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“Hip Hotel with some growing pains”
Review of Iron Horse Hotel

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Iron Horse Hotel
Ranked #2 of 56 Hotels in Milwaukee
Certificate of Excellence
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
“Hip Hotel with some growing pains”
Reviewed May 14, 2009

My husband and I are frequent travelers to Milwaukee and have stayed in many of the available locations, from chains to B & B's. We decided to give the Iron Horse a try due to the rave reviews. The hotel itself is a hip hotel that grandly deviates from traditional hotels in every way. As others have exclaimed, from the found object art in the lobby to the modern furnishings in the rooms, the hotel is fabulous and is a "must-stay" to experience. The location is off the beaten path, but restaurants are walkable if you are in the mood for some great Mexican fare or you could stay on-site and experience what they have to offer. A cab ride may also be easily obtained.

Some of the staff, however, is still working towards achieving the high acclaim the building has assessed. When we attempted to check-in we were barely acknowledged by the staff behind the front desk and then off-handedly told our room wasn't ready yet (we were 15 minutes early for check-in). We stood there staring back for a few minutes and then had to ask where we should wait, how long would it be or if they could hold our luggage so we could sit in the bar. After they took our luggage, and did not give us a luggage tag, we headed to the bar off of the lobby for a snack and drink.

The server in the bar was very spirited and said she enjoyed working at the hotel very much. Our drinks came with a short wait, but a 1/2 hour after we ordered our appetizer we had to get up and ask the server if the kitchen had forgotten our food. It was apparant that the server had forgotten because she dashed quickly back and the food appeared. Very tasty cheese platter, highly recommended.

Trying to check-in round two involved a different staff member who wasn't quite as abrupt as the first. I told him that an hour before our room was not ready yet and he replied, "that seemed to be the theme of the day". I had to ask for my luggage and was given the opportunity to choose from the bags held in an unlocked office behind the desk. We then proceeded to our room.

The room was beautiful with gorgeous art, leather furnishings and a reasonably priced mini bar boasting full size bottles of wine and spirits. Spoiler alert to those traveling with a new partner: The bathroom wall is frosted glass, so if you are not 100% comfortable with your new mate you may be in for a big surprise!

The hotel is very noisy late into the evening, so be prepared to stay up late if your room is off of the atrium lobby. They host a DJ until at least 1:00 AM on Friday and Saturday evenings and the lobby and bar was packed with guests. The door does a fine job of buffering the sound, but you can still hear music and the patrons quite clearly.

Overall a fine experience, we would stay again and hope that the service is up to Vegas standards at that point!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MidwestMandM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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new york city
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2009

This is the first time I actually am taking the time to write a review! The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee deserves all the praise it can get. Milwaukee is not a "destination" for me; I lived there many years ago and couldn't wait to leave! However, the Iron Horse changed my mind a little bit about the possibilities in this city. It is outside the usual location for a hotel in this city but maybe that's why it is so terrific; however, you need a car to stay here. From the minute you pull up to the structure, you are treated like a star guest. The staff prides itself on individual attention, a somewhat rare commodity in this era; they even remember your name. All the details are just terrific: lobby and room decor, toilettries, staff uniforms, etc., etc. The library also serves as a breakfast room; breakfast was good and reasonable; service by Rachel was warm and adorable. The bar was a bit of a scene the night I was there since there was an event taking place but I can envision plenty of people who would love to just hang out here. The thing I liked most about this hotel was their audacity to take an old mattress factory and make it into a chic environment - maybe there is still hope for Milwaukee. The pictures do not do it justice. I ALMOST want to return just to stay here.

  • Stayed May 2009
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank nocouchpotato
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed May 10, 2009

My husband and I just stayed at The Iron Horse Hotel and we both would say it was the best stay we have ever had. I travel a lot and always look for the coolest hip hotels and spas. This is the Midwest 's Diamond! This hotel stands out from my favorite hotels in NY and Chicago. Our experiece made me want to book another stay before we even checked out! From the moment we pulled up the staff was very friendly and helpful. The Managment and staff showed an appreciation for their guests like no other place we have stayed. They really get it. How refreshing.!!
As for the Decor, they have taken a old warehouse and used it to the max. It is unique and very hip with excelent attention to detail. Thank you for taking an abondoned downtown space and making it into a killer Hotel with a very hip vibe! The rooms are beautiful and unique and with details not often found in a hotel. From the dimmers on lights to a bed that you will have a hard time wanting to leave. The room has mural wall with a super cool photo, be sure to ask for the story behind it.
We had Dinner and Breakfast and both were excellent.The menu is also done with a lot of thought, and is very fresh and tastie.
So if you want to go somewhere that will truely stand out, book a night at The Iron Horse!
CM Madison

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank ConiMadison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
milwaukee
2 reviews
Reviewed April 18, 2009

From the night life in the bar on a warm Spring evening to the amazing lobby this is the place to stay in Milwaukee. This is historical building has been transformed into a beautiful hotel. However, this room is for couple without older children. The shower wall is fogged glass and can be see from the interior room. So, if you don't mind that,
you are okay.
So, while sipping your favorite drink, enjoy this wonderful and stunning hotel in the
heart of Milwaukee

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank packers22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2009

My wife, our dog, and myself stayed at The Iron Horse over New Year’s (2008-2009). Our trip was last minute on account of having to fly to Milwaukee from New York for my mother’s funeral (sorry to be a bummer but that’s what happened). Originally, I was going to simply book some cheap hotel like the Best Western Inn Towne Hotel on 3rd and Wisconsin because I know they allow dogs. But as I was searching the internet for other dog-friendly hotels I discovered the very slick website for The Iron Horse and decided to take a chance.

When I called for reservations the staff was very enthusiastic and extremely proud of their hotel. At one point the woman with whom I was speaking said she didn’t think I had ever “seen a hotel like this in all the world,” which I thought was pretty weird. I’ve stayed in fancy hotels in Venice, Rome, Paris, London, Moscow, St. Barth’s, etc. so I was a little like “OK…whatever nice lady.” But, you know what? She was kinda right.

The Iron Horse has a unique charm, service, and ambiance that you actually won’t find many places in the world. You certainly won’t find anything else like it in Milwaukee. Other hotels in The Iron Horse’s “class” in Milwaukee would be The Hotel Metro, which is laughably sterile and tries way too hard to be “hip,” and The Pfister is like living in Donald Trump’s gilded living room. I’ve never stayed at the Astor but they don’t allow dogs so screw ‘em.

From the cool, open lobby when you walk in to the long bar and floor to ceiling windows you know you’re staying someplace special. Since it was the dead of winter there was a nice cozy fire going which made it all the more welcoming. The staff from the front desk to the valets were all super friendly and even asked us if we wanted our dog walked while we were out (something I would never allow another person to do but it was nice that they offered). They hotel keycards all have photo illustrations from the rooms of seductive ladies (think classy, not porny). The room itself was huge and tastefully decorated with a great blend of modern and retro styles: Burnished steel walls, exposed ductwork and wood beams. The bed was an enormous king that you could practically sink into. The bathroom was enormous with a super-roomy all frosted glass shower. Free wi-fi, a well-stocked mini bar, and a great view (for us it was looking north toward the Harley Museum and downtown) all rounded out a wonderful place to come “home” to…especially when I was dealing with the stress of a funeral.

One day we went out for breakfast and had to leave our pooch in the room. When we got back we told the staff that we would be taking her for a long walk and that now would be a great time to clean the room. When we got back we discovered that they still hadn’t cleaned it. When we called down to housekeeping the manager got on the phone and profusely apologized and offered to send us up some snacks. We left to let them do their thing and when we returned to our room there was three bowls of chips, Gardetto’s, Cracker Jacks, along with beers and sodas. There was even a note from the housekeeping manager with his direct number to let us know if we needed anything else. My wife and I were so surprised at the generosity we just shook our heads at how much everyone at The Iron Horse cares about their job (not something you get a lot of in New York).

The next time we’re in Milwaukee we will definitely by staying at The Iron Horse. It truly has become one of our favorite hotels.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Pastoralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2009

Milwaukee may be the last place one would expect to find this gem of a place but all of the previously-posted reviews couldn't be more right! This place is unique and is a respite from the usual run-of-the-mill hotels. But it isn't just the accommodations that make this place worthwhile but more importantly, the unpretentious hotel staff that are genuinely kind and helpful. I will definitely return and spread the word that this place rocks!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank whenna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2009

I tend to do a lot of research on hotels before we stay anywhere and I have to admit I did quite an extensive amount on the Iron Horse. My husband was afraid I would be disappointed after seeing all of the great reviews for this hotel. He thought it might not live up to the hype; I am very happy to say I was not disappointed in the least! This is a great hotel. We went to Milwaukee to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and the hotel met my expectations and more. We arrived and were greeted immediately and made to feel very welcomed. We booked an alcove suite and it was absolutely fantastic. When I mentioned to a couple of staffers which room we were in, they said it was one of the best. The amount of space in the room was unbelievable! We had a very comfy couch and two great cushiony chairs to lounge around in. When I booked our stay, I mentioned that we wanted to have as much privacy as possible and we certainly did. We couldn't hear anything from our room. The double sinks in the bathroom were handy while getting ready for a night out on the town. The front desk mentioned utilizing a town car and I would recommend that to anyone staying at the Iron Horse. The cost was only $10 plus tip each way. I know parking downtown Milwaukee on the weekends can be a nightmare so the town car was a great way of avoiding that. The front desk also offered to help with our dinner reservations and basically were there to take care of our every need. We happened to be staying over a weekend when several international Harley dealers were there and it was a lot of fun to meet so many different people from all over the world. Drinks in the bar were tasty and the DJ on Friday night was a lot of fun. I can't wait to stay at the Iron Horse Hotel again in the near future.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank taymad4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Iron Horse Hotel

Property: Iron Horse Hotel
Address: 500 W Florida St, Milwaukee, WI 53204-1534
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Milwaukee > Walker's Point
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Milwaukee
#1 Spa Hotel in Milwaukee
#1 Luxury Hotel in Milwaukee
#2 Family Hotel in Milwaukee
#2 Romantic Hotel in Milwaukee
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Iron Horse Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 100
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

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