Last updated on August 17th, 2020 at 01:04 pm
The opening of Marriott’s first Renaissance location in Wisconsin comes after a two-year renovation of the former office tower on the southwest corner of the Mayfair Mall property. The 12-story hotel includes 196 rooms, almost 9,900 square feet of meeting and event space, and amenities such as a 12th floor fitness center and lobby-level bar.
Eldr+Rime occupies a 6,800-square-foot space to the west of the hotel. It specializes in new American cuisine with nods to with Scandinavian food traditions. Its menu features seasonal, locally sourced ingredients such as Clock Shadow Creamery cheese curds, Wisconsin grass-fed meat and Spotted Cow beer battered fish.
Both the hotel and restaurant have implemented health and safety guidelines, such as social distancing and increased sanitation, aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Eldr+Rime’s indoor dining room is spaced out and limited to 50% capacity, with additional seating on its outdoor patio.
“We are thrilled to open Eldr+Rime and begin serving our community members and visitors to the Milwaukee area, especially during this time of difficulty and uncertainty in the hospitality and restaurant industries,” said executive chef, Gary Baca.
Faced with the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the opening of Renaissance Milwaukee comes at a tough times for the tourism and hospitality industries nationwide. Hotels have suffered from government-mandated restrictions and closures, coupled with significant declines in business and leisure travel.
Like a number of new hotels in the area, Renaissance Milwaukee was supposed to open in time for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, general manager Vik Khokhar told BizTimes Milwaukee in June. But after the event was pushed back a month amid COVID-19 concerns, the hotel decided to do the same, while holding out hope for what would be left of DNC business.
The convention has since been reduced to an entirely virtual event, with only dozens of visitors expected in Milwaukee instead of the originally projected 50,000, which is a huge loss for hotels.
But the obstacles of the past few months are likely just the beginning for Wauwatosa’s newest hotel.
In June, Milwaukee-based HKS Holdings LLC and Mayfair Hotel Holdings LLC requested $305,000 from Wauwatosa’s Community Development Authority to help cover an expected loss of $1.2 million in the hotel’s first year due to COVID-19. The forgivable loan would come from federal CARES Act funding to the Community Development Block Grant program, would help create or retain around 50 jobs, with more than half of those to be held by low- or moderate-income workers.
Still, Khokhar remains optimistic, saying the opening of the hotel is a “symbol of pride and optimism” in unprecedented times.
“Travel is an essential part of our lives to discover something new,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to providing a clean, safe, and stylish environment, from the moment of arrival to departure, for our guests.”