Category Archives: Venue

True Blu!

It was a handful of years ago when I got the inside scoop that Radisson was going through a radical rebranding and redesign. I was skeptical, as making the change of an established brand and large entity such as Radisson can take years.  Many, many years.  And the challenge is that as those years pass, sometimes the new concept is already dated before it actually gets executed.

I had a chance to get a peek at the concept guest rooms a couple of years ago and thought “good for them if they can pull it off.”  After seeing some hotel renderings last year, a few words came to mind.  Modern. Eclectic. Sleek. Innovative. Inspiring. Oh, yeah, and maybe even a bit Mysterious.

None of these words fit the Radisson I knew.

The Radisson Blu MOA is now like the cool kid that everyone wants to get to know.  When I was invited to their Social (Media) Event, I took the opportunity to check it out.

Entering into the hotel at night made me think of what it would be like to explore through ice caves without the chill (maybe because of the heat from the ultra hot sitting area).

Take a ride the escalator up to explore the rest of the hotel…for example the very yummy FireLake Grill and Bar (I’ve always loved the FireLake at the Radisson Plaza in downtown Minneapolis).

And if you want to be the man about town, you can hang out in the art room while the concierge finds the best concert tickets or best stadium seats for you. (I can’t promise the concierge will be as good looking as the one in the photo).

I was ready to move in, as these rooms are right up my alley.

Of course, I would want to spend most of my time in the Executive Lounge!

The bright and light event space is not what I would normally associate with the Radisson brand.  Having a modern neutral space gives unlimited potential to transform the space…corporate dinners to fundraising galas to weddings, which Bloomington desperately lacked.

Planning meetings is not interesting to me because they don’t involve “pretty things”.   But if the room is pretty….well, maybe its not so bad…


Need to cool off?  Just jump into the crisp, blu waters of the pool at Radisson Blu MOA.

The hotel is definitely worth checking out.  If you aren’t planning on staying overnight, go for a drink or dinner.

** Note:  When I was initially told about the rebranding, I was told that the flagship property downtown would not be turned into a Blu property.  However, just last week, the ownership of Radisson Plaza changed hands with plans to turn it into a Blu property with Carlson Companies continuing to manage the hotel.  After seeing the MOA property, I cannot wait!

Radisson Blu MOA
2100 Killebrew Dr  Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 881-5258

Photography courtesy of Carlson Companies

Beacon at the Not So Common(s) Hotel

With all the Light Rail construction on Washington Avenue, you may have missed the rennovation that was done on the former Radisson University Hotel.  While the hotel had gone through “rennovation” before, the before and after were not drastic enough to make an impression.

So when I found out the Noble House took over, it did picque my interest (I used to stay at Edgewater Hotel, a Noble House property in Seattle, Washington).  They turned the rather forgettable hotel into the geeky chic  Commons Hotel.

Aside from the decor, the hotel’s new restaurant, Beacon Public House, is a drastic change from the previous restaurant with a fresher, gastropub menu.

Commons Hotel01       Commons Hotel10 Commons Hotel11

During a recent lunch, I started with a Caprese Salad, which was nicely dressed (with a fun presentation).

Caprese Salad at Beacon Public House at Commons Hotel

The lobster bisque was creamy and had a nice hit of spice. (** note that the lobster bisque is a meal size portion)

Commons Hotel04

My main course, Carbonara, was a little too creamy to be thought of as true Italian, but I liked the presentation of the egg (to coat the pasta and vegetables) and the crunch of the pea pods.

Commons Hotel06

But the star of the lunch was the very yummy apple tartlet.  The crust is made of croissant and the tartlet is drizzled with caramel and served with cinnamon ice cream.  Yum!

Commons Hotel07
Beacon Public House
Commons Hotel
615 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis, Minnesota

It’s About Time!

About a year ago, I was looking for a site for a client launch party.  I didn’t want it to be a typical space.

I made a random call to Doug Hoskins, owner of the Armory.  Used as a parking lot, logistically, it would be extremely difficult to turn into an event space for one night.  But I remember coming away from the conversation disappointed that such an amazing building was being used for something that couldn’t be appreciated for its historical architecture and design.

Fast forward a year and Star Tribune writes about the strong possibility of the Armory being turned into an event center (read here)….potentially one of the largest “no-sight-obstruction” event spaces in the Twin Cities.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed as this could be a big boon for the galas, corporate events and tradeshows.  Another big attraction to our wonderful city.

And a drawing of the proposed event space design by Shea:

Romance at the Radisson Plaza Hotel

I love this vineyard theme wedding at Radisson Plaza Hotel shot by La Vie Photography. The grapes in the centerpieces (Summer Harsh Botanical Artistry) and the wine cork placecard holders just added the right touch without going overboard with the theme. So pretty.