Inside Scoop: Kinn Guesthouse Weaves Affordable Luxury with Midwestern Charm

Inside Scoop: Kinn Guesthouse Weaves Affordable Luxury with Midwestern Charm

After years of traveling 30+ countries and staying at a range of hostels, home rentals, hotels, and inns, I can confidently say I know what I want in an accommodation. When I choose between lodging options, I seek location, comfort, and work-related accessibility. Depending on the destination, I am often there to explore, adventure, and relax — but also to continue blogging.

But not every hotel is fit for my lifestyle. Some are dark and somewhat depressing, with an atmosphere worth forgetting. Others don’t even offer room desks, let alone reliable Wi-Fi and 24-hour access to a kitchen and common area (yes, hotels might even have curfews).

Though some guests may desire continuous hands-on attending, I don’t always need – or want – hotel service. Especially housekeeping: while I respect and appreciate the lovely employees for their hard work, I dislike getting my room cleaned during my stay and feel a piece of my soul fade away each time my towels are changed after just one use.

Because of this, I often resort to modern Airbnb accommodations that offer hotel-quality amenities without the human interaction. That is, until I realized completely removing that community element can sometimes make visiting a new destination a bit isolating.

Little did I know there was a new gem in Milwaukee, WI that felt the same way — and did something about it.

An innovative guesthouse Experience in MKE

Kinn Guesthouse is the first of its kind in Bay View, Milwaukee and one of the few micro establishments in the state of Wisconsin. Rooted in a multi-generational history of hotel ownership, Kinn owners Charles and Connie Bailey fuse the Airbnb concept with communal elements and thoughtful design, paving way for a new accommodation niche: the (unofficial) Boutique Guesthouse.

“We wanted to mimic this sense of openness and community which we feel is important these days. To achieve this, we created a community lounge w/ a TV area, mini library, laundry and a complete, pro-series kitchen where one can share in the creature comforts of home.”

— Kinn Guesthouse

The Inside Scoop: Kinn Guesthouse MKE

Milwaukee’s Midwestern charm emerged as we exited the highway and drove down Kinnickinnic Avenue, on our way to check in. Restaurants with curious names like Odd Duck and Cafe Corazon stood out along the avenue like chef recommendations on a menu, and I found myself taking mental notes of the Bay View neighborhood I’d get to befriend in the coming days.

When we arrived at 2535 S Kinnickinnic, I immediately felt my chin rise, eyes brightening at the sight of the building’s historical cream city brick and British Queen Anne style architecture.

Much of the building’s structure remains authentic to its freemason origins: rows of tall windows framed with brickwork and blocks of masonry decorating its corners as traditional quoins.

Kinn Guesthouse builds upon its Milwaukee heritage instead of erasing it.

The Kinn Experience

The week before my trip I received an email notification from Kinn Guesthouse (in preparation for my stay) with check-in and check-out times, building and room passcodes, and a help phone number.

Upon arrival, I’ll blushingly admit, I felt a bit of extra importance knowing only I (and seven other guests) would have the hotel’s entrance password. Can we say, #exclusive?

“Welcome! May I help you?” The Kindred Restaurant & Bar is the first thing you see upon entering the building. The attending host gave a kind greeting as he watched me glance back and forth at the hotel and restaurant doors while double checking my phone for the passcode. My head was practically voguing.

“Oh, no. Thank you. I’m staying at the hotel. Just getting the passcode.” I replied. The host nodded and signaled towards Kinn’s entrance. The Kinn door, in its infancy, hadn’t procured additional signage yet and I was secretly afraid to approach the wrong entrance.

The host had no idea he’d just helped me out.

One correct password and open door later, a Kinn Guesthouse floor mat welcomed me and I climbed a set of stairs to the main floor, greeted by an open kitchen and modern lounge area.


Charles, the owner was there to join in on the warm welcome. He answered questions and showed me my room’s dedicated tray in the refrigerator, shared kitchen amenities, and of course — a well-manicured room perfectly matching the photos that lured me to Kinn Guesthouse in the first place.

My Kinn Guesthouse Favorites

Windows are my thing. Give me exposed brick, lush bedding, splashes of color, and loft windows: you’ll have my heart. Kinn Guesthouse had all of the above plus a modern bathroom design, luxe decor unique to each room, a plush room bench, and yes — a table perfect for blogging.