Despite a bias against ‘nice,’ this New Yorker was enchanted with the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, where she and her family spent a couple of days exploring the city.

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

A view of downtown Minneapolis from the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Coming from New York City, I am often skeptical of so-called ‘nice’ people. What is their hidden agenda? Why do they keep smiling at me? It turns out that at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, everyone from the concierge to the bellman is truly nice – friendly without being intrusive, helpful in the way that hotel employees should be but rarely are.

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

The pool at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

Bike share program, just steps from the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

For example, when I was checking out of the hotel, (a time when a hotel is usually ‘done’ with you) the person at check out asked where I was headed (note: there is express checkout, even offered on your phone, but I was happily given a late checkout, which meant I couldn’t use the express). I was driving to the airport, and the woman at the desk insisted on both printing out directions and downloading them on my phone for me since the car we rented didn’t have a navigation system.

Had she forgotten that in Minnesota, directions on the highways are actually designed to help you arrive at your destination, and not there to confuse you, like those in, say, New Jersey?

We were on the club floor at the Hyatt Regency, which offers a complimentary breakfast every day, appetizers in the early evening and dessert later. We had forgotten about dessert, and gone to our room after a delicious vegetarian dinner at Bluestem Bar.

The dark chocolates on our pillows, part of the turn down service (again, nice!) reminded us that we wanted something sweet, so we went back to the elevator. The guy in charge of the now closed club room motioned us over and offered us cupcakes. Why, yes, the rich chocolate cupcakes were just what we wanted.

Club Floor – A Worthwhile Upgrade

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

Appetizers in the club lounge at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

We were traveling with our teen daughter, who can eat her weight in fruit and cereal at breakfast, as long as she doesn’t have to get up too early. The club room is open till 9:30 (10:30 for those staying on New York time) so we were able to get a hearty breakfast.

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

The expansive gym at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The Regency undersells its Continental breakfast – there was oatmeal with a variety of toppings, boxes of cold cereal, cut up fruit and big bowls of fresh berries, yogurt, cheese, breads, bagels – even hard boiled eggs and smoked salmon. There were  also whole bananas for later consumption.

Amenities

I needed one of the those bananas post workout. The Hyatt Regency has one of the most complete workout facilities I’ve ever seen, whether in a hotel or a private fitness center. There is a huge pool, (empty every time I saw it) a basketball court, racquetball courts, classroom studio and room after room of cardio machines, free weights, strength machines and stretching areas.

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

One of our very comfy beds at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

There is live music every Thursday in the lounge of the restaurant,  5pm – 7pm.

Dining

Just off the lobby, a deli called Market has sandwiches, fruit and snacks, along with Starbucks coffee. Prairie Kitchen and Bar specializes in local produce, cheese and meat, with quite a few vegetarian choices. There is outdoor seating for Minneapolis’ short outdoor dining season.

The Rooms

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

The full size basketball court at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

We had a standard queen/queen, with a refrigerator. The beds and pillows were very comfortable and it was utterly silent. We had a quiet air conditioner, and a refrigerator.

What Works for Families

  • Refrigerator in room
  • Indoor pool – yay!
  • Huge lobby with fireplace and welcoming atmosphere; we saw families having out here, playing board games and eating pizza
  • Free apples in the lobby, and one night (not sure if this is every night) trays of cookies
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

Nicollet Mall, just outside the hotel. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

What Doesn’t Work for Families

  • You have to use your key card to get the elevator to move, so you can’t send kids to the lobby without a key (and frankly, I hate having to dig around for my key when I get in the elevator)

Why Minneapolis?

We spent a couple of days in Minneapolis getting our youngest daughter ready for college, but also exploring local museums and the burgeoning food scene.

The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, near the convention center, is on Nicollet Mall, a pedestrian mall undergoing a major renovation. Right now, it’s a construction zone, but the area is lined with restaurants that offer outdoor seating, shops, and a city bike share program, Nice Ride Minnesota. Seriously, nice bikes. If the NYC bike share program was named after New Yorkers’ friendliness, it wouldn’t be printable in most newspapers. We rented bikes and found many bike lanes and fellow riders (but no one seems to wear bike helmets).

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

The grand facade of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

We spent a day at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, an excellent free museum just a mile from the hotel. We parked in front of the museum (free). The museum’s renowned Asian art lived up to its reputation; we also explored photography, Impressionist art and a room from a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Family Center has books and toys for little kids; for older children, like mine, checking in on social media was easy; there is free (of course) and strong Wi-Fi.

Nice.