Minneapolis, Minnesota

W Minneapolis – The Foshay


ESG transformed the historic Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis—a 447-foot, 32-story obelisk modeled after the Washington Monument and beloved by generations of Minnesotans since opening in 1929—into a posh W Hotel unique to the Starwood North American brand. ESG deftly overcame two primary difficulties: restoring the sumptuous interiors and intricate detailing of the building’s lobby, arcade, and 27th and 28th floors (businessman Wilbur Foshay’s private residence/office) after destructive updates in the 1950s and 1980s; and programming W’s signature hotel modules (and the housekeeping stations to serve them) into the gradually narrowing office tower.

ESG convinced Starwood to drop the minimalist-modern aesthetic prevalent in its other W Hotels and opt for an interior that updated the Foshay as a symbol of the Roaring Twenties. The lounge is anchored by a two-story bar in black, silver and white, with a speakeasy décor of black-mirrored wall surfaces, wrought-iron screens, and carpets in a diagonal design inspired by the arcade’s original terrazzo floor.

Interior design in association with Munge Leung Interior Design.

The “Living Room” has a lowered ceiling and glass-and-bronze storefront windows original to the Foshay that overlook the historic arcade. During construction, ESG discovered the arcade’s original ceiling, which was restored. A 1920s French perfume bottle inspired the design of the hotel’s front desks at the end of the arcade. Restored elevators with wrought-iron doors were encased in glass whisk guests and partygoers to the Prohibition Bar on the 27th and 28th floors, the refurbished Foshay Tower museum on the 29th floor, and the observation deck on the 30th.

The remainder of the tower was innovatively programmed to include 229 hotel rooms. ESG custom-designed more than 100 new room types to fit into the tower. In addition, housekeeping closets, linen chutes and an additional stairwell were shimmied into the ever-narrowing floor plates. The rooms’ décor reflects that of the downstairs lobby/living room: mid-century modern black and white.