The Chambers, you may have noticed, shares its name with a fairly distinguished New York hotel. There’s good reason for that — it shares its ownership and its look and feel as well. Some of the “boutique hotels” in America’s provincial capitals feel like baby steps, watered-down versions of what went over big in New York a decade ago, perhaps underestimating the sophistication of their audiences’ tastes. The Chambers, by contrast, plays in the same league as its Manhattan sister, and sets a high standard indeed for whatever is to follow in the Twin Cities.
In fact, looking at the big picture (a sorry pun, as you’ll see) the Chambers might actually be ahead of its coastal cousins. This is no mere design hotel, no 1990s-style boutique; the next thing is the “art hotel,” where the art collection, not the interior design, is the focus. And the Chambers’ collection leaves most New York hotels (most hotels anywhere, really) in the dust: Minnesota is probably the last place one could reasonably expect to see one of Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde-preserved carcasses, but here you’ll find his Judas Iscariot (a rather grim-looking decayed cow’s head) along with works by any number of other artists, Young and British or otherwise.
All of this is not to say that design has been somehow overlooked at the Chambers. The rooms feel like movie-set versions of New York loft-style hotel rooms; the same idea, with high ceilings and oversized windows, but much bigger — Minnesota certainly has the edge in terms of buildable space. No comfort is spared, from pillow-top mattresses and feather beds to flat-screen televisions, in the bedrooms and in the glass-tiled bathrooms. Downstairs the Chambers Kitchen is the Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, doubtless one of Minneapolis’s hottest tickets, and just outside is the best of what the city has to offer, including the Art Institute, the theater district, and some of the best shopping this side of Chicago.
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