I don’t know Minneapolis at all, so I had no idea where to stay when I was planning my trip for MinneBar. I posted a question on Twitter asking for hotel recommendations and got two for aloft Minneapolis; one from Ben Edwards (one of the MinneBar organizers) and from @aloftMlps, the person or persons behind the aloft Minneapolis Twitter account. I’d never stayed at an aloft before, but I knew they were the hipper, more casual, less pricey cousins of W Hotels and was curious about them, so I went along with the suggestions.
@aloftMlps asked me when I would be checking in and out via Twitter, telling me they’d take care of the reservation for me. Better still, they got me the “Friends and Family” rate of USD$89 a night! Score one for aloft, and I hadn’t even set foot in the place yet.
Many alofts are near the airport, but the Minneapolis one is in the Downtown East area. As the cab drove into the neighbourhood, my hipster senses started tingling. This area is a former industrial zone, full of old factories and warehouses converted into offices, shops and places to live, new condos, and many other signs that spell the early stages of gentrification. Given that Minneapolis is on the verge of out-hipstering Brooklyn (just visit Uptown to see), it’ll be interesting to see what this area will look like in five years.
My room was on the third floor and split into two sections. The main section was the bedroom area, shown below:
That’s a mini-couch or mini-chaise lounge below the TV set. The box on the left side of the desk is a “jack pack” bristling with power outlets, usb chargers and audio and video inputs of all sorts (composite, VGA, HDMI) so that you can plug your computer, video and audio players and have them play on the TV and in-room sound system.
Here’s the main section as seen from the other side of the room.
The bed and sheets were comfy. We’re talking almost-Hyatt comfy, and at a Four Points rate, that’s not bad.
You can’t see it very well in the photo above, but there’s a storage niche to the right side of the bed. That’s where the iron and ironing board are tucked away.
The smaller section of the room is the bathroom and closet area. It’s just to the left as you enter the room, with the passageway leading to the main section on the right. The closet doesn’t have a door; instead, it has a curtain:
Here’s the other side of the small area. It’s your standard hotel bathroom except for the designer sink (the sort that’s always in the bathroom of restaurants where they stack food vertically and do “sauce painting”) and the “spa style” shower with built-in dispensers for shampoo and soap.
That glow you see in the shower is actually coming from the main room. The shower has a translucent window facing the bedroom. It’s clouded enough so the show you get from the bedroom is PG-13 rather than R. It’s the kind of feature that makes this place a good one to spend the night with a “special friend”. I suppose I should go find one.
Here’s another look at the closet, this time with the curtain drawn aside. No, the jacket doesn’t come with the room.
Here’s a closeup of the magazines, safe and other goodies. The “what’s going on locally” magazines are typical for a hotel; SPIN and dwell are not.
The 1950s-style alarm clock beside the bed was my favourite hipster detail in the room.
Here’s what the lobby looked like on Friday night from the bar. It was happening:
…and there was a DJ spinning some pretty good mashups. I give her bonus points for the Polaroid leggings:
Here’s the bar as seen from the far side of the lobby. It seems as though the designers wanted to make the lobby a place where people — well, aloft’s intended audience, anyway — would want to hang out. I like it — during the day, it’s got a sort of “cafe” feel to it, and at night, the feel become more lounge-y:
Here’s a closer look at the bar:
I didn’t get a photo of the re:fuel cafeteria on the other side of the lobby. It’s a self-serve deal that’s open 24 hours and features sandwiches, salad, soups, drinks and snacks. It’s decent and convenient. To the side of re:fuel is a hotel shop that has stuff you may have forgotten at home (toiletries and all that) as well as stuff you might not have even though of (mini-board games, for example).
The staff were friendly and helpful, and as you’ll see in a later post, tolerant of late-night accordion-driven carousing in the lobby.
All in all, I enjoyed my stay at aloft Minneapolis. I’d gladly stay there again!