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June 30, 2008

Harley’s Haute Homecoming

Welcome to the new H.O.G. heaven.

You think American motorbikes, you think Harley-Davidson. You might also think grease — not glam. That’s likely to change this summer when the Iron Horse Hotel unbolts its doors in the Harley hometown of Milwaukee. Touting itself as the “first modern luxury hotel for motorcycle enthusiasts,” the latest outpost from upscale boutique outfit Desires Hotels is racing to open in time for the half a million Harley pilgrims who will roar through the motoring mecca, August 17-27, to mark the iconic brand’s 105th birthday celebration.

Festivities kick-start even earlier with the July 12 grand opening of a new $75-million Harley-Davidson Museum (exterior pictured). The colossal 20-acre complex showcases a collection of over 400 bikes, including personal rides of celebrity aficionados Evil Knievel and Elvis Presley.

A rising percentage of America’s 20 million self-declared road hogs are CEOs and high-powered entrepreneurs who like to trade business suits for leathers come the workweek’s end — a fact that has not escaped Iron Horse honcho Tim Dixon and Manhattan design duo Roman & Williams. Together, they’ve pimped out an historic bedding factory into 102 loft-style guestrooms with snakeskin carpeting and biker-chic murals (i.e. pictures of hot women), coupled with the requisite WiFi and flat-screen TVs. The plus-size quarters are also strapped to the hilt with such biker-friendly features as gear storage and sturdy helmet hooks. And to help you gear up for the road, there’s an on-site bike wash and packed saddlebag lunches.

Worried about catching enough winks with that rolling thunderstorm of V-twin engines outside your window? Rest assured. In addition to a certified sound abatement program installed to mollify the acoustics, the eco-conscious hotel’s recycled rubber flooring also helps soak up noise. Plus, it’s as slick-safe for stilettos as it is durable for Durangos.

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read more: 02. Sleep | boutique | 09. Active | cycling

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