Fast Facts about the St. James Hotel
Location: Red Wing, Minnesota
Size: 67 rooms
Meeting Space: More than 17,000 square feet
Access: 45 minutes from Minneapolis-St. Paul
In 1875, as Ulysses S. Grant was well into his second term as the 18th president of the United States, the staff at the St. James Hotel was hard at work welcoming guests and preparing parlors for its official opening day.
Thanks to the hard work and vision of 11 Minnesotan businessmen, the St. James Hotel opened on Thanksgiving Day of 1875 to a group of chic travelers who marveled at the hotel’s novel features, like hot and cold running water on each of the four floors. Over the years, the hotel would welcome countless celebrities and politicians, including President Rutherford B. Hayes, Mark Twain and even Bob Dylan.
The hotel has changed hands only three times throughout its entire history, remaining locally and family owned since its inception. In 1977, the hotel was purchased by the Red Wing Shoe Company, whose leaders carefully restored and renovated the property back to its former glory. They also added a shopping courtyard and a new wing for offices and more hotel rooms. The St. James is now a member of Historic Hotels of America and offers 67 Victorian-style guest rooms. No two rooms are alike, and each is named in honor of one of the 19th-century riverboats that have made the journey along the mighty Mississippi River.
The rooms are divided into the Historic section and the Riverside section, with visibly different architectural styles. Ten meeting spaces of various architectural styles accommodate small to midsize groups, offering a variety of ambiance options for meeting planners. With more than 17,000 total square feet of meeting space, the hotel has been a desired meeting location since it opened more than 140 years ago. Today, it remains one of the area’s most sought-after venues for momentous meetings and events.
The St. James Hotel offers 17,020 square feet of flexible meeting space, where 10 meeting rooms are suited for small, midsize and large groups or events. The Summit Room, for up to 240 guests, is the largest of the venues, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows with views over the Mississippi River Valley. Other spaces include the renovated Portside Room for up to 150 guests, the Laurentine Room for up to 90 guests, the Mainstreeter Room for up to 90 guests, the Oak Room for up to 50 guests, the Historic Wing for up to 70 guests and four additional breakout rooms, each capable of hosting anywhere from 12 to 30 guests.
Dining at the St. James Hotel is a treat: Even Hayes sampled some of this hotel’s delicious creations during his stay. The hotel features three restaurants on-site — the Port, the Veranda and Jimmy’s Pub — and offers a full-service catering facility for groups and events. The catering team works closely with planners to establish a custom menu for each event while meeting whatever dietary guidelines are required for attendees. The hotel’s coffee shop serves guests ice cream and pastries for take-away during their stays. The hotel is also home to three different bars and offers groups full-service bar capabilities for events.
Each of the 10 spaces available for groups to rent at the St. James Hotel comes equipped with drop-down screens and ceiling-mounted LCD projectors. The events team at the hotel can arrange for a number of team-building activities for groups, from cooking classes with a chef and group yoga classes on the lawn. The hotel also features a full-service spa, a hair salon and a flower shop to provide for the needs of guests during their stays. Parking and internet access are complimentary for all groups meeting at the hotel, where custom packages can be arranged to cover whatever each group needs while on the property.
Exploring charming downtown Red Wing is as easy as stepping out the front door of this historic hotel. The town’s location along the Mississippi River makes for fantastic sightseeing opportunities without going far. The city’s small-town charm, history and modern amenities make it a great place to spend the day in a beautiful setting before or after events. The city offers historical sites, museums, theaters, art galleries, pottery studios and many outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, sailing and golfing. Bird-watchers often come to see the numerous bald eagles that perch in the surrounding bluffs during migration. Some locals have spotted up to 300 in one day.