Hotel Alma

Blink and you’ll miss it. Above a bustling cafe near the University of Minnesota’s leafy campus, you’ll find the smallest hotel in Minneapolis. It’s also among the city’s most stylish. Here’s our review of this pocket-sized big-city hideaway.

The Basics

Budget Level: Upscale ($150-$300/night)

Lodging Type: Small Hotel (seven rooms)

What You Need to Know

The Look

The rooms at Hotel Alma are strictly light and bright. With white walls and bedding, sparkling tile bathrooms, and wicker and wood furniture, these airy spaces never feel chilly. Bohemian touches like yarn-tassled blankets, fresh flowers, and exposed ceiling beams give the sense that you’re a guest in the comfortable home of a particularly arty friend.

The Vibe

Because the hotel is so small, you may never encounter another guest during your stay. The character of Alma, though, is forged by the two businesses on the ground floor — the eponymous cafe and restaurant, which are well-known hotspots in town. The cafe is busy all day long and is known for its flawless renditions of traditional pastries, including flaky croissants, fruit galettes, scones, and financiers. Freshly baked bread comes out at 10:00 a.m., and locals happily line up for it, along with lattes and smoothies. Guests often use this space as the de-facto hotel lobby; it’s a great place to settle in for an afternoon. The restaurant, directly adjacent to the cafe, is often booked solid and serves seasonally inspired fare. Chef Alex Roberts, the mind behind all of Alma’s spaces, won a James Beard Award in 2010.

Who Will Love It

If you’re in search of the perfect boutique hotel, it doesn’t get much more tasteful or comfortable than this.

Who Might Not

Travelers who want to meet and chat with fellow guests may have a hard time spotting them here. Your neighbors will likely be hiding out in their lovely rooms or blending right in with the locals downstairs. Also, note that guests with mobility issues may have difficulty climbing the stairs up to the rooms.

Best Amenity

Room number 5 is among the most spacious and has a plant-filled private balcony with a table and chairs. It’s perfect for an evening hangout with a few friends. To search for this room, check the box that says “balcony” on Alma’s web site.

Money Matters

What’s Included

Filtered water, Apple TV with Hulu and Netflix, and wifi are all included.

Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About

All food and drink purchased downstairs cost extra. Overnight valet parking in the hotel’s lot costs $9.

How to Get a Deal

Hotel Alma’s rates tend to be lowest during the week, when rooms start at a reasonable $175 per night and go up to about $200. (Room number 5, which has a large balcony and can accommodate four people, commands a premium and typically goes for $235-$250.) Expect rates to go up to $195-$225 on weekends. Because of the hotel’s small size, it sells out often, especially in graduation season and around holidays. Book as far in advance as possible to snag a room.

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

The riverside neighborhood where you’ll find the Hotel Alma — as well as the University of Minnesota — is charming and easily walkable. Amidst blocks of residential homes, you’ll find the occasional art gallery. Stop into Brasa Premium Rotisserie for Creole-inspired comfort food like pulled pork and fried plantains, rotisserie chicken, and gumbo fried rice, which you can enjoy outdoors on the patio in warmer months. Try a Minneapolis classic, over-the-top frosted donuts from the vintage-styled Glam Doll, just around the corner.

Nearest Airport

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is about 20 minutes by car from Hotel Alma. Ride share services like Uber and Lyft operate throughout the city at reasonable prices, and you can expect to pay $25-$30 to reach the airport.

The Bottom Line

Find boutique hotel bliss at this small-but-stylish Minneapolis property.

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