The 304-room Commons Hotel, part of Noble House Hotels and Resorts, has great boutique hotel credentials. The industrial schoolhouse chic property, housed in the former Radisson building, boasts a gorgeous, cozy lobby replete with stocked bookcases, blazing fires, and wooden and brick accents. It’s sure to appeal to hotel mavens who prize the original and the offbeat.
As far as first impressions go, the interiors reminded me of a quaint ski chalet in the mountains — a theme I had hoped would carry over to the rooms. As a frequent patron of luxury hotels, I am always in search of new luxury boutique properties that can intrigue and satisfy my palate, so when the CVB team at Meet Minneapolis recommended The Commons Hotel, I was looking forward to adding another property to my repertoire. When I glanced at the website, it didn’t initially appeal to my sensibilities, but the CVB team assuaged my doubts and assured me it was one of the premier properties in Minneapolis. After my stay, my assessment is: while it fits the mold of a typical boutique hotel, it did not rise to the requisite level of luxury, and while the lobby was charming and inviting, the rooms and service did not meet my expectations.
-The check-in process was quick and easy, but the check-out line was quite long and took much longer than it should have. An express check-out or emailing my hotel folio beforehand would have been better and streamlined operations.
-The welcome amenity was part of the Club Alchemy program, a membership-based program designed to better recognize and reward loyal guests with exclusive perks, privileges and benefits during their stay. Members enjoy access to full program benefits for an upgrade fee of $25/per night, including personalized assistance with business and travel needs, priority check-ins and late check-outs, seasonal welcome amenities, room upgrades based on availability, in-room fitness options and pre-reserved passes to the University Recreation & Wellness Center – to name a few. It’s worth it!
-There’s a shuttle available for quick trips within 5 miles of the hotel.
-Water is complimentary only if you’re part of Club Alchemy.
-WiFi is complimentary, thankfully, but I strongly disliked the fact that I needed to provide my email to register.
-The lobby was my favorite part of the hotel – it’s so cozy and beautiful. It’s reminiscent of a gorgeous ski chalet in the mountains with a blazing fireplace and industrial brick and wood interiors.
-There are lots of outlets near the bed – great for digital travelers.
-The location is great if you’re looking for a hotel near the University of Minnesota, but it’s not ideal for downtown travelers.
-The lovely curtains weren’t solely for show and managed to perfectly block out the morning sunlight, making it easier for me to sleep in — a MUST on vacation.
-There was a NORMAL hair dryer.
-The toiletries were from a brand I hadn’t heard of, but I wasn’t a fan. It was from Archive.
-Breakfast was included at the onsite Beacon House restaurant in the lobby — it’s also part of Club Alchemy.
-No email correspondence before my stay.
-There is no onsite spa.
-No activity on social media before, during, or after my stay. This is one great opportunity that hotels really lose out on to connect with its guests and to learn what it’s doing well and what it can improve on.
-When I asked for a dental kit, I was told that they didn’t have any more and that there was a 24-hour Walgreens across the street. This is something I’ve never heard at a hotel, and it was not appreciated one bit.
-The suite seemed very cramped – for a one-bedroom suite, the living room seemed a bit suffocating and the flow felt slightly congested.
-The lighting in the bathroom is not optimal for vanity purposes.
-There’s no bathtub.
-The bedding could have been upgraded – there were lots of pillows, but the comforter was very thin. I would have appreciated a fluffy down comforter with luxurious linens.
-There should always be decaf options for the in-room coffee.
-It’s a matter of personal preference, but I don’t like seeing white tiles with dark grout in hotel bathrooms – it looks outdated and cheap to me.
-There were no slippers.
-Room service is not available 24 hours.
-Turn-down service was disappointingly ordinary.
Duration: 2 nights, March 17-19, 2016
Bottom line: The Commons Hotel misses the mark on many details, as enumerated above, and with its popcorn ceilings and run-of-the-mill room furnishings, it is due for renovations to meet modern standards. So while my stay at The Commons Hotel was comfortable, it was not luxurious. I personally wouldn’t stay here again, but if you’re looking for a hotel in the University of Minnesota area and/or traveling with a family, this may be a good option.
*Disclosure: I was a guest of the hotel, but views are my own and accurately reflect my stay. My room was a one-bedroom suite with 2 double beds in room 770.
**My policy: there will always be full disclosure about whether my stay was hosted by the hotel or paid for with my own money. And even if the hotel decides to offer complimentary services, my review will never be swayed one way or the other. After all, if my experience was sub-par, and I continue to falsely rave about their services, no one will benefit–not me, not you, not the hotel (they’ll never improve!). So, trust that you’ll receive 100% truth in every review.