Planning a Romantic Getaway to the Twin Cities: Find the Right Hotel

Known for their harsh winters and down-home local sentimentality, Minneapolis and St. Paul are often unfairly pigeonholed as a second-hand travel destination, a place for die-hard sports, business, winter coats, and little else. But when planning your next romantic getaway, don’t rule out the Twin Cities. Both rich in their own cultures (and definitely separate in their conscious identities – never accuse a St. Paul native of hailing from Minneapolis), this north country locale is chock full of fun things to do for couples, whether you’re just starting out or trying to rekindle the old flame.

If you’re going for a classier, more upscale weekend, definitely check out the Marquette Hotel in Minneapolis. With a bevy of luxury rooms and suites available for not too much money, the Marquette offers five-star service for all kinds of travelers. Try one of the junior executive suites, where the panoramic views of downtown Minneapolis serve as a beautiful urban backdrop to the lush interiors that are at once both stylishly modern and comfortably livable. Huge, bountifully-bedded King-size beds and subtle lighting create an atmosphere designed for romance, and bathrooms feature large whirlpool tubs and optional steam baths. Go in for the Romance Package, which includes a bottle of champagne as well as chocolate-dipped strawberries for $209 with double occupancy. A room among the executive suites includes access to the Executive Lounge, which offers a continental breakfast every morning, a fully-stocked bar with hors d’oeuvre for cocktail hour, and desserts and after-dinner fare until 11:00pm nightly. For the more budget-conscious, the Marquette offers deluxe rooms beginning at $89 per night. Basil’s Restaurant features fine dining until 10:00pm. The wine list is huge, and the Roasted Pork Tenderloin (Bacon Wrapped, Herb Potato Reosti, Wild Mushroom Sauce) is hard to beat. Basil’s was made famous in the opening sequence to television’s Mary Tyler Moore show; request a seat bordering the Crystal Court – the building’s thousand-windowed geometric glass atrium – and relive the classic pop culture scene.

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For the more NPR-oriented audience, a night in downtown St. Paul can be the perfect experience. Book a stay at the historic St. Paul Hotel and be within walking distance of the famous Fitzgerald Theater, where Garrison Keillor’s long-running Prairie Home Companion records its two-hour radio show weekly before a live audience. Economy rates at the AAA four-diamond hotel start at $139, based on double occupancy. Book a Landmark King room for a night and be treated like royalty with the special Four-Diamond package: receive a complimentary bottle of red or white wine delivered upon check-in, as well as breakfast for two in the cafe ($329). The St. Paul emphasizes traditional but modern luxury; all rooms, recently renovated in 2005, are outfitted with contemporary elegance that harkens back to a bygone aristocratic grace. Have dinner at the St. Paul Grill. Overlooking Rice Park, the St. Paul Grill serves classic American dishes reinterpreted by award-winning chefs. The bar is one of the best in the city, always stocked with harder-to-find Scotches, Whiskeys, and Cognacs, and the menu will satisfy all appetites: the forward-looking Pan-Seared Duck Breast (“With Duck Confit, Jicama-Parsnip Slaw and Maple Vinaigrette”, $26) is a savory adventure, and classics like the Cracked Black Pepper Strip (“Our Strip Steak encrusted in Pepper – served with Brandy Peppercorn Cream”, $40) are scarcely better done. The dining room is straight out of America’s golden age: the gently arched ceilings, voluptuous dark-stained hardwood interior, and creative lighting remind diners what it was like to eat in comfort and class in America’s Golden Age of the Teens and Twenties. These settings surely served as influences for the great American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (for whom the theater is named), who immortalized boom-era decadence in novels like The Great Gatsby. Have the concierge arrange for Prairie Home Campanion tickets and see why the show, which stars one of St. Paul’s most famous fans and residents, Garrison Keillor, is one of the longest-running entertainment variety specials on radio.

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For the young and the young at heart, a day at the world-famous Mall of America can provide endless opportunities for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Book an affordable room at the Hampton Inn Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport/Mall of America ($93 per night, based on double occupancy, includes a Mall of America coupon book) and save your extra money for a day of fun at the mall. Mall of America, the country’s largest collection of shops and restaurants, has at its heart the inimitable Camp Snoopy, a fully fleshed-out Peanuts-themed amusement park with roller coasters, games, and entertainment for all ages. Get a day pass ($25) and ride as often as you like. The ferris wheel offers a great view of the mall’s enormous atrium, or take a spin on the Treetop Tumbler to experience what it would feel like to ride a giant grasshopper. If you get tired of the rides, shop in one of Mall of America’s more than 400 stores, enjoy dinner at one of the countless restaurants, or catch a movie in the on-site theater.

Whatever your idea of the ideal romantic weekend, the Twin Cities have something to offer you. Dress up or dress down, spend a little or a lot: if you’re looking just to get away and have a good time with your special someone, just book a stay at any one of these fine destinations and get ready to have a weekend neither of you will ever forget.

The Marquette Hotel
710 Marquette Avenue
(7th St. & Marquette Ave.)
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(800) 328-4782
(612) 333-4545

The Saint Paul Hotel
Downtown Saint Paul Minnesota
350 Market Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Phone (651) 292-9292
Fax (651) 228-9506
Toll Free (800) 292-9292

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Hampton Inn Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport / Mall of America
7745 Lyndale Avenue South
Richfield, Minnesota 55423
(612) 861-1000