By Christine Lampe
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Plan a getaway that allows time to enjoy every minute of made-in-Madison experiences, from game-day festivities to taste-testing your way through this food-and-beverage-obsessed city. True to the culture, there are plenty of places to “stay local” too—each with its own combination of community and hospitality.
There’s no question the inspiration for this 72-room hotel was the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from its mad-for-plaid theme to its prime location on Langdon (just off State Street). The rooftop lounge has stunning views of Lake Mendota and the spacious lobby is a popular study space for students.
Don’t-miss décor: Every room has artwork that pays homage to campus history.
This all-suite luxury hotel bleeds Badger red—and not just because it’s located across from Camp Randall Stadium. HotelRED wins when it comes to Wisconsin spirit, mostly for partnering with neighborhood businesses to create great experiences for visitors.
Sweet story: Maurie’s on Monroe Street creates chocolates exclusively for HotelRED, and named its raspberry flavor after the hotel.
This environmental inn is remarkably tranquil, despite being located in the bustling Monroe Street neighborhood. Local products make an appearance throughout, from in-room products like soap to breakfast table staples like coffee.
Fantastic feature: There’s a courtyard in the back known as the “zen spot” with a pond containing five mature and five baby koi.
The campus connection is strong at this 105-year-old, prairie-style inn that themes its rooms after Madison’s lakes, the campus and Badger athletics.
Amazing amenity: Taking a cue from our bike-friendly culture, the inn offers inside bike storage for guests who want to explore our city on two wheels.
Best-kept secret: That it exists. Many mistake this building as leftover kitsch from a bygone era, but this historic hotel and its superior service are both alive and well.
Livingston Inn is a 160-year-old, breathtaking home situated alongside sparkling Lake Mendota. Inside, you’ll find nine fireplaces, eleven-foot ceilings and spacious rooms appointed with luxury furnishings, plus private bathrooms.
Celebrity connection: Two Madison mayors have lived there.
This property was one of the first on Madison’s Mansion Hill and was finished less than a decade after Wisconsin achieved statehood. Mansion Hill Inn is known for its hospitality and loyalty to local varieties of cheese, beer, coffee and more.
Fun fact: The building was designed by the same architect who worked on the Wisconsin State Capitol Building.
On the Outskirts
Lake Ripley Lodge in Cambridge is the last of the grand resorts on the shores of its small lake. Their property boasts four rain gardens and native Wisconsin plants, providing an array of blooming plants and butterflies.
B&B Bonus: Owner Jim Hoiby is a former history teacher, so guests love to linger while he shares anecdotes about the resort’s storied past.
Oscar H. Hanson House
This 1883 Victorian inn, another Cambridge B&B allows guests to choose where to enjoy a leisurely breakfast: in bed, in the dining room, on the front porch, or at the drive-side patio. Guests can expect local produce to play a primary role in the meal, including meats from nearby Jones Farm and fruit from local farm stands.
Don’t-miss menu item: The homemade strudel.
Victorian Dreams has not only one, but two 1897 Victorian homes with seven luxurious suites between them (most with Jacuzzi tubs and four with fireplaces)! Being located in Lodi puts the property conveniently close to Carr Valley Cheese and Wollersheim Winery.
Added amenity: There are always Wollersheim wines and Carr Valley cheeses at happy hour.
More Beds Ahead
In spring 2017, AC Hotel Madison will open its doors just off the capitol square. This European-influenced boutique hotel will have 165 rooms and stunning restaurant spaces that overlook the city.