Bring on the beds. Among hotels that opened their doors in 2018 are the swank InterContinental at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Hotel Landing in Wayzata. The new year could bring even more options. A boutique hotel — Celeste St. Paul Hotel + Bar — will take over a historic building in downtown St. Paul. The Wilfs hope to break ground on a luxury hotel near Vikes headquarters in Eagan. Rochester is booming, with new hotels in the works and the historic Kahler Grand Hotel undergoing a $30 million renovation. But where to go now, for a long weekend or longer? These new spots open up a range of possibilities.
Hostel du Nord: Duluth
Visiting musicians had few affordable lodging options in Duluth, so the owner of Red Herring Lounge, a music venue there, fixed the issue. Bob Monahan opened Hostel du Nord, the only such low-cost, communal-style lodging in the city. The three-story hostel leans toward industrial-mod with exposed brick walls and bare light bulbs. Among the perks are 36 beds, shared kitchenette and bathrooms, lounge areas, a Finnish sauna, skyway access — and rates that begin at $45 a night. Sleeping spaces are made more private with curtains and include lockers and plug-ins for recharging devices (217 W. 1st St., hosteldunord.com).
Hotel Pikku: Duluth
The port city may be filled with hotels, but this sleek boutique newbie may well become the hotel of choice for hipsters. The three suites that make up Pikku, which translates from Finnish as “little,” occupy space above Hemlock Leatherworks in the artsy Lincoln Park neighborhood. Outfitted with sleek Scandinavian style and original artwork, each has a living room, a bedroom and a private bath. Two come with a kitchen and the third has a small refrigerator, ready to chill Bent Paddle Brewing Co.’s concoctions; it’s within walking distance from the hotel (1923 W. Superior St.; thehotelpikku.com).
Poplar Haus: Gunflint Trail
The five log cabins at Poplar Haus prove that a North Woods vibe doesn’t require taxidermied deer heads. Rich wood, views of Poplar Lake and proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness set the tone at this lodge 32 miles up the Gunflint Trail from Grand Marais. In the Northern Gnome Cabin, a two-bedroom mushroom decor pops up. The living room of That 70’s Cabin includes a corner bar with Naugahyde stools. Poplar Haus has a dining room serving top-notch creative fare with floor-to-ceiling views of the lake (7890 Gunflint Trail; poplarhaus.com).
Stone walls, bikes for guests, a pillow menu, down comforters: The 40-room, three-story Lora along the St. Croix River in downtown Stillwater exudes luxury. The hotel occupies what was once the Joseph Wolf Brewery block, and it showcases the historic stone walls and vaulted passageways of its previous life. Venison sausage and bison burgers nod to the North Country at the hotel’s restaurant, Feller. The bar, the Long Goodbye, shakes up cocktails at a gleaming wooden bar lined with comfortable leather stools (402 S. Main St.; lorahotel.com).