I stayed at the Lowell center for 3 nights during a UW-Madison sponsored conference. This building was built to be a women's dorm and served that purpose for only 5 years before it became university office space. A few years ago it was remodeled again and now serves as a lodging for people attending campus events. Be aware that the frontage of the building is very narrow, so it can be hard to spot from Langdon St.
The Lowell center is located on the NE edge of campus - half a block from the lakeshore - near the Library Mall/Student Union and on a highly populated street that is a "Fraternity Row." The location is very convenient for walking to either the campus or the Wisconsin Capitol area. The many eclectic shops and dining choices of State Street are only a short distance away. A few minutes' walk will take you to the student union for a late night snack, and it's definitely doable to walk from Lowell center to the Capitol area.
I chose a "standard" room because it was less expensive. I also chose the free off-site parking for the same reason. There is a small turnaround just off Francis St. where you can unload or load your luggage. I was given a parking pass and assigned a spot in the underground parking garage beneath the Fluno Center, which is about three large city blocks away.
A map was on the back of the parking pass, creating the first dilemma: Once you leave your parking pass on the dashboard of the car, how do you find your way back to the hotel? I resolved the issue by taking a photo of it with my smartphone, and it's a good thing I did, because I needed to refer to it later. UW-Madison is a big place and can be a little confusing for the new visitor, so make sure to tuck a campus map into your purse or bag.
As a woman alone, I felt a little eery about walking to and from the underground parking garage at night more than I needed to, so I didn't check on my car for the entire three days I was there. When I did, it was just as I had left it. In general, walking around downtown Madison in the daytime feels OK even for a woman alone, but of course it's always best to have your wits around you and be aware of your surroundings. Even at 9 or 10 at night there are plenty of college students around.
My room was on the first floor of the Lowell center, and small but very clean. The bed slept fine and pillows were ample. My "view" was only of a parking lot, although heavy curtains did close out the street lights. As a slight inconvenience, I could not find the hairdryer for 2 days, it was so well hidden. When I asked at the front desk, they told me it was in a bag in a dresser drawer, which it was. The shower was smallish (no tub) and the showerhead was very low, so I had to stoop down to wash my hair. The room felt like a slightly upgraded college dorm. I could hear my nextdoor neighbors talk on the phone, although I couldn't make out the words. I'm assuming the "deluxe" rooms feel a little less dormlike.
The breakfast, in a very large dining room on the ground floor, offered a big variety of choices, from fruit to waffles to custom-fried eggs to warm oatmeal to doughnuts to yogurt and more. The coffee was good. I discovered on my 2nd day that it is much better to arrive at breakfast early. Many, many people stay at the Lowell center, making the dining room a hectic place. In-room, there was a nice little one-cup coffee maker with an assortment of coffees and teas. I discovered it's possible to run water through the coffee or tea twice to get two cups, making me less reliant upon the dining room.
There was a men's basketball game while I was in Madison, leading to LOTS of activity in the nearby bars and on the streets, including boistrous porch parties at the nearby fraternity houses. The newspaper reported that 1000 people were standing out on the corner of Francis and Langdon Streets, ready to celebrate a winning game. That's exactly where this hotel is located, so if the men's basketball team had won I'm not sure what the noise repercussions would have been for Lowell center guests. Inebriated students seemed to cut through the parking lot to yell and enjoy its echo. They were bothersome but not a major problem.
The in-room wifi was easy to connect to, with zero issues. Everything in the room worked fine, although the space was small. The staff I interacted with were polite and friendly. I did not use the pool. The room had a wing-backed chair and a desk in addition to the bed. There was a refrigerator in the closet that made hanging long coats or dresses inconvenient. The room phone had a card listing extremely high charges for any use of it, so it's a good thing to have a cell phone along.
The price of a Deluxe room is $109/night, and a Standard room is $89/night. Onsite parking is $7.58 per day, and offsite parking is free. My total charge for three nights was $267
(as opposed to $351 in a Deluxe room with parking). I thought that was a pretty good value, considering I got everywhere I needed to go by foot during the time I was in Madison. Recommended.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience The Lowell Center Lodging in Madison Wisconsin! If you need campus lodging in Madison, Wis., Check us out. Overnight accommodations at The Lowell Center are ideal for persons attending conferences or other events associated with the University of Wisconsin, State of Wisconsin agencies, and other educational and governmental groups. Alumni and parents or family of students are also welcome. Conveniently located at 610 Langdon Street, The Lowell Center Conference & Lodging Facility offers 137 guest rooms,and an indoor swimming pool (the largest hotel pool in the area) and sauna. You'll also find several classrooms, boardroom and break-out areas, a large dining room, and two beautiful reception areas. Our sister facility, The Pyle Center, is located nearby with even more conferencing space available. An expanded continental breakfast is included in the room rate. Guest parking for one vehicle is available on-site for $10 per night, or off-site (three blocks away) at no charge. Additional vehicles are charged $8 per night at either site. Parking reservations should be made in advance of your visit, and reservations are based on availability. This is a non-smoking facility. As a Madison hotel located on the UW campus, we are situated only one block from The Pyle Center and close to vibrant State Street - providing easy access to the best of downtown Madison and UW-campus activities. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Lowell Hotel Madison