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The Only Hotel on Madison’s Lake Mendota Keeps Getting Better

The Edgewater hotel opens the first luxury spa in Madison and will unveil a new waterfront ice rink later this month. Still more to come by summer.

The Edgewater at night   Photo: Bill Fritsch

Following a soft opening in September, Madison’s new Edgewater hotel (from $199 a night), located on Lake Mendota’s southern shore, continues to complete and unveil its two-year, $100 million renovation. Last week the hotel revealed its two-story, 10,000-square-foot spa, the first luxury spa in Madison. The day after Thanksgiving, a tree-lighting ceremony will reveal a new ice rink to complete Edgewater’s one-acre waterfront plaza.

These additions follow all that’s been revealed since the soft opening, including the brand-new Wisconsin Building hotel tower, two ballrooms, and two restaurants: the waterfront Statehouse with its adjoining bar, and the craft beer-focused Icehouse, near the plaza. The hotel’s 202 new rooms (which nearly doubled from the original 107) start at a roomy 400 square feet and include 10 studios with kitchenettes, two presidential suites, and art deco-inspired touches, such as bathrooms with black-and-white-tiled marble floors. 

Views of Lake Mendota are stunning from the hotel, and Edgewater capitalizes on them from every angle and space, including its rooms, restaurants, and both floors of the new spa. On the spa’s first floor, the focus is on the large fitness center, two group fitness rooms, and a plunge Jacuzzi pool. On the second floor, find seven treatment rooms, all with views of the lake, plus a salon with a blow dry bar.

Originally opened during the big-band heyday of the 1940s, and host to celebrities that included Elvis Presley and the Dalai Lama, the Edgewater closed in 2012 for the massive renovation. Preserving the hotel’s art deco architecture was a priority, but so was the idea of including modern twists, like the expansive, interactive media wall. A curated art exhibit of sorts, the 90-foot wall uses photos, videos, and artifacts to tell the local stories of Madison. Topics include Madison’s early pioneers and sports at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, just next door.

There’s still more to come. By summer, Edgewater plans to add two more restaurants (The Boathouse and The Café), live music on the outdoor plaza, a 170-foot permanent dock, and a dinner cruise on the water.

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