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History

Celebrating More than 50 Years in Hotels

The first hotel in the Marcus Hotels & Resorts portfolio was Milwaukee's iconic Pfister Hotel. Over the years, we have expanded our reach far beyond our Milwaukee roots with properties from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and many destinations in between. Learn more about how the purchase of a single luxury hotel launched a leading nationwide hotel management company.

  • Vintage Image of the Pfister Hotel Entrance

    1962

    Theatre owner and entrepreneur Ben Marcus purchases Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel at auction. Originally built in 1893, the hotel had fallen into bankruptcy and was planned to be demolished. Mr. Marcus had other plans. He called upon his son, Steve Marcus, to manage the renovation and restoration of the hotel to its former glory. Included in the renovations was a 23-story guest room tower, which opened to the public in 1966.

  • Horse and buggy outside of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center

    1972

    Ben and Steve Marcus purchase the Sheraton Shroeder Hotel – Wisconsin’s tallest hotel at the time. Following the success of the Pfister, the property underwent $8 million in renovations before it was renamed the Marc Plaza. (Today, this location is known as the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.)

  • Overlooking the golf course and main building of the Grand Geneva Resort

    1994

    Further expansion of the Hotels & Resort division occurs in 1993 with the purchase of the former Playboy Club in Lake Geneva. Paying just one-third of what Playboy had sold it for 13 years earlier; the resort was shut down to undergo $19 million worth of top-to-bottom renovation. The resort reopened in 1994 as the Grand Geneva – the premier resort in the upper Midwest.

  • Outside of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center

    1995

    Marc Plaza obtains a Hilton franchise and is renamed Hilton Milwaukee City Center, in anticipation of the new Midwest Express Convention Center (now the Wisconsin Center) – which debuted in 1998.

  • Statue of a man holding a ball on his shoulder

    2000

    Hilton Milwaukee City Center reveals further remodels and renovations, featuring a new meeting room and ballroom, while increasing the number of guest rooms by 250 with a 12-floor addition.

  • Overlooking the indoor waterpark at the Timber Ridge Lodge

    2001

    Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark – a condominium/hotel - opens on the grounds of Grand Geneva, adding 50,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor waterpark to the range of vacation experiences available on property.

  • Tables and bar of a ChopHouse location

    2002

    Marcus Hotels & Resorts creates the ChopHouse brand – a steakhouse specializing in steak and seafood. To date, the brand has four locations – Milwaukee, Lake Geneva, Madison, and Minneapolis.

  • Woman getting a massage at the WellSpa

    2004

    Marcus further diversifies its entertainment options and creates the WELL Spa brand – initially opening in its California hotel location. Today – the brand has three locations in Milwaukee, Lake Geneva, and Las Vegas.

  • Platinum Hotel entrance

    2004

    Marcus enters a joint venture to develop the Platinum Hotel & Spa, a luxury condominium project in Las Vegas, with it’s largest distinction – no slot machines. The property encourages a softer side to Vegas, and officially opened for business in 2006.

  • InterContinental Milwaukee Entrance

    2005

    Expanding its portfolio in downtown Milwaukee, Marcus Hotels & Resorts purchases the Wyndham Hotel, increasing the count to 3 Milwaukee locations. The property was rebranded as the InterContinental Milwaukee and given a chic and contemporary makeover to appeal to the younger business traveler as well as the art crowd.

  • Skirvin Hotel Buildings

    2007

    In 2004, Marcus Hotels & Resorts entered a joint venture to restore and operate the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Undergoing $50 million in renovations, the historic hotel, which had closed its door in 1988, reopened for business on February 26, 2007.

  • Women having drinks at Mason Street Grill and the Pfister WellSpa

    2007

    Further expansion of its full service entertainment, The Pfister Hotel opens Mason Street Grill and the Pfister WELL Spa.

  • AC Hotels by Marriott Chicago Downtown Building

    2014

    The Four Points by Sheraton Chicago location undergoes renovation and rebrands itself as the AC Hotels by Marriott Chicago Downtown, based on the Spanish brand. One of the first five of its kind in the United States, the hotel offers an upscale modern experience.

  • Entrance of the SafeHouse

    2015

    Marcus Hotels & Resorts purchases the SafeHouse, a spy-themed restaurant and bar in an “undisclosed location” in downtown Milwaukee. Upon entry, guests are required to provide a password to gain clearance, or complete a task of the door agent’s choosing. The restaurant is a well known tourist destination and has been featured many times on television and in print.


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