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Reviewed 28 February 2020

I booked this hotel for a weekend stay. I saw that there were some bad reviews, but took them with a grain of salt due to the low price and nothing too alarming in regards to cleanliness. The hotel itself is very beautiful. When you step into the lobby, you feel as though you are transported back in time. Our room was clean and large with a kitchenette, small dining table and desk/work area. The most cool thing about the hotels were the doors to the rooms, which opened both ways for back in the day when hotels offered dry cleaning services for guests. The location of the hotel is excellent, close to many attractions, shopping areas and restaurants.

Unfortunately, this is where the good ended. Knickerbocker On the Lake does offer $18 a night parking, but they do not forewarn guest that parking is very limited. When I arrived to check in at 5:45pm on a Friday, I was told that there were no spots left and that I would need to find street parking. I do not mind street parking, but for overnight parking you need to call your vehicle into the city and between the hours of 7am and 7pm there is a 2 hour parking limit. The young man who checked me in and gave me the parking info did not seem to care or understand that the parking situation is inconvenient for anyone staying a weekend at the hotel. He was all around unhelpful and seemed to not want to be there.

The second staff member we encountered was Jackie, who was at the front desk on Saturday and Sunday of my stay. As with the first front desk employee, Jackie was unhelpful. Additionally, Jackie's appearance was incredibly unprofessional; poorly dyed blue hair and multiple rings through her nose. I might have been able to get past Jackie's unprofessional appearance if it wasn't for her smug attitude, lies and lack of customer service skills. She is not the face/person that I would choose to be at the front desk of a hotel, especially a historic one like this. This was strike two against Knickerbocker On the Lake.

The rotten egg stinking up this establishment seems to be general manager Larry Robe. If you take a few minutes to look at the reviews, you can see that many people have had negative run-ins with Larry Robe and I wish I would have paid attention to these reviews before I stayed at this hotel. Larry is rude, patronizing and disrespectful. He has no sense of customer service, nor does he seem to have any management skills. Unfortunately, Knickerbocker On the Lake is independent and not associate with any other hotels, including other Knickerbocker locations (Chicago and NYC), so there is no one to keep Larry in check. This seems to have resulted in Larry abusing his power as general manager and has given him free reign to harass guests. It is my opinion that Larry Robe should not be the general manager of Knickerbocker On the Lake, or any establishment for that matter, and would really benefit from some customer service and management training.

Overall, my advisement would be to not stay in this hotel and spend your money elsewhere. The staff is rude, unhelpful and patronizing. All around, the Knickerbocker On the Lake seems to have many poor and sketchy business practices. I would suggest looking elsewhere for logging in the Milwaukee area.

Adding photos of the inside of my hotel room, proving that I did stay in this establishment.

Room tip: Stay someplace else!
Date of stay: February 2020
    • Service
Thank Emily S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Front_Desk, General Manager at Knickerbocker on the Lake, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2020

Hi Emily,

To start, I'd like to clarify that we have never had a guest stay by this name, nor have I had any conversation with a guest related to any of the items you've shared in your review; further, this profile was created this month [February] and posted only a single review - this one. This fact is true for all your posted reviews, including Google, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and the BBB complaint. I am not sure who you spoke with, but it was not me, nor my office. I'd love to have the opportunity to discuss your stay with you. We have a passion for customer service, one that - according to your review - you did not experience. This is incredibly disappointing to me and the rest of the staff. We're not like those other properties that construct cookie-cutter properties and churn out hotel guests. Please contact me. I'd love the opportunity to welcome you back and experience the Knickerbocker on the Lake

With regard to the property - I am ecstatic that you enjoyed the property, its cleanliness, kitchenette, historic doors, and location. There are many features that separate our property from others. We take pride in our staff and their ability to ensure every guest has an excellent experience; the kitchenettes in our standard rooms (with microwaves, stoves, dishware, cookware, etc) are second-to-none, and larger rooms - like Junior Suites, One Bedrooms, and Two Bedrooms - have even larger kitchens outfitted with more amenities and storage for short-term and long-term stays. The historic valet doors, which once served as doors for valet service have been well-maintained and now serve as a beautiful embrace to each guest as they approach their unique, high-quality, well-outfitted hotel room. Each hotel unit has recently experienced a near-complete overhaul, including brand-new furniture, mattresses, carpeting, and paint; several also receiving complete bathroom and kitchen remodels.

With regard to parking, each and every guest who books a reservation with us receives a confirmation e-mail that includes the following: "We have limited parking available in the parking lot adjacent the building. Parking is $18.00 per night per vehicle and is available on a first come, first served basis at the time of check-in. Parking may not be reserved in advance. Upon check-in, we sell only the number of parking spaces as there are the number of spaces available. In the unlikely event the parking lot is full, street parking is available and we would be happy to assist with overnight parking regulations."

While it's extremely rare that our property does NOT have parking available, we do inform guests that there's a small chance parking isn't available and note our policy of handling that rare situation. We're here to help our guests - whether it be parking in our lot for a fee, or a more cost-effective method of locating street parking and navigating the applicable regulations. Our staff is well-trained on how to help all guests, regardless of their parking preference.

And - relative to the final issue, appearance - I humbly disagree that a person's appearance affects their ability to perform their job. Creativity is welcome in the workplace, provided the employee is in their proper uniform and maintains proper hygiene. While dying my hair 'blue' certainly isn't on my agenda, unique lifestyles, personalities, and personal choices are what makes life that much more interesting. As a result of this review, I have personally contacted named individuals and have offered them - at their sole discretion - a professional hair coloring at the Knick Salon and Spa; I will personally cover the cost to ensure each employee feels comfortable in the workplace and maintains a high level of quality our guests have come to expect.

I truly hope we have an opportunity to welcome you back to the Knickerbocker on the Lake. I hope to hear from you soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2020

The hotel was stunning, so much history intact! We loved our old fashioned door with real key. The room was clean and spacious. Finally, the location was perfect! A close uber ride to so many great breweries and restaurants!

Date of stay: February 2020
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank lisafX1387XJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Front_Desk, General Manager at Knickerbocker on the Lake, responded to this reviewResponded 26 February 2020

Dear Lisa,
We're happy to be part of your historic visit to the area and to hear you enjoyed our comfortable facilities and perfect location. It would be wonderful to see you again at Knickerbocker on the Lake for another remarkable experience.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2020 via mobile

The hotel is so historic and is an experience for sure. The lake view suites have an amazing view of Lake Michigan. There is dated thick brown carpet in the room and it was not in the best shape. It took away from the majestic feel of the hotel.

Date of stay: February 2020
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Mcdugel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Front_Desk, General Manager at Knickerbocker on the Lake, responded to this reviewResponded 26 February 2020

Thank you for choosing our hotel and taking a moment to provide your review. We're glad you enjoyed our beautiful lake views and hope you appreciated the unique history of our property. Please accept our apologies, however, for our carpet not meeting your expectations. We'll share your comments with our team as we're continually striving to improve. Nonetheless, we hope your trip was phenomenal. Please consider giving us another opportunity to impress you.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2020

A very cool old style building with decor that looks like Gringotts bank from Harry Potter! The rooms are dated, but in a quaint way, and very clean. The prices are reasonable for the rooms. They have a parking lot, but they charge you $18 a night to use it. Street parking otherwise is very limited.

Date of stay: February 2020
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank SRiese
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Front_Desk, General Manager at Knickerbocker on the Lake, responded to this reviewResponded 26 February 2020

It's always a pleasure hearing from our guests. We're so pleased our unique decor added to your experience and that you appreciated our competitive rates. Please accept our apologies, however, for any issues finding parking. Our staff is always happy to assist with this. If you're in the city again, please come back to see us.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2020 via mobile

I had a great time! The staff was very nice and always available if I was in need of something. I was in need of a space for a weekend getaway and was not disappointed. I enjoyed my time at the Knickerbocker and can't wait to be back!

Date of stay: February 2020
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank thaojo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Front_Desk, General Manager at Knickerbocker on the Lake, responded to this reviewResponded 11 February 2020

Dear Joe,
It sounds like your stay with us at Knickerbocker on the Lake was a real hit! Thank you for the positive feedback and kind words for our team. We work hard to go above and beyond in hospitality. Hearing that you would visit us again means so much to us, and we look forward to the opportunity to exceed your expectations. Come back soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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