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Hotels & Resorts

 December 08, 2015
The Charmant Hotel's Historic Story Comes To Life Through A Curated Design

 The Charmant Hotel (101 S. State St.), La Crosse's first upscale, independent property managed by Aparium Hotel Group, is a nod to the city's French settlers, showcasing a curated design led by Chicago-based Simeone Deary Design Group. Recently opened in September 2015, Aparium Hotel Group, Owner Don Weber of Weber Holdings, Simeone Deary Design Group, and The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc. worked closely to create a design that brings together vintage vestiges, French flair, and pure luxury from the once Joseph B. Funke Candy Company. The Gettys Group Procurement team was called upon to source all materials and items.

Aparium Managing Partner and COO Kevin Robinson connected with Gina Deary and Lisa Simeone of Simeone Deary Design group in February 2013, "knowing Simeone Deary and their team would bring Aparium's vision and the hotel's story to life," Robinson says.

"The Charmant is more than a hotel," Simeone Deary Design Group Co-Owner Gina Deary says. "It is a beacon for a growing city that honors and respects the past, while celebrating the remarkable future that is in store for the city of La Crosse."

Entrance & Lobby

Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by a mosaic staircase, etched with design flourishes that reflect the hotel's logo. Visitors will feel as though they've entered a lavish Parisian café, complemented by forged black iron accents speaking to the building's industrial past. Custom light fixtures set behind the moldings highlight the acid-washed brick walls. Original wood floors are meticulously refinished and purposely retain the markings of spilled chocolate and molasses from the working factory.

The front desk, designed as an abstract homage to an old candy counter, utilizes classic marble juxtaposed with forged metal. Adjacent to the check-in desk is a display case showcasing Indulgence Chocolatiers treats including macaroons, chocolates, and more. Behind the check-in desk, shelves made from reclaimed metal railings showcase a collection of antique candy boxes. The color palette draws inspiration from the chocolates themselves---rich buttercream, caramel, raspberry, and cocoa---while French-inspired blues and grays add notes of cool serenity.

To the right of the entrance is a memorabilia wall with a collection of antiques and photography, paying homage to the Funke candy company. Much of the collection was donated by the Funke family, including relics and objects such as original candy boxes, candy equipment, and more.

Public Spaces

Simeone Deary Design Group strategically designed the hotel's common areas to feel comfortable, collected, and clubby with its leather chairs, denim cushions, and artfully-aged Persian carpets. The dining room showcases a brighter space with a light draperies to soften the rustle of conversation. This room honors the building's industrial history with pulleys from the factory holding the custom designed light fixtures that run along the barrel-vaulted ceiling, zinc countertops, and industrial clipboards showcasing the menus.

For breakfast, afternoon snacks, or a night cap, The Parlour, an intimate space positioned near the check-in desk, beckons guests to linger over drinks or indulge in pastries, candies, or Indulgence Chocolatiers' sweets. Not to be outdone, a classic marble-topped counter sits atop an undulating, glossy Chartreuse-colored wooden base, inspired by the original Funke candy packaging palette.

The Charmant Hotel's rooftop is multi-seasonal, complemented by a two-season outdoor patio. The space is designed to resemble a house garden, as the perimeter is lined with hedges and adorned with a collection of pots with plants. The outdoor furniture provides an inviting, residential ambiance, and a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.


The Charmant Hotel provides guests with the same feeling as a private home or a cozy bed and breakfast. There are no "standard" hotel furnishings, as each guestroom is outfitted with curated pieces and personal touches including unique elements such as: a stack of trunks that serve as an end table; variances in creamy Belgian linens from bed to bed; seasonal, fresh or dried flowers; hand selected books on each individual nightstand; asymmetric picture frames near each headboard; vintage rugs lining the original hardwood floor; original windows with views of the Mississippi River; and more.

The key design element in each guestroom reflects architectural elements of the original building. Exposed brick, reclaimed wood, roughhewn wood columns provide a peek into the historical past of the building. A textured wall treatment in each guestroom represents a juxtaposition of the building's industrial structure and the new, luxurious personality of the hotel. The design of the bathrooms was inspired by vintage French boudoirs with warm colors and elegant details.

Adding a bit of brightness, each suite's central component is the floor-to-ceiling windows, framing the views of the Mississippi River. Suites are designed with slightly modern touches, providing refined elegance in subtle details. The bathrooms showcase claw foot tubs that face windows for a view that provides a relaxing escape.

Meeting Spaces

Located on the lower level, accessible by the staircase near the hotel's entrance are three meeting and event rooms: The Serenada, The Royal Crown, and the pre-function space.

The Royal Crown is suited for board meetings and intimate business discussions or presentations. The Royal Crown is a 338-square-foot boardroom that accommodates up to 14 guests, featuring a 70-inch flat-screen HDTV and optional audiovisual equipment.

The Serenada is designed for a wide range of gatherings, including corporate meetings, classroom events, parties, sit-down meals, and wedding ceremonies and receptions. At 613 square feet, The Serenada accommodates 40 guests for sit-down functions or 50 guests for standing receptions and theater-style events. The Serenada also includes a pre-function area that can be used for registration, receptions, breaks, and breakout sessions.

The Charmant Hotel

Scheduled to open in the late summer of 2015, The Charmant Hotel is the second property managed by Aparium Hotel Group in Wisconsin. The Charmant Hotel, La Crosse, WI, is a representative of a "four" star boutique property with exceptional service standing above and beyond any other property within Wisconsin and the Midwest. The Charmant Hotel is taking reservations beginning immediately, which can be made by visiting


Aparium Hotel Group

Aparium Hotel Group is a company founded and controlled by experienced professionals in hotel development, management, and marketing who hold the belief that great hotels are a destination sought out by travelers and a favorite place for locals -- a philosophy Aparium calls Translocal Hospitality. Aparium's passion and expertise centers on independent hotels and resorts in distinct cities and unexpected resort destinations. Each locale is built on the belief that it should be a brand in and of itself -- a true celebration of independent identity and a product of its setting. The company is committed to and engaged in a visionary partnership with independent hotel owners who are intimately knowledgeable of their communities and, as such, view their properties as a source of pride. By fostering collaboration, Aparium delivers measurable and sustainable return on investment with transparency and accountability at all stages of operation. Aparium Hotel Group properties include: The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, WI; The Charmant Hotel in La Crosse, WI; Hotel Covington in Covington, KY; and The Foundation Hotel in Detroit, MI. The group currently has several additional projects underway to be announced in the coming year.