Hotel Ivy has completed an $8 million renovation on its luxury property in an effort to stay ahead of changing traveler moods.

Less than eight years after it was built, Ivy — which is one of 17 U.S. properties in Starwood Hotel & Resorts’ Luxury Collection —  has revamped its lobby, guest rooms and common areas.

The hotel opened in 2008 with 136 guest rooms and 91 condominium residences and was the last downtown Minneapolis hotel built before the recession virtually halted new construction. 

The original project  — built around the Ivy Tower, a Ziggurat style of architecture that’s unusual for the city —  presented a sleek luxury experience imbued with neutral tones. But by the time the  hospitality industry stabilized  pre-recession levels, the traveler’s desires had changed. 

“The luxury traveler isn’t really the 60-year-old man anymore. It’s the 35-year-old with lots of money who doesn’t necessarily want high thread count, but wants an experience,” said Andrew Finsness, Hotel Ivy’s general manager.

Located near the Minneapolis Convention Center, its previously subdued lobby now pops with color and the addition of a bar and lounge. Blues and grays have replaced the brown tones in the guest room, and the entire building has been “re-lamped” to LED lighting. 

Perhaps the most noticeable change for local residents is the new onsite restaurant and speakeasy run by Jester Concepts, the same group responsible for Borough and Parlour in Minneapolis’ North Loop. 

Ivy’s new restaurant, Monello, serves up coastal Italian food upstairs and on a new outdoor patio. Its light, welcoming decor stands in stark contrast to the lair-like bar and lounge downstairs, called Constantine. The Gothic style nods to the history of the building, which was built in 1930 as the Second Church of Christ, Scientist. 

Visitors can access Constantine from the hotel or a separate street entrance. (Opened early summer, the new bar has already served a celebrity crowd. The Rolling Stones band members stayed at the hotel in June and celebrated drummer Charlie Watts’ birthday at Constantine the night before they played at TCF Stadium.)

The hotel is owned by Heartland Realty Investors and is managed by Wischermann Partners.  Hotel Ivy’s renovations come on the heels of a similar transformation by one of its primary competitors, Loews Minneapolis Hotel. 

Finsness said they still plan to overhaul the top two suites in the original Ivy Tower, which will be given specialized attention, “each having a unique story” that is told through the design. He expects those to be complete by the end of the year.

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