New Hotel Lands on Lake Minnetonka

Lakeside hospitality returns after more than 50 years with the arrival of Hotel Landing

For the first time in more than 50 years, a hotel will grace the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Part of a redevelopment project called the Promenade of Wayzata, the boutique Hotel Landing comes dressed to impress after almost two years of construction, appealing to business and leisure travelers alike with 92 rooms, 30 condos, and a two-story restaurant.

PHOTO COURTESY OF The Cuningham Group

With its ribbon-cutting ceremony just days away, the hotel revives the area’s long-lost lodging legacy. Back in the mid- to late-19th century, a great deal of hotels decorated the shores of Lake Minnetonka. The wave started with a small inn built by a couple in Minnetonka Mills, and the industry grew dramatically in the years following the Civil War. The area’s first big hotel resort, Hotel St. Louis in Deephaven, became a popular refuge for those desiring to escape the heat of the South. Other large, popular hotels included James J. Hill’s Hotel Lafayette in Minnetonka Beach, which hosted President Ulysses S. Grant, and Hotel Del Otero in Spring Park.

But people who once arrived as visitors started buying property and building their own places on the lake, causing the demand for lodging to drop and making hotels unprofitable, according to reporting done by Lake Minnetonka Magazine. Transportation changes in the form of railways and cars inspired people to travel out west to places such as Yellowstone and California, bypassing Lake Minnetonka and taking a toll on its tourism. Those who continued to visit chose to stay in smaller, cheaper hotels because of financial downturns in the 1890s.

Hotel St. Louis shut down. Hotel Lafayette burned in a fire before it was set to close by Hill, and his second hotel, Hotel Del Otero, met the same fiery fate. The remaining hotels were torn down in 1964, leaving the area to its Holiday Inns.

Will the new, grand Hotel Landing meet the same fate as its hotel predecessors, or will it thrive and land on its feet?

“The history was all about lakeside hospitality, and it’s back,” says Steve Bohl, the developer of the project and president of Bohland Development and Bohland Homes.

Bohl grew up in Wayzata, and his love for Wayzata and it’s uniqueness­—the draw of the lake with the shops and new restaurants around it—inspired him to develop the hotel.

PHOTO COURTESY OF The Cuningham Group

Wayzata has changed, even in the last few years, with the suburb’s restaurant boom. The hotel intends to fit the contemporary personality of Wayzata, whether that means providing a Minnesota corporation with high-tech meeting spaces and pop-up microphones or hosting guests in town for a wedding at one of the surrounding country clubs.

“With Wayzata being so hot right now and its restaurants receiving attention, it’s becoming the new place to hang out,” says Renee Brown, senior account executive at Nemer Fieger advertising agency.

Lodging at the hotel, visitors who fail to call upon the street-parking angel can make use of three levels of inside parking. The streets and sidewalks come heated for late-night walks on cool evenings. And there’s even a pond under half of the building—though, don’t worry, we’re assured the building isn’t afloat.

PHOTO COURTESY OF The Cuningham Group

Designed to give an edge of the lakefront, the hotel includes restaurant Nine Twenty-Five, named appropriately after the address at which it resides. There, you’ll find an urban aesthetic—something you would find on the East Coast—that accommodates several party atmospheres, whether that includes music in a louder bar area on the first floor, an intimate conversation with friends sitting fireside on the upper level, or a tucked-away private dining table, called the kissing booth, with a quaint light fixture overhead. If nothing inside suits your fancy, dine out on the two-level veranda seating that looks down Lake Street.

Some controversy surrounds the major redevelopment project Promenade of Wayzata, of which the hotel is a part, because of its size and scale, and because the Promenade—featuring a spa, senior housing, and retail—demolished the old Bay Center Mall, according to reporting done by the Star Tribune. Originally, the hotel wasn’t part of the redevelopment project, but after research on what would best fit Wayzata’s personality, Bohl added the hotel to the plan.

And it seems as though the project will open as a hit. Bookings for weddings have already made way, and only a handful of condos are still available. Unofficial “soft openings” have begun, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place June 16 with a grand opening in November.

So whether you’re traveling for business, a wedding, or you need a night away from downtown, the Hotel Landing offers a new taste of that old lakeside hospitality.