Restin' at the Westin A review of The Westin Minneapolis
My girlfriend and I stayed at the Westin from 5/4 - 5/7. The property just opened on 5/3 and we were excited to stay at a brand new hotel. We were in Minneapolis to see some baseball games (Red Sox v Twins).
The property used to be a bank in the Financial District of Downtown Minneapolis. It is very well situated near mass transit and with the Skywalk through its second floor. Good for both business and leisure travelers.
From MSP (Minneapolis/St Paul Int'l) we took a cab and it cost $40.00 with tip. We considered taking the recently built Light Rail, but we weren't sure where the nearest station would be in relation to the hotel. As it turns out, the Nicollet Mall stop is one block away, and it only costs $1.50...so consider taking the Light Rail to the Westin from MSP.
Arriving at the Westin, we were very impressed by the lobby area. It has approximately 50 foot ceilings with great woodwork and marble throughout. The restaurant and bar are the first things you see, with reception in the back of the lobby to the right. The restaurant had good food from what little we had there (only one breakfast, and it was scrumptious). The kitchen is visible from the restaurant, and I thought it was a nice touch. They maintained a lot of the old financial institution's feel. The restaurant is named the Bank, and one of their wine cellars is an old vault. They also have meeting rooms downstairs, and one of those was an old vault as well, complete with thick metal safe door.
Check-in was very pleasant. The desk staff was very friendly and helpful, and took good care of us, answering our numerous questions. We then went to our room to unpack. We were upgraded to a "premium deluxe" (room 615) and we were very happy with it. The room, and the entire hotel, still has the "new car" smell as everything is brand new. Complete with 32" LCD HDTV, "heavenly" king bed, good sized desk, well stocked mini-bar, 2 chairs and sofa, we were impressed. The closet was a little small though, and there wasn't a lot of drawer space, but we didn't mind, as we didn't pack very much. The bathroom was nice, with a terrific dual head shower. The door to the bathroom was a little awkward though. The door didn't open all the way, and it tended to get in the way. We thought a pocket door would have been a better design for this space. Also, the shower leaked on to the floor, but only a little.
Next we went to the bar. All of the bar staff were great (Andy, Gabriel, and Jim especially). They mixed very tasty drinks (we recommend "The Bank," the "Espresso Luxurio," and the Mint Julip), and they were great to talk to; made us feel like we were back home at our local pub. The staff was probably the best feature of this property. All the staff should give themselves kudos. They were always very proactive to make sure our needs were taken care of. For example, we needed a cab, and since the hotel is so new there was no taxi stand. No problem. The bellhops hopped to it and ran blocks away to bring a cab to us. Another example, when we were leaving, my girlfriend and I were discussing packing, etc, and the bellhop, hearing our conversation, asked if we needed any help with our bags, or transportation, etc. SUPER helpful, professional staff!!
After a few drinks we were ready to go to the Dome and watch our Red Sox beat the Twins...and they did! We came back and had a few more drinks before bed. We were still hungry and decided to get room service (24 hour room service). I got a club sandwich and my girlfriend got a pulled Amish chicken sandwich. It took 40 minutes to arrive and it was TERRIBLE. Stay away from the "Late Night Menu." It seemed to be pre-made, and made airline food seem gourmet. Mine was pretty much white Wonderbread and wasn't toasted, just seared on the outside, but still very soft. I asked for no tomatoes...got tomatoes and they made the bread soggy (especially b/c it was pre-made). My girlfriend's was ok, but not nearly what we expected from the Westin.
I complained the next day, telling the concierge (Tom) that they should not offer 24-hour service if they can't deliver a product that is deserving of the Westin name. The food was an embarrassment. I told him I understood this is a new hotel, and a realized there are going to be some growing pains. The concierge was very concerned and promised to issue a refund for the room service (I saw it was refunded when I checked out) and he promised to advise Management about my concern(s). I also informed the concierge about some of the other small items that we noticed, and he took good notes (no bottle opener or corkscrew for the mini-bar, clock radio wasn't plugged in, etc). I hope they take my concerns about their room service to heart. They really need to think about their late night menu and either improve it a LOT, or get rid of it. It wasn't room service; it was room disservice.
To summarize: this is a new hotel, and there were some small hiccups while we were there. I am confident they will fill in the gaps and get the small things right. I am giving this property good marks because of the space, the location, and the comfort of the room, but especially because of how wonderful the staff is.
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