Friday, July 27, 2012

Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee, WI

Over Memorial Day, Adam and I had a rare 3 day weekend. It's the first 3 day weekend I can remember in recent history, maybe even in a few years! Day 1 was spent driving with the top down in Elly to Rochester, MN. Glorious. Sunday was spent running the Med City Marathon (half for Adam), then driving to Milwaukee where we had dinner with my parents and Grandma Nelson. We wandered around the Third Ward which is so cute and the Riverwalk which is so pretty. Then Adam and I spent the night at the Iron Horse.

I found this hotel while searching on-line for a cute place near the Third Ward. It was on Conde Nast Traveler's Top 100 Gold List for 2011 and named 2011 Boutique Hotel of the Year by the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association. It has won numerous accolades from many reputable magazines and editorialists, clearly touted as the best hotel in Milwaukee. Sounded like a winner!

Photo courtesy of the Iron Horse
The space is an 100 year old warehouse remodeled in a style that I would call "biker chic". The concept of the hotel is biker meets upscale traveller which surprisingly really works. The combination of open brick, wood, and dark leather with modern light fixtures and art. One reviewer noted it is a place where a woman would feel equally comfortable in biker boots or stiletto heels, which sounds impossible, but is actually the truth about this eclectic, down-to-earth yet sophisticated corner of Milwaukee.

Photo courtesy of the Iron Horse

Photo courtesy of the Iron Horse
Our arrival experience was great- the front desk attendant asked about our plans for the evening and made some helpful dinner suggestions. Much like my opinion on restaurants, oftentimes the difference between expected high quality and outstanding high quality is in the customer service. The lovely woman at the front desk offering suggestions rather than waiting to be asked about recommendations is one example of the latter. Well done.

The room was beautifully appointed with interesting art covering one wall and classic brick, an homage to the building's original use, on the other walls. The bathroom was very pretty with Kohler fixtures and H20 bathroom products. And I have to admit I'm a sucker for the little extra touches like the toilet paper roll covered in animal prints:)

The mini-bar selection was great as well and had we planned to stay longer I'm sure we would have dug in to the great beer and wine selection.

Photo courtesy of the Iron Horse

We had breakfast in the morning in the Library and I was quite happy with the selection. While I am no vegetarian, I felt like having a lighter breakfast so ordered the Tofu Scramble, which turned out to be an absolutely delicious blend of sautéed tofu, asparagus, red onion, cherry tomatoes, wild mushrooms, zucchini, fresh herbs and truffle oil. It was tasty and filling, without relying on heavy creams or cheeses like lesser breakfast places tend to do. But don't worry, if you are up for a traditional Wisconsin breakfast there was plenty of meat and cheese on the menu as well:)

Photo courtesy of the Iron Horse

In addition to the Library there is the Smyth for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Yard, a beautiful indoor/outdoor bar. We will be back to try those on for size:)

I highly recommend the Iron Horse as a great stay for a Milwaukee weekend getaway especially for Chicagoans looking for a place that meets the high standards of an urban upscale hotel. This place was right in line with what I would expect, but at 2/3'rds of the usual cost! A well kept secret that I am very pleased to have discovered! ;)


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