Downtown hotels offer getaways, without the daylong drive
This may come as a surprise, but while usually occupied with luring tourists and travelers, Downtown hotels also offer great packages to appeal to local workers and residents who are in need of a quick get-away but would rather spend their downtime lounging, taking in a show or shopping than behind the wheel of their car.
- Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel, 618 2nd Ave. S., offers a Romance in the City package. For $159-$189 on the weekend or $229-$269 during the week (when you're competing with rooms for businesspeople), a couple can enjoy one night in a room for two and dinner in the hotel's Caf/ Northstar, the Krona Lounge or in-room dining. To add to the romance, the package also includes fresh flowers, champagne, strawberries dipped in chocolate and a bubble bath.
- The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, 1300 Nicollet Mall, offers a Date Night package. When we called, the next available weekend Date Night was in October, but for around $160 a couple can enjoy a deluxe room as well as a $30 food and beverage credit. The couple can also enjoy passes to the Regency Athletic Club and Spa, valet parking, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and turn-down service.
- The 35 S. 7th St. Radisson offers a Romance package for $159 on weekends or $259 on weekdays. This includes full breakfast for two with room service or at the Firelake Grillhouse restaurant, located inside the hotel. This also includes champagne or cider depending on the couple's preference, as well as parking in the hotel ramp.
- Embassy Suites Hotel Minneapolis, 425 S. 7th St., offers the Romance package or, for (GLBT) couples, the Suite Pride Package for $109-$169. This package includes a single or double occupancy (with a king-sized or two double beds) room along with a bottle of champagne when the couple arrives and a box of gourmet chocolates. For the morning after the romantic night out, enjoy a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast.
"The Pride package is a year-round deal, not just available during Pride Fest [the last weekend in June] and it can be open for more than one night depending on availability," said Sharon Rosenthal, Embassy's senior sales manager.
As far as entertainment goes, Rosenthal said the Embassy offers a Mill City package that includes admission to the Mill City Museum.
- The Grand Hotel Minneapolis at 615 2nd Ave. S. offers a Romance package, or for GLBT couples, the Partners in Pride package. For $159, a couple receives breakfast for two with room service, cocktails at the Grand Finale Lounge in the hotel, nightly turn-down service with Godiva chocolates, a morning newspaper and coffee delivered to the room. It's a weekend-only urban getaway, available Friday and Saturday nights only.
- Annie Ludlow, a reservationist with Le Meridien, said the hotel offers a Getaway package including complimentary parking for $219 per night. The Breakfast package includes, of course, breakfast in the morning and plenty of time to enjoy it, with a late checkout of up to 3 p.m. for $269 per night.
For $399, you can go all out with Le Meridien's Celebration package, which includes champagne in your room on arrival, a three-course dinner for two plus breakfast at the hotel's Cosmos restaurant.
For a Broadway-tier night out on the town, the Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association (GMCVA) has put together "Phantom of the Opera" weekend packages with many area hotels for July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7. The packages include two tickets to the play at the Orpheum Theatre (910 Hennepin Ave. S.), a one-night Downtown hotel stay plus a $50 dining certificate.
"Phantom . . ." weekends are $289 at Crowne Plaza (618 2nd Ave. S.), $299 at Doubletree Guest Suites (1101 LaSalle Ave.), $322 at the Marquette Hotel (710 Marquette Ave.), $299 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center (30 S. 7th St.) and $369 at the Radisson Plaza (35 S. 7th St.).
If shopping is what you're after, look no further than the Minneapolis Marriott City Center. Bertram said the package includes breakfast the next morning as well as a $25 gift card to Marshall Field's for $144.
Want to bring along Fluffy or Fido for the weekend? Le Meridien allows pets -- for a $150 cleaning fee. Also, the pet must weigh less than 25 pounds, Ludlow said.
Brandy St. Clair, a reservationist for the Radisson, said the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis lets you bring pets for a $50 fee: "There really are no restrictions about size with the pets, so people can bring whatever they want as long as they pay the $50 fee."
According to Nancy Bertram, the Minneapolis Marriott City Center also allows pets, but you have to put down a $200 deposit. However, you get the deposit back once you've checked out and the room is verified damage-free.
"There aren't really any restrictions on pets besides leaving them in a kennel in the room when the guests are not in the room, in case housekeeping comes in," Bertram said.
The Radisson offers Go Twins and Go Vikings packages; $109-$149 gets you tickets to the game, a deluxe standard room and free parking.
The Holiday Inn Express has a Vikings package, said Alison Schug, sales manager. It comes with two lower-level tickets, an option to stay over one, two or three nights, as well as high speed Internet access, free local calls and breakfast in the morning. According to the hotel's Web site, the sports packages range from $180 to $350.
The Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association (GMCVA) operates Minneapolis.org, where room- and package-seekers can plug in their needs (when they want to stay, how many are in their party, etc.) and view a variety of options. GLBT patrons looking for deals on a romantic evening should also check out glbtminneapolis.org's hotel package listings.
Sources: Reservations desks and Web sites of listed hotels.