We spent one night at Hotel Red in celebration of our 24th wedding anniversary. It definitely is not another cookie cutter hotel and we thought it would fit the bill for an adventure close to home.
The hotel was easy to find and parking was a snap. The exterior sets the stage for what you’ll see inside, with lots of angles and modern details. Check-in was quick and we were surprised with an upgrade to a 2 bedroom suite (Room 201). Once inside the door, we were struck by how dark it was. A flip of the light switch turned on can lights with red light bulbs (!), which didn't do much to light our way. There were two bedrooms located on each side of the entry, and the short hallway then opened into a large space with a kitchenette on one end and living room at the other. A Kuerig coffee maker with a supply of coffee and tea, along with a microwave and dishwasher were all provided. Our suite included a triangular balcony that overlooked busy Regent and Monroe Streets, and several floor to ceiling windows. There were large flat screen tv's in the living room and in each bedroom.
The look is open and modern, and I do mean open. The bathrooms are integrated as part of the bedrooms, with no walls separating the two spaces. The larger bedroom included a tub, sink, shower and toilet located on a platform one step above the bed. The tub looked really cool and modern, but it was strange to have it within a couple feet of the head of the bed. The shower fixture was one of those really expensive ones with all the bells and whistles but it was nearly impossible to use. My husband tried the one in the larger bedroom, gave up and moved to the second bedroom, and still couldn't get the water temperature off scalding. We ended up calling the front desk for help mid-shower. Apparently it wasn't the first time this had happened as we were immediately given detailed instructions (Dry off the bottom knob because it won't turn if it's wet; then take a dry towel, wrap it around the knob, grip hard and turn it until it's at 10:00).
The main bedroom had a platform bed, but no bedside tables (which turned out to be really annoying for my husband, who likes to have his glasses and phone next to the bed). The toilet was in the far corner, within direct line of sight of the head of the bed. There were hanging panels that could be pulled close to give some semblance of privacy, but it wasn't the same as a door.
The second bedroom was a bit smaller and had just a shower, no tub. It also had a bit more "toilet privacy" as the toilet was located behind the shower and was not visible from the bed. There were, however, floor to ceiling windows right next to the bed, overlooking the busy street. We closed the curtains but the street noise was very apparent in that room and in the main living area.
As others have mentioned, the floors and ceilings are unfinished concrete. I like polished concrete floors; I have them in a portion of my house. They are easy to clean and you never have to deal with replacing carpet, and as far as hotel carpet goes….well, it gives me the heebie jeebies. Who knows what’s been on that carpet? So, extra points to Hotel Red for the floors. However, I wasn’t a fan of the concrete ceilings. Yes, they were high but still, it seemed like we were inside a parking garage. Maybe it was because the weather was cold and rainy when we were there, but I just couldn’t get comfy looking up at that cold gray ceiling.
We decided to sleep in the larger bedroom because it was set back off the street and didn't have as much street noise as the smaller room. We ended up rethinking that decision around 3 am. Reason one: The mattress. It had a definite downward slope towards the head of the bed. Try sleeping comfortably with your feet above your head; can't be done. Reason two (and this is the one that tipped it over); the HVAC unit (right next to the head of the bed) developed an annoying rattle. We scurried over to bedroom 2 and discovered that the temperature was set at 60 degrees (brrrrrrrr). We cranked up the heat, which fortunately drowned out the street noise and snuggled into bed….until around 5 am, when the HVAC unit clicked off, and the street noise took over. At least the mattress was better on this bed – it obviously had not been used as much as the bed in the larger bedroom.
So, bottom line: We visit Madison a couple times a year, but we've decided we won't be returning to Hotel Red. There are plenty of other choices in Madison; none of them are as unique as Hotel Red, but when it comes to a good night's sleep, unique isn't always a good thing.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.