The new JW Marriott at the Mall of America opened Monday, just in time for holiday shopping.
It is the luxury brand's first location in Minnesota and the 25th location in the United States.
Following five years of planning, the 15-story building was constructed in just 15 months.
The new 342-room hotel is one of three components in the Mall's current "front door" expansion on its north side. The hotel is connected to new retail and dining options as well as The Offices at MOA, which mall officials expect will lease up on a rolling basis throughout 2016.
Representatives from Mortenson Development, Mortenson Construction, Marriott International, the Triple Group of Companies and the hotel's ownership Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) were present for the grand opening.
The JW Marriott joins Radisson Blu as a lodging option attached to the Mall. While some worried that the new hotel would hurt Radisson Blu's business, Kurt Hagen doesn't think so.
"We have the demand," said Hagen, senior vice president for Triple Five Group, the owner and developer of the Mall. "We are probably going to still add two more hotels in some of the next phases and they all hit different segments of the markets."
He calls the Radisson Blu "upper upscale" and the JW Marriott "luxury".
The two differ on price, too.
Tonight's lowest rate at the Radisson Blue is $169 while the JW Marriott's average rate will vary (depending on the season) between $299 and $399 per night. Some room rates will be as high as $599 a night.
Some of JW Marriott's key features are:
- The lobby lounge offering local craft beers on tap and cocktails using locally distilled spirits and wines
- Nearly 20,000 square feet in meeting space, including a 16,000-square-foot ballroom
- An executive lounge with views of the downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul skylines, as well as the airport runways
- floor-to-ceiling windows
- A lounge called The Activity Table for wine tastings, cooking classes, etc.
- A lap pool and large fitness center
The hotel also has an onsite restaurant called Cedar and Stone Urban Table that is meant to compete with urban dining in Minneapolis.
"We don't want our guests to go downtown Minneapolis to eat. We want them to get that same experience here," said Everton Clarke, an executive chef at the restaurant.
JW Marriott's reservation system opened today for customers to start booking rooms.