WHERE IS IT? Just a few blocks from Madison’s bustling Capitol Square, this hotel sits on Lake Mendota. Madison is unique in that it sits between two lakes on an isthmus packed with beautiful architecture, a bustling downtown, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. This gives Madison a vibrant downtown scene, but The Edgewater is the perfect getaway from it all once you’re ready to relax. Valet parking and a parking garage are options, but for those without cars, it’s easy to get around on foot. There’s also a complimentary shuttle anywhere within a two-mile radius as well as to and from the airport upon request.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The hotel is divided between two buildings and connected with a lakefront patio (used as an ice skating rink in winter and for dining, events, or even concerts in warmer weather). On one side is the original Langdon building dating to 1948 and on the other, the newer Wisconsin building; both are fully renovated to modern standards and connected via underground tunnel. The hotel is especially popular with meeting groups and business travelers due to ample event space and wonderful views. During the COVID-19 pandemic, things were modified a bit with impressive safety protocols in place. For now, meetings are not a frequent occurrence, but the hotel is planning for their eventual return once local regulations and interest permit.
The lobby and public areas are adorned with beautiful artwork and photography showcasing the hotel’s history as well as the entire region. As part of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts group, the property is the city’s most upscale and elegant hotel. It has hosted quite a few dignitaries and celebrities over the years including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and the Dalai Lama among others.
ROOM FACILITIES Guest rooms all have beautiful lake and city views, and since the lobby is on the sixth floor, there are accommodations above and below it permitting wider birdseye vistas or more closeup water views. The floating pier for boats and sea-like lake made me think of Lake Como in Italy. My room had floor-to-ceiling windows with a screened French balcony that opened for fresh air. Several accommodations have balconies, which are sure to be popular on warm days. Plush bedding featured power and USB outlets on either side, and cozy duvets. I liked the pop-up power outlet station on the desk so I could keep all of my devices fully charged. A refrigerator was a nice perk as were bottled water and a coffeemaker. My bathroom had a soaking tub with beautiful view of the lake as well as a glass shower stall.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Madison is well-known for great dining, but the hotel has its own impressive options. The Statehouse is the hotel’s waterfront dining restaurant serving a popular weekend brunch as well as impressive lunch and dinner menus. While during my visit it was not operating at full capacity, it is normally known for a long list of salads and sandwiches plus heartier dishes like braised beef short rib, crispy skin chicken and a signature clambake. Of course, there are fried cheese curds on the menu (this is Wisconsin after all) as well as dishes like truffle fries and Thai curry mussels. During “COVID times,” the restaurant is also doing curbside pickup. At The Market, grab-and-go sandwiches, coffee, and snacks are perfect for busy travelers while during warmer months, The Boathouse Bar & Grill serves lunch and dinner. There’s also a dining venue by the central plaza in season, which serves snacks and refreshments, and Augie’s Tavern, the popular bar and grill serving light bites and burgers, creative cocktails, and local ales among other things.
LEISURE FACILITIES Boaters will appreciate the 40 complimentary slips in front of the hotel if they want to stay the night or stop in for a bite to eat. The hotel’s indoor relaxation pool with massaging jets is the perfect spot on a snowy day; and two fitness rooms provide ample equipment including cardio and weight machines. The views from one of the spaces is of the lakefront. Spa services, which include CBD treatments, are a favorite of guests and locals.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Free wireless Internet is available throughout the property. The hotel is well-known for its meeting venues, ideal for both corporate and social functions. There are outdoor terraces great for receptions and COVID-appropriate socially-distanced events. Indoors, many of the meeting venues have natural light and views of the Lake Mendota. The hotel is following stringent regional and CDC guidelines for events; it is one of the city’s most popular venues for group functions thanks to its upscale food and beverage capabilities as well as lakefront views. It has 14,500 square feet of indoor space and 30,500 square feet of outdoor space with some areas that can be tented.
VERDICT Madison’s best hotel offers stunning views and equally impressive service. It is a perfect example of the upscale connection that the I Prefer Hotel Rewards membership profile seeks.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 202 rooms and suites
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Lakefront luxury hotel with notable spa and high-end dining withing walking distance of Capitol Square
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $102
CONTACT 1001 Wisconsin Place, Madison, WI, 53703, Phone 608-535-8200. theedgewater.com