BEST HOTEL - 2005
Once upon a time, the St. Paul Winter Carnival was started to prove to outsiders that Minnesota was indeed a habitable place. That didn't exactly work, did it? Over a century later, we're still living in what is regarded as flyover territory by many, despite all our efforts to attract travelers. One thing this old cow town needed was a first-class, business-friendly, luxurious hotel in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Location matters, people, and despite the drawback of being housed in the cheesy confines of Block E, Le Meridien provides easy access to many fancy restaurants and nightclubs (including two of its own, Cosmos and the Infinity Room), the Target Center, shopping, light rail, the skyways, and strip clubs. But even more important, the rooms provide all that a weary tech-savvy traveler could want: high-speed internet access, plasma-screen TVs (hooked up to satellite), and video games, along with many other amenities. Plus, the rooms actually look classy, avoiding that staid hotel ambiance prevalent in even the most expensive places. In fact, just walking into the beautiful marble lobby of the nearly two-year-old hotel makes us feel more sophisticated.