Traveling for work often means spending time in discount hotels,  but on a recent trip to Minneapolis I was lucky enough to find a very affordable rate at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel The Depot. I love Renaissance properties and whenever I have the opportunity because for the most part the hotels seem to have slightly better interiors than full-service Marriott properties. My recent trip to Minneapolis was no exception and in fact, the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel The Depot may just be my favorite Renaissance property yet.

Location

Located in the heart of the Milwaukee Road Depot, The Depot is mostly comprised of two Marriott hotel properties (Renaissance and Residence Inn) and a lovely indoor ice rink. The Depot was once a train depot for the Twin Cities Hiawatha train route which once took passengers from the Twin Cities to Chicago via Milwaukee. Chicago or Milwaukee natives can still use the Hiawatha service between the respective cities.

Today, the Depot is an up and coming neighborhood featuring renovated warehouse loft style apartments, craft beer pubs, and direct access to the Mississippi River running/biking path. The Depot is located just a few miles from downtown Minneapolis and is overall a little more lively than downtown after working hours throughout the week.

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel The Depot

The hotel is located on the North West corner of the joint Marriott hotel (Renaissance and Residence Inn). The main entrance can be accessed directly from 3rd Ave. S, but parking can be found just off 5th Ave. S. The parking lot is underground and heated which makes accessing your car in the winter months significantly more bearable given the $19/night price tag!

The hotel is also home to Charley’s Grill located just inside the Renaissance lobby. Charley’s is home to a full service bar and around the clock dining. The dark wood and low light promote a fairly refined atmosphere, but overall Charley’s proved to be a great stop for a night cap on the way back to the room. Had the weather been worse on my visit to the Twin Cities I would have spent significantly more time at the restaurant.

Concierge Lounge

As a Marriott Platinum member, I actively try to stay at properties that offer a Concierge Lounge (Concierge Lounge access is reserve for guests who book rooms on the Concierge Level or maintain Marriott Gold or Marriott Platinum Status). I love Concierge Lounge access because lounges offer free bottled water, canned soda, and snacks. Sure bottled water is relatively inexpensive, but when traveling for work every dollar saved is a dollar earned! The Concierge Lounge at the Renaissance also provided complimentary breakfast and heavy hors d’vors in the evening.

Fitness Facilities

I try to visit the hotel fitness facility at least once per stay, but the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel The Depot made this goal very achievable thanks to its wonderful fitness facility. The facility featuring new LifeFitness treadmills, elipticals, and bikes complete with HD TVs. The gym also was home to a complete set of free weights, an adjustable bench, and a few yoga mats.

I know the gym seems trivial, but as far as hotel gyms go, this one sticks out in my mind. I can’t begin to explain the number of fitness facilities with broken equipment, missing weights, or an overall lack of equipment that I have experienced over the years. The gym is accessible to guests of both the Renaissance and Residence Inn which could lead to overcrowding during peak times, but during my visit there were no issues.

The Room

Walking into the king bed guest room I was immediately welcomed by a large barn style door separating the bathroom from the rest of the room. A little further in, I found a standard Renassance king size bed with a nightstand and globe light on either side. At the far end of the room, a lounge chair with reading lamp, large window overlooking the river, and a generous stone desk with swivel chair.

Overall the hotel room was nice, but I was most impressed by the shower (as seen above). I love the subway tile, large sliding glass door, and frosted glass window which separated the shower from the bedroom. The shower head was much higher than most standard hotel rooms and had a separate handheld attachment. After a long cold Minnesota day it was quite relaxing coming back to such a nice bathroom and shower. One downside was the gap between the sliding glass shower door and the wall. Sure enough after just 5 minutes water started to accumulate on the bathroom floor and after a few more minutes the puddle grew into entryway.

Final Thoughts

I was fully impressed with the Rentassance Minneapolis Hotel The Depot. The Concierge Lounge was a fantastic place to get a some work done each evening (accompanied by some paid alcoholic beverages and free snacks) and a great place to refuel each morning. I was very impressed by the room and hotel amenities. The room itself had several lamps/lights, but lack of a centeralize overhead light made the room seem quite dark in the evenings.

The Depot Ice Rink was also an unusual and fun way to spend some spare time. I loved the Depot and surrounding area and would definitely recommend choosing this location opposed to other downtown options.

I continue to have an issue with outrageous parking prices in metropolitan areas. The $19/night price tag for parking seemed a little ridiculous given the lack of options in the area. I understand hotels are trying to increase margins, but over the top parking prices continue to annoy me.

Lastly, this stay solidified my qualification for Marriott Platinum Status (SPG Platinum Status) and by using my Chase Sapphire Reserve card I earned 3x UltimateRewards points for my stay!

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