Today we are discussing The Commons Hotel in my home city of Minneapolis. Located just blocks from my Alma mater, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, this shwanky hotel has been recently renovated to keep it hip and fresh. As far as I know, until recently this was actually a Holiday Inn hotel, or at least that’s what I remember from when I used to frequent the area. Wayback machine reveals nothing on the website until early 2012, so I imagine it was purchased by Noble House Hotels & Resorts and converted into the hotel it is today.
Having the option of staying there for a friend’s wedding, I decided to check out the website and find out more. Truth be told, I only wanted to find out whether they had a pool and hot tub or not. I am by no means a ‘normal’ hotel-goer. But what I saw when I arrived at the site amazed me.
The website opens with a beautiful, full-page rotating background image. A shot of the dimly-lit, all-brick facade of the hotel’s exterior sets the tone using the the Minneapolis skyline at sunset as a backdrop. This gives way to several gorgeous shots of the Hotel’s interior.
The site features a side-navigation with transparent background. The font sizes of each navigational element vary so that they all fill the entire width of the section, creating a very cool, modern effect. It could be argued that it’s a little harder to use due to its vague titles for each link and the fact that it’s all a little crammed-in, but I think it achieves the desired visual effect the hotel is looking for. It looks classy and fresh.
The rest of the site is a little more straight-forward, but still very nice. It follows more of a standard hotel theme, though this is probably necessary for ease-of-use for any visitors.
One thing I did notice is that a lot of photos in sub-pages have little sections sticking out from the right that have “Learn More” and “View Details” buttons. The problem is that not all the “Learn More” buttons actually reveal any new content. And the ones that do don’t actually provide any additional value. The “View Details” button just brings you to the bottom of the page, which sometimes isn’t really showing details of the section you clicked on.
The online booking appears to be fairly robust and functional, though I haven’t actually used it so I can’t comment on it’s overall effectiveness.
Overall I think this is a very impressive website. I wish there were website credits somewhere, but unfortunately an extensive search yielded nothing. I assume it was done in-house, as the parent company owns many other resorts and hotels. I hope they keep it coming with the good material!