Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel kicks off second phase of renovation

After completing a full revitalization of its ballrooms and meeting and event spaces in late 2023, Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel, owned and managed by Marcus Hotels & Resorts, has entered the second phase of its $20 million renovation.

Set to be complete in early summer, the renovation will update the hotel's guestrooms. Following the completion of those rooms, subsequent phases will include a refresh of the lobby and first-floor public spaces as well as a renovation of the Pfister Café.

“The Pfister Hotel is a local and national treasure, and we continue to make significant investments to enhance its atmosphere of elegance and sophistication,” Michael Evans, president of Marcus Hotels & Resorts, said in a statement. “Every step we are taking in this renovation honors the sense of refined excellence that defines this award-winning historic hotel. ... We are seeing increased bookings for weddings, galas, business meetings and more.”

Restyled Historic Guestrooms

Using a similar color palette found in the first phase of the renovation, the restyled guestrooms will use blue and green undertones to evoke Lake Michigan. The walls will have new crown molding and chair rails along with newly consigned works of art, adding to the hotel’s collection. Plush custom carpeting has been designed to represent framed works of art.

The guestroom renovations will include updated furnishings reminiscent of the late 1800s, paired with modern touches. Desks have wood fluting and special compartments that mimic styles from the Victorian era, while the couch, chairs and fringed ottoman in each guestroom nod to the past. The end tables, nightstands and credenzas found throughout the rooms will include elements of marble, wood and leather. The guestrooms will also include refreshed drapery and window treatments along with brass light fixtures that represent modern takes on Victorian design.

The new bathrooms will include modern lighting, tile showers, marble countertops, Kohler  bathroom fixtures and mirrors with built-in lighting. To tie the modern amenities to The Pfister’s history, each bathroom will include a specially created watercolor of the Wisconsin state flower, an abstract pen sketch of a woman from the Victorian era and an antique-inspired mirror.

Suites will have a new wet bar area for entertaining that features marble countertops and custom wood cabinets. To complete the bar area and pay homage to Milwaukee, the custom wallcovering will depict native plants found along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. A framed art piece of the hotel’s exterior also will be on the walls.

The closets will include custom wallcoverings of popular images of Milwaukee and its skyline. Other Milwaukee elements can be found in the tapestries above the beds, where buildings from the city are featured in a unique collage.

In addition to the aesthetic updates, all guestrooms will get updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems along with Nespresso machines, steamers and motion sensor lighting.

The corridors and staircase will get a custom Axminister carpet evoking a waterfall, similar to the carpet in the newly renovated ballrooms and meeting and event spaces. The corridors also will get new custom wallcoverings depicting views from the shoreline of Lake Michigan with the Milwaukee skyline visible from a distance. New molding and custom wood features have also been added to the guestroom doors to highlight the hotel’s historic past. In addition, the original U.S. Mail chutes will continue to be available for guests to use on every floor.

Lobby Renovations and Rouge Ballroom

The next phase of the renovation will update the hotel’s lobby and first-floor public spaces. When complete, the lobby will have an updated color palette along with new carpeting. The Pfister’s domed ceiling will also undergo restoration while keeping its artwork and design.

The Rouge Ballroom will get a neutral color palette to spotlight the art pieces, steps, crystal chandeliers and original woodwork.