The Small Property of the Year Award (100 rooms or fewer) recognizes a property’s impact on the lodging industry, be it as a new property, by making a significant turnaround as an existing property, or by being a model of stability for others to follow.
2016 Small Property of the Year (100 Rooms or Fewer):
University Inn, Minneapolis
The University Inn is one of the most in-demand hotels near the University of Minnesota campus. According to Trip Advisor, it is currently the 11th best hotel in Minneapolis, but it has fought hard over the years to earn that position. As the name suggests, the University Inn has always been associated with the University of Minnesota. Built in 1959 as the Gopher Campus Motor Lodge, it gained notoriety throughout the years for the fiberglass Goldy Gopher statue that was displayed outside the main entrance. The hotel was a mainstay for visiting professors, students and their families throughout the decades, but it was forced to close in 1999.
The hotel remained empty for almost 10 years until it was purchased in 2008 and underwent a major renovation. The owners decided to market the hotel as an “extended-stay only” property and so while it had a great new aesthetic, it was still limited in its popularity. In 2013, it was purchased by its current owners, with Joe McCurdy as the new General Manager, and became the University Inn that it is today.
The 45-room hotel now features overnight rooms and extended-stay rooms with kitchenettes to accommodate all guests. While it is primarily used as a place to call home for those who are visiting campus, the property draws a crowd of all ages as a boutique hotel with free parking and easy access to downtown Minneapolis and its wide array of fine dining. The hotel also attracts a varied crowd due to its personalized guest service and great advice on neighborhood attractions such as the TCF Stadium and Varsity Theatre. As a nod to its roots as well as its ongoing association with the University of Minnesota, the lobby now showcases the original fiberglass Goldy Gopher statue.
View the University Inn's video presentation from the awards ceremony:
- Best Western Premier The Lodge on Lake Detroit (2015)
- Czech Inn, Hayward (2014)
- South Pier Inn, Duluth (2013)
- Afton House Inn, Afton (2012)
- Water Street Inn, Stillwater (2011)
- Loken’s Sawmill Inn & Suites, Houston (2010)
- AmericInn Lodge & Suites, North Branch (2009)
- Waller House Inn, Little Falls (2008)
- AmericInn, Mt. Iron (2007)
- AmericInn, Madelia (2006)