MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Nearly eight months after the Hotel Ivy began implementing changes, the Minneapolis hotel is finally unveiling its newest renovations.
Part of Starwood Hotel’s Luxury Collection, the Hotel Ivy and IVY Residences were built in 2007. The 136 guest rooms and 90 condominiums wrap around the historic Ivy Tower, located on the corner of 11th Street and Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The $8 million renovation, which began in January, was the first major renovation in the hotel’s eight year history.
Upon entering, guests are immediately greeted with one of the first changes – the Venetia.
“It’s our take on a classic cocktail bar,” owner of Jester Concepts, the group behind the design and implementation of Venetia, Monello and Constantine, Brent Frederick said. “The space was unutilized. It had no energy. We wanted to give it energy.”
The Venetia sits to the right of the entrance, just before the concierge desk. In the morning, coffee and pastries are made available. Then from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., patrons can enjoy cocktails, beer, wine and a number of small plates. There is also a lounge space for guests and residents to use for work or relaxation.
“Monello is casual fine dining and Constantine is cheeky bar food,” Frederick said. “So we wanted to offer something in between that.”
Frederick explained that they wanted to offer travelers items that were a bit more relaxed, or close to what you might order in room service. Small plates include familiar items like a burger, a seared tuna sandwich or a cheese plate.
Hotel General Manager Andrew Finsness explained that elements of the Ivy Tower’s architecture were taken into consideration when designing the Venetia, a theme also seen in Constantine. The ziggurat style of the tower is mirrored in the design of the bar, as well as in the furniture chosen for the lobby space.
As guests move throughout the hotel, more renovations are made apparent. New carpet from Axminster Carpets dons the floors and Xorel, a woven, environmentally-friendly fabric, decorates the hallway walls.
One of the largest changes was the implementation of LED lights. Lamps and light fixtures in all of the rooms, and other areas of the hotel, were rewired and made to fit LED bulbs.
Technology was another major focus of the renovation.
Each room has been upgraded to have Bluetooth technology so that guests may utilize their own devices on stereos within the room. The technology has been enhanced so much so that guests can even pull up their own Netflix account on TVs in their room.
But it’s not just about the fine touches, Finsness explains.
“It’s experiential,” Finsness said. “That [luxury] traveler wants the whole experience.”
So, the Hotel Ivy has also created a “Destination Authority” program. Prior to check in, guests receive a personalized email with information on activities, events or restaurants they may enjoy based on previous stays or their reason for stay. Guests are invited to reach out to the hotel employees for any questions they may have about tickets, transportation or entertainment throughout their stay as well.
While the upgrades to the hotel furnishings are finally making their debut, some of the new additions have already been introduced to the city.
In the beginning of June, Monello opened its doors to the public.
The restaurant that sits in Porter & Frye’s old space offers coastal Italian fare. Influenced largely by the Amalfi Coast and southwestern Italy, the restaurant incorporates lush blues, geometric tiles and bright whites into is decor.
The open layout seats 80 and can accommodate larger tables of up to 20. Outside seating is also available.
Chef Mike DeCamp’s menu focuses on crudos and pastas, with dishes like sea urchin and risotto with baby squid, clams and mussels. Larger entrees of grilled pork chops, served with peperonata and polenta, and grilled octopus, served with pine nuts, paprika and grilled cucumber are also offered.
A month later, Constantine made its debut.
In stark contrast to the light, open Monello, Constantine is dark, warm and sheltered.
Also taking inspiration from the Ivy Tower, which was originally intended to be a church, candelabras, organ pipes, pews and even a pulpit act as decoration in the basement bar.
The menu includes a funkier fare, also by DeCamp, and fancier cocktails.
While both of these Jester Concepts eateries are connected to the Hotel Ivy, they serve the general public and have a separate street entrance located on Marquette Avenue.