The 48-room, contemporary-style HotelRed stands directly across from Camp Randall Stadium, home to the University of Wisconsin Badger football team (hence the Red). It’s also less than 2 miles from the Capitol Square and State Street, and even closer to the boutique shopping on Monroe Street.
Rooms start at $139, and all feature spacious king beds, plush bedding, Aveda bath products and kitchenettes. Some rooms also have amenities like soaking tubs and private balconies. You’ll find complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and eye-catching artwork from local artists (or artists with ties to the area). Parking is free. And did we mention pets are welcome?
As inviting as the rooms are, you might prefer to hang out in the lobby, which features a huge fireplace towering over a wealth of comfy seating. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the bustling Monroe-Regent Street corridor. Or maybe you’ll want to saunter over to The Wise, a restaurant-bar offering shared-plate dining and an extensive drink menu, including craft beers.
There is no fitness center on-site, but guests get complimentary access (and a free shuttle ride) to a downtown gym. The hotel is a short walk from a popular bike path (plus a B-Cycle urban bike-sharing station).
1501 Monroe St., Madison. (608) 819-8228; hotelred.com 
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® November/December 2012. Prices and other details are subject to change, so please check specifics before making travel plans.)