HotelRED hosted me for a night’s stay and dinner at The Wise Restaurant and Bar. This post also contains some affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.

As the daughter of a Wolverine and a Spartan — not to mention I’m a Terrapin (if we are counting grad schools), you may have thought I would feel … strange staying in a boutique hotel so obviously paying homage to a Big Ten rival.

For my international readers, the Big Ten is a highly competitive collegiate athletic conference of mostly Midwest-based U.S. universities. Oddly, it now consists of more than 10 schools, but nobody seems keen on changing the name to the Big 14.

So, in late May, I set off on my epicurean adventure through Wisconsin and Minnesota. Among my first stops was Madison, home to one of the largest farmers’ markets in the United States, the Wisconsin State Capitol, and, you guessed it, the University of Wisconsin.

During my visit, HotelRED hosted me for one night, and despite my allegiances to three other Big Ten universities, I felt right at home in the heart of Badger territory.

I’ll explain how close HotelRED is to the university and a host of other local attractions later in this post. First, let me show you my trendy digs in Madison.

The HotelRED lobby is decorated with modern art and furnishings. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

The HotelRED lobby is decorated with modern art and furniture. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Contemporary Rooms Feature Wisconsin-made Furnishings

This HotelRED room is outfitted with a king bed, living area, kitchenette, flat-screen TV, desk, and balcony. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

This HotelRED room is outfitted with a king bed, living area, kitchenette, flat-screen TV, desk, and balcony. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

HotelRED has 48 spacious rooms and suites. Each is decorated in a contemporary and minimalist style with local Wisconsin-made furnishings.

HotelRED hotel room with desk and TV in Madison, Wisconsin

Every HotelRED room has a large desk and complimentary wi-fi for those of us who work on the road. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

My studio suite had a large desk, a perfect place to have worked. Instead I curled up on the sofa with my work materials spread across the coffee table — much like I do at home.

HotelRED studio suite in Madison, Wisconsin

An overview of the studio suite at HotelRED shows the living area, king-size bed, and kitchenette. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Though I used that living space as a makeshift office, I could imagine using it for much more fun and relaxing activities — like unwinding with a movie, an order of the chorizo-stuffed dates from the restaurant downstairs, and a local Wisconsin craft beer from the minibar.

HotelRED in Madison, Wisconsin

Two low tables “book-ending” the king-size bed is just one of the contemporary touches in this HotelRED room. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

The pillow-top king-size bed had soft, luxurious sheets. You can bet I slept well having that baby to myself!

My HotelRED suite had a stovetop, Keurig coffee maker, local mini bar snacks, and a variety of liquors, beers, sodas and waters in the mini bar. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

My HotelRED suite had a stovetop, Keurig coffee maker, local snacks, and a variety of liquors, beers, sodas and waters in the mini bar. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

I felt like I under utilized my suite. The mini kitchen was stocked with wine glasses and plastic storage containers. With a stove top, some dishes, a microwave and a dishwasher, I could have cooked a meal. I could see this suite working out really well as a gathering place for Wisconsin Badgers fans reuniting with friends, family, or other alumni for pre-game tailgating or post-game celebrations.

Even the spacious bathroom with a door separating the toilet and glass European shower from the sink and vanity had little touches of luxury, including Aveda products. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Even the spacious bathroom with a door separating the toilet and glass European shower from the sink and vanity had little touches of luxury, including Aveda products. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Oh, and did I mention the shower has jets?

Four More Reasons To Stay At HotelRED

When you check into HotelRED, you'll probably receive one of these locally made chocolates, and your fury friend may receive a special treat, too. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

When you check into HotelRED, you’ll probably receive one of these locally made chocolates (right), and your furry friend may receive a special treat, too. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

  1. HotelRED is pet friendly, so your pooch can stay, too!
  2. The staff — from the university students working reception to the general manager — are such kind and helpful people who truly made my stay wonderful.
  3. You’ll have access to amenities like same-day dry cleaning, complimentary grocery pick-up, and use of the fitness center.
  4. You can order room service from or dine at The Wise Restaurant and Bar, a trendy gastropub with a novel theme serving elevated comfort food and a fine selection of wine, craft beer, and cocktails. You can read about my meal there in this post.
The Wise Restaurant and Bar at HotelRED in Madison, Wisconsin

The Wise Restaurant and Bar serves delicious Midwest comfort food with an elevated perspective from chef Mike Magee, who also adds a little New Orleans flavor to his dishes. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

HotelRED Located In The Heart Of Wisconsin Badgers’ Territory

HotelRED is located at the intersection of Regent and Monroe streets in Madison, Wisconsin. It is conveniently located to the University of Wisconsin, Camp Randall Stadium, and Monroe Street shopping and dining.

HotelRED is located at the intersection of Regent and Monroe streets in Madison, Wisconsin. It is conveniently located to the University of Wisconsin, Camp Randall Stadium, and Monroe Street shopping and dining. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Located across the street from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium, HotelRED is ideally situated to host Badgers fans and alumni on football weekends. It’s also within walking distance of Monroe Street shops and dining, a short drive from the state capitol, about 7 miles (roughly a 20-minute drive) from Dane County Regional Airport, and a 1.5-hour drive from the Milwaukee airport.

Getting Around

  • Parking at HotelRED is complimentary on a first-come basis, and most spaces are covered.
  • Complimentary shuttle to and from the local airport is available. Just be sure to arrange this before you arrive!
  • The hotel seasonally offers complimentary bike-share membership through B-Cycle, and there is a docking station nearby.
  • During my stay, I often used Uber to get to and from HotelRED. Rides to and from the Wisconsin State Capitol and State Street areas cost $5-8. To get your first Uber ride free (up to a $20 value), click here and use promo code “erink388.”

Nearby Attractions

  • Camp Randall Stadium — Located across the street from HotelRED, this stadium is home to the Wisconsin Badgers football team.
  • University of Wisconsin — This Big Ten campus has several unique student unions with dining and entertainment. You might want to grab an ice cream cone at the Daily Scoop, listen to live music or watch a movie at Terrace After Dark summer entertainment series, or just pull up a chair and watch the sunset by the water. Want to see what I mean for yourself? Check out this YouTube video of the Memorial Union Terrace’s summer vibes!
  • Lake Wingra — Explore this local lake by kayak, stand-up paddle board, or paddle boat with HotelRED’s complimentary rentals through Wingra Boats.
  • Monroe Street — Stroll, shop and eat along this nearly one-mile stretch of a lively and scenic street.

Nearby Dining & Drinks

  • The Wise Restaurant & Bar — Located inside HotelRED, this hip gastropub features elevated Midwest comfort food with chef Mike Magee’s New Orleans twist. I highly recommend ordering the vegetarian cauliflower dish and pairing your crème brûlée with the No Fig Deal cocktail.
  • Mickies Dairy Bar — Just steps from HotelRED, this 1950s diner — and cash-only establishment — is an iconic spot among locals. Stop here for breakfast — the diner is known for its scramble and heaping portions — or a classic milkshake. I enjoyed but barely made a dent in my Reuben omelette with “yanks,” also known as breakfast potatoes or American or home fries.
  • Monroe Street — Take a walk down Monroe, and you’ll find locally owned restaurants serving a variety of cuisines — Indian, German, Belgian, pub fare, BBQ, pizza, and Creole!
Vegetarian cauliflower dish at The Wise inside HotelRED in Madison, Wisconsin

You can’t pass up this cauliflower dish at The Wise! (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Before You Book Your Stay At HotelRED

If you are looking for an independent boutique hotel with character, class, and contemporary styling when in Madison, HotelRED might just be the hotel for you. As you consider your hotel options and Madison plans, here are some things you can do …

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Hotel Review: HotelRED, a hip and contemporary boutique hotel in Madison, Wisconsin via EpicureanTravelerBlog.com



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I enjoyed so many things about HotelRED, and my fellow Michiganders will understand this — at least the hotel’s prominent color wasn’t representing the Buckeyes, right?

Though I secretly want to visit Columbus, Ohio. Shh! Don’t say that out loud.

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