My wife and I love to travel, but with a 4-month old baby we sought something close to home this fall for a staycation.” We found a special experience at The Hotel Ivy, in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. The historic hotel is connected by skyway to many Minneapolis highlights, and is conveniently located next to Orchestra Hall, Nicollet Mall and the Minneapolis Convention Center––not to mention countless restaurants and the Mighty Mississippi.
“Being part of The Luxury Collection of hotel and resorts, we offer unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting and treasured memories,” said Betsy Bartholomew, Director of Sales and Marketing. “Regardless if you are a new or an experienced explorer, we can create the ultimate road map to your perfect excursion.”
Our excursion––a rare night away from the baby, watched lovingly by Grandma and Grandpa––was indeed memorable, thanks to the hotel’s outstanding staff and ideal location. We checked into our spacious suite and marveled at the view. Our suite was phenomenal. It consisted of a spacious entry way, a chic living room, an executive-style office, a guest bathroom, a deluxe bedroom and a master bathroom that resembled a mini-spa, complete with a hot tub and overlook of downtown.
The tower was actually commissioned originally by the Second Church of Christ Scientist, a religion that was eager to accommodate its growing congregation in the area. Nebraska-based architect Thomas R. Kimball was tapped to design the complex, which was originally conceived as four slender towers surrounding a larger, domed center. Kimball already had national acclaim for designs such as the Trans Mississippi and International Exposition, he was about to introduce Minneapolis to a style of architecture, the likes of which the city had never seen.
Upon the tower’s completion in 1930, the Depression brought further development of the complex to a halt, as church members were unable to fund the second phase of construction. The church itself was facing dwindling numbers in its own congregation, as the prevalence of automobiles increased and the allure of the suburbs beckoned.
Used mostly as an administration building, the building was purchased by W and T Investment Company in 1965 and named the Ivy Tower. S and P Properties purchased the property in 1991, though the tower was boarded up in 1993 when the building’s heating system failed. The Ivy Tower remained relatively untouched until its transformation into a luxury hotel in 2008.
The Ivy Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, a flag it flies with honor today.
After settling in to our suite, we headed over to the Ivy Spa Club and treated ourselves to a wonderfully refreshing couples massage. What a way to start the weekend! It is hard to think of a more relaxing treat, especially for sore and sleep-deprived new parents. It’s also easy to see why many Minnesota dignitaries indulge in the Ivy Spa Club; the spa’s simply elegance and unique experiences are designed to replenish and invigorate.
As with most high-quality spas, the treatments are not inexpensive, but it’s hard to put a price tag on increasing your mental health and decreasing your blood pressure. I’d definitely recommend the Ivy Spa Club, and would offer this tip to get the most bang for your buck: Schedule your appointment for mid-day so you have time to enjoy the spa before and after your massage.
The 14 treatment rooms reveal specialty massages, body treatments and facials; meanwhile relaxation areas and hydrotherapy room complement a whirlpool, steam rooms, saunas and a state-of-the-art fitness facility. We lounged and lingered going back and forth between the sauna, whirlpool and steam room––with the occasional brief, chilly dip into a shower––before finally gathering ourselves and heading back to our room to prepare for a night on the town.
The hotel prepares multiple itineraries and has a first-rate concierge available to create unique, custom adventures. “The Luxury Collection brand has not only partnered with exceptional and alike brands such as Bentley and One Kings Lane, but with world famous Global Explorers that travel around the world and help us discover indigenous, exceptional experiences,” Bartholomew said. “Life is a collection of experiences, let us be your guide.”
The Hotel Ivy offers suggested experiences with different themes, such as the Music Enthusiast itinerary which intrigued Jodie and me:
If it’s vintage music you enjoy, you will appreciate Hymie’s. At this vintage record shop, scoop up an awesome Ramones LP or a rare 45 – or just spend time hanging out at one of the listening stations. You might catch a live performance by a local band.
Thereafter, your day takes you to The Loring Pasta Bar. This institution features whimsical décor and free live music. Combining the inspirations of the moment and beloved dishes, the Loring Pasta Bar offers a menu featuring innovative and house made noodle creations, luxurious entrees, incredible appetizers and wildly decadent desserts.
This is the sort of place savvy Twin Cities residents make a point of showing off to visitors from New York, Los Angeles ad London. Fun fact: when this was Gray’s Campus Drugs, Bob Dylan lived in an apartment upstairs.
Our dinner at The Loring Pasta Bar was a highlight.
The food was delicious, and the atmosphere lived up to the billing in the above itinerary.
This place has such a unique, fun vibe––you can definitely feel the energy when you walk in the door. The staff clearly works hard and enjoys providing good service.
“Our staff really appreciate the privilege of being involved with The Loring Pasta Bar,” said manager Joe Henkin.
There’s definitely a reason why The Loring Pasta Bar is one “the” places that Twin Cities residents like to show off and bring out-of-town guests. We discovered those reasons first hand.
The place has such a fun vibe I’d strongly recommend it. Even the bathrooms are cool! The Loring Pasta Bar has actually been voted as having the Best Bathrooms in town. Didn’t even know there was a distinction for that, but can sure see why this place won it.
We returned to The Hotel Ivy quite late after dinner and music at The Loring Pasta Bar and strolled around the hotel grounds. There was no wedding reception that evening, but the hotel frequently hosts weddings and offers a ballroom which can seat up to 64 guests. “Our brides tend to seek elegance, sophistication and a bespoke experience for her family and friends,” Bartholomew said. “Our ballroom can seat up to 64 guests; which allows the bride to keep her guest list small and intimate.”
The hotel is clearly a great choice for a celebration, a work meeting or, as in our case, a quiet “staycation.” In the morning, we enjoyed a terrific breakfast at Porter and Frye, Hotel Ivy’s signature restaurant. The restaurant has won multiple awards and is considered by many to embrace the essence of an indigenous Midwestern dining experience, as it uses locally sourced and sustainable ingredients to create a unique menu. Entree options including grass-fed lamb, free-range poultry and grain-finished beef.
The modern ambience is accentuated by its positioning in the historic Ivy Tower as well as by works of local artists. In short, the restaurant is definitely worth a stop, whether it’s for breakfast, dinner or happy hour.
After all the great food, rest and relaxation, my wife and I ventured outside and walked to the Mississippi River, a mere mile away. Of course I had fishing poles in tow, and we managed to catch and release a few smallmouth bass––along with a half dozen suckers––from the bank.
It finally occurred to us that we better return to our “normal lives” back home, 20 minutes away, and check on the baby. We thanked the hotel staff at checkout and told them the truth: We would definitely return, and perhaps try another of the hotel’s recommended itineraries.
The website for the Hotel Ivy is www.thehotelivy.com. For more information call (612) 746-4600.
The website specifically for the Ivy Spa Club is www.ivyspaclub.com. For more information, call (612) 343-3131.
The website for The Loring Pasta Bar is www.loringpastabar.com. For more information, call (612) 378-4849 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For catering inquiries, email email@example.com.