Fall In Love

At These Romantic Downtown Madison Retreats
By Helen Bush

Looking for a little romance this Valentine’s Day? Look no further than Madison’s lush B&Bs and hotels, where a night or two in town can make you feel as properly pampered as if you’ve gone away for the weekend.

Just blocks from downtown, The Livingston Inn is a historic landmark with all the modern updates you’ll love.

The limestone house was the home of Madison’s first mayor, William T. Leitch, in 1854 and remained a chic residence of city elites for many years, according to owner Peggy Furlan. Today, guests can experience classic elegance in the drawing room, or chat in the yellow dining room over a buffet of homemade granola, Greek yogurt and fruit. Each of the five bedrooms has a private bath, and a view of Lake Mendota or the front garden. The inn’s nine gas fireplaces add flickers of ambiance to every room.

Get cozy on the near West Side at The Buckingham Inn. The B&B’s prairie style creates a homespun mood in which to rest from obligations. Guests have choice of three suites, the Varsity, Mendota and University, each with a king or queen bed and a lovely tiled bathroom with an air jet bath. Hospitality doesn’t stop there: Guests can enjoy breakfast made with local ingredients and drinks served in red china cups. The inn also offers free off-street parking and BCycle passes for the bike-sharing network.

If B&Bs aren’t your thing, Mansion Hill Inn offers an intimate boutique hotel experience. The Romanesque building was built in 1857 to be, in the words of original owner Alexander McDonnell, “the best house money could buy.”

Its 10 bedrooms offer a variety of luxury, each with a marble fireplace and optional mood lighting. The so-called  Splendid Rooms are tucked away on the ground floor by the Victorian garden, charming even in winter. Classic Suites have wrought iron balconies and tall windows. Grand Rooms are furnished in the Craftsman style. Guests are treated to valet parking, continental breakfast and an assortment of coffee, tea, beer and wine.

If you’re looking for the full-service hotel experience, check out the newly renovated Park Hotel, the only hotel on Capitol Square. The hotel features a complete fitness center, and The Post, a full-service restaurant and bar, so you don’t even have to leave the grounds if you don’t want to. Guests can choose from a number of rooms one with personal access to the heated pool. For a little extra treat this Valentine’s day, book the romantic getaway package, which includes a dozen long-stemmed roses, a chilled bottle of sparkling wine (or cider) and gourmet chocolates.

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