Marriott Autograph Collection hotel is designed around community and coziness
A new boutique hotel in Elliot Park bears the name of its neighborhood, a community focus that staff say is a pillar of its operations.
Developer and co-owner Wilkinson Corp. will open the 168-room Elliot Park Hotel on Sept. 20 at 9th & 5th on the east side of downtown where the hotel supply has quickly grown in recent years. The hybrid luxury-lifestyle hotel sets itself apart with a “hygge” mindset, a Danish concept describing the comforts of home that come through in its design, amenities and food program.
“You have to really differentiate,” said Dana Orlando, a general manager with Coury Hospitality, the hotel’s operator. “We know that travelers have choices, and so we’re speaking to their interests.”
The eight-story hotel is the last piece to be completed on the block that’s home to Kraus-Anderson’s new headquarters, the HQ apartment building and a Finnegans brewery and office building. ESG Architects designed the hotel, which features copper accents and fixtures throughout the building. Kraus-Anderson built it.
The concept of comfort begins as soon as guests walk into the hotel, Orlando said. After they check in with staff on iPads, hotel patrons get a “bite and a brew,” or a small preview of the hotel’s food and beverage program, which will feature Finnegans beer and a seasonal or featured snack from its main-level Italian restaurant. The lobby’s floors are heated and its main wall is lined with large candles that are lit in the evening. Orlando said it’s all about the hygge concept of “creating contentment.”
Concierge staff are housed in a 300-square-foot gift shop that carries goods largely from local companies with a charitable bent. Orlando said they sell “experiences” for guests.
“If they want to create an afternoon of bike riding and stopping at particular historical sites and have this really memorable experience, we will create that for them,” she said.
The community connection continues to the guest rooms. Neighborhood residents get a 10 percent discount, savings that they can either keep or donate to the hotel’s charitable partner, nonprofit homeless housing provider House of Charity.
The Elliot Park Hotel, which has 155 guest rooms and 13 suites, balances luxury and lifestyle features, with coffee service, 24-hour in-room dining and spa services that can be brought into rooms. Amenities include a 24/7 fitness center, an outdoor patio with lawn games and a large lounge with a fireplace. On the second floor, the hotel has a meeting space that can sit 125 people for plated dinners or more than 300 people for a cocktail-style reception.
The hotel is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, one of its fastest growing brands. Orlando said the one thing that unites the assortment of independently owned and operated hotels is their uniqueness.
“If (guests) are coming here and they want to have that luxury feel, they will get it, yet (the hotel) is still whimsical and playful where it’s not that stuffy and ostentatious feel,” she said.
During the week, Orlando said the hotel will largely target business travelers. Weekends will bring in leisure travelers, with most coming from around the Midwest region. Most guests, as much as 70 or 80 percent, will likely be the “extremely loyal” customers of Marriott’s rewards program, she added.
On the main level, Tavola will serve Italian cuisine and a cocktail menu centered on Italian spirits like Amaro. Leading the kitchen is chef Aaron Uban, a veteran of dozens of Twin Cities restaurants like Heartland, Strip Club Meat & Fish and Pronto Ristorante. One of its signature dishes is “il macchina,” or the machine, a suckling pig that’s deboned and turned into a porchetta. Tavola serves it in inch-thick cuts with black lentils and bruised kale.
“It’s a conversation piece,” said Taryne Dixon, the hotel’s food and beverage director.
The 126-seat restaurant has a bar surrounding a wood-fired oven and a 20-seat outdoor space that will open next year, in addition to a 12-seat private dining space. Uban said Tavola’s late-night menu is based around the oven where pizzas, sandwiches and even burgers are cooked.
“If (guests are) here hanging out, they can see what’s going on. It helps that whole energy,” he said.
Dixon said the beverage program features a variety of approachable and high-end wines, many of them Italian. A free Coravin service — where wine is extracted from a bottle without removing the cork — is available for bottles under $100 so diners can try a wine before buying. Tavola has just eight taps with mostly local beer, as Dixon said they don’t want to compete with Finnegans, which the hotel supports with food and a portion of its proceeds.