Openings: Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee

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imageWe don’t normally find ourselves going, erm, H.O.G. wild for just another designer hotel. But with all the rather irritatingly smoke-free, yoga-friendly boutique lodgings popping onto the scene, it’s about time someone remembered that hotels were once bastions of glamorously anti-social behavior. Encouragingly, Milwaukee’s new Iron Horse Hotel skips all the zen whatever and instead pays tribute to the original bad-boy accessory itself. Directly across from the city’s spanking new Harley Davidson Museum, rooms are done up in an elegant and decidedly masculine sort of vintage modern, with amenities and furniture tailored specific to riders.

The alloy factor is boosted by Amber Val Galder’s rough-hewn industrial metal sculptures (designed to resemble foundry spills). There’s also climate-controlled bike parking/storage and even an on-site washing station. And acknowledging that 21st-century biker types often carry Amex cards, there’s an urbane comfort food dining spot (Smyth), a stylish lobby lounge, and on-site fitness/spa facilities. Indeed, don’t look go looking for a revival of the counter culture here; Easy Rider it ain’t. But this place probably would have at least come in handy when Dennis Hopper’s Billy the Kid bitched that they couldn’t even “get into a second rate motel.”