The Commons Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota – Review
A second trip to Minnesota in a relatively short period of time brought me to the Commons Hotel. Situated directly on the campus of the University of Minnesota, the hotel offers stunning views of Minneapolis’ downtown skyline, located directly across the Mississippi River, and a mere five minutes away. A commons is a place where people can gather and socialize, and the Commons Hotel is exactly that.
The hotel’s lounge area, the first thing one encounters upon entering the property, gives off quite the impression of coziness. Aside from the couches, chairs, and tables located throughout, there is a separate space in the back, affording a refuge for reading and relaxation. The space boasts a large, circular couch wrapped around a fireplace, which is encircled by even more luxurious-looking armchairs. The space also provides its own mini library with an eclectic selection of reading material.
Both the state and University of Minnesota are steeped in rich history, and the hotel is not shy about displaying it. Showcased throughout and around the lounge area, as well as the upstairs space and hallways outside the event areas, are artworks and mementos dedicated to the state and college. Most interesting to me was the choice of using two framed, rectangular flat screen TVs that play black and white footage of old Minnesota Golden Gophers football games. Indeed, I found myself stopping to watch on my way to check-in.
Once I proceeded to the check-in area, I was struck by the presence of more objects d’art, including old globes and vintage pictures located behind the desk. In addition, a small snack and gift shop located adjacent to the check-in area was filled with many unique Minnesota, Minneapolis, and University of Minnesota-memorabilia. Check-in was simple and easy, and I was escorted to my room in a few moments.
While proceeding to the room, I noticed an unusual touch on the key cards themselves; each one displays quotes from literature and poetry on them. The room itself had a simple elegance to it. Not too fancy or over the top, the dark carpeting and plaid wallpaper behind the cushioned headrest of the beds seemed to fit just right. Facing the two beds was a waist-high cabinet with a flat screen TV perched on top. More black and white artwork depicting the history of the state and school decorated the walls, and vintage lamps dangled from the ceiling just above the desk.
The bathroom was simple enough, with a large bathtub shower and rain head nozzle, while the marble vanity neatly displayed hand towels and bath amenities. The room was well lit, and an oversized mirror took up the entire wall behind the sink.
ROAD WARRIOR SUPPORT
In college, and contrary to popular wisdom, students do engage in work, so it is fitting that this property, located on a college campus, provides a pleasant workspace for guests. Two cushioned chairs positioned by a bullet desk/tabletop, while not ergonomically correct desk chairs, were comfortable to sit on and work from. Power outlets are conveniently located on the side of the adjoining TV cabinet and complimentary wireless Internet is also provided.
Regarding meeting and event space, the Commons offers a wide variety of options. Two ballrooms, the Meridian and the Pinnacle Ballrooms, at 5,200 and 4,000 square feet (483 and 371 square meters), can accommodate up to 400 and 150 people, respectively. In addition, numerous meeting and board rooms, ranging in size from 546 to 1,000 square feet (50 to 92 square meters), add to the available space. There is also a fully-equipped business center on the second floor.
The hotel also provides complimentary shuttle service to anywhere within a five-mile radius of the property, well within reach of downtown Minneapolis. I took advantage of this service to go into the city, and it was a roomier way of travel than a cab would have been, as well as less expensive.