FOND DU LAC, Wis.–The Hotel Retlaw in central Wisconsin will reopen this fall after a $25 million renovation. The property is the first being developed by the newly formed Legendary Hotels, a hospitality management and development company that will specialize in distinctive boutique properties.
Plans for the renovation include a destination farm-to-table restaurant, espresso café and wine bar, a refurbished relaxation pool, and new luxury spa. A grand ballroom will lend itself to formal affairs and dinners, weddings, and gala celebrations as well as serve as a setting for executive conferences and corporate events.
“We are creating a unique and breathtaking environment that will attract world-class travelers and serve as a premiere social center,” says Dennis Doucette, a principal-partner at Legendary Hotels along with Steve Frantz. Doucette is credited with reestablishing the Biltmore-Miami as a world-class destination and a Leading Hotels of the World resort. Frantz is a senior sales executive who spent nearly two decades with Benchmark Resorts & Hotels.
The guarantor behind the Hotel Retlaw project is David Barker, president of Barker Financial. Barker is a real estate entrepreneur, author, scholar, and a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This will be the first hotel in his real estate portfolio. Financing for the hotel was provided by Mick Fletcher of Two Rivers Bank & Trust. Hotel Retlaw is outside of the bank’s immediate market, but the collaboration between Barker Financial and Legendary Hotels ultimately warranted Two Rivers’ participation.
First opened in 1923, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Hotel Retlaw was considered one of the state’s elite hotels and a destination for celebrities, dignitaries, and VIPs. After extensive renovations by its new owners, Hotel Retlaw will be restored back to its original splendor with 127 guestrooms and suites.
“Hotel Retlaw came on the scene during an era of incredible social, artistic, and cultural excitement. We are looking forward to bringing this iconic treasure in central Wisconsin back to life while infusing it with contemporary luxury,” says Yvonne Roberts, principal of Guru of Luxury and creative director for Hotel Retlaw. Roberts is credited with creating the Biltmore-Miami’s Cellar Club, an American wine club and winner of the James Beard Award for Wine Services. Her experience includes more than two decades as an interior design and hospitality consultant.
The architect of record for the project is Kahler Slater of Milwaukee.