Duluth's lodging scene expanding

Tru by Hilton on Central Entrance in Duluth opened its doors Thursday with both guests and reservations on queue.

The new hotel offers 101 rooms, either singles with a king-sized bed or doubles with two queen beds. Rates run about $210 to $230 a night. Hearing and mobility accessible rooms are part of that mix, and discounts are given for AARP members, seniors older than 65 (no you can’t do both), members of the military or in government, travel agents and for those using Hilton Honors points. Pets and smoking are not allowed.

Amanda Johnson, general manager of the new hotel, says Tru has a different concept for how its guests will enjoy their evenings there.

The 3,000-square-foot lobby area is divided into four sections – breakfast seating for the free breakfast, a lounge, a work space with individual pods for privacy and conferencing, and a play area with a pool table and 15 to 20 board games. There’s also an outdoor patio and a fitness center.

“The idea is to get people out of their rooms to come down to the lobby and visit with other travelers,” she said.

Also in the lobby is a 24/7 “Eat & Sip Market” with beverages and a variety of snackable food in packets and a small fridge to purchase, plus a microwave.

Access to the hotel is not directly off Central Entrance, but by turning onto South Blackman Avenue and then immediately onto the angled Clearwood Drive.

The new hotel brings to 5,249 the number of hotel/motel rooms available in the wider Twin Ports area that includes Duluth, Superior, Proctor, Cloquet, Hermantown, according to Visit Duluth.

The hotel was sold before it even opened. The seller was Jon Miskavige, Ryan Carlson and Northridge 41957 Exchange LLC, all related to Northridge Constructionin Grand Forks, ND, according to the Minneapolis business publication Finance & Commerce. Duluth Real Estate TIC LLC and D&D Real Estate II LC, two entities related to Kinseth Hospitality Cos. in North Liberty, Iowa, paid $13 million for the property.

Meanwhile, farther up in the Duluth Heights across Highway 53 from the Miller Hill Mall, site preparation is under way for an 82-room Fairfield Inn & Suites at 1506 Maple Grove Rd. That property sits above a Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham, to which the new Fairfield will be linked. There is also a Fairfield Inn & Suites on Duluth’s waterfront connected to Marriott.