Hotel Emery: An Urban Jungle In Downtown Minneapolis

Hotel Emery is both a sleek boutique hotel and a chic urban jungle. It hides in plain sight in downtown Minneapolis.

The words “sleek” and “jungle” rarely appear in the same sentence. But when you’re describing a design-forward luxury hotel — especially one as artfully curated as this one — all bets are off.

In an average hotel, the lobby is the last place you’d want to hang out. At Hotel Emery, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel, it’s a place where people intentionally gather — even people that aren’t staying there. I’ve visited boutique hotels all over the U.S. and Europe, and I can assure you, that’s a rare feat.

The former Midland Bank building’s soothing expanse of cool white marble and stately columns dominate your first impression. But as you move past the check-in desk in search of Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co., a cozy spot tucked into the back of the building, you’re enveloped by a riot of greenery.

Lush plants arch up toward the high ceiling, ushering you deeper into the softly lit space. You move past flickering fireplaces, low tables, and sleek wooden chairs. People lounge on sprawling benches and low slung couches upholstered in rich, velvety shades lifted from the natural world. It’s an unexpected (and surprisingly sexy) design ménage à trois — part classic, part mid-century modern, part oasis — but it works.

The city is calling, but its voice is muted here. Maybe you’ll read just one more chapter and do a bit more stealthy people watching over the top of your mug, which now contains an elaborately swirled Spyhouse latte.

Your usual utilitarian order seems a little too functional here. Better to pick something pretty so you can linger. It seems a shame to rush out.

Spyhouse Coffee is tucked inside Hotel Emery.

You savor the last sips of the latte and settle back into your chair. When you look up, an hour has gone by.

Your phone has pinged twice, but you hadn’t noticed. The rest of your party has completed their workout in Emery’s well-appointed gym, raving about the impressive collection of weights and the Peloton bikes. Now they’re showered and lounging around in the hotel’s robes, as gleefully lazy as a pair of house cats.

They’ll get ready in their own time. Maybe you’ll just stay here for another minute and listen let the clink of glasses and the low murmur of voices floating up from the airy expanse that is the lobby bar. The Negroni menu is supposed to be excellent, which feels right on brand. Giulia is a northern Italian restaurant, after all.

You make your way to the lobby, complimenting the desk clerk on his suspenders as you pass. Your party exits the elevator before you can push the button. You laugh and set out to ponder the next step. The weather outside the windows is gray, the morning’s mist transformed into a shimmering curtain of rain.

Everyone turns in unison, drawn back to the serene confines of Giulia for an impromptu lunch of pizza painstakingly made from a softly savory dough and fired in a 1,000-degree oven. It’s dense and chewy and perfectly crispy, all at once.

Pizza at Giulia

Fries? Sure thing. Beer? Don’t mind if I do. When it’s chilly and damp outside, comfort food is practically medicinal.

During dinner service, there’ll be freshly pulled mozzarella tableside. That’s reason enough to return.

You retire to your room, sipping sparkling water as you watch the steady stream of midday traffic slip silently past the bank of windows. You doze on crisp sheets, read a few pages, sketch out the outline of a story or two, turn on a movie and settle in to watch.

A text pops up. “What did you do all day?”

You laugh. You did nothing. And everything. And you’d do it again if you had half a chance. Maybe tomorrow.

The quiet interior of the Hotel Emery

What about you?
What are your favorite places in downtown Minneapolis?
How do you spend a rainy morning or afternoon?
What makes a hotel feel comfortable to you?

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Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through my site. This helps me finance my own trips. My stay at Emery was complimentary, but I paid for parking, food, and beverages. As always, I only recommend places and products that I like and use.

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Alicia Underlee Nelson

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