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The Stewart Inn is located in Wausau, Wisconsin. It was originally designed and built by George Maher in 1906 and features five units available for guest reservation. Every room provides guests with a private bathroom, steam shower, Amazon Echo Show and cable TV. According to Randy, the owner of the property, the Fuller Room is one of the most popular units because it features a private balcony, with the Sheldon Room also being popular among guests for its larger size. Breakfast is offered to patrons every morning at 8:30 AM (unless requested earlier) and is served in three courses. Should accommodations for dietary restrictions be necessary Randy asks that he be told ahead of time to prepare. For those who are interested in exploring the town of Wausau, there are a number of attractions within walking distance of the inn, such as museums, theaters, and restaurants.
Situated within downtown Wausau, Wisconsin, is the Stewart Inn , a three-story "arts and crafts" style building. There are a total of five rooms that are available for guest reservation, each with a unique name and all being located on the second floor of the establishment. According to Randy, the owner of the bed and breakfast, the names were all derived from the surnames of his wife’s family. Regardless of which room guests may stay in, each comes with a private bathroom, steam shower, and cable TV. The Fuller Room is one of the most popular among patrons, Randy says, due to its loggia, or private balcony. Another popular room is the Sheldon Room due to its large size and fireplace. Regarding all of the rooms and the amenities that are offered in them, Randy considers the price of staying at the inn to be “quite reasonable” when compared to other lodging establishments.
Breakfast is provided at 8:30 AM for all guests in the inn’s main dining room. Those leaving the bed and breakfast before this time can request that an earlier breakfast time be arranged for them. The breakfast is served in three courses along with fresh juice. Dishes that are typically offered include fruit parfaits, biscuits and gravy, waffles, quiche, and pancakes, among other dishes. For those with dietary restrictions, accommodations can be made if enough notice is given to Randy, who makes breakfast each morning.
There are a number of common areas that patrons of the Stewart Inn can congregate in over the course of their stay. These include the Living Room, Dining Room, Reception Room, Office, Side Porch, Stairwell Landing, and 2nd Floor Hallway. Randy says that this large amount of "guest space," or space available other than the guest suites, "makes the stay special." There are minimal decorations on the walls because, according to Randy, the building’s “architecture is the art,” referring to the design work done for the house when George Maher initially built it. All of the original woodwork, stained glass, chandeliers, sconces, and other such details from the house's inception are still present in the building. These common areas are also used to host different events and activities on the premises, such as a nightly wine reception hosted in the Living Room or guests using the Reception Room for meetings or to watch TV.
With regards to the location of the Stewart Inn in the city of Wausau, Randy regards the town as a “hidden gem” of Wisconsin. Many of the city’s attractions are within walking distance of the inn. For those desiring things to do outdoors, parks such as Barker Stewart Park and Big Bull Falls Park are near the property, while further away, guests can visit Granite Peak to participate in skiing or snowboarding, season and weather permitting. Other attractions in the area include a number of museums and art galleries in Wausau, where guests can learn more about the town’s history and observe different artistic depictions of the region. A number of dining options can be found in the city, with some of Randy’s recommendations for guests being Ciao, a restaurant that serves primarily Italian food, the Back When Café, which serves new American dishes and drinks, the Lemongrass Asian Fusion Restaurant and Bar, and the Red Eye Brewing Company, which serves different craft beers and artisanal pizza.
One of the goals that Randy, the owner of the bed and breakfast, has with regards to how his guests feel while staying at the Stewart Inn is that it can be a "pleasurable experience" for them. Both he and his wife Sara strive to be available should guests need anything. In the event that patrons desire recommendations for things to do or are simply looking to socialize, Randy and Sara are happy to talk with them and offer their ideas and suggestions. To encourage guests to get to know each other, a wine social is hosted every night in the inn’s Living Room; however, visitors are not required to attend. The motto of the property, according to Randy, is “we try to make the experience about you, not about us.”
A number of positive reviews have been left by former patrons of the Stewart Inn, many of which reference the hospitality of Randy and Sara and the quality of the guest suites. Said one former guest about their stay, “Randy was welcoming and kind. He attended to our every need. Our room was comfortable with a fireplace, two comfy chairs, a steam shower, and luxuriously soft sheets.” Another person mentioned that “the wine hour held at 5:00 PM was a nice touch and a great way to meet and converse with fellow travelers.” The property has been recognized in the Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best for 2022 category.
According to Randy, the atmosphere of the property is “an unusual blend of warmth, elegance, and tranquility,” which he says “speaks to the architect and what he did with the design.” In order to foster this atmosphere, the Stewart Inn has some policies that guests are asked to observe during their stay. Smoking, for example, is not allowed in the building and must be done outside in their designated smoking areas. Children over the age of ten are allowed to stay at the inn. However, pets are not permitted to stay with guests. A quiet time is enforced from 10:00 PM until 8:00 AM each night in order to avoid patrons disturbing one another.
The Stewart Inn was originally built as a home for the Stewart family in 1906. George Maher, a prominent architect of the time, designed the appearance of the building. Maher was an influential person in popularizing the Prairie Style of home and the Arts and Crafts movement of building design in the late 1800s and early 1900s throughout the American Midwest. Hiram and Irene Stewart lived in the home with their family from 1906 until 1913, when the house was sold to a new owner. The property changed hands several times throughout the 20th century; however, since the late 1980s, it has typically operated as a bed and breakfast.
Randy and Sara Bangs, the current owners of the Stewart Inn, purchased it from Paul and Jane Welter in 2016. Prior to taking over the inn, Randy and Sara had owned and operated two other bed and breakfasts, their first being the Pleasant Street Bed and Breakfast, followed by the Allyn Mansion. The Bangs originally started working in the hospitality industry because Sara thought that they could do well in the business. In addition to working at the Stewart House, Sara works in the healthcare industry, and Randy acts as a consultant for other bed and breakfasts throughout the United States.
Since taking ownership of the Stewart Inn, there have been a number of changes made to the property. One of the most notable renovations that Randy cites is the first floor, which he wanted to be more accurate to the time period in which the home was built. Most of the other updates that Randy and Sara have made have been to the furniture throughout the bed and breakfast. In the future, Randy hopes to expand the number of rooms they can offer guests by adding two suites in the carriage house behind the main building on the premises. They are also opening a sister property in Wausau, the Owl Ridge Cabin, located about ten minutes from downtown Wausau, that guests will also be able to reserve for additional accommodation a short distance from town.
Arts and Crafts
Randy and Sara Bangs