The opening of the Charmant Hotel along Riverside Park marks the start of a era in downtown growth.
Monday, developer Weber Holdings, hotel designers, city officials, and the public unveiled the $30 million dollar showcase.
The Charmant Hotel, which means"charming" in French, is the first boutique hotel of its kind in La Crosse and there's no doubt it will live up to it's name.
Valerie Casper, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Aparium Hotel Group, said the hotel is different than most hotels.
"This hotel is completely different than any other. It's a destination in its own. It's a place where people can come, stay, and not have to leave. We have restaurants, we have a lounge, we have a parlor that serves coffee and cordials in the evening. We have chocolates, specially paired chocolates with those coffee and cordials. Our rooftop is something that La Crosse hasn't seen before, it's just a wonderful place that people can come and enjoy, locally," said Casper.
The building, which once housed Funke Candy Company, was one of the largest chocolate factories in the country. The well-known building still contains small pieces of it's history; such as the lights and pulleys that were utilized for created sweets rather than a sense of luxury.
Don Weber, the Founder and CEO of Logistics Health Incorporated of La Crosse owns the Charmant Hotel. He said seeing the finished product brought tears to his eyes.
"Walking through it's beautiful, but you see so much of the original building from 1898. You know, all the two by twelve tresses, the maple floors, and all the brick, and the stone here for the foundation, so that's special," said Weber.
The 5-story building features 67 upscale boutique rooms and a glass display case in the lobby that showcases artifacts from the candy factory. Tim Kabat, Mayor of the City of La Crosse said having the ability to revitalize old buildings like this one makes La Crosse the special community it is.
"They've got a beautiful display of when it was the candy factory and just all of the old candy boxes and some of the equipment and the pulleys. Being able to re-utilize that equipment and that history in this new use, I think is really cool," said Kabat.
The Charmant Hotel is undoubtedly a sweet venue that will embody and showcase the rich heritage of the city in the historic downtown. .
MORE INFORMATION: The Charmant Hotel