Insight News

Feb 08th

Radisson Blu builds on tradition

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1369349463910The new Radisson Blu in downtown Minneapolis boldly glides into the future of hospitality full-sail powered by indefatigable traditions of highest quality accommodations and expertly intuitive service. Radisson Blu, next to Macy's, formerly Dayton's Department Store, on Seventh Street, continues as the personification of tradition.

radisson blu pullout1First opened over a hundred years ago as the Radisson Hotel, this landmark hospitality resource has hosted American presidents and visiting royalty and leaders from around the world. And just like some people stubbornly hold on to the idea that Macy's is still Dayton's Department Store, the town's attachment to the Radisson as the gold standard, speaks volumes about the power of tradition.

imageThe Radisson brand is one of the oldest upscale brands in the United States and dates back to 1909 when the first Radisson hotel, named after famous French explorer Pierre Radisson, opened in Minneapolis. In 1962 the Radisson was acquired by Curt Carlson, a Minneapolis businessman and entrepreneur. A business innovator, Carlson first gained national prominence in the 1940s and 50s with his successful Gold Bond Stamp Company, which pioneered the concept of customer loyalty programs.

The Radisson Blu concept, introduced first in the Twin Cities at the Mall of America, and last month as a conversion of the Downtown Radisson, brings elegance and luxury, quality and affordability together in a grand style that is neither pretentious nor inaccessible. Au contraire, Blu invites the public, all publics, to embrace and enjoy exquisite comfort and excellent cuisine, whether for business travel or hometown staycation.

We chose the Radisson because we often do weekends at local hotels, taking note of quality of accommodations and attitudes that undergird services. We explore menus and environments and write food and hotel reviews for our readers and community here in Insight News.

Radisson's FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar had already established itself as our "spot." It's where we go for weekly and sometimes more often, family business meetings. But we hadn't been there
for a month or so because the restaurant was shut down for the conversion to Blu.

firelake grill house pullout2We recommend Radisson Blu to visitors and hometown weekenders alike for its world-class amenities and capacity to serve as a base station for fun exploration of our vibrant downtown and neighborhood cultural treasure.

And we certainly recommend the Radisson Blu FireLake Grill House.

Our friend and Chicago native Chef Ed Fields and his colleague Chef Javier Piñot prepare a phenomenal pork chop entrée, which we argue is the absolute best in this market. And they modify the entrée to accommodate our "slow-carb" regimen. We recommend this dish without reservation: Grilled pork chop, fried egg, arugula and sliced tomatoes. Simple, clean, delicious with no carbs. It doesn't get any better. If one of us is having the pork chop, the other is having exquisitely tasty salmon on a bed of greens. If it's the weekend, we relent and enjoy good carbs in a wild rice pancake, or, perfectly prepared buttermilk pancakes with eggs to order.

We rate the food 5 stars. We also rate the server team 5 stars and above.

One of the things we have written about is our concern and disappointment in some retail and service establishments where sales persons ignore you, or are slow to acknowledge your presence, or treat you like a suspect, rather than a prospect. When we discover disheartening experiences like that we believe it is a question of race and ignorance...individuals insufficiently trained in the art and practice of quality customer service. And we hold the company as well as the individual responsible for poor service and bad attitudes especially when it feels like the attitude and poor service is reserved for us, as Black people, while we see completely different interaction with white customers.

So it is both pleasing and consistent with our high expectations when we step on the Radisson property to the warm welcome of our Ethiopian, Somali and Oromo bell captain friends, our Somali maître'd friend, our Ecuadorian and Minnesota native table servers friends. We count FireLake general manager Kristin Holt as a friend, who, whether greeting us in the restaurant, or, with her husband, crossing paths with us on a downtown night out, returns our smile with a smile and a hug, and brief but genuine conversation about kids and the joy of parenting.

And when you meet Radisson Blu General Manager Steve Lindburg, its crystal clear that the quality relationships you have discovered, simply reflect the standards at the heart of the Radisson brand: 100% guest satisfaction guarantee and the "Yes I Can!" spirit of service.

This week Radisson Blu launched a new travel magazine style blog to encourage consumers to share travel insights, tips and knowledge about the destinations that surround their hotels.

In a contest entitled Social Eyes that runs through the end of the month travelers are invited to share an insider travel tip about one of the destinations in which Radisson Blu hotels are located. The best tips each week during the contest will win a free room night at any Radisson Blu hotel of their choice worldwide.

Radisson Blu is betting its guests will share information like how to locate the best viewpoint, discover a hidden café, enjoy a secret garden, or interesting ways to experience a city.

"There's a real art to traveling well and even the most seasoned voyager looks to local people for tips to make a trip something special. We want our new blog to become a trusted source for travel insights," said Rose Anderson, vice president, Branding, Radisson Blu. "We recognize that knowledge is a powerful currency and as such want to be able to reward the sharing of the top insights with a free night at one of our hotels."

To participate in the Social Eyes contest, consumers are encouraged to share their insider knowledge by uploading their tips at and entering to win one of 300 free room nights at any Radisson Blu hotel of their choice worldwide.

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