Many people have fond memories of
this hotel. Please
contact us if you have
any stories or info to share.
The Ambassador Resort Motor Hotel
was located on 4.5
acres at 5225 Wayzata Blvd., between
Highway 100 and Park Place Blvd. The site was said to
be that of a Sioux Indian encampment called Birch Island.
The Indians had moved
west by 1877.
The hotel was owned by
brothers Joseph and Oscar J. Husby, who were involved with
the design and building of the hotel and management, and
oversaw the facilities daily. The hotel’s first manager was
Gilbert Swenberger. The grand opening was April 3, 1961.
Restaurants included the Camino Grill and the Kashmiri
Some personnel at the Camino Grill had worked there for the
entire 30-year run. In the beginning, the waitresses wore
short, see-through costumes to go with the motif of the
coffee shop and the Kashmiri Lounge. Joseph Husby's
daughter sewed all of the costumes/uniforms, and several of
his grandchildren worked in the hotel in various capacities.
Tony Hill remembers:
The hotel wasn't originally domed. Neither was it
fully enclosed. The photos at the
MN Historical Society show that there is no dome, and the
walkway that gets you to the rooms is open.
Apparently in the mid-1960s, they built the wing at
the back of the hotel (making it a rectangle completely
surrounding the swimming pool with rooms), fully
enclosed the building, and built the distinctive dome
over the pool.
At that time, a second story was also added to the front
building, which contained the offices and restaurants
and the lower-level conference center. There were a
number of guest rooms up there which weren't as nice as
those in the main building, and it was inconvenient to
walk from there to the pool. (There was a fully enclosed
skyway between the two buildings which must have been
added later.) Two of the rooms in the front building had
Murphy beds. We stayed in one of those rooms when I was
but a wee tot, and my mother had to watch me closely to
make sure I didn't cause trouble with the bed.
The last time I visited the Ambassador (not as a room
guest), they had not only removed the diving board over
the 9-foot deep end, but they had also placed forbidding
metal bars surrounding the entire deep end, making it
impossible for someone to dive there. The drain of the
pool was in the deep end, and we kids used to throw
stuff down there and then dive down and retrieve it. I
thought about that foolish activity more than once when
the Abigail Taylor tragedy happened at the Minneapolis
Golf Club a few years ago.
This is a picture of the hotel and pool before the dome went
up. Caption reads: "Ambassador Resort Motor
Hotel, crossroads Wayzata Blvd. and Hwy. 100, is 5 minutes
from downtown - has free courtesy bus - resort facilities,
cocktail lounge, nightly entertainment and 171 luxurious
rooms and suites. Excellent accommodations for up to
500 at banquets, meetings and conventions."
Courtesy Tony Hill.
Here is another view, from 1965. Caption: The
elegant Ambassador Resort Motor Hotel, located just 5
minutes from Minneapolis at Highways 12 and 100, is
Minnesota's "Island in the Sun where we control the
weather." For fun and relaxation, the King's Courtyard
with its national prizewinning pool, Finnish saunas, sun
lamp solarium, shuffleboard, putting green and ping pong.
For your dining pleasure, the richly decorated Kashmir Room,
Shalimar Cocktail Lounge, Mandalay Piano Bar, and Camino
Coffee House. For complete rest: 200 Italian
Provincial guest rooms and suites. For banquets and
conventions : The Hall of Kings. Courtesy
limousine to downtown. Courtesy Tony Hill.
1968. Is that the Honeywell plant in the
back? Park National Bank in front.
The hotel was famous for its various
amusements. In fact, a piece of stationery newly
discovered had a montage of bikini-clad beauties
demonstrating various fun things to do:
Two postcards of the hotel, courtesy of
1987 Photo courtesy Danny Amis
An undated review in the Minneapolis Star by Joanna
Connors describes her experience on a getaway weekend at the
Ambassador. Her review starts, "This is my vision of
hell." Several hilarious comments follow; some
Swarms of children churned through
the pool, cannonballing great spashes of warm yellow
water over patio furniture and clumps of jungle.
In the whirlpool bath, pale adults
floated like moribund whales, belly-side up the warm
water poaching them bright pink. They hung on to
cans of beer like they were buoys, oblivious to the
overflowing ashtrays, spilled bags of Doritos and crying
babies surrounding them.
By 8 o'clock, we were primed for
our "gourmet dining experience" in the Kashmiri Room.
We requested the no-smoking section and discovered when
seated that our table, smack in the entrance, was
the no-smoking section.
After three minutes of
side-stroking through the chilly water, we watch a
chubby 6-year-old squat in the shallow end for her
We beat a hasty retreat to the
women's saunas (they're segregated, but by this point
we're ready to break a few rules). "It smells like
pork gone bad in here," Chris says.
In 1984 the hotel was purchased by David Otto. By 1990 it
was owned by a partnership that had defaulted on the bank
The hotel checked out its last guest on March 25, 1991.
Manager John Kahler blamed road construction and the
two-year delay between the closing of the Minneapolis
Auditorium and the opening of the Convention Center. He also
blamed the media for routing traffic around the area.
The bank sold the tract to MEPC in 1991. It is now the site
of Chili’s and Olive Garden Restaurants.