Sunday, February 22, 2009

Owatonna Hotel Bitch Smacks Corporate Greed: Country Inn & Suites Hotel in Owatonna, MN Donates All Hotel Furniture to Flood Victims

I recently heard an uplifting story about one of the hotels in Owatonna, Minnesota. Owatonna is not exactly "near” Minneapolis (Owatonna is about an hour south of downtown Minneapolis), but I have reviewed a few Owatonna hotels and posted them to our website due to several requests so I’m not too far off topic.

The reason I'd like to talk about this particular hotel is because of its contributions to the local community and beyond. I personally feel that it is important to recognize organizations that have a true commitment to corporate social responsibility, especially during these times when selfishness and greed have become woven, ever so subtly, into the board rooms and executive offices of corporations across the globe.

The Country Inn & Suites Hotel in Owatonna, MN takes “Minnesota nice” to a new level. After the huge 2008 flood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa uprooted thousands of families, many businesses and individuals from throughout the region donated their time and effort to help the victims. But the Country Inn & Suites Hotel of Owatonna went above an beyond by donating all its furniture to help relieve the suffering experienced by its neighbor Iowans. Since this is a hotels blog about hotels near Minneapolis, I chose to focus on this particular hotel in Owatonna, MN. I was so moved by the generosity of the people working at the Country Inn & Suites Hotel in Owatonna, I felt the need to publicly commend their actions.

The Country Inn & Suites Owatonna Hotel was planning a major remodeling, which included new hotel furniture for many of their hotel rooms and suites. After the flood, hotel employees decided to do something that many companies in this economy would never have considered. They decided to give. All of the replaced hotel room furniture from the Owatonna, Minnesota hotel was donated to flood victims in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I commend the Country Inn & Suites, Owatonna Hotel and hope that other organizations in our industry, especially other hotels near Minneapolis, are inspired and enlightened by the actions of the Country Inn & Suites Hotel in Owatonna. This hotel took into consideration the value of human life when making its business decisions. They could have made money on the furniture, yet they chose to make an effort to help those in need. Sure, they got good press, and it is great PR, but there are a hell of a lot of cheaper ways to "get your name in the paper."

On a personal note, isn’t it sad that we get surprised (albeit pleasantly) and amazed when a for-profit organization feels it is important to give back to the community? Shouldn't that be expected? … I think it should. Don’t you agree? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section below this post.

The behavior displayed by the Country Inn and Suites Hotel in Owatonna is the sort that should be rewarded. If you are ever looking for a hotel near Owatonna, please consider booking your stay with them. I am currently working to allow our website’s visitors to book their hotel rooms at this particular hotel directly through our website, but until then, if you're going to travel to Owatonna, MN and need a cheap hotel room, please visit their website directly:

Also, if you want to donate, here is the local Red Cross Chapter:

Shameless plug (shameful in my opinion): If you are visiting Owatonna and would like to book a different hotel through us, here is our current, really-small-and-in-need-of-updating-sorry-our-webmaster-is-lazy, list of
cheap Owatonna hotels. :)

A note to my readers:
For the sake of full disclosure, at the time of this post, I haven’t reviewed or stayed at this chain’s hotels in Owatonna, so you can’t book through our website. I am working on it though! Thank for your patience. If you need to book at this hotel in Owatonna, please see the link to their website above.


- Victoria

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cheap Hotels near downtown Minneapolis - Cheap Hotel Review: Radisson Plaza Downtown Minneapolis

You know, everyone's trying to save a buck these days. So I thought we should dedicate our first several blog posts here at Hotels Near Minneapolis to cheap hotels near Minneapolis. In this particular blog post I'm going to focus on cheap hotels near downtown Minneapolis, but stay tuned as we branch out to review and critique cheap hotels in the surrounding suburbs of the beautiful Twin Cities.

Minneapolis is known for being affordable, but I wanted to dig a little deeper. I started by going through our database of hand-picked hotels in and around the Minneapolis area, and I thought not only do I want to find the cheapest hotel room rates, I also want to find the best value. Cheap hotels are kind of given a stigma. When we think of "cheap hotels", we automatically assume poor quality, bad service, no amenities, and so on. But there are so many cheap hotels near Minneapolis that have great service packed with amenities and offer superior quality accomodations.

One thing to keep in mind when you're looking at hotel prices is that they are always changing. We run special promotions on cheap room rates in and around Minneapolis on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. If you're traveling to Minneapolis and you need to book a hotel room I advise checking prices often. I also suggest trying different date combinations using the search functionality on our website, because some hotels will give you a better price depending on the length of your visit or the day that you book.

Cheap Radisson Plaza Hotel near Downtown MinneapolisThe first hotel I'm going to talk about is the Radisson Plaza Hotel near Downtown Minneapolis. This hotel is located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. It is near the target Center, Hey City Theater, and it is quite near the warehouse district which includes fantastic nightclubs, and the Mississippi mile waterfront district which is within six blocks. It is also one of the top hotels near the Metrodome which is only seven blocks away.

Typically in downtown Minneapolis you're not going to find drastically low-priced hotels, but if you book for a weekend visit or if your stay is greater than two or three days the prices tend to be far less per night. One of the reasons I chose the Radisson Plaza Hotel near downtown Minneapolis as a cheap hotel, is the fact that you get a pretty significant discount when you book multiple nights. For example if you book Friday and Saturday, February 20 to February 22, you save 20% on your hotel room. Normally it would cost $119 per night, but now it will only be $95. If you book 3 nights you save 30% on your hotel stay. Like I said this is not necessarily cheap but it is an amazing value.

The Radisson Plaza Hotel Near Downtown Minneapolis is a smoke-free facility. It offers in hotel dining with a cocktail bar, and an incredible Mediterranean inspired restaurant called the Fire Lake Grill House. Its fitness center is top-of-the-line offering city views that are panoramic, world-class exercise equipment, as well as a sauna and hot tub. If you're looking for business meeting space the hotel provides 19,000 ft.² and a 24-hour business center. Complementary Internet access via wi-fi is also available. The really cool thing about this hotel, and one of the reasons why I picked it as my top cheap hotel near downtown Minneapolis, is how well it's connected to the Minneapolis Skyway system. This gives you immediate access to all of downtown including great shopping, fine dining, and superb entertainment without ever having to step foot outside.

In terms of amenities, the hotel offers everything, and if it doesn't come in your room visit the nice concierge desk in the hotel lobby. They do allow pets but I believe they have to be 25 pounds and under. So, if you have a Great Dane like me, you're SOL :-)

The one downside is the parking. There is plenty of space and they offer valet, but it costs you $25 a day to park. This may be standard but it's pretty ridiculous, because if you think about it, if your stay is two or three days and you're saving 20% to 30% respectively, just because you have a car those savings are eaten up. So unless you plan on walking or using Minneapolis’ fantastic public transit system, I would suggest trying another hotel. But for the many travelers that come to Minneapolis and do not opt to rent a car, the Radisson Plaza Hotel Near Downtown Minneapolis is a great cheap hotel and you will definitely enjoy your stay.

That's it for now. Have a great weekend everybody!