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Chocolate mousse cake with popcorn, a banquet item. Please join us for our subjective evaluation of Milwaukee’s latest hotel. But is it the greatest? In exactly two weeks, the new Potawatomi Hotel & Casino opens to the public, but today, it opened for a special open house, one that our two associate editors, Claire Hanan […]


Chocolate mousse cake with popcorn, a banquet item.

Please join us for our subjective evaluation of Milwaukee’s latest hotel. But is it the greatest? In exactly two weeks, the new Potawatomi Hotel & Casino opens to the public, but today, it opened for a special open house, one that our two associate editors, Claire Hanan and Matt Hrodey, took as an opportunity to test the bathroom scales and “soaking tubs,” and also some of the food. Here’s what they found.

MH: So the first thing we noticed was there was an empty
limousine parked outside with a municipal license plate.

CH:
Yes,
its doors were open like a state official had just exited it.
The next thing I noticed was the group of valets in
red shirts congregating by the entrance, signaling for us to hand over our
vehicle.
Which we did.

MH:
How
could you refuse. Was the attention of the staff everything you expected?

If you’re paying these prices ($4,000 a night
for the presidential suite), you want to feel like someone important.

CH: Yes, I want to feel like I just exited a municipal
limousine and entered Milwaukee’s approximation of Las Vegas. 
After we were treated like
British royalty in the valet area (with heated floors!), we entered the
building. It was very Jetsons.
What did you think?

MH: For me, the feeling of being swept into another world
wasn’t quite there, although, in fairness, some of the landscaping and decorative
touches were still missing. Our tour guide said they had just finished some of
the work this morning, swept the floors, etc. But the food impressed.

CH: Agreed. I felt a little greedy trying to eat
everything (at least once), but we were just trying to be thorough, you know?

MH:
Of
course.

CH:
I
had the shrimp ceviche (delicious), the pork loin with a sweet tea sauce, the
cornbread and bacon pudding, the chocolate mouse cake concoction that had
popcorn on top, the “Midwestern” mini-quiche that had kale and short
rib in it, and the sparkling cider “mocktail.”

MH: I’m going to defer most of the food reporting to you.

CH:
Then
you can trust me when I say the shrimp ceviche with avocado was the best item
of the bunch.


Event space on the third floor.


MH:
The
banquet chef was on hand and seemed to know what he was doing.
There’s a bar you could conceivably walk off the
street and order at. How was the selection?

CH:
The
beer menu was very nice. Tons of Central Waters and New Glarus picks. I have no
opinion of the wine list, though, because I would only recognize Two Buck
Chuck. You can’t taste them all, you know.
Let’s move on up the proverbial hotel elevator.

MH:
The
music going up is calmer than the music going down.

CH:
The
downward music is supposed to get your blood pumping.
I think they want you to have proper circulation so
you can safely reach for your wallet.

MH:
Precisely.
You wouldn’t want to have rotator cuff injuries.

CH:
No
sir.
I noticed that red was one of the primary accent colors throughout
the hotel. Again, I think it’s to symbolize that feeling of blood behind your
eyes when you lose $10 at a roulette table.
What did you think of the
rooms?

MH:
Well
what was the first floor we were on? Two? The carpet was tripping me out.

CH:
Three.

Where they have all of the meeting rooms with
inspiring and innovative names.

MH:
Oh
yes. I took a photo of the “Clarity” room. Ahh. But the door to
“Prosperity” was closed. Let’s talk about the views.
Lots of industrial buildings, railroads. I kind of
liked it. Something to look at other than “nice” things.

CH:
I
suppose if you want to take a gander at Milwaukee’s industrial side, this would
be the place for the views.
Or,
perhaps, you get a great view of “Potential.”

MH:
The
bathrooms were miraculous.
Overall,
the experience is like Kubrick meets the Palms.

CH:
Yes,
the bathrooms were indulgent, especially those of the $4,000 Presidential Suite.

And like any good reporters, we tested
(separately) the large soaking tub as well as the digital scale.
You said you were especially happy with the scale
because you lost 10 pounds.

MH:
After
I made the conversion from Imperial measurements. Is that what you call that, a
Soaking Tub?
It was a Big Tub.
For soaking in gold-infused bathwater.

CH:
It’s
called a soaking tub.
Upon
entering the bathroom, you proclaimed, “You could even wash a dog in
there!”
It’s safe to say we could have spent most of the morning touring
the bathroom.

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Presidential Suite “soaking tub.”


MH:
Growing
up, when we went to look at RVs, my sister and I would always check the
bathroom first.
So, presidential
suite. The Suite Life?
Did I just
reference a Hannah Montana show?

CH: I’m not sure because I haven’t recently been a
12-year-old.

MH:
No,
it’s a Disney channel show, rated 6/10 on IMDb.

CH:
The
Presidential Suite was nice. There was ample outdoor space for any president’s
minions.

MH: We identified some uncomfortable floor-level seating
outside for grouchy Secret Service operatives. Their grouchiness is how they
maintain operational security.

CH:
Yes,
those slabs of “seating” were very close to the ground, only to be
used by those security operatives with good knee joints.

MH:
The
patio areas were welcoming. I expressed that I felt like chucking my coffee cup
off the side, at one point, and someone from the hotel promptly approached me
and asked if I was done with it.

CH:
Now
that’s service [ED: Or security.].
After we toured
the Presidential Suite, we took the dramatic-music elevators back downstairs
where we were invited to try to make a bed in order to win a prize, an
adventure we both declined.

MH:
The
value of said prize would have been well above the Society of Professional
Journalists $20 limit, adjusted for inflation, which comes to …
Competition-wise,
how will this hotel stack up to others Downtown? It’s got to compete with the
Iron Horse, especially, and the new Marriott. There’s always the Pfister, if
we’re talking the high end. The list goes on.

CH:
I think it’s definitely got a unique part of the market
considering the casino attached to it, especially for a wedding venue.

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