You already know Mall of America for kid-friendly activities, like a 7-acre theme park with a roller coaster, aquarium, and shops for tweens (hello, Justice and Forever 21!).
On March 15, a genuine activity for adults debuts inside the nation’s largest shopping destination (also known as the Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minn.): a Radisson Blu hotel. As the country’s second Radisson Blu—the first is Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, open since late 2011—Radisson Blu Mall of America features 500 guest rooms, a 24-hour fitness center (with a saline indoor pool), and a restaurant with a cocktail bar. It’s the only hotel connected to the massive mall, which has 400-some stores, making it a year-round destination regardless of whether the region is suffering through a blizzard or a summer heat wave.
Naturally, as the hotel is poised to attract shoppers, there is a dedicated-shopper program woven into Radisson Blu Mall of America. Guests can opt for a personal shopper, shopping concierge (to map out an itinerary for finding a particular item), or bag pick-up service. There is also a complimentary shuttle to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The same designer as Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago (Jim Hamilton of Graven Images in Glasgow, U.K.) created a modern black and white palette inside the hotel that’s accented with pops of a deep blue hue. Lighting is amped up to the degree of art installations. For example, backlit walls on either side of the entryway are designed to resemble fireflies, and a centerpiece in the lobby mimics a lit beehive (and doubles as seating).
At FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, regional cuisine from throughout Minnesota is thrust into the spotlight with farm-to-table dishes crafted by executive chef Paul Lynch. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Rooms span three categories: "Mansion House" (suites), "Naturally Cool" (geared for business travelers, the rooms have wood flooring and metal accents, and a stay in one includes morning breakfast and evening cocktails), and "Urban" (decked out in edgy colors in a modern design). All rooms offer free WiFi, a coffeemaker, and mini-fridge. For early risers, a complimentary Grab and Run breakfast (coffee, fruit, and breakfast bars) is available each morning from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
This spring, the hotel plans to pursue LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Rates start at $129 per night and go up to $379 (for a "Mansion House" suite).
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo Credits: Photos courtesy of Radisson