Need a not-so-FAR-to-GO getaway? On my boyfriend’s birthday, we took a trip to F…f…f…Florida? Fiji? No. Fargo. Yes. Fargo, ND. While I’d envisioned a beach bound birthday, duty calls (work), and we were north bound and down.
After doing a little homework on the city and the treasures it holds, I booked Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo. I couldn’t find any B&Bs in the area, and the hotel list in Fargo read like a chain letter (meaning, all chain hotels). Yes, my jokes aren’t as funny when I feel the need to explain them to you. I randomly clicked on the Hotel Donaldson link because it was the only hotel I didn’t recognize. Within seconds, I knew it was the hotel for the native gypsy in us.
During the online booking, the hotel system asked if I had any notes to add. I mentioned we were coming on my boyfriend’s birthday. Fast forward to check-in, the front desk attendant told my boyfriend “happy birthday”. We both stared at him, wondering why he was unphased that she knew it was his birthday. She won major brownie points in my book (if I had a book that tracked brownie points) when she walked us to our room, which featured a bottle of champagne, two glasses, and a card signed by all of the staff.
Sooo, just your average run-of-the-mill hotel, right? Wrong. Their personalized customer service wasn’t the only thing that makes Hotel Donaldson stand out.
When I first walked into the bathroom in the hotel room, I didn’t notice the Aveda products or the rain shower head. I immediately spotted the plug-in toilet! The inquisitor in me just had to ask. Tanner, the hotel’s manager, informed me that it was a low-flow toilet with two flushing options (full or half flush).
While I can’t state what cleaners are used in the rooms and laundry, the hotel said it avoids harsh chemicals.
Locally Farmed Food
The manager proudly stated that all the kitchen’s dining options were local, organic and sustainable whenever possible. Here’s a list of their local food producers and artisan farmers. Not only does local support the community, it also creates a smaller ecological footprint.
The hotel, founded by Karen Stoker, is comprised of 17 art-enhanced rooms. As told by Tanner, “She had the idea to feature an artist in each room, and had an initial reaction, from the designer she had been working with in Minneapolis, that she would not be able to find 17 artists in Fargo. Being a North Dakota native and a Fargo lover, she knew it could be achieved. The arts truly are vibrant in our community.” Well said. Don’t ever underestimate a community, no matter the size.
Take the time for their evening wine and cheese at the hotel. We sipped on wine and relaxed outside on the second floor patio. During the cocktail hour, we met a couple from the area (who’d booked a stay-cation at Hotel Donaldson).
Need to work during your stay? The rooms have free wi-fi. Gym rat? They’ve got that too.
Unfortunately, the rooftop hot tub was closed during our stay (due to heavy rains). We ventured up to the Sky Prairie rooftop anyways, which doubles as a garden. The hotel grows a variety of plants and herbs (which flavor your dinner and drinks when you dine at HoDo Lounge or Restaurant). We welcomed the bustling atmosphere and music from a live jazz band at the bar, where I sipped on a local beer and enjoyed my hanger & salad. And I wasn’t alone; the birthday boy gave HoDo his stamp of approval too.
The hotel is in walking distance of the entire downtown. Shop at the local boutiques across the railroad tracks, visit the art exhibit across the street from the hotel and refresh with a fresh pressed juice at The Main Squeeze. Need a good lunch spot or fourth meal? Vinyl Taco, literally a stone’s throw away from the hotel, is your spot. Vinyl record music delights your ears as pork belly and shrimp a la parilla delight your tastes. And yes, we’re still talking about Fargo, folks. … Ya, I know!
Engulf yourself in the Fargo culture and book a stay at Hotel Donaldson.
Fargo fan? Let us know what other hidden treasures you recommend when visiting the Fargo area (#nativegypsies on social media).