Aug 9 2014
In each of the 381 hotel rooms and suites is at least one wall of windows to reveal city landscapes. The higher the floor, the more you see from these floor-to-ceiling panes.
The addition of 12,000 square feet in event space, which bumps the property’s total to 60,000, is the most for one hotel in Milwaukee. Ten weddings already are booked in two new banquet rooms: One overlooks Marquette University’s athletic fields for soccer, track and lacrosse. Another is attached to a rooftop patio.
These spaces are stunning but the biggest talker in this new hotel will be the 19th floor presidential suite. An overnight costs $4,000, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another Wisconsin hotel suite anywhere near this price range.
What will you experience for the money? In the suite’s 3,000 square feet is an 800-square-foot patio with views that, on a clear day, stretch from Miller Park to the Lake Michigan shoreline. That panorama extends about 180 degrees.
Inside are two fireplaces, three 60-inch televisions, enough seating and lounging to throw a small party and a roomy bathroom with a Jacuzzi for two that faces the Milwaukee skyline.
Dom Perignon upon arrival, chocolate truffles upon departure and unlimited chauffeured limo service are a part of the deal, too.
At the opposite end of pricing are the 364 standard rooms whose rates begin at $149. That gets you a wall of windows, too, and truffles during turndown service at night.
Those truffles, produced inhouse, go beyond shades of chocolate to Pistachio Rose and Passion Fruit Coconut flavors.
Décor throughout the hotel is big on earth tones and images, artsy tree patterns, birch-like light fixtures and splashes of red because “Potawatomi” means “keepers of the fire.”
The new addition is attached to the casino via first- and third-floor walkways, and off the hotel lobby is Locavore, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is the property’s seventh restaurant and not as much about fine dining as Dream Dance Steak.
That said, Locavore’s menu could change daily, depending upon the availability of ingredients from local vendors and others that provide sustainably harvested fare. The head chef’s identity has not yet been announced.
“We will try to do what nobody else does in the area,” says Peter Gebauer, Potawatomi’s executive chef. That means adding “a global influence” to local ingredients and indigenous products. Some will pay attention to Native American heritage, but only when the time is right.
So wild salmon from Alaska makes the menu only during the season when it’s caught. Syrup for pancakes might include a Wisconsin maple or a Shagbark from Indiana.
Think biscuits with red-eye gravy, shrimp and avocado ceviche, brined pork tenderloin with cornbread pudding.
In the adjacent bar, computer screens allow customers to select drinks by price to type of spirit. Margarita choices range from the traditional to a blueberry-vanilla variety.
Add three inhouse cocktail mixes that are barrel-aged – a dry rye Negroni, coffee Manhattan and raspberry Old Fashioned – for the makings of craft cocktails.
“We want to set the standard, not only in the Milwaukee market, but the tribal hospitality industry,” explains Hassan Abdel-Moneim, hotel director.
Skylights and a system to customize light patterns in public spaces work to simulate indoor thunderstorms, fires and many other themes. Moods can change easily because of the 16.1 million hues of color that can be produced with the touch of a keyboard.
The new hotel is hard to miss when en route to Milwaukee: Just look for the tall glass building whose name – Potawatomi – is spelled out at the top in letters that are each six feet tall and 400 pounds.
Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 1721 W. Canal St., opened as a 2,000-seat bingo hall in 1991. Now it also presents about 3,000 slot machines, 100 table games, a 500-seat theater and seven restaurants. paysbig.com, 800-729-7244
Upcoming headliners at the casino’s Northern Lights Theater include Alejandro Escovedo, Aug. 22; Chris Isaak, Aug. 24; and Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals, Sept. 19. Order through Ticketmaster.com.
Wisconsin’s largest gathering of tribal cultures happens during Indian Summer Festival, Sept. 5-7 at Henry Maier Festival Park, on Milwaukee’s lakefront.
The event includes parades, powwows, storytelling, fireworks, cultural demonstrations, a lacrosse tournament and marketplace with tribal-made wares.
Admission is $14 ($10 for elders and ages 12 or under get in free). Military veterans and active personnel get in free on Sept. 7. indiansummer.org, 414-774-7119