Generally speaking, I like surprises. Not the nasty, unpleasant ones, of course. Not the kind where you find out that tattoo you got all across your back has two misspellings and a grammatical error, not to mention the American bald eagle is cross-eyed.
We even have a term for pleasant surprises in our family (a term admittedly shared by few other families whose ancestors undoubtedly pilfered it from one of my many brilliant forebearers). We call them “sussies”. Sussies are, generally speaking, little surprises that are unexpected, undeserved and inexpensive.
My Dad, for example, used to stop off at the “Grizzly Bear” on his way home from work whenever he knew the grand kids were coming over to buy a bag of assorted candy sussies. The one that stands out in my mind, though it may require psychotherapy to determine why, was a plastic lemon filled with a lemon flavored powdery substance that was probably banned by the FDA a decade ago.
These days my favorite type of sussies are those that fall into the travel category. I just attended a Travel Leaders meeting in Minneapolis and was told that the meeting would be held at the Radisson Blu Mall of America. My expectations were quite modest as most meeting hotels around airports and malls don’t exactly take your breath away (although the smell in a few has done so). My first thought was that the word “Blu” must have frozen his little “e” off on one of those bone chilling days so typical of Minneapolis and just hadn’t gotten around to having it surgically repaired yet.
Silly me. It turns out there are Radisson Blu hotels all over Europe and the name was no doubt coined to evoke trendy images and avant-garde emotions and all manner of new wave nuances, all of which were obviously wasted on a Philistine like me.
I have, however, cultivated an appreciation for nice accommodations. I was quite pleasantly surprised to walk into the lobby and see the geometric iceberg in the picture above dominating the entire back wall.
Here is another picture of the quite striking lobby.
If you are wondering about those gigantic Hershey Kisses at the far end of the lobby, wonder no more. Those are hanging wicker basket chairs of the type you crawl into and fall asleep while waiting for your airport van and miss your flight.
Not that I would expect you to give a rodent’s posterior . . . this is a family friendly blog, after all . . but since the meeting began at one in the afternoon, I had to get up at the ghastly hour of 4am to catch a 6:50am flight. I can assure you that not even the aforementioned rats are scurrying about at that hour.
The point of sharing this tidbit, apart from a useless attempt at soliciting sympathy, is to explain the absence of other patrons in the restaurant below. Having eaten a Starbucks breakfast sandwich at 5am, my business partner and I found ourselves banging down the door of the FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar at 11am when they opened. Here we discovered another pleasant little surprise. The menu was quite extensive and the food was delicious. I am pretty sure I would have deemed it so even if I hadn’t been ravenous.
You may have noticed, assuming you have not dozed off by this point, that this particular Radisson Blu is called Radisson Blu Mall of America. The truly astute among you will have worked out by now that the name probably has some connection to its proximity to the Mall of America. You would be right although proximity hardly does it justice. This hotel is joined at the hip (metaphorically speaking) to the mall by a very short covered skywalk. If you are among a tiny handful in North America not familiar with the Mall of America, it is a mid-size Minneapolis city masquerading as a shopping center with 500 shopping, dining and entertainment options.
I will leave you with this bit of advice. If you are headed to Minneapolis on business or to do a little shopping and are feeling a little blue (but don’t want to stay that way), this stylish abode will warm the cockles of your heart . . . and wherever else you may have them!