We visited Milwaukee in partnership with Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which was a great trip! We were there to see and learn about the entrepreneurial community of Milwaukee. While there, the WEDC had us stay at the Saint Kate Arts Hotel, a boutique arts hotel in the center of the city.
The hotel was renovated earlier this year (2019) and was formerly the Intercontinental Hotel. It’s part of Marcus Hotels & Resorts, which owns several other iconic hotels in Milwaukee. The organization takes great pride in its role in the bigger Milwaukee ecosystem, and it was amazing to see how much they loved their city!
Here’s a bit more about our stay and what to expect from the Saint Kate Arts Hotel.
I was pleasantly surprised at how walk-able Milwaukee was. The location of the Saint Kate Arts Hotel was quite conducive to that. It was right on the popular River Walk, which we found to have tons of accessible bars and restaurants around it. It was also close to the new Fiserv Forum, which was a sight in itself. In short, the location was in the heart of Milwaukee and we loved that we could walk everywhere from it. It was never too far of a taxi ride away if need be (see more under the “Cost” section).
The staff that was there was attentive and thoughtful, though I didn’t always feel like there was quite enough staff there. There frequently seemed to be lines near the front desk check-in area and for some reason only 1-2 people seemed to be working there at a time.
That said, one of the best parts of the customer service experience there was their texting service. You could text if you wanted your room cleaned, needed something delivered, or anything in between. I loved that!
Food and Bars
The bar at the hotel, Giggly, was the best bar we went to while there! It was so cozy but elegant, had a great view, and an excellent atmosphere. And don’t just take our word for it. Every single local we talked to while there, every bartender, and even one of my clients who lives in Milwaukee, brought it up as one of the best bars in the city.
From what we gathered, on top of it being a lovely bar, it was also unique in the city. Most of the bars we saw were either breweries, beer-centric bars, sports bars, or a mix of all of the above. This was a champagne bar and it was really romantic. We loved it!
We never ate the food at the hotel so I can’t comment on that.
Rooms and Space
What really stood out about this hotel was the art all over it! It even had an art tour if you have the time.
In the rooms, there was a ukulele, an old-fashioned record player (and the lobby had a library of records to choose from), and a coloring book with colored pencils. They really encouraged you to embrace their ‘arts’ feel!
As far as the comfort of the room, the only complaint we had was the noise, due to the proximity of the bridge, where trucks can be quite loud. The first night we mistook the noise for thunder- ha! It wasn’t totally disruptive to our sleep, but if you’re a light sleeper, you may consider requesting a room far from the bridge side of the hotel.
Saint Kate Arts Hotel Art!
Throughout the rest of the hotel you could find art pieces of all different kinds. Please see below for a few more fun snapshots.
The entire hotel was hugely conducive to creatives in general. They had additional outlets and working spaces all throughout. There were several coffee stations to keep the creative juices flowing. It felt like a hotel in a co-working space!
The gym at the Saint Kate Arts Hotel had a nice view of the city and it was very spacious. There was never anyone else there anytime I used it. (I was there during the week, not the weekend.)
They provided you with water bottles and towels which were a nice touch. All the basic equipment and weights were there. It got the job done but is nothing to ride home about.
A taxi to and from the airport ranged from around $20-$30. Once at the hotel, we found that the city was relatively walkable. We were able to walk to the Lakefront Brewery, one of Milwaukee’s most famous breweries, along the river walk from our hotel.
We also walked down Water Street and Third Ave, both seemingly popular local areas for food and drinks, and the Deer District near the Fiserv Forum.
For the times we couldn’t walk, we used Lyft which was easy and inexpensive. We took Lyfts to the Art Museum, the Discovery World waterfront for a boat tour on Lake Michigan, and the Commons.
As I mentioned above, we were in Milwaukee on a press trip, so our hotel was compensated as part of that. That said, based on the average prices from a quick Google search, I would consider them more then fair for what you get!
The main draws of this hotel are the cleanliness, the location, and the newly updated interiors. The Saint Kate Arts Hotel is considered by Five Star Alliance to be one of the top hotels in the city. If you’re looking for excellent service and a convenient trip, this is a great hotel. AND it’s a huge bonus if you’re a lover of art.
This is one of the best hotels for entrepreneurs I’ve visited yet!
In the lobby, there was a huge section of empty tables and desks that were perfect for working. They weren’t stuffy like some other business lounges in hotels, but had lots of open space. Each table was also equipped with built-in outlets. The wifi was great and I never saw it so crowded that there wasn’t a seat available. I could work there all day.
Each of the rooms had a large desk. The rooms were spacious enough that desk never felt in the corner or squished. It was very easy to work there, especially with the coloring books there in case you need a creative kick!
On top of the logistics, I truly did feel inspired staying in an art-focused hotel. It was fun to see all the history, the art, the culture, and the creativity alive there. It’ll make you want to contribute to it!