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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.