There’s hardly been a better time for travelers to head to the Twin Cities. And that’s not just because August is one of our better months weather-wise.
No, it’s a great time for travelers because yet another metro area hotel is finishing up a major renovation.
The Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, located just off of I-494 in the northeast corner of Bloomington, is putting the finishing touches on a $15 million renovation.
Sheraton made its return to Bloomington in October 2013, when WB Hotel Partners purchased the then Hotel Sofitel.
Just over a year later, in January 2015, renovations began.
“It was just in need of a transformation,” director of sales and marketing Michael Kappel said. “Every decision was about making every experience welcoming.”
This starts with the lobby.
Kappel explained before even entering the lobby, in order to achieve a more modern and luring approach, the whole front porte-cochere was re-done.
“It used to be a hallway that led to a bakery,” Kappel said of the former structure.
The once tight, red-walled hallway has been opened up to be a clean, white entry way.
The sprawling lobby now opens up to a communal sitting area, a new lobby restaurant and guest check in.
The sitting area is comprised of a number chairs and a few high top tables that sit in between the front desk and The Side Bar restaurant, as well as some more private booths against the wall.
“We often say that business travelers who stay at Sheraton want to be alone but not lonely,” Kappel said.
The sitting area was created with those travelers in mind. Each table is outfitted with an outlet and USB plug so that guests can work while being in the company of others.
The Side Bar was also created for these types of travelers.
The new bar and restaurant serves guests items that they won’t find on the room service menu and gives them an excuse to venture out of their rooms.
In addition to outlets at The Side Bar, a number of other technological additions have found their way into the hotel.
Each of the hotel’s three meeting rooms includes a built in smart 65″ computer monitors, one even has an LCD projector in addition to the monitor. Presenters can switch between a slideshow, a search engine and white board capabilities with just a touch. Guests can also use an app to follow along on their own devices so they can better take notes.
The tables, which seat roughly 20, has 15 to 18 outlets. And, the rooms even have their own WiFi.
Of course, you don’t have to use a meeting room to take advantage of some of the other technological advances.
For those travelers who do like to be alone, outlets have been installed into the side of the bedside stand so you can work from bed.
Or, head to the fitness center. If you’re a frequent Sheraton guest, the equipment will keep track of the type of workouts you like to do and monitor your progress. You can access your records at any Sheraton hotel.
While the inside layout of the hotel has changed little, all 282 guest rooms have undergone a complete transformation to be made into a more modern space.
“It’s a complete redesign,” Kappel said of the rooms.
Each room has new furniture, new light fixtures, new carpet and new wall covering.
Also, an additional elevator has been added for guests to access the Sheraton Club and banquet space directly from the lobby.
All in all, roughly $12 million was spent on the hotel. The remaining $3 million was spent on transforming Colette bar & bistro into Lela.
Lela itself is an independent restaurant, but it sits adjacent to the hotel.
“Lela doesn’t want to be a destination restaurant,” Kappel said. “Chef Mullen has called it ‘a neighborhood restaurant for a really large neighborhood.'”
Executive Chef John Mullen runs the modern steak and seafood space while also supporting The Side Bar and banquet space in the Sheraton.
Many hotels are upgrading amenities to serve the modern traveler, and the Sheraton-Bloomington is no different.
With an open lobby, welcoming accommodations, high-tech equipment and world-class food, Sheraton offers a travelers a temporary home as comfortable as their own.