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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

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In Travel & Visitors Guide

The Presidential Suites at the InterContinental have great views of Downtown.

In Travel & Visitors Guide

The 15 Corner Alcove King rooms at the Iron Horse are stunningly contemporary.

In Travel & Visitors Guide

The living room in the three-room Lakeview Suite at the Marriott Downtown has a hideaway bed.

In Travel & Visitors Guide

The Presidential Suite at the Hilton City Center is old world luxurious.

In Travel & Visitors Guide

The three Presidential Suites at The Pfister aren't half bad.

Milwaukee's priciest hotel rooms


Check in early and stay late during OnMilwaukee.com's "Hotel Week" sponsored by VISIT Milwaukee. The next seven days will be packed with stories about historic area hotels, reviews, famous guests, food and drink, overnights with kids and more. Find out what it's like to be a tourist in this town. (Chocolate on your pillow not included.)

In what is perhaps a great irony of the hospitality industry, the most expensive rooms at Milwaukee's great hotels are also, typically, the cheapest.

That's because, as one hotel general manager told me, while "The Pfister might get a Saudi sheik once in a while that pays the going rate for everything," most of the luxury suites in Milwaukee – which carry the highest "rack rate" price tags – are often included at no extra charge in packages.

So, if you're bringing a huge group of your employees to the Hilton City Center for a conference, for example, the sprawling Presidential Suite with views up Wisconsin Avenue, will likely be comped for the organizer.

And, says Jeff Hess, GM at the Marriott Downtown, "if somebody's spending $20,000 on a wedding, we'll throw the Lakeview Suite in at no extra charge."

Consider that the rack rate for the Lakeview Suite runs $1,200 and during big special events like the Harley-Davidson birthday celebrations, it can fetch as much as $2,400.

Here are some of the priciest hotel rooms in Milwaukee, all of which are suites.

Hilton Milwaukee City Center

The wood-paneled Presidential Suite, with a fireplace, a giant safe for a closet and a sound-proof telephone booth runs about $1,500, though, it's often rolled into packages. Built as an apartment for the hotel's original owner, Walter Schroeder, there is also a kitchen, a fireplace and views to the east, north and west.

At a rack rate of about $1,000, the Plaza Suite is considered the junior of the two luxury suites here, but it just got a major remodel and so just may be even more desirable than its elder sibling.

InterContinental Milwaukee

Two of the 16 suites at the InterCon are Presidential Suites that run about $950 a night. The 900-square foot rooms offer panoramic views, two bedrooms, three spa-quality bathrooms, a large parlor, dining room and living room areas. There are swanky leather walls, works by local artists, free-wifi and an oak-paneled work area for business travelers.

Iron Horse Hotel

Clocking in at a much more affordable rate are the 15 Corner Alcove King rooms at the Iron Horse, though, remember these are not suites. Still, you get great views, a walk-in shower with a large rain dome shower head, a seating area and some alluring contemporary decor. Rack rate is $499.

Milwaukee Marriott Downtown

As mentioned above, rack rate on The Lakeview Suite, with views through Downtown to Lake Michigan, is $1,200. You can't book it online. Instead, you've got to call the hotel sales department to grab this one.

The suite has two bedrooms that are upgraded versions of standard king rooms, and a large living room area that can be reconfigured into a bedroom, allowing the hotel to rent the space as three separate rooms.

The room is especially great for viewing the July 3 fireworks and last year, a guest did that as a treat for his mother.

The Pfister

There are a whopping 82 suites available at The Pfister – some in the more modern tower and others in the historic building below. The most luxurious, however, is the 1,100-square foot Presidential Suite on the 22nd floor of the tower, with two king bedrooms, incredible views, a whirlpool tub, kitchenette, wet bar and three full baths. Rack rate is $1,200. The 900-square foot Governor's Suite (which used to be called the Presidential Suite) is a three-room accommodation in the 1890s Henry Koch-designed building. Every U.S. president since William McKinley has stayed at The Pfister and it's a good bet most kicked back in the Governor's Suite. Expect to pay about $950 a night for the pleasure.

The Potawatomi Bingo Casino Hotel

The details of the sprawling top-floor suite at the Menomonee Valley hotel expected to open later this year are being kept closed, but Potawatomi's Kim Mitschke promises it will be popular.

"While we're still finalizing the details, we fully expect the Presidential Suite to be one of the most sought-after spaces in the city, with some of the most breathtaking views of the Milwaukee skyline you'll find," she says.

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