If you know me, you know that I love to meet new people where ever I go and attending networking events is a great way to introduce myself to all sorts of people and make new friends and acquaintances. Last September, I attended an event held by Newaukee at the Aloft Hotel. Although it was a chilly night and we couldn't enjoy the outdoor patio without standing directly under a heater, the event was still fun and I met some great folks.
Two days after the event, I received a call from the hotel and figured they were doing a follow up survey off of the business cards they collected and now I was going to be on their mailing list forever. Instead, I was pleasantly informed that I won the grand prize giveaway of a free night's stay in the hotel whenever I would like to use it in the next year!
I finally found the right opportunity to use it this past weekend. My friends and I were trying to plan a fun few days and were looking for things to do - go camping, hiking, festivaling, bar hopping? As my lucky streak continued (almost a year later), I won 2 tickets to Irish Fest from Key Milwaukee, so we decided to hike around Grant Park Saturday morning, grab some lunch and then head to Irish Fest. And why not stay in the hotel room so everyone is safe?
|Seven Bridges lookout|
|Grant Park spring|
|Toes in the water of Lake Michigan|
|7 tries later I got my toes and the wave in the picture|
|Looks like Shauna is gonna jump - don't worry, she didn't|
|Can't go any further without risking life and limb|
|Way out on the water|
We ordered some yummy sandwiches; mine in particular was the pressed special made with cappicola ham, creamy brie, basil leaves and olive tapenade. I decided to go all out and get chips and slaw on the side. The sandwich was amazing and I now want to make my own olive tapenade spread for crostinis! (Packer party treat) The chips with the bleu cheese dip were great (Tory even ordered some to go). The Asian-inspired slaw seemed to be missing something, maybe the ginger bite, as it was a little bland.
|pressed special at Cafe LuLu|
Unfortunately they do not have a parking lot at Aloft, so it was $15 to self-park at Molly Cool's or $23 to valet. I chose self park and ended up at The Loaded Slate, which was maybe a half block away. We got up to our room and checked it out. I have never stayed in a place so new and upscale before - swanky was the word I kept using. The flat screen and King size bed were calling my name but we had to get ready for Irish Fest.
|Aloft King Size room layout|
|love bowl sinks|
|Our view of Sidney Hih being torn down|
Beer and wine had to be bought with tickets but food and soda was cash. It was a little bit of a hassle to have to buy tickets but I think it helped cut back on people getting too carried away at the bars.
After we got ourselves some beers (Miller Lite's - sorry we are all on budgets), Shauna got herself a Reuben Pizza from Johnny V's. I'm not a huge Reuben fan but it looked great and she loved it. It was more like a flat bread with the cheese, kraut, corned beef and sauce on it.
We didn't stay too late at Irish Fest as the rest of us were in need of food and Shauna was running the Vihba 10k the next morning. We dropped my car off at the hotel, dropped Shauna off and Ellie, Tory and I headed to Wolski's. Tory and I have never been to Wolski's and going at 9:30 pm does not constitute "closing Wolski's" so we will have to go back, but the bar is cute. The wall artwork in an interesting combination of flags, old pictures of the bar and people holding "I Closed Wolski's" stickers and random maps. The bar wasn't very busy and we were getting hungry, so we finished our rounds and headed off to find food. (Sorry for no pictures.)
We decided to check out Stubby's as none of us had been there. We walked in and immediately I sensed the sports bar vibe, but it was also nice to see natural wood and nice pictures on the wall. The bar is in the round and we chose to sit at one end. We were given large drink and food menus and a few minutes to decided.
A few minutes turned into about ten, and by then we were ready to order and eat. Unfortunately, the bartender could only manage to take our drink orders for some reason. She got the drinks and then walked away. This happened for the rest of the meal (the walking away part). Another bartender came over and took our food order and got our tab going. The female bartender seemed to be preoccupied or overly busy working on, well, we aren't quite sure because it wasn't very busy, while the other bartender seemed very relaxed and chill and able to help us. We stuffed ourselves with chicken sandwiches, burgers and pulled pork, and Tory's deviled egg appetizer, that was really good. All of our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we all took food home with us.
Ellie dropped us off at the hotel and I was very happy to get into that bed after our long day. The hallways of the hotel are a little echo-y and with the number of wedding parties we saw there that night, the hotel was a little loud until after 2 am.
|Shower with natural light through a frosted glass wall - Aloft Hotel|
I slept soundly until 7:30 and I think my body was just telling me I should get up. So I did. I took a nice shower and got myself ready for the day. I checked out at 9 am with an extremely courteous staff member. She made me feel appreciated which is a excellent touch. If the hotel wasn't so pricey, I would definitely consider staying there more often. It's definitely a hotel for someone my age to stay at.