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The view from Hotel Metro (in warmer weather).
The view from Hotel Metro (in warmer weather).
And its tasteful, art-deco lobby.
And its tasteful, art-deco lobby.

The mindful Metro

When economic times are tough, luxuries are the 铿乺st to fall by the wayside. Gone are things like weekend getaways and environmentally conscious choices like eating organic and living green. So what始s a girl to do when she wants to combine a night away from home, while still making sure the paper gets recycled? In Milwaukee, there始s no better place for an eco-friendly "staycation" than Hotel Metro, 411 E. Mason St.

Hotel Metro was certi铿乪d as an eco-friendly hote lby Travel Green Wisconsin in 2007. Travel Green Wisconsin requires that any business earn at least 30 points on the Travel Green Wisconsin checklist in order to receive the certi铿乧ation. Hotel Metro scored more than double that -- 67 points -- in order to be considered a green hotel.

I travel a lot, so I始m very picky about my hotels. I like to lay my head down on a comfy bed and an array of pillows. I like 铿倁ffy towels, nice bath products and a 铿俛t screen HDTV. (Hey, if I始m gone for a month I shouldn始t have to give up HD. too!)

But I also like staying in a hotel that isn始t wasteful and does its part in helping the environment. I religiously leave the card on the pillow to remind the maids there is no need to wash every piece of linen in the hotel EVERY DAY. I also, somewhat annoyingly, shut off every light before leaving the room like I始m the one paying the electric bill.

Which is why I was so impressed with Hotel Metro. Not only do we have an art-deco gem right in the heart of our city, it始s a hotel that is fashionably eco-conscious. Hotel Metro has a recycling program in place for not only staff, but also every guest who stays at the hotel. In addition, every paper product and advertising piece contains at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled content.

The Metro also uses energy-ef铿乧ient compact 铿倁orescent bulbs in their rooms. And they don始t use unnecessary energy. Unlike so many hotels I始ve stayed in, you don始t walk into a room at Hotel Metro that is buzzing with bright lamps and the white noise of the TV and/or radio. It始s a simple step, but a noticeable one.

It was a little to chilly during my stay in late March, but if you want to cut down even more on your carbon footprint -- you can use one of the his / her bikes offered at Hotel Metro to bum around the city.

Or you can stay inside and watch HDTV. Just remember to turn it off.

But our stay (the big night out was part of a birthday gift for my boyfriend) at Hotel Metro wasn't a great getaway because of the recycled paper products or energy saving light bulbs; the hotel lends itself to feeling like you始ve escaped town to somewhere slightly cooler.

The best part, you don始t have to leave the hotel to enjoy a relaxing night away from home, yet you don始t exactly feel like you始re in a hotel.

All the rooms at Hotel Metro are considered suites, which means you get plenty of space and somewhere to relax besides the bed. (Not that a lot of time in bed is a bad thing on an overnight stay ... sorry Mom and Dad.) All rooms at Hotel Metro have a separate sitting area with a 铿俛t screen, HDTV and a killer mini-bar.

And although we didn始t put it to use, rooms also feature large whirlpool tubs.

The best part of staying at Hotel Metro -- a night "away" in Milwaukee won始t break the bank. A standard deluxe king suite at the hotel usually runs about $229 a night. But while checking sites like TripAdvisor, I found many travelers who called the hotel directly and found even better deals.

From the great happy hour in the bar (who doesn始t love a martini that isn始t overpriced?) to the attentive staff who quickly responds to nearly any request (you can始t drink champagne out of wine glasses!), Metro does a fantastic job of ensuring your stay is stress free and environmentally friendly.

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