COVID has really changed the experience
Reviewed 15 August, 2020
This is a difficult review to write. I understand that in a pandemic, hotels are getting crushed financially and must make adjustments to survive. But they should disclose upfront what they are doing. In this case, the Renaissance is adjacent to the Marriott Residence Inn. They are actually two sides of the same building. They have closed all public areas of the Renaissance, and you now check in and enter through the front desk of the Residence Inn, connected by a long hallway to the Renaissance. The Renaissance Depot advertises itself as being in the Milwaukee Road Depot but in fact all of those historic areas of the hotel shown on the website (such as the Great Hall) are closed, and that train station was the main reason I chose this hotel. The breakfast is a bag with an orange, a small yogurt, and an Otis Spunkmeyer wrapped muffin. None of this is disclosed on the website. Meanwhile, they are charging a higher price then the Residence Inn but with none of the amenities. The two main Renaissance elevators are closed. One small side elevator is still in use. The sign says use of the elevator is limited to one person. Luckily hotel occupancy was low, so that wasn't a big issue. The rooms were fine except there are no drawers or shelves -- just a luggage rack. There was no bath tub -- just a full-sized shower. The front desk staff were exceedingly nice. The hotel is very close to central downtown. Very convenient to the historic mills and the stone bridge.
Reviewed 1 June, 2020
My friends and I stayed at this hotel during the COVID19 pandemic and Floyd riots. The hotel itself was very cleaned, the only entry and exit was through the residence inn next door. It seemed to be in a great location with restaurants, bars, liquor and grocery stores within walking distance. Unfortunately the city was still mostly locked down due to COVID. The room was spacious, clean, quiet, and comfy king sized bed. If I ever went back to the twin cities I would consider staying here again.
Nice Business Trip Stay
Reviewed 23 January, 2020
I had a nice two night stay here for a business trip. The staff was very friendly and helpful. There's a restaurant in the lobby as well as a little store area where you can get snacks and other items (you can charge to your room or pay at the front desk). The room was clean and comfortable. I like that I was able to use bluetooth to play my music through the alarm clock/radio and that I could log into my Netflix account on the TV.
Probably my favorite thing in the room that I hadn't seen at other places was the small wall mirror that had a little shelf on it. This was a perfect place for me to keep my jewelry. The room did have a small refrigerator and a coffee/tea maker as well.
The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the shower. The shower head was really high up and I couldn't adjust it to the direction that I wanted it to point to. Other than that, it was a nice stay.
Beware of the special room packages!
Reviewed 1 December, 2019
First of all, I would like to preface this by saying that the Renaissance Depot is one of our all-time favorite hotels. We have stayed here over seven Thanksgiving weekends now, and we hope to continue this tradition in the future. This was our first negative experience there, and I'm hoping it was just a fluke and/or one misinformed employee. Regardless, we're going to be wary of the packages in the future. Here's why:
We booked an "Every Night is Date Night" package in the Historic Suites, which is where we always stay. This is our Thanksgiving mini-vacation; we have no family close by, so instead we drive to the cities (we live in Wisconsin) and make our own little vacation at the hotel. In the past, the hotel included a small water park and the wonderful skating rink in the depot. Both are gone now, but our boys are older now and - though we all loved the ice skating - we're also perfectly happy sitting around the fire in the lounge or hanging in the suite, playing board games or watching movies.
We booked the package deal because, as it clearly states on the website (copied here directly), the deal includes:
- 50 Dollar Dining Credit towards In-Room Dining or
Milwaukee Road Restaurant
- Aveda Bath Salts
- Historic Section Guestroom
Rates are per room per night.
We've done this package before - we like it because of the gift card to the restaurant, since we do most of our eating there anyway, and the inclusion of parking, which would cost around $20 otherwise. The package is $269 per night. The suite without the special package would be $209 per night. So, a small savings of around $20. We booked our stay for two nights. Our assumption - since this is the way it is stated on the website, and this is the way it's been handled in the past - was that by paying for the package deal for both nights, we would also get a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant for both nights. However, this time - upon check-in - we were given only one $50 gift certificate. The gentleman working the front desk told us that the package only includes one gift certificate for the entire stay. We were confused; why would that be the case? The website clearly states "rates are per room per night." If you pay for a package for two nights, wouldn't you get the benefits of that package for each night? The gentleman wouldn't budge. I (somewhat jokingly) said, "So, we should have just booked two separate stays in order to get the package deal for both nights?" He didn't really respond to that, so we went off to our room to unpack. As we thought about it, though, and we double-checked the rates to make sure we weren't in the wrong, we realized we were really getting ripped off with this. It didn't make sense.
I should add here, we are not the type to complain, and we are also highly aware that the employees at the hotel and the restaurant are all having to work on Thanksgiving, and we are very grateful for them being there on a day when they'd most likely rather be at home with their families. With this in mind, we try exceptionally hard to make their work experience as painless as possible. We save for this mini-vacation every year, and we budget enough money to tip in a way that will hopefully make working on a holiday a little less miserable. So, getting upset at this weird interpretation of the package rate is way out of our comfort zone, and we were inclined to just drop it. However - like I said - we budget for this trip, and $50 is $50! So, we didn't drop it. Instead, the next day we went back down to talk to the gentleman at the desk and asked him to check us out, and then check us back in again so we could have the full package deal for the 2nd night. He was not thrilled with this situation and said as much - he basically told us that we were cheating the system. This didn't sit well with us - we're hardly the cheating types, and we were the ones who felt like we were being ripped off! He said he'd "go ahead and do it this time." Sigh.
So, in the end, we did get the package deal for both nights, but we will be unlikely to go for the package deals in the future. All of our other experiences at the hotel were wonderful, as usual - the service at the bar and the restaurant was excellent, and the food was absolutely delicious. The treadmills in the gym are pretty noisy and maybe in need of a tune-up, but there is a nice selection of free weights and other equipment and plenty of space for a good workout. The pool is well-kept and good for families with older kids or for adults who want to get a little water exercise in. The drinks are fantastic at the bar - especially fond of the "Minnesota Mule" and the "Dark and Stormy."