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“My experience in 1995 vs. 2010” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Saloon Hotel

The Saloon Hotel
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The Saloon Hotel
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828 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Downtown)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #39 of 48 Hotels in Minneapolis
Fort Frances, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“My experience in 1995 vs. 2010”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2010

Quite often I stayed at this hotel in 1995-96 when I traveled to downtown Minneaplois and had no money. Fifteen years later and flat broke once again, I find myself back at the bottom of the barrel establishments in life. The Saloon Hotel (originally Hotel Amsterdam) was known among us in the gay community as a safe, clean and affordable option since so many of us are single and travel alone. At that time, I felt good about the place: clean, no smoking, and largely a gay clientele. I found myself needing the hotel this time because my friend was going to be out of town, and I had signed up for the Twin Cities Half Marathon. The good news is that the rooms now have air conditioning.

The bad news is that the clientele has changed dramatically. What was once a well-known place for gay male travelers to feel safe has now become home to female prostitutes, drug addicts, street people, pimps, you name it. The first thing I notices upon checking in was a handwritten sign saying 'we do not accept Catholic Charity vouchers or Minnesota Welfare cards as a valid form of ID'. Then the parade of prostitutes with cigarettes behind their ears, creepy drug dealers staring at my backpack and looking to see what room I was getting...what a shame this has happened. What was once a gay hotel has downgraded into a makeshift homeless shelter for people with questionable criminal backgrounds who for whatever reason can not get an apartment any other way. The good news is I arrived late enough to where I never went out of my room until the morning of July 4th at 5am to get set for the half marathon. My biggest concern was not about the race; it was about whether my stuff would still be in my room when I got back (it was).

Contrary to what people think, most single gay men are low income or very low income and this hotel really served the community well. It appears these new 'guests' get monthly vouchers and are living at the hotel.

The hardest part for me was that this was a part of my youth and young adulthood. 'West downtown' was a second home to me. I lived worked and played there. I knew everything that was going on. I remember when the Hotel originally opened (the building itself is over 100 years old but the amount of work that went into the updating was remarkable. That was my 1995 impression. In 2010 I'm seeing the signs of derelict people, alcohol and drug use coupled with despair and those who choose criminal behavior as a lifestyle. I see holes punched in the wall. Cigarette burns on the carpet. No working televisions. Bathrooms unkempt. In 1995 there was a television lounge where guests could chit chat and get to know each other. That's gone.

I REALLY want to love this place just because of my attachment to downtown. But it appears that gay men no longer stay there as overnight guests, and social service vouchers that pay for monthly housing is at least guaranteed income. Unfortunately, when people get these services for nothing, or as a reward for their criminal behavior or drug dealing, it absolutely drives everyone else away.

My first question I always ask when traveling to a new hostel or hotel is, would I feel okay about my parents staying here? How about a single young woman? If either answer is no, then I know I won't be back. There needs to be better management that goes after the lowlife and makes it an attractive place for gay men again.

The staff is so-so. Saturday night June 3rd I met the friendliest young guy who was more than accommodating when I requested a room change. When I left on Sunday July 4th around noon, I met a guy who thought he was the Queen of Sheeba and was incredibly rude, indifferent and frankly a snot.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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6 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
flatiron9
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2009

Calling the lodgings "European" does not compensate for the dirtiness of the place. Given the cheap rates, I expected a bit of shabbiness. But, given the proud gay ownership, I also expected some pride of hospitality. I was disappointed. I've paid for some dingy lodgings before, but until I stayed at the Saloon I'd never wanted to sleep standing up (so as not to touch anything). Do yourself a favor and find a decent hostel.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Frances, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2009

I have read some nasty reviews and I understand that some people have been unhappy with their stay here. I used to live literally a block away from this place back when it was a flophouse for skid row drunks - they did a very long, detailed job to bring it up to code, renovate and turn it into a budget hotel tailored to gay travelers. I am the target clientele. The gay community in Minneapolis is like any small town - you konw everyone. I knew the owner, I knew or had heard of most of the guys working the desk, and I knew the area. I wanted to stay here because it was right were my plans are, and again I knew everyone working there. I saw it go from a place that had mice (in the very beginning!), to a struggling hotel that began to rent rooms monthly (which, had I returned to Minneapolis I was seriously considering if I could have gotten a room on the upper level - a $500 room downtown is unheard of in 2009 (or even 1995).
The majority of my stays at the Saloon Hotel (www.gaympls.com) have been overnighters when I come down from Duluth (150 miles north) to run the Twin Cities Marathon. I don't drive, so taking the Greyhound Bus and the station being a block away is perfect for me. However, about 10 years ago I noticed a disturbing trend by a temporary owner who obviously was renting out rooms to drug dealers and girls who were prostitutes (being so close the bus station, Salvation Army, etc) - there were more than a dozen incidents where police were picking up prostitutes, wanted drug dealers from CA, IL, AZ, etc., runaways, drug addicts (one who was found dead from an overdose). This lasted about a year until the new owner came along, he's been there ever since, and he is definitely interested that you get a good, safe place to stay for the night or weekend. I, personally, have never had a problem here. Remember this place was built in 1879 - it's one of the oldest structures left downtown. They had to get through a lot to fix this place up and you'd never know how old the foundation was. That said, having to share a community bathroom isn't fun, but they keep it clean, and I never had a problem using it (because I always request room 202 or 204, right across the breezeway from the bathroom/shower area. I'll be back in Ocotober '09 for the Twin Cities Marathon, where the starting line is 4 blocks away.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Oslo
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2008

This hotel is the worst ever!!!! Everything you read about it on the net is true.

IT says European Style hotel, I was thinking since I am a european, that I could manage living there.......BUT FAR FROM IT!

I stayed 2 out of 5 prepaid nights, and booked over to the Hilton in St. Paul.

The hotel is smelly, filty, dirty as hell!!!!

The people who worked there was nice, but the hotel stinks!!!
STAY AWAY FROM IT GUYS!

Stayed November 2007
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2006

Although I’m a very regular traveler, I don’t usually make comments on places I’ve stayed, but I’ve rarely wanted to warn people to stay away from a place as much as I do the Hotel Amsterdam. The service was so unpleasant, unhelpful, and downright dishonest, and the rooms and bathrooms so dark and dingy that I decided I would rather pay an exorbitant (and previously unannounced) cancellation fee than spend the night here. I had discounted some of the negative reviews that I had read of the place before I arrived thinking that perhaps homophobia was playing a role, but I was definitely mistaken – all the bad things that you’ve read are true.

  • Disliked — Absolutely terrible and deceitful service
  • Tips/Secrets — Avoid at all costs
  • Stayed July 2006
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2004

This has got to be the worst overnight experience I've ever had. Staff has poor communication skills and even worse listening skills. The rooms smell and look like an ashtray. I stayed one of three paid evenings. I can embrace sleaze when necessary, but this was more creepy than sleazy.

Was this review helpful? Yes 25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Saloon Hotel

Address: 828 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403
Location: United States > Minnesota > Minneapolis > Downtown
Hotel Style:
Ranked #39 of 48 Hotels in Minneapolis
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 30
Also Known As:
Saloon Hotel Minneapolis

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