Tour Through the Ambassador Hotel - Historic Art Deco Details
The Ambassador Hotel, built in 1928, is filled with history which makes it Milwaukee’s Landmark Art Deco Hotel. When the Wiegand Family purchased the hotel in 1995, they strategically made sure to save some of the original Art Deco details before they renovated it in 2000. These details that are still displayed throughout the hotel today, make you feel like you are stepping back in time to the 1920’s as you walk through the doors.
If you’ve visited the hotel before, you’ve probably noticed the checkered marble flooring in the lobby. When the hotel was bought in 1995, the beautiful Marble & Terrazzo floor was covered with carpet. After removing a small piece of the carpet, the owners were amazed to find what was underneath! With tedious work and caution to not ruin the marble, the carpet & carpet glue was successfully removed and ever since, the lobby floor beams with the historic Art Deco pattern that you see today. (If you look closely, you can see the carpet tack strip holes in the edging!)
As you walk into the hotel from the West entrance, one of the first things you’ll notice is the lady in red on the Women’s bathroom door. Just South of that is the Men’s bathroom with a similar mural of a gentleman. During one of the renovations in the 50’s, the door murals were installed and continue to add character & color to the hotel lobby.
The Art Deco detailing of the ceilings and walls were covered as well. Once the drop ceilings were removed, all of the detail was restored to its 1928 glory. When the plaster was removed from the walls, the cathedral radio openings were uncovered and reproductions of the radios are now in place, bringing back another icon of the Art Deco era.
If you are a guest staying here, there is no need to drive to the Post Office! The original brass mailbox (Letter Box) located in our lobby had been put out of use before the current owners bought the hotel. It has since been put back into service and is used daily by employees & guests to send out mail.
Across from the Front Desk, next to the Business Center is The Embassy Room. In the early days, this room was called the Presidents Room and then the Rose Room – During the 2004/2005 renovation and restoration, the entire room was restored and renamed the Embassy Room. There is a hidden gem in this room that is also still in use today. Whether you’re having a casual luncheon, or a romantic happy hour, the historic light dimmer located behind the door is sure to provide the perfect lighting for your needs!
Throughout the hotel lobby, you will notice the sconces that had been covered in brass for many years. When they were sent out to be restored, it was discovered that they were made of polished nickel. Another one of the uncovered hidden “gems” of the hotel.
As you make your way up to your room, you’ll notice that the elevator doors aren’t just any ordinary doors. The original bronze clad elevator doors that were restored to their 1928 style and put back into service, are a main focal point in the lobby, as the exquisite detail will grasp your attention from afar.
Across from the lounge, Gin Rickey, is the History Wall filled with historic items of the hotel; photos, postcards, registration forms, lounge menus and matchbooks. Check out this wall to learn all about the history & don't hesitate to ask employees about any questions you may have. We love sharing our story!
As a Historic hotel, we cherish all of these Art Deco details that truly make the hotel feel like you are stepping back in time to the 1920s. Next time you visit, walk through the original cast iron gates into Gin Rickey. Enjoy a Pre-Prohibition style cocktail as you tour throughout the hotel and relive the 1920s!