‘Madison’s Place,’ The Edgewater wins big

The Edgewater Hotel tops the list of Best of Madison Legacy Winners with 95 total wins.
exterior of The Edgewater with boat docks
Courtesy of The Edgewater

According to readers who have cast votes for Best of Madison in the last four decades, The Edgewater is the best place for martinis. And breakfast. And Sunday brunch. It’s also been named the best place to propose, the most romantic spot and the best place to take visitors. It has the best lake view, the best spa, the best upscale restaurant and the best waitstaff. It’s nabbed awards for its bloody mary, wine list, nice bar, bartenders and late-night dining, too. These designations are all in addition to its 16 wins for best hotel.

So if any evidence is needed that The Edgewater’s tagline, “Madison’s place” rings true, the hotel’s 95 total Best of Madison wins over 40 years could certainly help prove it. “When they built it, they had the viewpoint that it was going to be the place for the community to sort of celebrate their lives,” says Amy Supple, The Edgewater’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. She’s been with the hotel, which opened in 1948, for 13 years.

Acting as the walls to a house of stories, The Edgewater has hosted seven decades’ worth of characters and the moments they create. On Badgers’ game days, The Edgewater turns into a Wisconsin bar. For a couple who watch the sun go down on the balcony, the hotel becomes a place tied to a memory. For the friends lacing up ice skates or the family of boaters tying up at the dock or the mother and daughter treating themselves to an annual spa day — The Edgewater becomes part of a tradition.

The Edgewater interior of the Rigadoon Room

Courtesy of The Edgewater

In between these everyday moments, The Edgewater also captures bits of Madison history. The hotel has hosted presidents, foreign dignitaries, celebrities and monumental events over the years. Former owner Augie Faulkner was the first to host a Tommy Bartlett show in Wisconsin. These mileposts popped up as Supple and her staff recently browsed the hotel’s internal archive, reminding them of The Edgewater’s storied past. They came upon old menus for The Rigadoon Room and The Admiralty, two of the hotel’s former eateries, as well as “Wisconsin experience” packages from the 1950s that would take guests ice fishing, to a campus toboggan run in a limo and to other activities.

“We saw parallels between what we do today and what the original intent of the hotel was, which was to be this center of gravity to the community,” Supple says.

Read more about the Best of Madison Legacy Awards here.

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