LC The Ivy, Minneapolis (Minnesota) - Master Thread

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by MSPeconomist, Feb 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    This is the first and only LC property in the Upper Midwest. It's a modern hotel tower (and condo project) built into a historic art-deco building. The hotel opened shortly (about year or less) before the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul and at that time, the rack rates posted in regular rooms were about $3000 per night! Currently weekend rates well under $200 are frequently available while rates during a heavy business week are likely to exceed $300.

    I would describe the location as the edge of downtown Minneapolis. There are skyway connections to a public parking ramp (= not fully enclosed multi-story garage) where weekend rates--when there are no special events--are $9 per entry; valet parking at the hotel door is close to $30 per night with in and out privileges. This skyway also leads to Orchestra Hall, where it dead ends and is closed except during box office and performance hours. The skyway into the Hilton leads to the rest of downtown and is an extremely convenient way to avoid Minnesota weather, but be careful about closing times for particular segments, which may not be open on evenings and weekends. The light rail line to the airport is about six blocks away, on busy downtown streets or through the skyway, although the stations are not connected to "indoors" (except at the airport).

    There are two basic room types and all rooms are the same. King bedded rooms are relatively scarce compared to two queens (same size of room). Basic rooms have a chaise lounge; the desk with outlets, minibar, and closet are all contained in a dark wood built in unit that divides the entrance hallway from the rest of the room. To me, the desk seems to be in a dark corner, with absolutely no view.

    Bathrooms are very large, with large tubs and large shower stalls, but only a single sink. Beige marble predominates. There are large mirrors. Toiletries are elegant and generous (three ounce tubes of shampoo, bath gel, conditioner, lotion plus dry bubble bath and manicure stuff). The hotel's own Ivy Spa brand has a clean citrus unisex fragrance.

    The higher category rooms have an entry area and locate the desk near a window. Instead of hanging on the back of the divider, the (flat screen of course) TV sits on a credenza against the wall. The room is larger and the bathroom has a big window over the bathtub.

    The hotel has few suites and fewer in the select standard upgrade pool, so suite upgrades are very rare here. The suites I've seen are built into the historic part of the building and thus are on low floors; some have small rooms and awkward floor plans. Bedroom furniture is as in the regular rooms (dark wood) while the living room has comfy modern seating and some high tech equipment.

    The lobby is white and spare, pleasant and relaxing. Restaurant has a bar area where snack food is served; the restaurant (both levels--part is in the basement) can be noisy. It's been a popular place for power breakfasts from a menu (no buffet). Restaurant and room service food are interesting and of high qualify and not priced unreasonably for a US city hotel; there are the standard delivery fees and mandatory gratuity for room service (not 24 hours).

    The spa and health club on the second floor is fabulous! There's also a small business center with a free computer/internet and printer. Otherwise, hotel internet is expensive but good. There's a staff member responsible for technology issues.

    A major complaint is that there are insufficient service elevators so that the several guest elevators are used for room service, housekeeping, bell service, and maintenance. Housekeepers do not use carts.

    Both the condo and hotel parts of this property face financial difficulties and have been in receivership. The hotel changed its general manager and executive chef, IIRC about a year ago.
     
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  2. singtx
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    singtx Silver Member

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    Have a 4 night stay on a decent rate. Any comments, reviews, places to eat/drink, visit, etc?

    -cheers
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    It's a very good hotel, despite management and financial problems; ask but don't expect an upgrade. Its restaurant, bar, and lobby lounge are quite good and reasonable for a hotel of this category.

    When will you be in Minneapolis? There's a lot of activity on NIcollet Mall (the main shopping street, with Gavidae being the top downtown mall), starting a block or two from the Ivy. On a nice day, it's fun to do happy hour, drinks, and meals at outdoor tables.

    For stuff to do, I'd suggest the Walker (modern art museum, in a building with interesting architecture in the addition) and its sculpture garden, the riverfront area, including the Mill City Museum, Mill City Market (Saturday mornings), Stone Arch Bridge, the little museum about the locks, and the Guthrie theater (also architecture, views of the river from a cantilevered porch, and a restaurant/bar). A memorial to the bridge collapse just opened a few days ago, almost next to the Guthrie. There's a Frank Gehrig art museum on campus. If you have a car, go to the Museum of Russian Art and the Wildlife Research Center (wolves, see my thread on this in Destination Travel: Other USA). Also if you have a car, there are two good zoos, Stillwater, some vineyards, and Lake Minnetonka/Wayzeta.
     
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  4. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Even if MSP is one of the cities I visit the most for work, I've never stayed there, because it's always 100USD more than the W and the Le Med Chambers on my corp. rate. If they are in financial troubles, they could probably attract more people by being more competitive
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    They had some great discounts the first summer they were open, around a hundred dollars a night. Frequently they're filled with corporate people such as Medtronic, Target, DL during the merger with NW, etc. but you can also frequently still find good rates on certain days. About $159-179 can be found if you're flexible and I've seen even $129-139 within the last year or so. LM Chambers has been offering some great rates for wedding groups. For W and Westin, it all obviously depends on how full they are. All of these are fun hotels, although only the Westin (plus aloft and the suburban properties) has a pool.

    The Minneapolis area has a bunch of new good hotels thanks to the Republican National Convention, but unfortunately we didn't end up with as much excess capacity as I had predicted. Before this, there was supposedly a real shortage of upscale space in the region.

    The easy way to find Starwood master threads is to click from the wiki, where in principle they're all listed by country and state.
     
  6. singtx
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    singtx Silver Member

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    Hotel Ivy is a great hotel in a fantastic location.

    First - go to Brits – they have lawn bowling on the rooftop - and the rooftop is freaking huge. All around you have restaurants, bars, coffee, etc.
    Do not miss Uptown – great food, people, stores, old school bowling alley with a huge beer list (draft and bottle) and a ton of rooftop bars. Great weather all week equaled packed bars and restaurants.
    They serve butter with everything – I started asking for it to be placed on the side. Mounds of butter!
    This city loves beer and it shows. Pet and bike friendly hotel and city. Went to Lake Harriet and two others...people eating, running, biking, sailing, swimming....outstanding public parks and rose gardens. This is a great city - and this was my first visit.

    Upgraded to Jr Suite – was hoping for a suite as they look massive on the chart. Check-in was a breeze – nothing to get excited about – 500 points and free internet – chatted a little , then on our way.
    Nice room, huge bathroom and a ridiculous comfy bed. I liked the modern décor and I think most, if not all, channels were HD…to include HBO and HDNet.

    Small area with couch and desk slightly separated by a wall. Didn’t take pics but still felt very open.

    Room was clean and had ice and water waiting for us in the room. Great maid service as I requested extra waters and every night had them. Even though we kept the towels on the hooks, they replaced them everyday –

    Elevators are the fastest I’ve seen.

    Dunn Bros coffee every AM in the lobby – wasn’t the best, but doable until we sat down somewhere.
    Bar at the hotel has reverse happy hour till midnight – good selection, better prices…fries are delicious.

    We parked on the street, always found a spot and the cost savings were worth every penny. There is street parking everywhere – Friday 6PM through Monday 8AM doesnt cost a penny. Sweet!
    Valet was $28 night (I am too cheap for 4 nights).

    Not sure what it is about this hotel, but we really liked it. May check out the Meriden, but this will be the place we stay…especially if we can snag the same rates next time.
     
  7. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Checked in here tonight - got a Suite upgrade as a Platinum. Cookies waiting from turndown service. Description matches above. Now I'm sorry I'm only here one night. The in-suite benefits are nice, too - including free drinks at the restaurant/bar downstairs just for being in the suite.
     
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  8. Minneapolis
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    What's the limit on those free drinks? How big is the suite?
     
  9. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I think it was two drinks. I didn't get to use them (late night check-in while it was closed and early morning check-out).

    The suite was large. Easily 800 square feet, if not 900. Large entry and entry coat closet, half bath between entry and living room, living room with the standard large LCD TV + wet bar + credenza + couch + two large end chairs, office in side corner w/desk and round table for four, large bedroom and sizable bathroom with a deep tub and a walk-in shower that would easily fit 6 people.
     

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