On the heels of Minneapolis’s remarkable architectural double-shot—Herzog & de Meuron’s Walker Art Center and Jean Nouvel’s Guthrie Theater—comes the David Rockwell-designed Chambers, which has enough art and theatricality to rival them both. Inside, a desiccated bull’s head by Damien Hirst juts out behind the front desk, while a ground-floor gallery showcases emerging and established artists. And in the lobby lounge, a gigantic waxy head by Evan Penny, complete with stubble, hovers over mojito-sipping guests.
As much a local haunt as a business hub, the hotel’s airy lobby lures a crowd of twentysomethings in screen-printed T-shirts, glammed-up theatergoers, and after-work suits. Come night, they hit the clubby rooftop bar and courtyard fire pit next to Angus Fairhurst’s one-armed gorilla sculpture.
Minimalist but exceedingly comfortable, with black leather headboards, feather beds topped with buttery white sheets, and the requisite copy of Wallpaper.
In-room plasma televisions, which show a three-hour loop of video art, win points for edginess. But it’s the down-to-earth staff, with their refreshing lack of design-hotel attitude, that had us at hello.
The well-priced, Asian-influenced menu at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Chambers Kitchen; the tangy glazed short ribs ($18), braised for four hours, practically melted off the bone. Bonus: a glass-walled kitchen means you can watch the chefs in action.
901 Hennepin Ave.; 877/767-6990 or 612/767-6900; www.chambersminneapolis.com; doubles from $250.