Hotels in Rochester offer very good value. Most have shuttle service available to the hospitals, and most have kitchenettes available.
The 2nd St. Inn and Suites (1013 2nd St. SW, 507/289-3363 or 800/533-2226, www.rgilodging.com, $40) opened its doors in 1906, and today a night in the very small and simple rooms is kind of like stepping back to that time.
A row of older no-frills hotels catering almost exclusively to patients and their families, fronts St. Marys Hospital. The Ray-Mar Motel (1416 2nd St. NW, 507/282-7468 or 800/625-7468, www.raymarmotel.com, $49) tries to make visitors feel at home with free breakfast and afternoon snacks. Weekly and monthly rates are also available.
There’s no shortage of cheap, basic hotels along Broadway on the south side of town either. The Rochester Inn (1837 Broadway S., 507/288-2031 or 800/890-3871, $38) is typical.
The historic Kahler Grand Hotel (20 2nd Ave. SW, 507/280-6200 or 800/533-1655, www.kahler.com, $79) opened its doors in 1921. It has a grand lobby, 668 rooms, 15 suites, and a domed, skylit recreation area with pool, whirlpool, sauna, and exercise room. The standard rooms are small, though larger rooms are available.
Its sister hotel, the Kahler Inn and Suites (9 3rd Ave. NW, 507/285-9200, www.kahler.com, $99) is more modern, but less interesting and opulent. It also has top-notch facilities, including a pool, fitness center, and on-site shopping and restaurants. Both are connected directly to the Mayo Clinic by indoor walkways.
Less fancy, but also full of character, is the Days Inn (6 1st Ave. NW, 507/282-3801 or 800/329-7466, www.daysinn.com, $62), a renovation of a 1917 building with smallish rooms. The larger kitchenettes don’t cost all that much more.
The Hilton Garden Inn (225 Broadway S., 507/285-1234 or 877/782-9444, $139), one of the most recently constructed downtown hotels, has well-appointed rooms plus a pool, whirlpool, and exercise room.
The Fiksdal Hotel (1215 2nd St. SW, 507/288-2671 or 800/366-3451, www.fiksdalhotel.com, $75) is a bit nicer than most of the other hotels by St. Mary’s and has microwaves and refrigerators in all the rooms, plus a 2nd-floor patio.
A hotel within a hotel, the International Hotel (20 2nd Ave. SW, 507/328-8000 or 800/940-6811, www.internationalhotelmn.com, $450) is a 26-room boutique facility on the top floors of the historic Kahler Grand. It’s a brand-new facility shooting for five-diamond service.
The miserably crowded Silver Lake RV Park (1409 Broadway N., 507/289-6412 or 888/284-6412, $34 for full hookup including cable TV) is the closest camping to downtown and the Mayo Clinic. Chester Woods Park (507/285-7050, May–Oct., $18 with electricity), seven miles east of the city on U.S. Highway 14, has a far better campground.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition