The lion in the lobby tells visitors a lot about what they can expect from the Grand Hotel Minneapolis. Reclining on a raised platform, the white marble statue looks relaxed and regal, while also seeming to invite you to hop on (I resisted the urge but at least two children I saw gave it a shot).
The statue is also something of a surprise. The hotel appears modest from the outside, particularly in a city with a skyline full of high, distinctive buildings like the massive glass curtain of the IDS Tower, and the Washington Monument–inspired Foshay Tower, visible from my room. Just a marquee over the main entrance marked the Grand Hotel’s front doorway – one that I walked right by before realizing I had to turn around.
The lion offers a bold opening greeting, but the rest of the lobby packs plenty of other eye-catching points: The crimson carpet, the plush purple chairs, the long video screen fireplace, and the round chandeliers patterned with Caesar’s victorious triptych, “veni, vidi, vici.” Part of the Kimpton family of hotels, the elements in the Grand Hotel’s lobby combine to create a sense of royal luxury with an artistic twist.
The lobby blends directly into the SIX15 Room, a lounge offering cocktails, small plates, and local beers. It’s an ideal spot for starting the evening (with happy hour specials that price certain dishes and drinks at just $6.15 each) or winding down at the end of the night. The menu changes frequently, but current standout plates are the smoked trout with lemon dill cream cheese and bagel chips, as well as the flavorful beef skewers. An extensive selection of signature and classic cocktails also ensures that something will hit the spot, whatever your taste (in my case it was the Bite the Bulleit – a rye whiskey concoction with house-made ginger and lime).
Those looking for the full sit-down experience can head up the stairs from the lobby to the Grand Hotel’s full-service steak and sushi house Rare. Open for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the restaurant offers local favorites like 20-ounce rib-eye (either bone-in or boneless) as well as Asian-influenced dishes like beef tataki and seaweed salad.
To burn a few of those calories, hop off the elevator at the third floor to walk directly into the vast Life Time Athletic Club. A six-lane lap pool, full gym of cardio and weight equipment, racquetball courts, as well as boxing and cycling studios stretch across the entire floor. More relaxed offerings can be found at the LifeSpa and Salon, with massage sessions from 30 to 90 minutes, as well as skin care, nail care, and spa packages.
The rooms themselves continue the sense of distinguished lavishness. A leather reading chair, shelves of classic literature, and vintage furniture were balanced by eccentric touches from a tree-stump side table to a white tiger-trimmed bathrobe. Lions and tigers and beds, oh my.
I was fortunate enough to stay in the 1,000-square foot Grand Suite, but all of the rooms from the Queen Deluxe to the Presidential Suite include a flat-screen HD/LCD television (including a Yoga channel and complimentary Yoga accessories), iHome, luxury bathrobes, and top-notch bathroom amenities. The suites include separate sitting areas and a full-size writing desk.
The Grand Hotel is located in the center of downtown Minneapolis, directly connecting to the city’s elaborate skyway system – a climate-controlled travel option during the city’s biting winters and hot summers, or whenever you are looking for the sensation of floating above the traffic and busyness of the streets. Though if that’s what you are looking for, you could be forgiven for choosing not to leave your room at all.
The Grand Hotel Minneapolis
A Kimpton Hotel
615 2nd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55402