Given Madison’s progressive environmentalism, it’s little surprise to find the Arbor House—An Environmental Inn (3402 Monroe St., 608/238-2981, www.arbor-house.com , $145–230). Its renovation using all recycled materials, from the frames to the beams to the tiling is but a start; it is about as environmentally progressive as it gets. In a highly respectable and superb location on the near west side, the inn sits directly across from the arboretum and within walking distance of the chichi shop zone of Monroe Street. The extras here—canoeing, sauna, massage, and babysitting, to name a few—run a full page long.
The west side is home to tons of mall zones, and strung along the Beltline are dozens of motels and hotels. Families generally head directly for the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites-West (1109 Fourier Dr., 608/826-0500, $135), as it’s home to Madison ’s only full-fledged indoor water park. The kids go nuts on the water slides or in the game room; parents relax in the grand piano bar. Some rooms have kitchenettes.