On Thanksgiving Day in 1875, the St. James Hotel opened for its first day of business in Red Wing, Minnesota.
Earlier this November, the St. James Hotel was named the “Best Small Historic Hotel” by the Historic Hotels of America at their 2019 Awards of Excellence. The annual awards honor the most exemplary historic hotel properties, hoteliers and leadership practices. This particular category includes nominees with inns or hotels that have fewer than 75 guest rooms.
The luxury hotel has been owned for more than 40 years by the legendary Red Wing Shoe Company, founded in 1905. The city of Red Wing is located among the bluffs along the upper Mississippi River, about an hour’s drive from the Twin Cities.
The St. James Hotel’s reputation for service creates an authentic experience for guests, who return because of it and the accommodations. Each of the 67 guest rooms is unique in size, layout and décor and named after a former or current Mississippi riverboat. Many premium rooms showcase stunning views overlooking the river and downtown. Airport shuttle service, covered parking and a business center are popular amenities.
Admired for their culinary selections dating back to that first holiday when the St. James Hotel opened, the tradition continues with its onsite establishments: The Veranda Restaurant, The Port Restaurant, Jimmy’s Pub and Clara’s Gifts & Coffee.
Corporate retreats, pharmaceutical meetings and weddings are popular bookings here. What’s not to admire about wedding portraiture with this hotel as the scenic backdrop. The St. James Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Italianate, four-story building was designed by architects from the firm of E.P. Bassford in St. Paul. The idea for the hotel – and the $60,000 to finance its construction – are credited to eleven local business leaders, who concluded the town needed first-class lodging to support robust steamboat and railroad traffic.
Today, as they say of the St. James Hotel experience, it’s “Close to bright lights and big cities, yet truly a world away.”