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…
The Graduate Hotel
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
Stunning lake and city views
Airy rooftop bar/restaurant and a hip cafe
Paid private parking
Slightly noisy at night
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
AC Hotel by Marriott Madison Downtown
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
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
On-site steakhouse; tavern and a lakeside grill
Paid Internet Connection
Non-smoking hotel rooms
The Madison Concourse Hotel
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
Sheraton Madison Hotel
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
The Buckingham Inn
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
Tru By Hilton Madison West
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
Cambria Hotel Madison East
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
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 Name Location Price Range (per night) Fitness Facilities Distance ti Attractions (km) Nearby Restaurants
The Graduate Hotel 601 Langdon Street $479-$502 Yes 2,0 3
Hotel Indigo 901 East Washington $553-$642 Yes 3.0 3
AC Hotel by Marriott Madison Downtown One North Webster Street $438 Yes 2.1 3
The Edgewater 1001 Wisconsin Place $578-$624 Yes 1.6 3
The Madison Concourse Hotel 1 West Dayton Street $392-$467 No 1.7 3
Sheraton Madison Hotel 706 John Nolen Drive $322-$368 Yes 3.1 2
The Buckingham Inn 1615 Summit Ave -- No 4,0 5
Tru By Hilton Madison West 8102 Watts Rd $124-131 Yes 3.3 3
Cambria Hotel Madison East 5045 Eastpark Boulevard $150-$222 Yes 7.0 3
Madi Cottage Madison, 53713-2162 -- No 4.7 --
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Gary Nunn – Videographer, photographer and writer
Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fueled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organizations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specializing in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, travel, starting up new businesses, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find Gary on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or his Website.
Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Germany Tourist Board, Expedia, Eviivo, Visit Morocco, and Wild in Sight Safaris. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos. Listed as a top UK travel journalist.