I had the opportunity to visit Milwaukee for a business conference, and the designated hotel for conference attendees was The Pfister. This beautiful and historic downtown hotel has just about everything to make your personal or business trip very special.
The Pfister has a main, historic section which is incredibly beautiful. It is ornate and well decorated, particularly during the holidays. They also have a 23-story tower of guest rooms, conference facilities, ballrooms, and a cocktail lounge. The guest rooms are well-decorated, have luxurious furnishings, and plenty of nice amenities. These rooms are somewhat unusual in that sixteen of them form each floor in a round tower - so they are shaped somewhat like a piece of pie. Unusual - but it works.
If you have a chance to visit the cocktail lounge on the 23rd floor, it's worth buying one of their preciously-priced drinks in order to enjoy the view. The service is great, and the view is memorable. They even have a diagram to identify all the surrounding buildings.
The front desk staff is extremely helpful and welcoming. The housekeeping staff in the guest rooms do a great job. The Pfister has a very well-equipped fitness club, and some nice high-end shops within the facility. The hotel has a lobby bar that is a classic, and a lobby cafe / coffee shop that meets all of your needs for fast coffee and breakfast. They also have one of the best steakhouse restaurants in town. The concierge staff (especially Helga) go above and beyond to please; they help make your visit to Milwaukee a fun and successful experience.
So, with everything that's been said so far (a) why is the rating only a "4" rather than a "5"? It's because the Pfister's performance in the area of banquets / conferences is unacceptable. Our small meeting (30 people) consisted of people from many countries, and those international visitors left with an unfavorable view of U.S. hospitality. For example - every water glass that we were given was dirty. Now, I'm not talking about water spots --- I'm talking about lipstick and chunks of food. When this was pointed out to the staff, the response was surly and unexpectedly uncaring. I finally confronted the banquet manager with the problem, who demonstrated the correct reaction. The banquet food was of acceptable quality, but at an extremely high price. The conference and banquet facilities are beautiful and comfortable --- but the lack of maintenance and the inhospitable staff made for an uncomfortable day.