New Hotel Retlaw to become a luxurious escape


A bold vision combining lavish beauty with historical integrity, Hotel Retlaw is designed to dazzle when its grand reopening takes place this fall. And grand it will be. The much-anticipated boutique hotel will imbue an elevated sense of luxury and style to central Wisconsin. The remarkable property is the first being developed by the newly-formed Legendary Hotels, a hospitality management and development company that will specialize in distinctive boutique properties.

“We are creating a unique and breathtaking environment that will attract world-class travelers and serve as a premiere social center,” said Dennis Doucette, a principal-partner at Legendary Hotels along with Steve Frantz. Doucette is credited with reestablishing the Biltmore-Miami as a world-class destination and Leading Hotels of the World® resort. Frantz is an accomplished senior sales executive who spent nearly two decades with Benchmark Resorts & Hotels.

Plans for the extraordinary $25 million renovation include a destination farm-to-table restaurant, sophisticated espresso café and wine bar, a beautifully refurbished relaxation pool, and new luxury spa. A majestic grand ballroom will lend itself to formal affairs and lavish dinners, elegant weddings, and gala celebrations as well as serve as a perfect setting for executive conferences and corporate events.

The guarantor behind the project is David Barker, president of Barker Financial. Barker is a real estate entrepreneur, author, scholar, and a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This will be the first hotel in his impressive real estate portfolio. Financing for the hotel was provided by Mick Fletcher of Two Rivers Bank & Trust. Hotel Retlaw is outside of the bank’s immediate market, but the collaboration between Barker Financial and Legendary Hotels was intriguing and ultimately warranted Two Rivers’ participation.

First opened in 1923, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Hotel Retlaw was considered one of the state’s elite hotels and a preferred destination for celebrities, dignitaries, and VIPs. After extensive renovations by its new owners, Hotel Retlaw will be restored back to its original splendor with 127 well-appointed guest rooms and suites.

“Hotel Retlaw came on the scene during an era of incredible social, artistic, and cultural excitement. We are looking forward to bringing this iconic treasure in central Wisconsin back to life while infusing it with contemporary luxury,” said Yvonne Roberts, principal of Guru of Luxury and creative director for Hotel Retlaw. Roberts is credited with creating the Biltmore-Miami’s Cellar Club, the most successful wine club in America and winner of the James Beard Award for Wine Services. Her experience includes more than two decades as an interior design and hospitality consultant.

The architect of record for the project is Kahler Slater of Milwaukee.

About Hotel Retlaw

Hotel Retlaw is a boutique historic hotel designed to evoke the elegance of a bygone era. Built in 1922 and listed on the National Register of Historical Properties, Hotel Retlaw combines historical integrity with ultimate luxury. Located in Downtown Fond du Lac, Hotel Retlaw is the original in the Legendary Hotels collection. 

About Legendary Hotels

Legendary Hotels was created to offer distinctive boutique properties that embody a unique sense of style, understated luxury, timeless sophistication, and warm, gracious service.

About Guru of Luxury

Guru of Luxury is an interior design and consulting firm based in Miami Beach with extensive experience in boutique and historic hotels.