The Potawatomi Hotel
New facility about to open in the Valley
It's impossible to miss the new Potawatomi hotel building, jutting up 19 stories out of the Menomonee valley just south of downtown. The area has been revitalized in recent years, with new businesses, bike paths, green spaces and restaurants. The addition of a modern, 381-room hotel will give visitors a chance to stay near the heart of the city without some of the inconveniences that come along with staying downtown, like parking. The location, near the Third Ward, Miller Park, Mitchell Park Domes, Harley Museum and downtown can't be beat.
I was lucky enough to tour the new hotel facility before it opens to the public on Aug. 18. The hotel is doing a dry run this week—that is, letting Potawatomi staff stay overnight in the rooms—in order for the new hotel staff to work out the kinks before the first guests check in. Whoever gets to test out the presidential suite won the lottery. The massive suite on the 19th floor comes equipped with two glass-sided gas fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows all around, a spa-like master bath and a patio that's almost as big as the room itself. You may have noticed a railing and outdoor area on the north side of the hotel building on the top floor: That's the presidential suite's patio that runs the entire width of the building. The price? A jaw-dropping $4,000 a night. I bet it'd be amazing for bachelor or bachelorette parties, Vegas style. I'm willing to bet there's going to be some Hangover-type moments in this room.
Thankfully, you don't have to drop all that cash to experience a little luxury, though. The regular rooms and suites have similar décor, fixtures, floor-to-ceiling windows and modern baths. If you're feeling peckish, you can order room service from restaurant in the hotel lobby, Locavore. While I wasn't able to sample dishes that are going to be on the menu, the items they did have for sampling evoked a modern, slightly playful menu. The chef seemed particularly excited about his cold smoking machine that he used to infuse cigar smoke into a brandy old fashioned.
Meeting rooms, located on the third floor of the hotel, range in size and function from 10-person executive meetings to 200-guest weddings. It's attached to the convention room space above the casino, allowing for larger conferences. One room, set up for a wedding-like function, has a large patio that overlooks the front entrance and drive. Views from all rooms, even on the third floor, are stunning.
The hotel lobby and second floor are connected to the casino, but the hotel is all non-smoking, unlike the casino. So don't worry if you don't want to smell cigarettes (or that terrible, piped-in perfumey smell) while checking in or at the bar. The HVAC systems are separate and there's a wall of glass between you and the casino.