“It’s a marvelous night for a moondance,” croons Marcell Guyton, guest musician at the Blu. This sweet Van Morrison melody happens to be one of my favorites. Despite the fact that the moon isn’t out tonight, it is, indeed a marvelous night. The sky is clear, the lights of Milwaukee sparkle like stars and the view from here is entrancing: the Wisconsin Gas Building with its flame lit up blue to indicate temperature change stands adjacent to the U.S. Bank’s white tower; then the Hoan Bridge with the up-and-coming neighborhood of Bay View beyond it; and the pointy brick edges of the Milwaukee Center on the outer edge. But we’re not in Blu, though we are on the 23rd floor, and there is plenty of “Blue” around us. We’re in the Pfister’s pool. Enjoying the music without having to get out of the water is a treat as the tunes come through the door by the wicker shelving stacked with rolls of fluffy white towels. We watch numerous people try the handle of the door to the pool room to see these sights, but are visibly disappointed when they find it locked–accessible only by guest key card. Tonight, this pool with a view is just for us.
After enjoying a leisurely swim, we gather our things and wait for the elevator. Standing next to us is a gentleman in a business suit, his tie loosened at the neck. He waves to a friend who is returning to the musical cocktail hour that is Blu on a Thursday night, while eying up the direction from which we just came. He seems puzzled. The elevator doors slide open, revealing a handsome couple who does a swift double-take when they see my friend and I, clearly having just left some wet area and not at all dressed for martinis (not that one couldn’t have martinis while wearing a swimsuit and cover-up). It is always a funny thing to have people in their stylish best sharing space with people who are not at all dressed for a proper social occasion.
Of course, this is part of the quirky charm of staying in a historic hotel. They weren’t originally designed for the needs of the modern world, where fitness areas are neatly stashed away out of sight of the clientele relaxing at the lobby bar. Instead, rooms go where space allows, leaving a guest fresh off the treadmill to weave through Gucci suitcases being pushed on luggage carts while fashionably coiffed guests check in at the front desk.
This is a wonderful equalizer. The self-conscious ego must be checked at the front desk, as well, if one wants to enjoy something as spectacular as a 23rd floor pool with a view of the city skyline and Lake Michigan. And, boy do I recommend checking in!