After much anticipation, the Residence Inn by Marriott opened last Friday in Woodbury's CityPlace.
The 116-suite hotel is the newest addition to the soon-to-be bustling CityPlace development and will cater more toward extended stay travelers. Fargo, N.D.-based TMI Hospitality manages the hotel and hasn't opened a new hotel in Minnesota since 2001 despite operating several hotels across the country.
Located 10 minutes from downtown St. Paul, the hotel's general manager, Jaime Seaberg, said there's been growing need for extended-stay hotels in the east metro because of proximity to 3M and new businesses in Woodbury.
The hotel offers several amenities to make guests feel as if they're at home, including suites with kitchens, a future partnership with Kowalski's that will provide grocery deliveries, laundry, a workout facility, an indoor swimming pool and small business center.
The suites are also 50 percent larger than most hotel rooms, Seaberg said, and are furnished with couches and work desks. The rooms resemble a one- or two-bedroom apartment and cost $159 and $179 per night, respectively, to book Monday through Friday next week, according to the Marriott's website.
The hotel also has an outdoor patio equipped with a barbecue grill and a sport court for shooting hoops and playing tennis.
On weeknights, the hotel will also host social gatherings at which guests can connect over dinner with a seasonal menu, like a grill night on the patio in the warmer months.
"We want people to feel the lobby is kind of like an extension of their living room," she said, as she pointed out the hotel's lobby bar and kitchen area. "Making guests feel comfortable and making everything as easy as possible is kind of where we're at," Seaberg said.
On nights when dinner is brought in, Seaberg said the hotel plans to work with local non-chain restaurants around Woodbury.
In recent years, hotels have increasingly moved to make long stays more comfortable for frequent travelers. Seaberg said she anticipates the hotel will mainly serve business people who require longer stays in the city.
Residence Inn vice president and global brand manager Diane Mayer said last week that guests requiring lengthy stays need space to maintain their normal routine and pace while traveling.
"This new hotel offers them a seamless blend of modern style and functionality that allows them to settle in and thrive," she said.
The staff started a month ago and has since been helping with the hotel's opening.
The hotel employs about 35 people and more than half of them work full-time.
On Thursday, hotel staff were busy making last-minute preparations, including roleplaying customer service and putting the final touches in the hotel.
Seaberg said with the hotel's opening, staff and managers have had time to connect and gain a sense of comradery.
"It's really a unique time for everyone," she said.
The hotel sits on the northern edge of the CityPlace development near SPIRE Credit Union, which opened earlier this week.
CityPlace developers announced the completion of the 100-acre project's retail phase and is now moving into its next phase with the opening of TRIA Orthopaedic Center.
The multi-billion dollar CityPlace development project is expected to wrap up next year.