inset ceiling hid a great treasure: the original underneath. Wikipedia indicated it is (was?) being restored.

One of the best steakhouses in Minneapolis (or so I hear, if one believes airline magazine ads), Manny’s, is in the lobby. It is surrounded by various small settings in a bar called The Living Room.

I made it back to the hotel too late on Friday and Saturday to grab a drink at Prohibition, the sky bar on the 27th floor (seen above). The views were quite beautiful. The only thing above it is the observation deck, on the 31st floor. However, even as a hotel guest, you have to pay to access it. Not cool.

The mats were changed three times a day in the elevator to reflect the time of day. Surprisingly helpful, as the hotel was really dark most of the time and it honestly could have been any time of day.

I booked more than two weeks out and scored a deal on a room. I indulged and got the slightly larger “Spectacular” room, as people complained the rooms were too small on TripKick.

I found the room to be over-sized to be honest. But, that is probably because I was a solo traveler and a smaller one at that. Or maybe I just lucked out and got a slightly better room configuration.

The room featured black and white furnishings with silver and fuschia accents.

The fairly priced snack bar. It had some surprises, like bottled oxygen spray and an oversized old school lolly. I didn’t indulge, but had to pose for a photo with the huge lollipop:

Their tagline at W Hotels is “What is your wish?” Whenever I called down to the front desk or concierge, that is how they would answer the phone. The silver tube above was infact an in room kaleidoscope. It was kind of cute.

What was not cute was my “wish” to have my room tidied while I was out being denied. I returned home late to an untouched room. Other than that, I found the service to be decent. They did check me in very early Friday morning, which I really appreciated.

Yes, this is the can. It had a huge window that faced 9th Street.

This was the view from the washroom. It was a weekend, so there weren’t many office workers around to peer at. Or to be peered at by…I hope!

No bathtub in this room, but a HUGE walk in shower with Bliss bath products, which I naturally scooped and took home. Score!

The Wynn in Vegas had this same sort of cutesy labelling for the T.P. too.

A magazine in the room highlighting all sorts of products, cities and W hotel locations to hotel visitors. I just liked the cover.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the hotel. Parking downtown was a bit of a drag as with most large cities, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you weren’t staying on a weekend. But it had a great location and rounded out my vacation nicely.

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