Aug 14 2017

Radisson RED Minneapolis Review

I was a little skeptical when I found out the hotel I booked was “geared towards millennials”.  What does that mean?  I don’t own any flat-brimmed baseball caps or call my friends “Broseph”.

I downloaded the app for the hotel and it had options to check in via the app.  Cool!  So parked in the parking ramp and I attempted to check in.  It gave me an error that I could not check in.  I’ve had the reservation for 9 months, so I should be in their system.  Technology failed me.  So we went inside.  There was no traditional front desk.  Just some folks with iPads.  We were greeted and Lowell (he was super friendly)  and he started checking us in on the iPad.  My inner geek tingled.

I gave him a credit card for “incidentals”, but the HUGE mag stripe reader attached to the iPad wasn’t cooperating.  In a day where I pay for my haircuts with Square and even pay for Subway with ApplePay on my phone, this credit card reader seemed outdated and HUGE.  I may be exaggerating, but it may have been steam-powered.  We had to go “do it the old-fashioned way” and go to the small kiosk with a laptop.  That worked.  We got two proximity key cards and went to our room.

The room was better than expected.  Very graphical, but not overwhelming.  Very modern.  Clean lines for everything.  Even the window had simple shades instead of curtains.  Black out shades and a separate light diffusing shade.  Very nice.  I immediately took two panoramic photos of the room to post on social media.

Lay down on the exceptionally comfortable bed (during the last 2 weeks, we’ve stayed at 5 other hotels, and this was by far the BEST bed we’ve had) and opened the app.  I had read articles that I could use my phone as my room key, so I found that in the app.  “No keys available”.  Huh.  I have them right here in my sweaty little hand.  I wondered how they would securely link a phone to a room key.

Like the Old-Schooler (Gen-X) that I am, I went down to the front desk to ask.  A really nice lady was there and helped me set up my phone as a key.  Evidentially it’s a manual process.  How odd.   She did mention that I could use the app to chat with staff and ask any question I want.  This was one of the best features.  The evening I asked a question about where to get donuts.  I received three suggestions with addresses and a brief review.  My wife and I were out walking and now we knew where to get our sugar-fix.  I asked several other questions using the app because I found their responses both very helpful and they were just fun to chat with.  In fact, of the handful of young folks I interacted with at the hotel, they all seemed very proud of their community and very helpful.  A great combination for someone who is not a native of the area.  The people that work here and the ability to chat with them is one of the single best features of the hotel.

We arrived back at the RED (we’re on a first-name-basis now) and I jumped into the elevator, pressed my phone against the sensor and selected the floor (5).  It worked!  I approach my room with phone in hand with the key app running, place it against the door sensor.  A green light lit but the door did not unlock.  I tried three more times.  Nope.  I pulled out my keycard and got in.  This has been the norm.  The phone app just isn’t reliable.  I have to bring a keycard with me everywhere.  Close but no cigar.    Darn.

That seems to be the story with the hotel technology…don’t trust the cutting edge stuff.  Always have a back up.  For instance, every room and even in the lobby by the self-check-in kiosk (that is tucked around the corner) there are landline phones.  You heard me.  LAND LINE PHONES!  Sure, they are a sleek modern design, but it’s still a land line.  Grandma would be happy.

Let’s talk about the second most important part of a hotel room—right after the bed, it’s the bathroom.  The bathroom is sleek.  Square toilet, square sink, glass shelves, glass shower with rainfall head and separate wand.  VERY nice.  Good water pressure, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash dispenser in the large walk-in shower.  Two items I would improve in the bathroom.  1. Counter space.  There isn’t much.  My wife ended up using the large square toilet as counter space.  The other change is the frosted glass door on the bathroom.  We were in a king bed room, so it was just my wife and I.  Not a huge deal.  But if this were a two-double bed room and we had our teenager daughters along, it would be WAY more awkward.  There would be announcements like, “I need to pee, family, please go look out the large window for 4-5 minutes and hum “Yankee Doodle” loudly together.  Thank you.”

 

The bathroom automatic light is both a blessing and a curse at 2am.

Now let me tell you where they got the technology right.  Bedside tables.  There are two outlets by the floor and two outlets by the lamp and one of those out lets has USB ports.  TAKE NOTE other hotel chains.  This is how you do it.  I typically pack two extension cords and a power strip when I travel because every hotel has one outlet behind the bed table and both receptacles are taken by the lamp and the alarm clock.  I did not need any of my special extension cords.  I plugged in my iPhone, iPad, Apple watch and still had outlets available to charge camera batteries.  YES YES YES!  Thank You Radisson RED!

The TV has built-in ability to stream from Apple or Android devices.  The cable signal when we were there was having issues, so I launched the TV app on my iPad and synced right to the TV.  Something I wished I could do in EVERY hotel I’ve stayed at in the last 5 years.  I didn’t need to bring my own Apple TV or Chromecast.  It just worked.   Last but not least, there’s a room light switch by the door AND by the bed AND it’s dimmable.  Both pluses for me.  Well done, RED.

Our room had two complimentary cans of water.  You read that right.  Aluminum cans of water.  First off…. I appreciate “complimentary” ANYTHING and it was kind of different in a can.

Lastly, there’s a small dry-erase board on the closet with a note from our housekeeper, Laden.  I don’t know if this was the intent, but I erased it and left Laden a little message back.

I would stay here again.  It’s been a very positive stay and they have done several things differently than other hotels.  The beds are comfy, the outlets are plentiful, and the staff is helpful.  If this hotel is geared toward Millennials,  Gen X also appreciates it.

 







In short. I would stay there again.

Brian