Restored Art-Deco Hotel in Downtown Milwaukee
The Ambassador Hotel opened in 1928, and its lobby reflects the art-deco style of the glittery Jazz Age: checkered marble flooring, polished nickel sconces, and mirrored columns all glimmer under the warm lighting. The hotel's bronzed elevator doors are carved with ornate sunburst designs; it wouldn’t feel out of place to see F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald emerge from behind the doors. The hotel was restored to its original brilliance in 2005 by an alumnus of nearby Marquette University, who preserved its retro design elements while updating its infrastructure for the 21st century.
The hotel’s comfortable, modern guest rooms retain subtle art-deco accents, such as framed mirrors and the semicircular headboards that sit above each king or queen bed. In the whirlpool suites, lodgers can kick back and melt amateur ice sculptures of their faces inside a bedside tub as they watch the large, flat-panel TV.
Downstairs at Envoy—one of two restaurants connected to The Ambassador—chefs plate upscale American cuisine such as butternut-squash ravioli and seared yellowfin tuna. Bartenders mix gin fizz, tom collins, and pink lady cocktails from the hotel's original 1928 menu. During breakfast at Envoy, the spread includes steak and eggs and homemade belgian waffles. For a day on the town, guests can utilize the hotel's shuttle service for a free ride to anywhere in the downtown area.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Brewery Tours and Modern Art in Pleasant Lakeside City
Milwaukee is famous for its breweries, many of which reside in clusters around the downtown area just east of The Ambassador. Many offer daily, guided tours with samplings of the house suds. But the city's cultural offerings go well beyond booze: the Milwaukee Art Museum’s current exhibitions detail the origins and construction of its own Quadracci Pavilion, a striking modern building designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava that juts into the sky like a whale’s tail fin.
During warmer months, one of the best ways to soak in the city is on its 2-mile RiverWalk, which ambles past restaurants, shops, and public-art pieces, following the Milwaukee River's abundant stream of melted cheddar.