Top 10 Cool and Unusual Hotels in Madison 2023

Situated between two large lakes, the famously bike-friendly state capital of the state of Wisconsin is said to be one of the most quintessentially American cities. The choice of accommodation in Madison is first-rate and ranges from cute boutique inns to chic, modern characterful hotels. To help you choose, here are my favorite cool and unusual hotels in Madison, Wisconsin…

Best For Millennials and Gen Zs

The Graduate Hotel

The Graduate Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin The Graduate Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin The Graduate Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin

The hip four-star Graduate Hotel became one of my favorite places while visiting Madison. Situated alongside the waters of Lake Mendota, just a block from the lively University of Wisconsin campus, it offered stunning views of both the city and the lake.

While staying at the Graduate, I loved the character-filled atmosphere and the whimsical vibe of its décor. The cool college-themed rooms added a trendy yet relaxed touch to my experience. It served as an excellent base for exploring the city’s vibrant university district, immersing myself in the lively atmosphere, and even having a party.

I tried out the onsite amenities, including a cozy café, an awesome rooftop bar and restaurant, and a convenient gym to keep up with the energetic college vibe. Of course, the free Wi-Fi was a must.

Surrounded by museums, restaurants, and bars, the Graduate Hotel in Madison is packed with personality and charm. I experienced the delightful touch of using a unique student card as my passkey during the stay—an inventive way the Graduate puts ‘fun’ at the top of the class!

And the best part? Your pet pooch is welcome too!


Radiates a fun and playful vibe

Stadium nearby

Stunning lake and city views

Airy rooftop bar/restaurant and a hip cafe

Best For Funky Design

Hotel Indigo

Hotel Indigo, Madison, Wisconsin Hotel Indigo, Madison, Wisconsin

Hotel Indigo quickly became one of my favorite places. The ultra-cool, contemporary boutique-style establishment pays homage to its past life as a paint factory, a theme vividly represented throughout. As I entered, the lobby greeted me with a giant paint can hanging from the ceiling, setting the tone for a unique and delightful experience.

The hotel, located between two of Madison’s famous lakes, is a burst of color, character, and charm. My room, adorned in bright art deco style, featured large windows that not only flooded the space with natural light but also offered breathtaking views of the surrounding lakes. The funky furnishings added a touch of whimsy, creating a lively atmosphere.

I found solace in the hotel’s atmospheric bar area. Alternatively, I could retreat to my spacious room, where a modern bathroom awaited with complimentary Aveda bath products.


Located between the two Madison lakes

Beautiful Outdoor seating area

Paint factory themed hotel with a chic vibe


Slightly expensive accommodation

Fewer options for breakfast

Best For Views

AC Hotel by Marriott Madison Downtown

AC Hotel by Marriott, Madison, Wisconsin AC Hotel by Marriott, Madison, Wisconsin

I love this upscale hotel designed for “creative and well-traveled spirits.” The trendy Nordic-style décor at the AC Hotel creates a fabulously sleek atmosphere that immediately puts you at ease.

While visiting, I couldn’t get enough of the superb location. Overlooking the historic state capitol building and just blocks away from picturesque Mendota Lake, the AC Hotel captures the essence of Madison, WI perfectly.

One of my favorite places was the elegantly furnished roof terrace, offering spectacular views of the city. It’s not just a feast for the eyes; there’s a bar and dining options too. Even the on-site gym provides a stunning cityscape backdrop from the treadmills, overlooking the capitol building.

Staying here, I appreciated the thoughtful details, like free electric vehicle charging stations, making it easy to be environmentally conscious. Plus, the hotel is completely smoke-free, and the convenience of free valet parking added to the overall seamless experience. The AC Hotel truly combines style with substance.


Right across the State Capitol Building

Warm cocktail lounge serving tapas

Rooftop restaurant with city views

Continental; American and Gluten-free options


Slight bedding concerns

Marginally expensive accommodation

Small bathrooms

Best For Lake Side Location

The Edgewater

The Edgewater Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin The Edgewater Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin The Edgewater Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin

The Edgewater Hotel, a chic waterfront gem, became one of my favorite places. While visiting, I fell in love with its classic charm and modern amenities. Built in the 1940s, it preserves its mid-20th-century feel, offering over 200 rooms with breathtaking city views.

During my stay, I experienced the allure of its lakeside grill, a fantastically popular spot. Perfect for a romantic getaway or as a stunning wedding venue, the Edgewater boasts amenities like an onsite hairdresser, spa, and nail salon for a polished look on any occasion.

In winter, I braved the cold to skate on the hotel’s lakeside ice-skating rink, followed by a warm, delightful meal at the glamorous restaurant and bar. With boat moorings and complimentary airport transfers, the Edgewater Hotel goes above and beyond to ensure a memorable stay.


Beautiful sunsets and a lake view

Seasonal ice skating rink

Lush gardens

On-site steakhouse; tavern and a lakeside grill

Best For Indoor Swimming Pool

The Madison Concourse Hotel

The Madison Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin The Madison Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin

The Madison Concourse Hotel became one of my favorite places, just a block or two from the vibrant State Street in downtown Madison. During my stay, I found it conveniently located, just a five-minute walk from the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Science Museum, and the Orpheum Theatre for those who enjoy a good show.

The hotel’s grandeur struck me, especially with its Titanic-esque staircase and spacious rooms perfect for various events.

I love the option to unwind in the indoor pool. Drifting in the warm water, gazing through the pool skylight, made my troubles fade away.

For those desiring more convenience, a poolside room is a fantastic treat. Seeking even more luxury, I decided to become a member of the exclusive Governor’s Club. Occupying the top three floors, it offers a private bar and the most spectacular views of the city.


Free breakfast snacks and cocktails

A chic indoor pool and sauna

Food options for almost everyone

A Walk away from the State Capitol


Not too budget friendly

Slight cleanliness concerns

Paid parking

Best For Onsite Dining

Sheraton Madison Hotel

The Sheraton Madison, Wisconsin

The Sheraton Madison, Wisconsin The Sheraton Madison, Wisconsin

One of my favorite places, the Sheraton Madison Hotel, recently got a stunning makeover. The calming neutral tones and soft art deco touches in the spacious rooms make it a chic retreat. Indoor and outdoor dining options cater to every taste.

The lobby, a standout, features a small shop for quick snacks and coffee. Perfect before diving into nearby attractions. The bar area offers a laid-back, smart-casual vibe—ideal for winding down after exploring Madison’s cultural offerings.

I love the thoughtful touch of water-filling stations throughout the hotel, reducing plastic waste. Ready to explore local trails, I refilled my bottle easily. And let me tell you, the beautifully finished pool area, bathed in natural light from an enormous skylight, is a must-visit while staying here.


Elegant setting with a welcoming vibe

Indoor and outdoor dining options

Pool and hot tub

Side patio with gas fires and vibrant Murals


Minor service issues

Slight cleanliness concerns

Best For Couples

The Buckingham Inn

The Buckingham Inn, Madison, Wisconsin The Buckingham Inn, Madison, Wisconsin

The Buckingham Inn quickly became one of my favorite places—a charming and uniquely characterful boutique B&B that felt like a home away from home. Despite its 3-star rating, the decor easily rivaled that of its namesake with stained glass windows, gold filigree, soft lighting, and an irresistibly laid-back cozy vibe.

While visiting, I experienced the thoughtful and lavish finishing touches that adorned every corner of this delightful inn. The complimentary breakfast, tailored to personal dietary needs, added to the homely feel. The proprietors’ commitment to a serene atmosphere was evident in their over-16 policy, making it an ideal couples retreat in the relaxed environs of Madison.

The inn’s strategic location near the lakeside and botanical gardens provided plenty of activity options. I often found myself opting for cozy nights in. One evening, I tried enjoying a glass of wine in my room while indulging in Netflix.


Complimentary savory breakfast

Walking tour and golf course

Bathrooms with whirlpool tubs

Positioned close to the lakeside and gardens


Children not allowed

No cots/extra beds

Non-smoking hotel

Best For Breakfast

Tru By Hilton Madison West

Tru by Hilton, Madison, Wisconsin Tru by Hilton, Madison, Wisconsin

I love this brightly colored hotel; it radiates energy and a playful vibe. While staying at the place, one of my favorite aspects was the fully air-conditioned rooms. They are not only spacious but also furnished in a minimalist style that pays meticulous attention to detail. The thoughtful extras, like iPod docking stations, added a nice touch to my experience.

I was delighted to discover the convenience of free parking and a complimentary breakfast. It’s the perfect fuel for a day filled with activities in downtown Madison. Alternatively, if you prefer a more laid-back vibe, you can stay put at the hotel. I tried out some of the onsite games, including air hockey and pool—such a fantastic way to unwind and have a great time.


Free full Continental breakfast daily

Bright colors with fun vibes

Foosball and Pool table


Pets allowed for extra charges

Marginally small rooms

Best For Hot Tub

Cambria Hotel Madison East

The Cambria Hotel, Madison East, Wisconsin The Cambria Hotel, Madison East, Wisconsin

Cambria Hotel quickly became one of my favorite places. While visiting, I loved the fact that it offers a budget-friendly option slightly away from the downtown hustle. Perfect for those traveling by car or landing at the nearby airport.

While staying at this gem, I experienced the charm of a well-furnished outdoor area, an inviting indoor pool and hot tub complex, and a laid-back bar-bistro area. It’s the ideal spot to unwind. I found myself relaxing over a freshly prepared meal or enjoying a barista-style coffee. And for quick bites, the 24-hour convenience store had me covered.

I tried out upscale amenities, including two flat-screen LCD televisions, spa-like baths with Bath and Body Works goodies, and convenient additions like microwaves and refrigerators. The cherry on top was the Mediahub plug-and-play technology, making it easy to connect my laptop, MP3 player, game console, and digital camera.


Tasty Gourmet salads

Inviting indoor pool

A hot tub complex

Furnished indoor area with a laid-back bar-bistro


Slight sanitary issues

Marginally slow internet connection

Best For Long Stays and Families

Madi Cottage

Madi Cottage, Madison, Wisconsin Madi Cottage, Madison, Wisconsin

Madi Cottage quickly became one of my favorite places for larger groups or extended stays. The three spacious bedrooms comfortably accommodated my family of ten, creating a genuine home away from home.

While staying at the place, I loved having my own personal outdoor space, a fully equipped kitchen, and a convenient laundry room stocked with everything imaginable – from crockery to toiletries, bedding, and towels.

One of the highlights was the proximity to downtown Madison, just 4 miles away. I tried out the free private parking, a fantastic perk for travelers on an all-American road trip. Madi Cottage truly offers the perfect blend of tranquility and accessibility, making it an ideal choice for a memorable stay.


Access to personal outdoor area

Fully equipped kitchen

A great choice for all-American road trip travelers


Parties/events are not allowed

Pets are allowed for extra charges

Best Hotels in Madison Compared

In the table below we have compared the top 10 cool and unusual hotels in Madison.

Hotel NameLocationPrice Range (per night)Fitness FacilitiesDistance ti Attractions (km)Nearby Restaurants
The Graduate Hotel601 Langdon Street$479-$502Yes2,03
Hotel Indigo901 East Washington$553-$642Yes3.03
AC Hotel by Marriott Madison DowntownOne North Webster Street$438Yes2.13
The Edgewater1001 Wisconsin Place$578-$624Yes1.63
The Madison Concourse Hotel1 West Dayton Street$392-$467No1.73
Sheraton Madison Hotel706 John Nolen Drive$322-$368Yes3.12
The Buckingham Inn1615 Summit Ave--No4,05
Tru By Hilton Madison West8102 Watts Rd$124-131Yes3.33
Cambria Hotel Madison East5045 Eastpark Boulevard$150-$222Yes7.03
Madi CottageMadison, 53713-2162--No4.7--

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