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“Unique Hotel Experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of South Pier Inn on the Canal

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South Pier Inn on the Canal
701 South Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 32 hotels in Duluth
Duluth, Minnesota
1 review
“Unique Hotel Experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2011

Walking into our room, we knew the South Pier Inn offered a unique experience unlike any other hotel we have ever visited. The staff was friendly and courteous - and interested in making our stay pleasant and comfortable. The room was immaculate and tastefully decorated, including local items of interest on the walls and periodicals and books. The large windows to the canal, the up close and personal view of the ships and harbor area, the romantic fireplace and jacuzzi, created a private and restful setting. Right out side the hotel was quick and easy access to the Canal Park area with its many shops and restaurants.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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218 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    150
    48
    9
    6
    5
See reviews for
24
132
10
9
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (71)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
St. Paul
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2011

The SPI is the only place I say when in Duluth. It's simple elegance and closeness to everything I come to see and do always impresses.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2010

We spent our 35th Wedding Anniversary weekend in Duluth, and stayed at the South Pier Inn for the first time. The Inn has a great location, right next to the lift bridge and on the ship canal, just a brief walk from Canal Park. We booked a deluxe waterfront suite with hot tub and fireplace, overlooking the canal, which sounded really romantic.

In reality: Our living area overlooked construction equipment and scaffolding during the day (unfortunate, but NOT the fault of the Inn--the Duluth lift bridge is being repaired). Instead of warm, cozy and romantic, our rooms mainly felt COLD-----White walls, white window blinds, white hot tub, white fireplace, white cabinets and countertops-----in fact, the decorator in me wanted to grab my Benjamin Moore Color Chart and run screaming to the front desk ! After dark, with the gas fireplace lit and the hot tub bubbling, things got a bit cozier, but it still felt oddly like we were staying in someone's lower-level basement rec room....

Since the two of us can have fun in a box, we still had a wonderful time in Duluth. We had a private tour of the new Amsoil Arena at the DECC (my sister designed the lobby floor there). It was a snowy night, and it was fun to see the Christmas lights of Bentleyville and the families coming and going by Christmas Train. We had a nice dinner at Bellisio's, excellent morning coffee at Amazing Grace Bakery, and brunch at Chester Creek Cafe/Sara's Table. We did a little shopping for our grandson at Duluth Pack. On the way home, we stopped at Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton for a winter hike and some icy photos of the St. Louis River.

Pros : Location, location, location, especially in Summer and Fall. Right on the ship canal. Relatively quiet and removed from Canal Park, which can get crowded. Very clean. Good-sized rooms. Decent continental breakfast. Cons : Bland, colorless decorating. Cheap furniture, carpeting, cabinets and countertops. Fake flowers. Acrylic shower stall. Average bed linens and towels. Few "upscale" amenities.

Would we stay here again? Perhaps in the summer or fall, for ship-watching with a discounted room rate. Otherwise, probably not.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2010

My wife and I just stayed two nights at the South Pier Inn in Duluth and could not have been happier! We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary so we booked the upper level Grand Panoramic Suite and we were blown away by the stunning views, the cleanliness, and quiet that the room offered to us. The bed room was extremely comfortable with excellent linens and pillows on the king size bed, however we spent most of our time out in the living room with views of the harbor, Duluth cityscape, canal and aerial lift bridge.

We loved having the monocular and binoculars provided in the room as it really allowed you to get a close up view of the ships across the harbor.

The room was extremely clean. Both my wife and I have a low tolerance for dirty hotel rooms, and I didn't see a single thing out of place.

We've been to Duluth several times for fun and have stayed at a number of very nice hotels within the city (the last time we stayed in one of the penthouse suites at Fitgers), and while all of these other hotels were very nice, the South Pier Inn is our favorite by far.

I felt a little nervous booking here due to a couple of the recent reviews, but I honestly have no idea where they were staying, it wasn't this gem.

Granted, I don't think I'd ever stay here unless I could get a canal or harbor facing room. Don't spend the money to stay here and look at the parking lot. :)

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
madison, wi
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
161 helpful votes 161 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2010

We stayed here for just one night during our Lake Superior Circle tour. Our Harbor view room had great views of ships passing right past our window! The service is so great that they will even call your room all night as ships pass by, if you want. the rooms are a bit pricey, but worth it.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2010

The South Pier Inn is ideally located just past the lift bridge on the canal. The windows on that side of the hotel have excellent views of both the bridge and the canal. The rooms on the other side, where we stayed, overlook the parking lot and are teased by the sounds of passing ships blowing their horns. The windows are still great but the view isn’t as impressive – but the room rates reflect that. There are excellent aspects to this hotel and some annoying ones as well. The most important ones: the bed, bathroom and linens are excellent. The rooms are spacious and bright. Breakfast consists of yummy, although perhaps not exactly healthy pastries, fruit, yogurt, juice and decent coffee. The annoying aspects are minor, but perplexing considering the attention to many of the details. Internet service was down several times and required calls down to the front desk to reset it. There is a little corner sitting area in the room, where it would be nice to sit and read, but it has absolutely no light. There seems to be a little night light on the hairdryer in the bathroom but ours wasn’t working.

Our initial room had a stained carpet with a number of damp spots. Our bathroom sink stopper was stuck on the closed position which we discovered just as we were preparing to leave for our dinner reservations. We were given another room which involved quickly packing our belongings and moving them ourselves as the hotel does not have any staff to assist with such tasks. In the rush we forgot some of our items which we discovered late that evening. Again not a big deal, but the weather was coolish and we had to go outside to the lobby to get the key for that room and pick up our forgotten belongings. The lone night staff person was pleasant enough, but a bit of an apology for our inconvenience from management the next day would have been nice. If they had, this would be an unqualified recommendation, but our little episode doesn’t give confidence in how more significant problems would be handled. Perhaps this excellent location has made the management of this hotel a bit blasé about appeasing customers who have been inconvenienced.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duluth, Minnesota
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2010

A must stay when in Duluth/Superior. Comfortable room with a great view of the harbor, ships and Aerial Lift Bridge. Stayed there on my birthday and had a great time. Relaxing in the jacuzzi and watching the ships was a tremendously unique experience. I will definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about South Pier Inn on the Canal

Address: 701 South Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Minnesota > Duluth
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Ski-In / Ski-Out Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Duluth
#5 Family Hotel in Duluth
#15 Business Hotel in Duluth
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located at the foot of the Aerial Lift Bridge adjacent to Canal Park, South Pier Inn is Duluth's premier shipwatching hotel. Our 20 waterfront suites each feature a whirlpool, fireplace and private balcony, offering breathtaking views of the Duluth harbor or ship canal. This family-owned property offers the amenities you'd expect in a much larger hotel, yet provides the level of service and attention to detail you'd only find in a smaller establishment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
South Pier Inn On The Canal Hotel Duluth
South Pier Duluth
South Pier Inn Duluth

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