Hotel Retlaw is re-taking its rightful place as one of Wisconsin’s elite hotels and a preferred destination for dignitaries, and celebrities. The Retlaw has undergone an unprecedented renovation, preserving the historical significance and aesthetics of this iconic property, while infusing it with contemporary luxury.
A ‘grand dame’ in its own right, the hotel, in Fond du Lac, opened in 1923 during an era of incredible social, artistic, and cultural excitement. This remarkable hotel embraced the Roaring Twenties and all that happened during this unique time in history, when the neoclassical revival period peaked, and Jazz music was all the rage.
The renovation was designed by GURU OF LUXURY, with RODAC Construction as general contractors.
The refurbishment project was a comprehensive rehabilitation, including infrastructure modernisation works, in addition to cosmetic enhancements.
The interior design for the hotel still retains its iconic original hallmarks, while infusing it with contemporary luxury.
According to Yvonne Roberts, Principal and Creative Director of Guru of Luxury:
“Hotel Retlaw’s neoclassical style reflects the grandeur of a bygone era. Classic never goes out of fashion, celebrating traditional elegance. Hallmarks include carved mouldings, fine woodwork, graceful lines, and finely crafted furniture. Overstuffed sumptuous sofas, soft accent pillows, framed artwork and elegant fabric curtains are details depicted in our timeless design.
“Guru of Luxury works extensively to value engineer all design elements, consistent with the company’s ‘affordable luxury’ industry niche. This cost-conscious approach enables property owners with an efficient and practical means of providing the perfect luxury experience for today’s discerning travellers.”
She added that the hotel’s main lobby had previously been partitioned off in multiple areas, and no longer had the grand scale it previously enjoyed in the hotel’s past. The new design has brought that grand scale back, re-opening the entry to Main Street.
The embodiment of refinement, the hotel’s lobby restrooms provide a dazzling glimpse of gracious opulence.
Visitors will feel pampered from the moment they step into this space with its black and white design scheme, offering a reflection of the venue’s rich past. Also, the bathroom incorporates all the excellent modern touches of today’s guests expect.
The hotel’s Espresso Café & Wine Bar is a cosy tuck-away with an on-the-run option. It’s a fun place to grab and go, or to while the time away over a cup of fresh roasted coffee or a glass of Chablis. The fireplace creates a feeling of calm, as do the warm colours of the seating nearby.
Jazzmine’s Brasserie, Hotel Retlaw’s signature restaurant, is a sophisticated yet casual dining establishment with a farm-to-table concept for culinary offerings— placing itself on the cutting edge of bistro cuisine.
Rich, muted, warm tones invite guests to linger in a soothing environment with soft musical interludes.
The hotel previously had 130 guest rooms, which were converted to provide 121 rooms in order to accommodate new Luxury Suites.
With a traditional sense of neoclassic style and Art Deco air, the guest rooms are designed to evoke the elegance of a bygone era.
Each suite is further enhanced by a dramatic black and white marble bathroom and warm heated floors, complemented by silky-soft Egyptian cotton linens, plush bamboo terrycloth towels, towel rack warmer and upscale bath amenities.
The Crystal Ballroom had long been the heart of Hotel Retlaw, and had hosted many notable guests over the years – from the Roosevelt’s to the Kennedy’s. The new vision for the ballroom has not swayed with the passing of time. It lends itself to formal affairs and lavish dinners, elegant weddings, and gala celebrations. It also serves well as a perfect setting for executive conferences and corporate events.
Yvonne Roberts said: “The Spa & Wellness Level further illustrates who I am as a designer. With a bold vision for combining lavish beauty with historical integrity, courageous modern- day strokes beautifully balancing shapes, textures, and materials.”
Designed with both male and female guests in mind, the spa incorporates a healthy balance of the five Zen elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.
Guests visiting the spa will also be treated to a one-of-a-kind experience when they indulge in the luxurious ‘Relaxation Spa Pool.’
The hotel’s Player’s Club is a retro-style gaming and sports tavern in a refined casual setting, featuring an extensive array of classic board games, plus billiards and state-of-the-art televised sports.
The setting offers a refined old-world ambiance reminiscent of a nineteenth-century English gentlemen’s club accented by tastefully inspired sports memorabilia.
Yvonne Roberts concluded: “One of the biggest challenges of the project was overcoming the magnitude of infrastructure expense and staying within budget, while ensuring the conceptual design was not compromised.
“Customer feedback has been extraordinary! The community has embraced the transformation, including impacting the hotel’s wedding bookings, with 52 weddings booked prior to opening the doors. This was purely based on the design images posted on the hotel web site.
“Working on this project gave me a great sense of satisfaction, knowing the property has a legacy on its own, and that my design will now be a part of its history for generations to come.”