I could not decide whether to give this hotel a four or a five. If four point five was an option, this would have been my choice. Overall, the property is wonderful. I am very picky, however, and expect perfection when I give a hotel a five. The issues here were very minor, so I rounded up to five.
Pros: Perfect location if you don't want to be in Canal Park. If you want to do non-touristy, practical shopping, this is the place to be. Cub Foods is next door and is accessible on foot by a dirt path. The mall, every kind of department store you can think of, and many popular chain restaurants are also just up the road. Even though we visited as tourists, there were attractions we saw outside of Canal Park, so this was just as handy as anywhere else. I was unable to find a two bed/bath suite with the amenities I sought anywhere else in Duluth. The kids enjoyed the pool and said the water was warm. A free, delicious supper is served three nights per week. Several side dish choices were offered. Two people appeared to be working the supper and they stayed on top of things. The rooms and common areas were clean. The hotel is quiet. The kitchen in our room actually had an oven, which I have never seen at competing all-suite hotels. The housekeeping staff always smiled and said hello, even initiating contact. Also, competing chains seem to take longer to get suites cleaned. Last year we visited a Staybridge where our room was not cleaned until 5:00 every day. The Residence had ours clean before noon. The front desk staff was also cheerful and helpful. Our request to face away from the street was honored. They cooperated with two changes of our reservation and did not get things mixed up. We did not encounter one grouchy employee. Even the man picking up trash outside greeted us. There were two elevators that functioned well. We never waited for an elevator. The hotel is newish, so the decor was trendy.
Cons- For the price of the room ($199) and the age of the hotel, I expected a better mattress. It was rather hard and basic. We had to buy a pizza pan. This seems like a standard item for a kitchen with an oven. The morning breakfast attendant had a challenging time trying to keep up with the breakfast rush. I could tell the difference that two employees made when they served supper. With the exception of one long table, the breakfast tables were too small. They had booths by the front windows which could seat five, but the tables were not big enough for more than a couple of plates. The maids did not keep our kleenex and toilet paper stocked. One bathroom went without kleenex for two days. We were on our last half roll of toilet paper and they did not stock a new roll. I found our full bathroom trash bad lying on the bathroom vanity.
With the exception of the mattress, these cons were all minor. If we were to return to Duluth, this would continue to be my first choice of lodging. Whoever has trained the staff has done an exceptional job.