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SUITE success


October 2013

Iron Horse Hotel

Whether they’re here for business, pleasure, or both, visitors to Milwaukee are finding many more choice hotel rooms in town lately, with more on the horizon. The city’s newest downtown hotels are not just raising the bar for unique accommodations, they are raising Milwaukee’s profile as a world-class destination. "If you’re going to build a hotel in this market, and you look at your competitors, to compete you’re going to have to build a fairly significant hotel," says Paul Upchurch, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, the city’s convention and visitors’ bureau.

Top-rated venues like the venerable Pfister, eco-chic Hotel Metro and biker-boutique Iron Horse Hotel all have their devoted fans. Convention visitors tend to stay in hotels where their meetings are scheduled, or near the city’s convention center. That’s a niche nicely filled by the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, Hilton Milwaukee City Center and Intercontinental Milwaukee. But the city’s newest hotels are answering increasing demand for exciting places to stay.

Marriott Milwaukee Downtown

Since 2009, Upchurch says, the city has seen "pretty steady and strong growth in occupancy, so that’s created some interest." In 2012, hotel occupancy in downtown Milwaukee reached a historic 65 percent, Upchurch says. The new hotels are targeting smaller business meetings and leisure travelers as their primary customers, he adds.

The Hilton Garden Inn, opened last year, features 127 rooms and suites in the newly restored Loyalty Building, 611 N. Broadway. The building, which is a National Historic Landmark, retains its soaring atrium and sweeping staircase, and the rooms have all the amenities travelers now demand.

Capitalizing on the city’s storied past, the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, opened this year, has repurposed the old Pabst Brewery, 1215 N. 10th St., into an extended stay hotel. The renovation preserved the brewery’s enormous copper kettles and King Gambrinus stained glass window, and its steampunk décor gives the hotel its unique character.

Brewhouse Inn & Suites

In contrast to hotels located in historic properties, Aloft Milwaukee Downtown at 1230 Old World Third St. is boldly contemporary in both architecture and attitude. Rooms are designed to feel like lofts, as the name suggests, with lots of natural light streaming through extra-large windows.

Like the Hilton hotels, the sparkling new Marriott Milwaukee Downtown, 323 E. Wisconsin Ave., has the advantage of a well-known hospitality brand. With 204 rooms and one suite, "it’s well-designed and well-executed," notes Upchurch.

Now more hotel rooms are on the way. Potawatomi Bingo Casino is building a 381-room hotel, scheduled to open next summer, which Upchurch says will cater primarily to casino visitors. Upchurch says Kimpton Hotels, based in San Francisco, is eyeing a location in the Third Ward for a 158-room boutique hotel.

"The product we’re bringing into the city is great product that any city would love to have," Upchurch says.

Top-drawer Amenities

Aloft Milwaukee Downtown: Platform beds, in-room plug-and-play connectivity station, 42-inch HDTV, and walk-in shower with spa bath amenities. Contemporary chic décor.

Brewhouse Inn & Suites: Luxury "Baron Suites" feature panoramic views of the city, "Terrace Suites" have private balconies. All suites have kitchenettes to make visitors feel right at home in the former Pabst Brewery.

Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown: Five-story grand atrium, 14-foot ceilings in rooms, located in the Loyalty Building, a National Historic Landmark built in 1886.

Hilton Milwaukee City Center: Elegant art deco ambience, circa 1920s, with newly renovated guest rooms. On-site Miller Time Pub offers some of the city’s best burgers, and Milwaukee Chophouse is a top-rated steak and seafood restaurant.

Hotel Metro: Complimentary use of "Hampton Cruiser" bicycles, saltwater hot tub and rain shower, rooftop deck with fireplace, reflecting pond and fountain.

Hyatt Regency Milwaukee: Romance packages with champagne and truffles, and Bistro 333 Restaurant offers regional cuisine with an extensive wine list.

Intercontinental Milwaukee Hotel: Business and health/fitness centers, sophisticated cuisine at Kil@wat restaurant, Zenden night club features retro cocktails and eclectic music.

The Iron Horse Hotel: Plush robes, in-room bar with "Spoil-Me" basket, the country’s only hotel geared toward motorcycle enthusiasts, with special packages for riders. Just a few wheelies away from the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Marriott Milwaukee Downtown: Located in the hotel, Millioke Meat. Cheese. Beer. is a restaurant that’s got the Milwaukee comfort-food menu down. Choose from locally sourced meats like Usinger’s bockwurst, small batch artisanal Wisconsin cheeses and a carefully edited selection of craft beers.

Pfister Hotel: Milwaukee’s grand hotel since 1893, featuring exceptional architecture and a priceless collection of Victorian art. Say hello to the hotel’s artist-in-residence and the Pfister narrator, who documents the hotel’s true stories.


This story ran in the October 2013 issue of: