Checking In: The Pfister Hotel

Exterior of The Pfister Hotel
Marcus Hotels and Resorts

When booking your stay at The Pfister Hotel (, know that its 307 rooms are split between two buildings: the Tower (newer, with a classic pearl, black, chrome and silver motif) and the historical section (dating back to 1893, the year the hotel was built, with original crown moldings and other untouched details, plus gold and more warm hues). Bonus: the hotel is pet-friendly (with a small fee), because why should Fido not live in luxury, too? In fact, the “Rover-Night Package” includes a doggy gift basket and a monetary donation to the Elmbrook Humane Society. 

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Artist-in-Residence Program

Marcus Hotels & Resorts

In 2009, The Pfister Hotel launched its Artist-in-Residence program. Currently, Pamela Anderson is the artist-in-residence (and the eighth resident artist), working on her abstract contemporary paintings in a dedicated glass-walled studio in a corridor just off the lobby. Each artist who is selected works for a year-long period, with the intent of creating a piece that can be displayed in the hotel, but it’s also a testament to the hotel’s commitment in supporting artistic endeavors by creating this space. 

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Mason Street Grill

Marcus Hotels & Resorts

On the ground floor of the hotel, at street level, is a steakhouse popular with locals, as well as hotel guests. Lunch or dinner at Mason Street Grill might start with a chopped salad, crab cakes (based on an original 1950s recipe) or fried surf clams, before easing into lighter entrees like flatbreads, salads or burgers, or dishes such as chicken pot pie or 64-hour braised short rib. Pre-dinner, slip into a seat at the bar for a martini and live jazz. 

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WELL Spa + Salon

Marcus Hotels & Resorts

Just off the lobby, and a floor below, is WELL Spa + Salon, a pampering spot for spa and salon services. Among the specialty services offered are the two-hour-long “Bubbles, A Scrub & A Massage,” including a hydrotherapy bath, body scrub and either 60- or 90-minute massage; as well as the "Sea Water Pearl Hydrating Facial" (either 60 or 90 minutes, folding in applications of red seaweed and sea calcium). There is also a Hammam steam shower, the only one in Milwaukee.

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Blu Bar & Lounge

Marcus Hotels & Resorts

On the top floor (that’s the 23rd floor) of The Pfister Hotel is one of Milwaukee’s most romantic spots. The intimate Blu Bar and Lounge hosts live music Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights (check the schedule here, and a cocktail menu filled with classic and indulgent selections (such as the “Marcus Margarita” or “Phantom Punch”) whenever it’s open (from Monday through Saturday nights). Culinary options range from a Chocolate Decadence Trio to a Wisconsin Cheddar Flight, with wine pairings noted on the menu. This is also a great spot to come after dark as the view is amazing, with Milwaukee all a-glow. 

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Afternoon Tea

Marcus Hotels & Resorts

Sink into a cushy chair and enjoy afternoon tea in the 23rd-floor lounge of The Pfister Hotel, affording views of Milwaukee’s downtown skyline and Lake Michigan. Seatings are at 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Teas that are brewed are sourced from Rishi Tea (including the 1893 Pfister Blend White Tea Rose Mélange), which is a Milwaukee-based artisan-tea purveyor; and harpists perform for a full Victorian effect. Note that the afternoon-tea service is only offered between October 21, 2016, and April 2, 2017. Choose from four menus: Victorian Tea ($49), Sweets ($33), All Grown Up ($24), and Vegetarian and Gluten-Free ($49). Expect a mix of savory sandwiches and sweet treats and, of course, tea. 

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World-class Victorian art collection

Marcus Hotels and Resorts

You would be silly to hurry into The Pfister Hotel, check in and not look up. Not only are the ceilings painted with gorgeous murals that are period-specific to the property, but the hotel boasts the world’s largest collection of Victorian art at any hotel in the world. More info is at this link. There are 80 pieces from artists born in Germany, France, Italy and America, such as Eugene Fromentin, Adolph Schreyer and Daniel Ridgway Knight. 

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