Travel: we all do it at one point or another. How much do you pay for a dog-sitter? What about pet boarding? And after you pay those fees, how much time of your vacation is spent worrying about how your pet is doing, constantly texting for updates like, “Did you remember to give him his medicine?” How much would you pay for that peace of mind and the companionship of your pet on your travels?
The Commons Hotel in Minneapolis recently launched their new SmartPAWS Pet Program that invites four-legged friends to enjoy the same hospitality that their humans receive while traveling for $50 per night. Immediately upon checking in, it’s clear that The Commons Hotel team adores pets and is most definitely aware of the emerging trend of guests wanting to travel with their pets. As long as your dog or cat is less than 50 pounds, they will be welcomed with open arms at The Commons Hotel.
“We saw we would be having a dog staying with us and we all got excited!” I was cheerfully told upon checking in. And those aren’t just words to placate the guest; the staff genuinely loves animals. The same enthusiasm for my one-year-old puppy, Armani, continued throughout my stay.
It became a game to see how far I could get through the lobby each time he needed a walk before someone would stop and ask to pet him (which Armani ate up, that little performer). Even the room service staff couldn’t wait to set down their tray to give Armani a rub down! Each knock on the door or trip through the lobby was a chance for Armani to strut his stuff and he knew the staff would respond.
The SmartPAWS program allows our best friend to become our best travel buddy, with benefits ensured to make guests’ pets feel right at home. And the program is seamlessly worked into the décor and branding of the hotel. Incorporating a theme of contrasts by its collegiate ties to the nearby University of Minnesota and industrial history of the Twin Cities, the 304-room property gives nod to the geek-chic persona that ensures a comfortable stay for guests and their pets. The Commons Hotel finds the perfect balance between geek and chic with flights of local brew and alchemist mixology lessons at The Beacon Public House, combined with complimentary in-room book deliveries from the resident Book Butler.
Similarly, canines and felines embrace their inner nerds with the variety of pet perks including geek-chic goodies and doggie-dining options available for in-room delivery via the resident Bark Butler. Encouraging guests to pamper themselves and their furry companions, the program rolls out the red carpet at their home away from home with plush, argyle-patterned pet beds, food and water bowls, and an exclusive floor for guests and their pets to enjoy (you’ll find all of the pet owners in third floor rooms).
Taking an adventure during your stay has never been easier with the provided dog walking map and door tags letting housekeeping know to “Make Up My Room, Dog & Kitty Out Exploring” (or the opposite: “Do Not Disturb, Dog & Kitty Dreaming”). Mentioned earlier, the Bark Butler is at your service to bring your pet any food or treats that you may have left at home (or just a special treat, should you feel they deserve one). All menu items should always be in stock, but if there is an influx of pets staying in the hotel, the staff will happily run out to restock the supply for you and get exactly what you ordered.
For the human travelers, the hotel’s Beacon Public House offers the nourishment a weary traveler needs.The Beacon Public House is The Common’s new signature restaurant, giving diners an alternative to the local chain and fast-casual restaurants. Here you can find regional-influenced gastropub cuisine, blending local product and character into a refined menu — all with a strong sense of local identity. Beacon is proud to say that all of their vegetables are from the farmer’s market that is held on the University of Minnesota campus, and the rest of their offerings have regional origins as well.
The bar menu features small-plate fare with bold flavors, accompanied by a serious mixology program of “Classic Reinvented Cocktails”. The beer menu is designed to showcase the diverse craft of brewing while specifically honoring local brews and the wine list is sure to please every wine drinker from novice to sommelier alike.
The Beacon is paying homage to the local Minneapolis foodways, devoting itself to the fine combination of great mixology, good times and superior Minneapolis cooking. It is a less expensive, casual alternative to the more upscale downtown Minneapolis restaurants. A nirvana for under-financed foodies.
Order the maple-glazed salmon for a trip to taste bud heaven. Pan-seared salmon, curried squash, and pumpkin seed pesto will be your escorts on the way to this heaven, and it would be pure sin not to follow it up with the apple bread and butter pudding. But seriously, caramelized milk and buttermilk ice cream come with this already decadent sweet treat, so how could you not? My mouth is watering just thinking of it all over again. The only downside to the Beacon Public House is that access to the patio requires walking through the restaurant, ensuring that the patio isn’t pet-friendly.
After spending a night in the geek-chic room (Blue plaid accent wall? Yes, please!), breakfast at the Beacon will give you a satisfactory start to your day. You can’t beat the cinnamon banana French toast. Throw cinnamon anything on the menu and I can’t pass it up (it’s the September-born baby in me). Much to my surprise (and delight!) this fluffy French toast comes with dates, banana chips, and pure maple syrup. Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth can take a hike; until you’ve tried pure maple syrup dripping from this cinnamon-banana excellence, you don’t know what you’re missing.
You’re not going to want to finish your stay and check out after one of these hearty breakfasts, but all good trips must come to an end. But don’t worry, an easy check out process and a final oodling over your pet companion will send you on your way. Where does that leave you now? To plan your next visit to The Commons Hotel as you’re packing up your vehicle and driving away.
The Commons Hotel
615 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis