What We Love
- Gratis croissants and scones from the in-house bakery
- All-natural cotton bedding in each of the seven guest rooms
- An award-winning cocktail program by Bittercube, a well-known area café
- Euro-chic interiors by Spring Finn & Co.
What To Know
- The hotel’s restaurant only serves dinner, though the adjacent café is open for breakfast and lunch
- Owner/chef Alex Roberts is the winner of a James Beard Award
- Handmade wood-and-lemon scented toiletries created by Roberts’ wife, Margo
- Guests are within walking distance of the Mississippi River waterfront
Cozy Nordic-inspired inn with an acclaimed restaurant, an all-day café, and just seven guest rooms
When chef Alex Roberts converted a fire station into one of Minneapolis’s first farm-to-table restaurants in 1999, he knew the makeover wasn’t quite complete. He’d always harbored hopes of turning Alma into an urban lodge, and eventually, in 2016, enlisted Armenian-French designer Talin Spring to bring her bohemian magic to the historic building. Thanks to soaring ceilings, floating stone shelves, and exposed brick walls, each room here is like an airy loft, with international accents like Japanese-style closet doors and culinary sketches from the Middle East. The main attraction is undoubtedly the restaurant, where sophisticated three-course prix-fixe dinner menus are a sustainable showcase for dishes like grass-fed bison tartare or buckwheat crepes with king crab. Before 5 p.m., the light-filled space is a cozy café, serving casual fare like antipasti platters, ricotta tartines, and fresh-pressed juices. It earns bonus points for the all-day cocktail menu, which lets you choose from brunch-time carrot-apple-ginger mimosas and nightcaps like the fennel-flavored Sazerac.
In the Area
As part of Minneapolis’s oldest riverfront neighborhood, the Alma occupies a prime pocket of Twin Cities’ real estate. Take a DIY trek to the locale’s only waterfall, St. Anthony Falls, or explore the trails along the city’s countless parks. Soak in wraparound views at the famed Guthrie Theater, which opens up its storehouse of over 30,000 costumes once a month. For more indoor fun, check out the Mill City Museum to gain insight into Minneapolis’s once prolific flour industry. Further afield, the Walker Art Center in Lowry Hill is known for its contemporary exhibitions and sculpture garden (one of the largest in the world).
How to Get There
I eagerly looked forward to lunch at Alma’s yesterday afternoon with some of my favorite people. We arrived at about 12:45 and was told a 25 minute wait should be expected. I’m ok with that. A couple of coffees, a roll from the bar area and wait it out with 4-5 other groups. After the 25 minutes passed, we approached the check in desk and was told it should only be a couple minutes as people were getting ready to leave. Well long story short, an hour plus passed before someone came to offer us a round of drinks and an apology. Another 5-10 minutes and we were seated.
Once in our booth we were given great service and attention. All of our meals were exceptional, and the Bloody Mary’s really helped take the “hangry” edge off!
A very nice recovery by the staff, I’ll be back.
Honestly, I was expecting it to be nicer. The quality of the restaurant and cafe down stairs is absolutely top notch, which led me to believe the hotel would be the same. It reminded me of a small village hotel in Europe. Very bare minimum, the bed was ok, but not high quality... I think they could keep the old classic feel but still upgrade a bit to make the rooms more “wow”. The bathroom was nice, but the rest was so plain I forgot to even take a photo of it.
Our child lives in a small apartment nearby so location is perfect for us BUT this small boutique hotel is not very comfortable. It is expensive and does not deliver what experienced travelers like us expect. It is clean and attractively decorated in a spare, urban ascetic. The bed is comfortable and the linens are high quality but the room is dim and hard to keep warm. The huge bathroom is a freezing, tiled room with a shower and no tub. Shower enclosure is glass with no door. Shower head is mounted too high so water must be kept hot to hit the body warm. It is a rain shower so rinsing is a challenge. Shampoo and body wash are in very tiny bottles and were not replenished daily although they were empty. There is a space heater in the bathroom that must be used for minimum comfort. There are shades in the bathroom. It helps to keep the space bearable by shutting them. The room has a sitting area but the chairs are not comfortable (but look cool). Sofa is comfortable but there is inadequate lighting so any reading is best done in bed where lighting is better. It is very difficult to open and close curtains. People are nice but it seems like the business model is off in that emphasis seems to be squarely on owner profit over guest comfort and you will be nickeled and dimmed despite the hefty price.
If you’re tired of big, ‘industrial’ hotels with no local flavor—or no real flavor at all—Alma Hotel is the perfect antidote. It’s really more of a country inn. There are just six(?) rooms, all newly and nicely renovated, over a restaurant and cafe that are local favorites (so my local friend says). The manager is actually referred to as the ‘innkeeper’. And the room key is an actual key!
The room was contemporary, clean, and comfortable. There was a queen sized, four poster bed with crisp sheets and a fluffy down comforter. The floors were hardwood with a cushy rug. The ceiling was high with open beams and a ceiling fan. The shower was large and hot water plentiful. I had a little trouble with the AC being too cold (even for me, who likes it chilly), but the innkeeper took a look at it and it seemed better after that. The ceiling fan helped.
A continental style breakfast is included with the room, and you can have it brought up or you can eat in their first floor cafe. I chose the cafe, which was always bustling. Breakfast was good coffee, breads or pastries, and I added an egg for an extra $2. The innkeeper, Todd, came over one morning and told me about other good restaurants in the area and gave a bit of the history. The whole staff was warm and helpful throughout my stay.
The hotel’s location was great. It was two blocks from the east side of the Stone Arch Bridge, a pedestrian and bike path over the Mississippi just below St. Anthony Falls. I was able to walk over the bridge right into downtown Minneapolis. Even coming back late at night (11ish), the bridge was bustling with people and I felt no treat.
I would definitely stay at Alma Hotel again, if I get back to Minneapolis. My only caveat is that there is no elevator to the second floor (at least none that I saw), so a guest must be able to do somewhat steep stairs. And I would recommend the hotel provide a folding luggage rack in the guest rooms; I had to leave my suitcase open on the floor (which was very clean, fortunately).
Stayed in room # 5. Very nicely appointed. Lots of light. Bathroom was spacious and the large shower was awesome. Friendly caretaker. Nice breakfast. They have Apple TV and Decor was charming. Parking was $8 a night.
Free breakfast. Will stay in again.