“We are honored and humbled to see that our hard work to make the St. James Hotel the best hotel in Minnesota, is being recognized. We work every day to provide the finest guest service, genuine memorable experiences, and inspiring a connection to our rich, local history through our iconic, boutique hotel” — Marilyne Bouteiller, director of sales & marketing at St. James Hotel in Red Wing.
The St. James Hotel opened on Thanksgiving Day, 1875, after a group of 11 civic-minded businessmen recognized the need for a first-class lodging establishment in Red Wing, which was the wheat-trading center of the world at that time. Architects from the Minnesota firm of E.P. Bassford, outfitted the four-story Italianate structure in grand style with handsome furnishings, Brussels carpets in the lobby and English velvet carpet in the second-floor ladies’ parlor.
On opening night, guests marveled at the hotel’s modern features, including steam heat, hot and cold running water, gas on every floor and a state-of-the-art kitchen.
Overnight, the St. James became the hub of Red Wing. The first floor included three timeless dining rooms, a kitchen, office and baggage storage; while the lower level featured a parlor, billiard hall, barber shop, public baths and four water closets. The second floor featured a ladies’ parlor, a bridal suite and two ladies’ water closets. An elegant ballroom occupied the fourth floor.
Located within walking distance from the Red Wing Depot and the steamboat docks, the historic hotel was booked to capacity every night with travelers and boarders. The St. James’ chefs developed such a renowned reputation that the railroad adjusted its timetables to allow passengers to disembark and enjoy dinners there. Luminaries, such as President Rutherford B. Hayes, were among the more famous guests.
Today, the St. James is owned by the Red Wing Shoe Company. “Our historic Minnesota hotel continues to offer guests a blend of old-world service, luxurious amenities and culinary delights that it provided opening day over 140 years ago,” said Bouteiller.
St. James Hotel is a full-service property, boasting 67 unique rooms, 3 restaurants, 3 bars, 17,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event spaces, a coffee shop, a flower shop, day spas and a hair salon.
The Port restaurant is known for its prohibition cocktail, its steak and its seafood specialties. Jimmy’s is an English pub, known for its extensive bourbon selection and classic fish & chips. The Veranda is known for its light fairs and beautiful outdoor patio, which oversees the Mississippi River.
The historic hotel hosts several events throughout the year; from a Masquerade Dinner in October, to holidays festivities, Murder Mystery event, Cup Cake & Wine celebrations, and much more. Check the SJH event calendar regularly for a full schedule.
Located at 406 Main Street in Red Wing.
Honorable Mention: Arch House River Inn in Northfield
By Pat Garry