I just completed a stay at the Iron Horse in Milwaukee for a week in January. During this visit I had to put in many long days, mostly outside, and this hotel truly made what was usually a major grind into something where I was able to relax & enjoy part of the trip once I made it back to the hotel. The rooms are amazing and truly fit the boutique definition, with them being very tastefully & uniquely done. And unlike some of the other boutique hotels I’ve stayed in (The Mondrian comes to mind) the rooms were truly functional and comfortable, with a full size desk, very comfortable furniture, large bathroom & dual head shower, and a very roomy layout. Also it had the best stocked in room bar I have seen with full size items of most items including 5 different 750 ml bottles of wine & full size bottles of Patron & Crown Royal. You could really party on in our room if you wanted.
I had dinner three nights in Branded and the food was excellent! (Smyth the full service restaurant should open sometime in February, I expect the food will be equal as they are using the same kitchen) The only issue as mentioned in some of the prior postings is they are still fine tuning the staff. I noticed that the staff right now consists of either very green members or very experienced members trying to bring the green people up to speed. So the experienced staff tend to get stretched quite thin and most nights the bar is packed far beyond what they thought they would get this soon after opening. The good side is they are working their tails off & do let you know what is going on, which is more than I’ve experienced in most hotel & restaurant launches. The breakfast in the Library is excellent & the staff ratio there was very good, so no issues there. Plus the feel of the Library is very cozy & made for one of the best hotel breakfast experiences I’ve had in a while.
A tip, you can get full bar service in the Library at night, with the fireplace & the wide selection of books & work areas, it makes a nice alternative to spending time in the room when pounding out e-mail or if you want to get out of the room without the bar environment. (Female travelers take note) The exercise facilties were top notch, with a full range of upper model Precor equipment & full free weight sets. The spa area was not finished during my visit, but the hot tub/ bar sounds like it will be fun when it’s done. They do have a heated parking garage for guests, which sure helps in the AM when it’s 11 degrees out.
Two items to watch for at this hotel is if you are a light sleeper, do not get a room on the north side of the hotel. Since it is built in an old warehouse, the hotel is located within 20 ft of an active railroad switching line. You can hear the trains faintly from your room at times. I had a north facing room on the 4th floor and I could hear them if I was sitting quietly in the room, but never got woke up by a train. Sound insulation in the room is excellent. One of the people in my group was a very light sleeper; the hotel was very willing to switch him to a room on the south side & he had no issues with that room. The other one is there is no clock radio or simple way to get music in your room from an IPod. I like to listen to music instead of watching TV in the evening and go to sleep & wake to music. They have a way with a bunch of cables to patch it into the TV, but you still can’t use it to go to sleep or wake to. I know clock radios are viewed as tacky in the boutique hotel world, but an IPod docking clock radio is a very cool solution to this situation and would fit with the vibe of the hotel.
Otherwise I highly recommend this hotel if you have a stay in Milwaukee, especially if you have to go during the middle of the bleak winters they get there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Iron Horse Hotel is Milwaukee's most chic and sophisticated property - the transformation of a 100-year-old downtown warehouse into a modern luxury boutique hotel. As the industry's first upscale hotel geared for business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, The Iron Horse Hotel meets the distinct needs of both corporate and leisure guests with its special services, unparalleled amenities and 100 loft-style guest rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Iron Horse
- Iron Horse Milwaukee