This beautiful AAA Four Diamond Hotel is right on Lake Mendota and just a few minutes’ walk to Madison’s gorgeous State Capitol building and its Saturday farmers’ market. It’s an ideal place to stay to explore Madison’s local food scene, Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, local sports, and an exceptional array of activities for the young and young at heart.
The Edgewater is a member of Historic Hotels of America. It first opened in 1948 and has hosted celebrities like Elvis, Bob Hope, Bob Marley and the Dalai Lama. Its original Arte Moderne building now holds a large spa, two fitness centres, a small pool, meeting space, and some guest rooms, including longer-stay suites. Most guests stay in the newer main building, ingeniously constructed to be eight stories from the street and 15 stories from the water (the lobby is on the sixth floor). Both buildings have rooftop patios and gorgeous views of the lake. A $110-million renovation was completed in 2014.
The Edgewater prides itself on offering programming for the local community, much of it free. Friday nights often have live music, accompanied by a traditional Wisconsin fish fry. Other activities on the vast deck connecting the hotel’s two buildings include yoga classes, cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers, and winter skating on a specially-constructed outdoor ice rink. There are multiple dining options within the hotel, and it’s a short walk to local restaurants.
Many of The Edgewater’s 202 rooms and suites offer lake views, and feature all the amenities you’d expect in a Four Diamond hotel. My suite had a large shower room separate from the immense main bathroom. I appreciated the excellent lighting and double mirrors, the Green Natura bath products, as well as the lovely cheese plate and crackers which greeted me on arrival. Had I not been out enjoying everything Madison had to offer, it would have been great to work at the large desk with convenient outlets while enjoying the lake air from windows that open, or to relax in the easy chair watching the 47” HD TV. A rarity in hotels — there were no annoying lights from the smoke alarm, wifi router, TV, or anything else which necessitate an eye mask.