Sure it’s fun to shop, and eat, and play at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, but what if I told you that you can also sleep at the largest mall in the country?! There are two fantastic hotels attached to the Mall of America, and they are the Radisson Blu and the JW Marriott. These top hotels are your two most convenient options when you are planning where to stay at the Mall of America.
Both hotels offer direct access to the 520 shops and over 50 restaurants and attractions at the Mall of America, comfortable rooms to visit throughout the day while dropping off your shopping bags, and many of the amenities you would expect at an upscale hotel. But, the two hotels connected to the Mall of America are also very different. The differences start with the atmosphere, décor, the extras that are provided, and the room rates.
We are going to compare the two hotels and share what you may encounter during your stay, but this isn’t a contest and there is no winner. This guide to the two hotels is to help you pick the right hotel for you and your family, and to have the best vacation experience while visiting the Mall of America.
(This article contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read my disclosure policy here.)
The Lobby and Checking in at Radisson Blu
Whether you walk in the main entrance or arrive in the elevator from the parking garage, your reaction is probably going to be “Wow, this is so cool!” Was it the long fireplace, the swinging chairs that hang from above, or the modern shape to the walls that made you say that?
More often than not, it’s a little loud in the lobby. There are people coming and going, flight crews waiting to leave for the nearby airport, and mall visitors wanting a quick look at the cool lobby.
Check in is quick, since there are usually a couple of people working the front desk. They will ask if you are parking car at the hotel, and if so, they will need the ticket you received when entering the ramp.
The best part at check in is the goodies that you receive for being a Radisson Rewards member. This is their hotel loyalty program and I would suggest signing up for it before you book your stay. We always receive a welcome gift of treats and water, with a handwritten note upon checking in. We’ve also received upgrades to the club level or to a suite. The last bonus we usually receive is complimentary parking (except in October 2022, but we had a free parking coupon anyways). We have received these benefits whether we were paying for the room with cash or points. Score one for the Radisson Blu! I know I said this isn’t a contest, but….
Related post: Mall of America – 9 First Experiences for the Whole Family
So you’ve checked in, and now it’s time for a bit of a hike to your room. You will want to go up the escalator behind the check in counter, or up the elevator located at the end of the lobby, to the second floor. You then walk by the entrance to FireLake Grill House and the cool meeting area with the fun chairs (stop back later for pictures) to the main elevator bank. Now you are on your way to your room.
The Lobby and Checking in at JW Marriott
Instant calm….whether you walked in the front door or are walking off the lobby elevator from the parking garage. The colors are neutral, there is quiet, and there were probably a few staff members who have already said “welcome”.
The neutral colored lobby area is flooded with daytime sunshine, and the rest of your party is already sitting in the comfortable seats.
Check in is quick, and we’ve had our room ready even when checking in early. If you are a first time guest, they will give you the details on how to get to the mall, the elevators, and whatever else you may need.
The elevators are an easy walk along more seating areas and a bar/lounge area. Straight ahead, you’ll see the hotel’s restaurant Cedar + Stone Urban Table.
You’ll need your room key to scan in the elevator, and to access the hotel from the mall.
Related: Wondering how you can stay at the amazing JW Marriott for free? One simple way is to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from Marriott’s credit card! Click my personal affiliate link for more info.
The Rooms at Radisson Blu Mall of America
If you love a hotel room with some color and sparkle, you are in the right place. The rooms at the Radisson Blu have a pop of color, either teal or orange, and black tile in the entrance and bathroom with thousands of tiny sparkles.
The regular rooms, either with two queen beds or one king, are 350 square feet whether you are on the business class level or not. The larger studio suites are 445 square feet, and one bedroom suites are 660 square feet.
The suites have an additional seating area with a chair, fold out couch, lamp, and coffee table.
All rooms have mini refrigerators, but none have microwaves. A stay in a business class room gets you some better in-room coffee, but a steaming hot cup of coffee from Caribou isn’t far away.
Unfortunately some of the bathrooms have a frosted glass sliding entrance door, which isn’t very welcoming to families. There is little counter space around the bathroom sink, but there is a small shelf to hold some of your things. Some rooms have a separate bath tub, and all of the showers are rain showers.
There is a large variety of amenities in the bathroom, but the smell of the soap and hair products is a little different. You should have shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bar soap, body lotion, vanity kit, shower cap, and shoe polish provided in your bathroom.
The view from the room isn’t anything special. If your window faces north, you are looking at the roof of the mall and at the JW Marriott. If your window faces south, you are looking at the hotels located across the street from the mall.
Related post: A Family Dining Guide to the Foods You Must Eat at the Mall of America
The rooms and hallways have always been quiet when we’ve stayed here, and you really do get a good night’s sleep after a full day of shopping, eating, and fun.
The Rooms at the JW Marriott Mall of America
The neutral and calming décor of the lobby carries over into the rooms at the JW Marriott. The rooms are decorated with cream and brown color tones and have simple patterns in the carpet and on the wallpaper. The décor definitely reflects their “quiet luxury” theme.
Standard room sizes range from 400 – 415 square feet and have 1 king or 2 queen size beds. Rooms on the executive lounge level are closer to 500 square feet. Connecting rooms and suites are also available.
There are mini refrigerators in the rooms, but no microwaves. There is bottled water in the room, and hiding with the coffee and tea selection were some Biscoff biscuits. There is also cream and sugar for your early morning convenience.
The bathrooms are large and there is a lot of counter space by the sink. There is a bath tub and a separate shower, but the best part is the bathroom door closes completely and even locks.
The bathroom light has a dimmer switch, convenient for those who prefer a little light during the overnight.
The hotel provides shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, mouthwash, cotton balls, bar soap, and Q tips in the bathroom.
The bathroom only had three sets of towels when we stayed in August, so if you are a party of four, you will be calling for another set.
There is a decent sized closet in the room to hold a suitcase and to hang up some clothes. There are also one or two robes and extra bedding in the closet.
There’s a nice desk in the room that has a long countertop to set your things on. The standard rooms also have a separate chair and small table next to a reading lamp.
The rooms with the better view face north, and you can see the skylines of both Minneapolis and St. Paul in the distance. You also overlook a busy runway at MSP International Airport for some fun plane spotting. If your room faces south, you will overlook the mall and see the Radisson Blu across the way.
Where to Park at the Radisson Blu and JW Marriott Hotels
The entrance to the Radisson Blu is on the south side of the Mall of America. Turn onto Southwest Court off of Killebrew Drive and follow the signs. There is usually a Radisson Blu employee that will meet your car, ask if you are a hotel or restaurant guest, and then they will direct you from there. Parking is $18 per night.
There is a coupon for one free night of parking at the Radisson Blu, in the 2022 Mall of America coupon book. The coupon book costs $9.95 and has 198 coupons to be used throughout the mall. There are also coupons for the restaurants located inside the Radisson Blu and JW Marriott.
The entrance to the JW Marriott is on the north side of the Mall of America. Turn onto Northeast Court off of Lindau Lane. We’ve always driven right into the parking ramp, but you can also pull up to the hotel entrance to drop off your bags. Parking is $18 per night, plus tax. We have had the fee waived during one stay, but not on two other stays.
You may keep your car in their parking lot until 5:00 pm on the day you check out. Any later, and there’s a fee.
One important note, when leaving the JW Marriott’s parking ramp for the last time, you’ll need your room key to exit.
When you leave the JW Marriott parking lot for the last time during your stay, keep your room key handy because you will need that to exit the parking ramp.
Related post: Nickelodeon Universe – 33 Things You Need to Know Before You Go
The ramps at both locations were very clean, well lit, felt safe, and convenient to the hotel lobby.
Comparing the Pools at the JW Marriott and Radisson Blu
The pool at the Radisson Blu is a saline pool, and the depth varies from 3’ 6” to 4’ 10”. There are a lot of tables, chairs, and lounge chairs in the pool area. The pool room has a television, and a cool vending machine that sells pool toys.
The Radisson Blu website states that the pool is closed from March 1 thru May 28 each year.
The heated pool at the JW Marriott varies in depth from 3’ 6” to 5’. There are some comfortable chairs and benches for seating, and a wall of windows overlooking exterior of the mall. The pool is located adjacent to the JW’s gym. The gym is very nice, and we always stop by for a bottle of water.
The pools at both hotels are pretty standard, but are kid approved.
Getting to the Mall of America from the Radisson Blu
The entrance to the mall is on the second floor. You’ll exit the elevator, walk past the huge table and the red chairs, and then turn left. If you go right, you’ll see the escalator to the first floor lobby. As you walk down the hall to the mall, you’ll see how close you are to a Caribou Coffee shop and also a Mall of America store.
Getting to the Mall of America from the JW Marriott
From the second floor of the hotel, you’ll walk down a hotel hallway to a glass door. Open that door, and you’ve discretely arrived at the Mall of America. Go up the escalator to the third level, and you’ll be at the edge of the Culinary on North food court. There are a lot of dining options for everyone, and is a very popular area. Stay on the second level, and you’ll walk by some large clothing stores as you make your way into the mall.
Just remember, as you get loaded down with shopping bags during the day, you access each hotel on level two of the mall. Check the nearby store numbers to see if you are north, south, east, or west and then head to your room to drop off your purchases and take a quick break.
The Little Details to Help You Decide Where to Stay at the Mall of America
Check in time is 3:00 and check out time is noon. We have requested and received a check out time of 1:00 pm for no additional charge. A check out time beyond that is $50, per the quote we received in late 2019.
There are complimentary newspapers near the restaurant entrance, on the second floor.
The food at Fire Lake is absolutely delicious, and the prices are reasonable. The prime rib dip sandwich is our current favorite!
The lounge may not have food service on the weekends. If not, you will receive a credit for breakfast in the restaurant.
Pets are welcome with a $100 fee for their stay. The pet policy is located on the hotel website under “hotel services”.
There are children activities available for kids to explore the hotel with Marty the Moose, see the website for more info.
There is a shuttle that runs between the hotel and the airport. Shuttle service is based upon availability.
There are a lot of meeting spaces at the Radisson Blu, and the crowd level and noise in the common areas may be affected by that.
For more details…visit the Radisson Blu Mall of America website.
Check in time is 4:00 pm, and check out is at noon. We have been able to check in (very) early, with no problems. We have also been granted a complimentary 1:00 pm checkout, by asking nicely. Your room keys expire at noon, so if you have a later check out, just stop by the front desk to have them re-keyed.
There is 24 hour room service.
There is a fee for the wifi, but it’s complimentary if you are a Marriott Bonvoy member or booked your stay through the Marriott website.
The Executive Lounge may not have food service on the weekends. If not, you will receive a credit to use at the hotel restaurant.
There is a lot of meeting and event space available, but we haven’t noticed any noise or crowds from this.
For more details…visit the JW Marriott Mall of America website.
How Much Does it Cost to Stay at the Radisson Blu and the JW Marriott
Here is the rate comparison based on a standard, two queen bed room, with two adults and two kids (as of November 2022).
Friday January 27, 2023–
Radisson Blu rates, before tax, ranged between $216 (if Rewards member) and $255 or 75,000 points
JW Marriott rates, before tax, ranged between $275 and $329 or 31,000 points
Wednesday June 21, 2023–
Radisson Blu rates, before tax ranged between $309 (if Rewards member) and $364 or 75,000 points
JW Marriott rates, before tax, ranged between $371 and $399 or 41,000 points.
So, have you decided where you are going to stay? No matter which hotel you choose, you and your family are going to have a fantastic time at the Mall of America!
Additional Trip Planning Resources That You Can’t Miss!
- Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America – 33 things You Need to Know Before You Go
- A Family Dining Guide to the Top 13 Foods That You Have to Eat While at the Mall of America
- Mall of America – 9 First Experiences for the Whole Family
- A Look Inside the Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington Minnesota
- The latest TripAdvisor reviews for the Radisson Blu Mall of America
- The latest TripAdvisor reviews for the JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America
Pending reviewvia mobile
We had a family birthday weekend at this hotel in the Mall of America. We have had many outings at this hotel and their restaurant, Cedar and Sone. It was one of our favorite places to meet prior to covid. We met at hotel checkin and there was no one there, I mean not one person behind the desk! We waited to check-in for 27 minutes. Our room, which we requested early check-in was not ready until 4:00. Prior to covid we were Marriott reward platinum members.
We called the restaurant the day before to order a cake. They did not answer or return our email request. We brought our own cake and were told there may be a cutting cost. When we asked how much the host could not find the cost so stated. ” they must not be charging one now.” Our meal was ok. The waitress was phenomenal but when we got our $450 bill we saw a $25 cake cutting charge. We asked the host why it was there when he said there would not be a charge. He looked right at us and said, ” I never said that” He lied right in front of the whole family that heard him say it. We asked for the manager who just gave us platitudes while not wearing a mask. None of the management were wearing masks even though the hotel, restaurant and Mall require masks. We even had to get masks for the little kids.
It is so disappointing to see this great hotel go down so fast and so far. There are more employees at a Fairfield Inn than were working at that hotel. The ones that were working were so poorly trained it was embarrassing. I worked for the original Marriott. We had days of training. The original owner of that Marriott would be so saddened to see his employees accusing customers of lying, of a front desk left empty and such a poorly trained staff. Their excuse was covid really hurt us, we can’t find employees. If you want to go to the Mall of America go to the Radisson Blu. They have trained employees and their restaurant really wants customers to enjoy the experience. We spent thousands at that JWMarriott but will never eat or stay their again.
Wow, I can’t imagine how disappointing your trip was! Thanks for the info, I’m sure it will be helpful to people when deciding where to stay! We stayed at the Radisson Blu a couple of weeks ago, and the service was definitely not what we are used to. Hopefully the travel turn around happens sooner rather than later and we can get our fantastic hotels back!