By Lynn Armitage
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Wisconsin is notable for many reasons. But did you know this great state has some of the most celebrated luxury resorts in the country?
As part of an occasional series, Travel Wisconsin is rolling out the red carpet on some of the state's most decadent lodging options, restaurants, spas and shopping destinations.
This 241-room resort welcomes guests from all over the world seeking relaxation and pampering. Built in 1918 as a home-away-from-home for immigrants employed by the Kohler Co., The American Club was placed on the National Register of Historic Places 60 years later. In 1981, it underwent an elegant transformation into what is now a world-class resort.
Today, the hotel – featuring four championship golf courses and nine restaurants – and on-site Kohler Waters Spa both claim a Forbes Five-Star rating, one of fewer than a hundred hotels and only 35 spas around the globe to earn such a distinction. Fun fact: Each guest room pays homage to a famous American, with framed portraits and memorabilia.
No list of premier resorts in Wisconsin would be complete without The Osthoff Resort—truly lake living at its finest. Spend time indoors in spacious suites with views overlooking the water, take cooking classes and savor delicious meals at two on-site eateries.
Better yet, get outside and enjoy 500 acres of scenic lakefront with no shortage of recreational options, such as tennis, volleyball, kayaking, sailing, biking, fishing, paddle-boarding and cruising.
Cap off the perfect day with a resort-hosted beach bonfire, s’mores and all (Memorial Day through Labor Day). And don’t forget to book a treatment at Aspira Spa, ranked in the country's top 100 by Spas of America.
Certainly, there are many reasons why you should come to Blue Harbor Resort, sprawled out invitingly on the western edge of Lake Michigan: beautiful guest suites and villas (including a "Kidaquarium Suite"), a partnership with a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a full-service spa, six eateries for every appetite, and tons of lake and beach fun.
But if you have children, three words will seal the deal: indoor water park! Breaker Bay, a 54,000-square-foot water wonderland, is maintained at a comfortable 84 degrees—even in winter—and features the only double surf simulator in eastern Wisconsin.
A popular, award-winning honeymoon spot, this historic 177-room resort opened its doors in 1945 and continues to welcome guests for any occasion. Like a storybook setting, Heidel House is surrounded by 20 acres of lush woods and hugs the shoreline of Green Lake, the state’s deepest inland lake.
There’s plenty to do year-round, too: from tennis and paddle-boarding in the summer, to sledding and ice skating in the winter. A must-do activity is cruising on the 60-foot Escapade yacht. Also worth noting: Evensong Spa was named the No. 1 spa in the Midwest in 2014 by Spas of America.
Looking for some luxurious lodging with classic character? Check out these turn-of-the century resorts.