FrontRunners: Minnesota Modern

Frank Gehry’s radical Weisman Art Museum and the pioneering Walker Art Center paved the way for Le Meridien Minneapolis (800.543.4300, www.minneapolis.lemeridien.com). The 21-story hotel, which opened in May 2003, is the showcase for Le Meridien’s new Art + Tech line, a concept that aims to elevate the brand through high-technology hotels with contemporary adornments.

Within 2.5 miles of both the Weisman and Walker, Le Meridien Minneapolis completes the downtown area’s triangle of avant-garde icons. Wall-sized abstract sculptures lend stately drama to the street-level entry and fourth-floor lobby, while warm-toned, streamlined furnishings in the guest rooms complement 42-inch plasma televisions and backlit photographs depicting local culture. Even the beds make a bold statement: Pillow-top mattresses float on artfully engineered support frames with edge-lit, etched-glass headboards.

At the hotel’s Cosmos restaurant, sculptural glass walls and creative lighting make the dining area and bar shimmer like silvery martinis. And whether recommending the best Barolo to accompany the roast venison or setting up the next morning’s videoconference call, the Le Meridien staff provides service that is thorough yet discreet—a welcome art form in any setting.

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