I was really very impressed by this hotel, which is actually on the University of Minnesota's "east bank" campus in central Minneapolis. Particularly I was impressed by the level of service it provided to the convention I was attending -- including, of all things, free s'mores served up by chefs in tall white hats to celebrate National S'mores Day. The convention organizers just couldn't say enough about how helpful the hotel staff had been, and I believe them.
The decor is new and attractive (I particularly liked the club-like chairs in one section of the lobby, although it seems odd to have two fires, one outdoors and one indoors, burning in the middle of August). The front desk service is quick and helpful. The wifi works perfectly. Staff are responsive to problems -- I phoned down because I couldn't figure out how to make the high-tech alarm clock work, and five minutes later there was a cheerful technician knocking on my door. The general atmosphere is a bit geeky, with scientific slogans posted here and there. I was actually a bit annoyed that there was no brochure in the room listing the hotel's services, but it turns out that "all that informtion is available via the television."
At the same time, there were a lot of little imperfections. Well, some weren't so little. I found the bed uncomfortable, although that could have been because the two beds in my room were doubles rather than queens, and I'm fairly tall. I found it impossible to get the room cool enough, even though it was frigid in the hotel's public areas. I couldn't seem to get clean drinking glasses, although I was just about buried in nice clean towels. The desk chair wasn't comfortable, and the trendy asymmetrical shape of the desk didn't altogether make up for that. I once walked out of the Beacon, the lobby bar-restaurant, because it was taking so long to get coffee one morning that I despaired of ever getting breakfast at all. (Other days were better.)
And more: the kleenex were basically impossible to get out of the dispenser. The water pressure is weirdly low. The hotel doesn't have a guest laundry. That last problem probably reflects the hotel's preferred identity as a downtown hotel (even though it's not downtown) rather than a motel. The same factor would explain why parking costs extra ($15 a day). The advantage of the Commons being in a mature area of the city, not out in an industrial park by the interstate, is that it's easy to walk across Washington Avenue to find various restaurants and other businesses. I might point out Bruegger's Bagels and, a block further east, a large CVS pharmacy with a grocery section.
I'm sure it's driving the hotel management crazy that Washington Avenue is largely blocked off for light-rapid-transit construction. Getting to the hotel is perfectly possible (the key is to come from the south via Harvard Street0 but a bit frustrating. I would certainly stay here again when in Minneapolis.