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11.27.17

Architectural Digest

11 Outdoor Ice Rinks at Luxury Hotels

With views of the Pacific Ocean or the Dolomite Mountains, these are not your typical skating rinks

By Stephanie Strasnick

Equal parts warm holiday nostalgia and invigorating winter fun, it’s no surprise that outdoor ice-skating is a seasonal pastime that’s endured for generations. To the delight of many skaters, high-end hotels around the world are making it easier than ever for snow bunnies to partake in this winter tradition by building their own on-property rinks for guests to enjoy. These hotel rinks aren’t your average no-frills, frozen pond either. Hotels are thinking outside the rink to create twinkle light–filled Kinkadian winter escapes that are brimming with holiday cheer. And for those not confident on skates, a number of rinks offer on-site instruction and rinkside seating and refreshments.

From an enchanting Italian terrace with panoramic Dolomite views to a rooftop rink on the Las Vegas Strip that screens classic holiday movies, here are our picks for the world’s most festive and whimsical hotel skating venues.

Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy

When winter rolls around at this posh Italian hideaway, an eco-friendly ice rink is installed on the hotel’s large panoramic terrace, offering skaters sweeping views of the nearby Dolomites.

Beau-Rivage Palace, a Leading Hotel of the World, Lausanne, Switzerland

The terrace at this historic property is famous for its awe-inspiring views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. In the winter, guests are invited to skate on the terrace’s seasonal rink, and dine on fondue and local meats and cheeses.

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

Hotel del Coronado’s seasonal outdoor rink—the city’s only seaside skating venue—delivers prime views of the Pacific Ocean and Coronado Beach. Its ambience is enhanced by the sight of the hotel itself, which is decked out in twinkle lights and holiday decor.

The Dolder Grand, Zurich

At 6,000 square meters, the open-air ice rink at the luxe Dolder Grand is the largest in Europe. Guests can use the rink for ice-skating, or try their hand at curling or Chneble (the Swiss term for ice hockey).

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas

This winter, the Cosmopolitan is transforming its rooftop pool into a spirited winter dreamland. In addition to traditional skating, the rink will host holiday movie nights (featuring such film as Frozen and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) and will offer a curated seasonal cocktail menu.

The Chedi Andermatt, a Leading Hotel of the World, Andermatt, Switzerland

In the winter months, the Courtyard at the picture-perfect Chedi Andermatt features a sleek skating rink with sweeping views of the snow-covered Swiss Alps. The hotel serves après-skate refreshments that include mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York

For generations, Mohonk Mountain House has been a beloved weekend retreat for New Yorkers. Year-round, vacationers flock to this Victorian castle—which sits on 40,000 acres of protected land—for such seasonal activities as golf, swimming, and horseback riding in the summer, and ice-skating in the winter.

Delta Bessborough, Saskatoon, Canada

Earlier this season, the small Canadian city of Saskatoon garnered international attention with the opening of the expansive contemporary art museum Remai Modern. Travelers who are coming for the art should stay for the skating. Behind the historic and palatial Delta Bessborough hotel, a former railway hotel, is a charming outdoor ice rink with river views.

Dorchester Collection Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris

The outdoor ice rink at this iconic Parisian hotel is brimming with holiday enchantment. Located in the property’s La Cour Jardin, the rink is staffed with skating instructors and is open to guests throughout the winter season.

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Come winter, the family-friendly Grand Geneva Resort transforms into a snow-covered winter wonderland. In addition to sledding and skiing, guests can partake in outdoor skating on the property’s hilltop rink.

The Standard, High Line, New York

Given the city’s space constraints, it’s no surprise that outdoor rinks in Manhattan are few and far between. The Standard has brought open-air skating to the Meatpacking District with a small, but festive, seasonal rink that’s replete with hot chocolate and tasty wintertime treats.

11.27.17

Make It Better

6 Ski Resorts 3 Hours or Less From Chicago

By Wendy Altschuler

A ski slope in your own backyard? Total pipe dream. A mountain within driving distance? Start packing up the car — each of these five wintry wonderlands is within three short hours of Chicago.

Wilmot Mountain

Wilmot, Wisconsin (Drive time from Chicago: 90 minutes)  

Wilmot has been a destination for family skiing, snowboarding, and tubing since 1938 — and a recent purchase by Vail Resorts has seen a whopping $13 million in improvements, ensuring that its future is bright. New perks include three four-person chairlifts, a high-speed rope tow in the terrain park, two new lifts in the beginner’s area, an upgraded Base Lodge, and a new kids’ ski and snowboard school.

The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort &Spa

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (Drive time: 90 minutes)

There’s something for skiers of all ages and abilities at this 30-acre family-friendly ski destination at Lake Geneva’s iconic Grand Geneva Resort. Featuring three chairlifts and two carpet lifts, easy equipment rental, lessons for beginners, and night skiing, the Mountain Top is a one-stop shop for a whirlwind weekend on the slopes. For even more winter fun, try some sledding and ice skating, and be sure to warm up with a hot meal or drink by the fire at Leinenkugel’s Mountain Top Lodge.

Alpine Valley Resort

Elkhorn, Wisconsin (Drive time: 2 hours)  

Park your poles here to enjoy over 90 skiable acres with 20 runs — including Big Thunder, a steep run with a vertical 388-foot drop and Alpine, the resort’s longest run at 3,000 feet. Ski school for adults and kids is available for beginners of all ages, while experts can check out the flat bar, donkey rail, and corrugated tube at the terrain park. If that’s not enough to entice you, guests at Alpine Valley Resort can enjoy on-site ski-in and ski-out rooms (120 are available, including family suites), complete with bistro dining, free weekend movie nights, and an indoor pool and hot tub. No snow? No worries — Alpine Valley will make some.

Cascade Mountain

Portage, Wisconsin (Drive time: 3 hours)  

Calling all thrill-seekers! This hot spot near Wisconsin Dells boasts four terrain parks with several obstacles, a super pipe and halfpipe, and 10 black-diamond runs with steep descents and mogul fields. But you don’t have to be hardcore to appreciate the place, as the mountain is also home to plenty of beginner slopes (kids under 12 ski free!), a tubing park, and shorter runs.

Devil’s Head Resort

Merrimac, Wisconsin (Drive time: 3 hours)  

Fun fact: This full-service resort — home to one of the state’s highest mountains — is located in Baraboo Bluffs, which was formed by glaciers over a billion years ago. Amenities include a large ski pro-shop, twice-daily groomed trails, long and wide runs,500-foot vertical rise, accredited ski instructors, a terrain park with tubes and jumps, and available cross-country skiing.

Chestnut Mountain Resort

Galena, Illinois (Drive time: 3 hours)

Nestled right next to historic Galena and overlooking the Mississippi River, you’ll find 19 ski trails and a seven-acre terrain park with 25 rails and structures. Everything you need is right on site: rooms; an indoor pool, sauna and hot tub; three restaurants with contemporary cuisine and craft beer; children’s programs; and ski runs for all levels.

10.31.17

Modern Luxury CS – November 2017

A Grand Time

By Sarah Ryan

New luxury villas at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa provide a crazy oasis that is perfect for a fall long-weekend escape from city life.

When fall sets in, long-weekend jaunts outside the city to experience the colors of the season are a must, and the charming Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis. – situated merely 110 minutes from the city – offers more than its share of festive activities as the weather cools (everything from horseback riding to scenic hiking to that last round of golf before temperatures dip). While the historic property has long been a mainstay for fans of the region, a multi-million-dollar renovation, providing 29 lavishly appointed villas, has added to the resort’s appeal.

The new villas – which range from suite-like studios to expansive three-bedroom properties – have a luxurious home-away-from-home setup and cozy ambiance. Private outdoor patios, gas fireplaces, large kitchens with stone countertops and full-size stainless steel appliances (the resort’s grocery delivery service will certainly come in handy), and outdoor strange for clubs and skis make the spacious accommodations as practical as they are luxurious.

Separate from the main resort, the villas offer welcome privacy, through resort restaurants and the Geneva Club (an exclusive amenities lounge) are a short drive away. Revel in the seclusion and opt to indulge in services from the resort’s celebrated WELL Spa + Salon in your villa. Exclusive to villa clients, the North Shore package ($260) is a 75-minute service including dry brush exfoliation and a massage or facial, and the Day on the Lake package ($210) includes a blowout and makeup application, perfect for if you feel like venturing out. But with these villas, you are likely to sign up for a relaxing nights in. Studio villas form $339, one bedroom-villas from $429, two-bedroom villas from $509, three-bedroom villas from $639, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wis., grandgeneva.com


 

10.09.17

Hotels Magazine – October 2017

The New Revenue Managers

By Juliana Shallcross

Data analytics may be the new future, but specialized skills – and hefty investment – are required.

Today’s revenue managers have an astounding amount of information at their fingertips to help determine room pricing and to maximize revenue, but combing through all this data in an efficient manner can be a full-time job.

A single data source can have up to 30 attributes. Indeed, that seems to be the common gripe from revenue managers about data — the sheer amount of it is so time-consuming to review that it can ultimately backfire.

“You can spend thousand of hours analyzing the data, but then you pass the time to make the right decision,” says Erick Viera, revenue director of the Fairmont Mayakoba in Mexico. A typical day for Viera involves reviewing reports about pricing, forecasting and demand, then making decisions based on those reports, studying the results and finally, communicating those outcomes with his executive team.

More automation?

The need for data analysts is a looming concern for the hospitality industry, especially as pricing becomes increasingly set using analytical models. According to a survey of revenue managers by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, analytical models are expected to be the top-rated approach to determining pricing, followed by segment-based pricing and then CRM.

Additionally, the survey found that 37% of revenue managers believe that the field will become more automated with analytics. To that end, the report found that future revenue managers will need analytical skills more than they will a background in reservations or rooms.

In recent years, hotel giants such as AccorHotels and Marriott International have carved out specific positions for data scientists and analysts to evaluate all the information being collected from their hotels (and from their competitors), as well as to create and implement pricing models based on all that data. Last summer, Bethesda, Maryland-based Host Hotels & Resorts, which owns 96 properties with 54,000 rooms, created its own enterprise analytics division, of which revenue management is a part.

Yet smaller companies and independent hotels without such deep pockets often are stuck relying on software solutions to capture and analyze data, typically from their property management systems or their distribution channels. But even those may not do the job.

Tim Kayser, area director of revenue management at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Wisconsin, says his resort has too many different areas of revenue for one solution to manage.

“You need software, but it’s difficult to find one that does it all for you,” he says.

Finding value

Matt Busch, a partner at Revenue Analytics, which creates revenue management strategies for companies using cloud-based predictive models, says that only large franchisors with 50 properties or more, along with the big hotel chains, can really get the value of an in-house data analyst.

“At the hotel level, it’s really hard to justify that type of expense of a data scientist and to attract that talent,” says Busch, who previously worked as director of global pricing strategy for InterContinental Hotels Group.

As a result, Kayser works with different department heads at the resort to determine strategies for pricing and revenue. The property also is moving toward centralizing revenue management for the various departments, from food and beverage to spa and golf.

“It lets them take care of the customer and do the job they do best,” he says. “And it lets us, people who are more analytical, do the marketing, analysis and strategy.”

Centralizing revenue for the hotel is another shift that’s expected for the future of hospitality — which ultimately means more data for revenue managers to sift through.

What’s necessary?

Whether a hotel hires a data analyst to reel in the different nets of information or whether it keeps data gathering on the list of job responsibilities for a revenue manager, one way to ease the burden is to determine which data is absolutely necessary.

“One guest with one stay can leave over 100 different data points. It can become a sea of unmanageable data,” Busch says. “If you can’t manage it, you can’t model it perfectly.”

Still, the future of revenue management may not be completely run by algorithms or machines. Kayser says the data analyst, whether it is a human or a software, gives the information to develop a strategy, but the revenue manager is the one who actually executes it. Viera, of Fairmont Mayakoba, echoes that sentiment.

“I would like a system that gives me the optimal price based on internal and external data but with my daily interaction,” he says. “This is important. Because at the end of the day, it’s just a system.”

 

09.14.17

Midwest Living

Fun-ctional Meetings

Bliesure’ travel has become more and more popular over the years. Part of this travel style now often includes bringing family members, significant others, or friends along. Those looking to intermix family fun with business travel enjoy the waterpark concept as a favorite family outing year-round.

“Families” delight in the wide range of activities offered at Timber Ridge,” expressed Mark Fenton, General Manager of Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark. Located in Lake Geneva, WI, this Midwest waterpark resort is impressing bliesure travelers. Its 50,000-sq-ft. indoor/outdoor waterpark, Moose Mountain Falls, is home to multiple pools, slides, a lazy river, several hot tubs, and a new, musically inspired waterslide, Avalanche Falls.

Fenton provided details on this new attractions, “Only the second slide of its kind in the country, kids can get their groove on by jamming out to favorite tunes while swooshing down Avalanche Falls. Fun song themes include kids’ movie songs, pop paradise, country waves, and favorite tunes from Timber Ridges’s mascot, Bruce the Moose. In addition to singing to their favorite songs, kids will love the colored lights on their way down for a fun, concert-like experience. Each theme will rotate three to four songs, which means that every ride down the slide can bring a new experience.”

At Thumper Pond, located in Ottertrail, MN, guests enjoy a 12,000-sq.-ft. center featuring two, three-story waterslides, an activity pool with basketball hoops and volleyball net, and an 18-person whirlpool. The center also offers a zero-entry, activity pool with water features for younger children.

Toddler swim areas have increased throughout waterparks. At Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark, in Utica, IL, every age is accommodated. From the Kid’s Ranger Station to the wave pool and lazy river to the tube slide, generations can enjoy respite while traveling with a guest on business.

Be assured, safety and cleanliness are high ranking priorities at all waterpark facilities. As a green-certified hotel, Timber Ridge uses ultraviolet light to help reduce the amount of chemicals used in the water. In addition, the use of large fans help circulate air to eliminate the need for air conditioning and LED lighting is used throughout the waterpark for vast efficiency.

If attendees need to remain dry for a time, many other activities can be found at waterpark resorts. Timber Ridge offers horseback riding, 12 indoor rock walls and access to the Adventure Center, which provides the tools for family mountain biking, disc golf courses, hiking trails, sand volleyball courts, archery, and picnic and recreation areas. And if that isn’t enough, the resort also houses a 3,600-sq.-ft. arcade. Thumper Pond guests can engage in many seasonal activities, including golf, fishing, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Those in Illinois, will enjoy Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort’s many family extras, such as Annie’s Little Pots, a ceramic painting studio, family craft times, Grizzly Jack’s & Grand Bear’s Story Time, Canyon Creek Mini Golf, and family movie time.

No matter the season, family getaways help foster work/life balance. Give your attendees the opportunity to gain knowledge and create family memories by utilizing a great Midwest waterpark resort for your next meeting or event.

08.31.17

Southern Living

Midwestern Getaways Your Southern Girlfriends Will Love

By Perri Ormont Blumberg

Deadwood, South Dakota

Frontierswoman Calamity Jane first rolled into Deadwood in 1876 with some of her friends, and women have been heading there to recharge ever since. The town has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and there’s so much to do: gambling girls can enjoy testing their luck at Gold Dust Casino & Hotel and the active crew can hit The Mickelson Trail via bike, horseback, or foot under the watch of spruce and ponderosa pine forests.

For more information, visit deadwood.com.

Columbus, Ohio

It’s not a stretch to call Columbus the “Nashville of the Midwest.” Beyond a vibrant songwriting community (catch rising stars at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza), you’ll see live acts at many restaurants, jazz clubs, and various venues around town. Musicians also dot the street during Gallery Hop, a monthly tradition of celebrating art after hours in the Short North Arts District. For lodging, swap Music City’s trendy Germantown for low-key German Village. There, you can stay at German Village Guest House in the heart of this district where brick-lined blocks hug historic buildings. The girls can take a floral crown or bouquet class at newly opened Flowers & Bread which combines both of those favorites fresh from the soil and oven, respectively—plus coffee—under one roof. We’d be remiss if we didn’t send you to Katalina’s, a hybrid of Southern and Latin food, where the Nutella-filled pancake balls will convince you to book your encore trip.

For more information, visit experiencecolumbus.com.

Stillwater, Minnesota

The inviting mid-1800s downtown, which runs parallel to the St.Croix River (read:sunset booze cruise), has more than 70 stores pedaling crafting supplies, antiques, home decor, spices, candy, and more. Take Stillwater by foot with a guided food tour or throw on apron and cook up a storm during a hands-on class at Cooks of Crocus Hill. Take a knitting or crocheting lesson at Darn Knit Anyways, and don’t miss the homemade turtle fudge at Tremblay’s Sweet Shop. For lodging, snag a block of rooms at The Lowell Inn, which was founded in 1927, and is on the National Historic Register.

For more information, visit discoverstillwater.com.

Door County, Wisconsin

Dangle your Southern toes over the crystal waters of Sturgeon Bay as the crew gathers at this lively vacation spot. In addition to a wealth of waterfront activities, a fan-favorite in “The Door” is cherry picking, since the climate and soil here are as good as it gets. Speaking of the fruit, you’ll never forget a Cherry Train Tour on Washington Island, a year-round island with a quirky culture and traditions ranging from fish boils to literary festivals. Book a stay at Ridges Inn in the town of Baileys Harbor and grab a drink at former general store and butcher shop, The Blue Ox. For an unforgettable excursion, rent bikes or mopeds from Edge of Park and cruise over the gravel on the (relatively flat) Sunset Trail in Peninsula State Park.

For more information, visit doorcounty.com.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Time has a way of slowing down amidst the ten acres of grapevines at Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery. Let afternoon tastings linger into dinner over a few wood-fired Three Little Pigs and Truffled Mushrooms pizzas. Catch a show at the splendid Paramount Theatre—upcoming acts include The Avett Brothers and comic Rodney Carrington. If your travels take you to Palisades-Kepler State Park consider booking a cabin or two (each hold four) where the group can cook supper together after a day on the trails. If connecting with nature isn’t your thing, try the Belmont Hill Victorian Bed & Breakfast reminiscent of a grand 19th-century estate you’d spot in Charleston. Meet y’all at the farmers market!

For more information, visit gocedarrapids.com.

Petoskey area, Michigan

Natural beauty is at every turn in a motley collection of Great Lake State resort towns, including Boyne City, Petroskey, Harbor Springs, and Bay Harbor dotting Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. If you love a good Main Street, head to Boyne, which is also the perfect excuse for booking a spa treatment at Boyne Mountain Resort. Don’t miss the Victorian architecture, the Historic Gaslight District, and the scenic water views in Petoskey proper. To stay a stone throw’s away from it all, check into Stafford’s Perry Hotel. For our favorite group excursion  for the gals, venture on the Ernest Hemingway’s trail. Sure, it’s no Key West, but the writer had a summer house on Walloon Lake and there’s a lot of fascinating history to unearth.

For more information, visit michigan.org/city/petoskey-area.

Winona, Minnesota

You may be more familiar with Southern stretches of the Mississippi River, but Winona gives travelers plenty of reasons to explore its Northern bluffs. Snap a group picture at Garvin Heights Overlook while the dirt on your hiking boots is still fresh. For lunch, enjoy a spread on one of the picnic tables or stay at ground level and enjoy an old-fashioned meal at Lakeview Drive Inn, where the root beer is served in an old-fashioned frosted mug. For a city of around 27,000, Winona’s Minnesota Marine Art Museum well exceeds expectations with waterway-themed paintings from Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Picasso, and others. For a midday pick-me-up, it’s hard to outdo a fresh doughnut at Bloedows (we recommend the Bavarian Cream-filled pastry). And for a solid night’s rest, you can’t beat the Alexander Mansion B&B, which dates back to the 1880s, and may very well inspire some Victorian-style renovations at your own home.

For more information, visit visitwinona.com.

Abilene, Kansas

On June 22nd, 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.” After visiting this welcoming small town, you’ll see why. If you can time it, visit during the twice yearly (April and October) Reitz & Rust Vintage Market. There, you can scout over 200 vendors selling antiques and art, as well as tour quirky vintage campers during the Vintage Camper Show. If you can’t schedule your trip around market-time, there is still plenty of antiquing to do (Abilene is home to more than 150 antique shops). Other local favorite to-dos include the Abilene and Smoky Valley dinner train (arrive early to see the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum) or dine at Three One One, called the “Key West of the Midwest”, which serves hits like mahi mahi tacos and yes, wonderful key lime pie. Another evening, book a table at Brookville Hotel for their famed family-style fried chicken dinners rounded out by baking powder biscuits and sweet-and-sour slaw. Come bedtime, get comfortable at Engle House Bed and Breakfast, a restored home from 1910.

For more information, visit AbileneKansas.org.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Enjoy a slower pace on this Lake Huron oasis, where you can only get around on foot, bike, or horse and buggy. For group getaways, consider timing your travels around the  annual Lilac Festival, which runs every June for 10 days.  In addition to wine tastings, live concerts, a 10k race, and giant parade, you can also wacth the coronation of the Lilac Queen and Court, much like San Antonio’s famed Fiesta. Don’t skip town without paying a visit to Fort Mackinac, an 18th century fortress on the bluff, which offers regular tours and exhibits. For our absolute favorite way to spend an evening, relax on an Adirondack chair and savor the sunset at Mission Point, an 18-acre resort. For larger groups craving more privacy, consider their pet-friendly Straits Lodge, which is also located closer to town.

For more information, visit mackinacisland.org.

Oak Park, Illinois

You’d never guess you were only 10 miles outside of downtown Chicago in this town brimming with architectural marvels, independently-owned shops, and small-town hospitality. Check out the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio,  and then scope out Unity Temple, one of his recently restored works. While in town, bookworms should definitely plan a visit to Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace and Museum, a marvelously maintained Victorian home where the novelist was born. Meanwhile, green thumbs should consider a trip to the Oak Park Conservatory to delight in a vast assortment of flora and fauna. Everybody will enjoy a meal at Citrine for Mediterranean-inspired bites and $6 cosmos and martinis on Wednesdays for Ladies Night. Southerners will also feel right at home at The Carleton of Oak Park, where orders of crab cakes and gumbo fly out of the kitchen at Poor Phil’s.

For more information, visit visitoakpark.com.

Rapid City, South Dakota

There’s more to the Rapid City and Black Hills area than checking Mount Rushmore off of your bucket list, though you can certainly do that, too. Kick off quality time with a festive dinner at kōl, where you can watch your food being made in a 10,000 pound coal-fired oven. For a night cap, we’re torn between Blind Lion, a basement speakeasy inspired by the roaring 20s and Vertex Sky Bar, an elegant rooftop bar at the recently renovated Hotel Alex Johnson. The next day, hit the rolling prairies and take in the views at Custer State Park via an open-air Buffalo Jeep Tour. End your trip with your best girls by your side and 7,500 stars above at Badlands National Park for a stargazing session.

For more information, visit visitrapidcity.com.

Hayward, Wisconsin

Snow lovers will enjoy this easygoing Northwestern town in the Badger State. In the winter, set your sights and skis on the Birkie Trail, a 62-mile path that weaves you through breathtaking forests. In the fall, swap skis and snowshoes for mountain bikes or sneakers as you take in the foliage. There are plenty of great camping spots in Hayward, or for a wilderness-lite experience, reserve a few rooms at LCO Casino, Lodge and Convention Center. Wherever you stay, enjoy a taste of home at Old Southern BBQ, with some of the most glorious ribs North of the Mason-Dixon.

For more information, visit haywardlakes.com.

Indianapolis, Indiana

If you’re in Indy on a Sunday during football season, you’re tailgating. Start by wandering down Georgia Street—even if you don’t have a ticket to catch the Colts, it’s always a can’t-miss party. Afterwards, head to Slippery Noodle Inn, a historic venue with live jazz and blues nightly. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, you’ll want to head to the back bar for the best people watching and dancing. There’s no finer way to recover from a spirited evening than sitting on the patio at Gallery Pastry Shop with hot chocolate and macaroons. Rest up in the Broad Ripple neighborhood (it’s only 10 minutes North of downtown) at Hotel Broad Ripple. They frequently host movie nights in the backyard and have a cozy wine bar / living room downstairs perfect for reliving memories from yesteryear with old pals.

For more information, visit visitindy.com.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

That time your crew went ice skating, hopped aboard a Christmas train, and caught a magic and illusion show all in the same day? Safe to say you’ll be talking about it for years to come. In this friendly resort town you could also easily spend a few days never leaving your hotel. Try the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa where a three bedroom villa with fireplace is perfect for lounging. When you’re ready to toast your bond of friendship “off campus,” journey to Apple Barn Orchard & Winery, an open orchard and farm where you can pick your own strawberries, apples and pumpkins seasonally.

For more information, visit visitlakegeneva.com.

Corydon, Indiana

First stop: Get your sugar rush at Butt Drugs, a charming old-fashioned pharmacy with soda fountain. Explore Harrison County’s wonderful wineries, with a country backdrop that rivals the best of Southern wedding dreams. Count sheep at Kintner House Inn (if you’re squeezing in last-minute girlfriends, one roll-away bed or cot is free), ideally situated in the downtown area. If you dare to venture below street-level, take a tour with Indiana Caverns of Indiana’s longest cave. When you resurface, gather your spelunkers for tea and scones at the Darling Old Capitol Tea Room.  P.S. It’s no surprise that Corydon will remind you of the South, it’s only a half an hour outside of Louisville.

For more information, visit thisisindiana.org.

 

08.23.17

U.S. News & World Report

7 Perfect Mini-Moon Getaway Ideas for Newlyweds

By Sheryl Nance-Nash

Increasingly, couples are opting to delay taking a traditional honeymoon. Instead, they’re retreating on whirlwind escapes after walking down the aisle to enjoy some instant rest and relaxation. Mini-moons, or three or four-day postnuptial getaways, also appeal to cost-conscious soon-to-be brides and grooms who are looking to rebuild their funds and go off on their dream vacation in a few months or later in the future. Whether you’re looking for an enchanting escape, a rustic getaway or a full-on outdoor adventure, here are ideal places to plan a mini-moon with your better half.

Charleston, South Carolina

This southern city is known for its romantic atmosphere. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride or plan to bike and picnic along the waterfront. After taking in the city sights, you can dig into the city’s famous Southern cuisine (think: gumbo and shrimp and grits) at classic institutions like Husk. What’s more, it’s easy to swoon over Charleston’s enchanting hotels and inns. Take for example The Spectator Hotel, which recalls the extravagance of the Roaring ’20s and is set in the heart of Charleston’s Historic District. At the property, there’s an emphasis on quality service and amenities, with personal butlers and locally sourced in-room breakfast menu options, snacks and beverages. Plus, you can enjoy complimentary vintage bicycles to make your way around the city before retiring to one of the city’s best speakeasy bars showcasing Prohibition-era cocktails, The Bar.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva is ideal for a romantic duos craving foliage, lake views and cozy restaurants on a long weekend escape. Take walks along Lake Geneva’s 26-mile Shore Path, which boasts striking views of historic mansions. When you’re ready for more activity, Dan Patch Stables at Grand Geneva offers guided 45-minute horseback riding treks through hundreds of acres of lush landscapes. And for couples looking to hit the links, The Brute and Highlands golf courses offer flowing fairways. The award-winning Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, a 1,300-acre resort in Lake Geneva, recently opened 29 new villas with amenities such as an outdoor swimming pool, as well as six fire pits. The villas also offer in-room spa treatments. When hunger calls, favorite local spots include Ristorante Brissago, Lake Geneva’s premier Italian restaurant, with its handmade pastas and comprehensive wine selection, along with The Geneva Chophouse and Tuscan Tavern and Grill.

 Lake Placid, New York

Outdoorsy couples will love Lake Placid’s beaches, which are rife with opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, boating, hiking and taking sunset cruises. If you two just want to chill, settle into a reclining beach chair on a white-sand beach before delighting in the area’s excellent cuisine. Lake Placid offers a variety of cuisine, from traditional American barbecue at the much-raved-about Smoke Signals restaurant to organic, fine dining to Simply Gourmet, an eatery featuring 46 different sandwich options named after the 46 High Peaks in New York state. Top-notch resorts such as Lake Placid Lodge and the Whiteface Lodge offering a woodsy yet elegant experience. Vacation days can be spent communing with nature, exploring Olympic village or popping into quirky local stores.

Indian Wells, California

Newlyweds looking for a memorable wedding weekend getaway should consider escaping to this desert oasis in the Coachella Valley. Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, with its California palms and mountains, offers an especially romantic atmosphere. Explore the San Andreas Fault by private Jeep tour or cruise to Joshua Tree National Parkto take in an abundance of natural wonders with a rock-climbing session. After a day out in the desert, unwind on the balcony of one of the property’s many Mediterranean-style villas featuring sweeping views of the Santa Rosa Mountains. As the evening draws near, pamper yourselves at the newly renovated Well Spa, where you and your better half can take a dip in one of the salt pools or soothing eucalyptus steam rooms. The Well Spa’s Pittura Festa treatment encourages couples to a paint each other with a palette of colorful, healing muds, while sipping champagne before receiving a custom couples massage. Afterward, cozy up to cocktails at Miramonte’s oversized outdoor fire pits as the sun sets before closing the day with a candlelit dinner at the recently remodeled, Citrus & Palm Restaurant, for a farm-to-table dining experience.

Vail, Colorado

Vail is an idyllic village tucked into the Rocky Mountains. In winter, enjoy pastimes such as skiing, snowboarding and tubing. And in the warmer months, you can enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, boating, golfing, paddleboarding and horseback riding. When you’re ready to unwind, join a yoga class around town or make your way to the spa. And when hunger sets in, there’s no shortage of excellent cuisine. You won’t want to leave Vail without eating at Pendulum, Matsuhisa, Sweet Basil, Vintage and Mountain Standard. If you’re looking for luxurious accommodations, treat yourself to a stay at The Sebastian – Vail, a Timbers Resort. The property boasts a pools with mountain-views, hot tubs, a spa, excellent cuisine at its restaurant, Leonara, and great cocktails at The Frost Bar. Another excellent lodging choice for couples is Sonnenalp, which boasts a variety of restaurants, a spa, a tranquility pool and even an oxygen bar.

 Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Then there’s charming about Cape Cod with its vibrant clam shakes and New England cottages. You might want to celebrate your newlywed status by staying at the only five-star resort on Cape Cod, Wequassett Resort and Golf Club. Swim in the oceanfront pool, enjoy myriad water sports, or partake in a round of golf or tennis. You won’t want to skip checking out the nearby town of Chatham, where you can shop at boutiques, enjoy people-watching and feast on oysters paired with your beverage of choice.

Big Sky, Montana

For an off-the-beaten-track escape, consider stealing away to Big Sky Country. At the Collective Yellowstone at Moonlight Basin, you can get a luxury tent at an alpine lake, equipped with a wood-burning stove, a private deck with Adirondack chairs, a private bathroom and a king-size bed with luxurious linens. And you’re sure to get a good night’s rest after spending the day hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, paddleboarding, canoeing, fly-fishing or hitting the links with your partner. Soothe any sore muscles with a private, in-tent massage. Best of all, breakfast is complimentary, picnic and boxed lunches are available and a three-course farm-to-table meal prepared lakeside is available for dinner.

08.23.17

Money Inc.

Six New Resort Villas to Put on Your Travel List

By Matt Kirouac

From Alpine slopes to Thai pools, villas are a surefire way to up the ante on luxury travel, and elaborate new versions are popping up all over the world. Decked out with multiple rooms and amenities, villas are all about capturing that ultimate escape, immersing guests into a faraway world while still making them feel right at home. Here are six of the most noteworthy new and upcoming villas to put on your international itinerary.

Grand Geneva Resort, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Hidden away in the serene Wisconsin woods a couple miles from downtown Lake Geneva, historic Grand Geneva Resort has been a popular draw for Midwestern Americans for decades — the hotel originally served as the Playboy Club, ca. 1968. It’s come a long way over the years, implementing new attractions, incredible restaurants, activities and expansions, all while maintaining the warm hospitality and woodland comfort that’s always made Grand Geneva so endearing. Chief among those expansions is a brand-new set of familial villas. Tucked along a private stretch of roadway, the villas offer the ultimate peaceful escape for families, couples and groups of friends looking for a sense of home with the added bonus of luxury and Lake Geneva proximity. Villas range in size from studios to three bedrooms, each one elegantly appointed with ample living areas, full kitchens, private bedrooms, grocery delivery, washers, dryers and furnished outdoor patios. Exclusive to villa guests are a couple fire pits and pools. Depending on what size villa you’re after, various options include lofted bedrooms, stone countertop kitchens and soaking tubs. Just outside the villas is a nature trail that weaves through the woods, offering a fun way to explore the grounds. While you’re here, be sure and book a reservation at Geneva Chophouse. The steak- and seafood-centric restaurant in the main resort building fills up fast, thanks to its quality food and views overlooking the ground and golf course.

Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, Acapulco, Mexico

Banyan Tree Cabo Marques is already one of the ultimate destinations for villas, what with its 45 private enclaves housed on stilts and surrounded by mountains and Acapulco coastline. Now there’s even more to fawn over with the introduction of the resort’s latest, the jaw-dropping Villa Cerezo, a 4,500-sq.-ft., three-story villa nestled over cliffs along the Pacific Ocean. With enough room for up to 15 guests, the sprawling space features five ocean view bedrooms, eclectic artwork, a full kitchen, 43-inch HD LED TV screen, an office and an outdoor space with heated swimming pool, ocean views, a solarium and garden.

DoublePool Villas by Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand

Proving itself to be quite the expert on all things villas, Banyan Tree also operates a boutique establishment in Phuket’s Bang Tao Bay anchored by some pretty incredible poolside villas. There’s an impressive 24 of these villas, each one wholly immersive, transportive and distinct, surrounded by gardens and a lagoon. Villas range in size from one- to three-bedroom, decked out with sleek, contemporary Thai decor and cozy comforts. Most striking is the floating bedroom pavilion, a sleep space surrounded by tall glass windows over a private wading pool. It doesn’t get much more zen than this. Outside, each villa also has its own personal infinity edge pool and a Thai sala, a thatched roof pavilion that’s great for spa treatments or stargazing. In addition to resort dining at French-Vietnamese restaurant Tré, guests can also utilize in-villa dining programs, including breakfasts prepared by villa hosts and optional meals and events conducted by a private chef.

Hôtel Le Toiny, St. Barth’s

Come December, the most iconic hotel on St. Barth’s is getting a major upgrade with the addition of eight new villas to the 25-year old property. The villas are capping off an extensive series of multi-phase renovations for the hotel, whose hillside locale overlooking Toiny Bay has long marked it as one of the most beautiful vantage points on the island. Guests can expect four one-story one-bedroom villas, three two-story one-bedroom villas and one two-story two-bedroom king villa. In line with the rest of the resort, each villa will be totally secluded and freestanding, with private infinity pools and terraces looking over the Caribbean Sea.

Milaidhoo Island Maldives, Maldives

Private villas are the name of the luxury game at Milaidhoo Island Maldives, an immaculate property that opened late-2016 over 13 acres in the Baa Atoli’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Altogether, there are 50 villas on the grounds, each one meticulously designed by a local Maldivian architect. Accessed via seaplane from Maldives International Airport, the villas are exquisite in their beautiful natural surroundings, boasting 180-degree outdoor views. Inside, each one is bedecked with contemporary art pieces and custom-made furnishings. While remote, each one is easily accessible to restaurants, water sports, yoga and other activities, with private freshwater pools on the sun deck, day beds, soaking tubs, rain showers and hanging Maldivian swings called “undhoali.” Guests can ultimately choose from one of two styles of villa, a water pool villa or a beach pool. The former consists of thatched-roof villas situated on stilts over the ocean, with steps leading right into the water and a glass wall shower that affords views into the ocean. Then there are the beach pool villas, located on the white sand beach amid a shroud of palm trees.

Blockhaus, Lucerne, Switzerland

Nestled high in the hills overlooking Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne and the Alps, Blockhaus is the quintessential mountain villa. Located on-property of the new Bürgenstock Resort, it doesn’t get more pleasantly isolated than this. The car-free resort feels preserved in time, free of congestion and clamor, with a focus on natural inspiration, utilizing earthy elements that give the space the feel of a lavish ski lodge. It’s accessed via catamaran from Lucerne, which drops visitors off at the resort’s dock where they then ride the funicular railway directly into the lobby of the Bürgenstock Hotel. Elsewhere on the resort, guests can enjoy a 66-seat private cinema, Lakeview Bar & Lounge, Spices Kitchen & Terrace and the indoor-outdoor Bürgenstock Alpine Spa. Beyond Blockhaus, the resort also has 10 Lakeview Residence Suites, which consist of private villas ranging from 5,791 to 8,762-sq.-ft., each with views overlooking the lake and mountains.

08.22.17

WGN-TV Lunchbreak

Lunchbreak: Tomato and basil caprese and wood oven baked sea scallops, prepared by Grand Geneva Resort and Spa chef Jason Poole

Jason Poole, Executive Chef

Ristoranté Brissago

Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
7036 Grand Geneva Way
Lake Geneva, WI
(800) 558-3417
www.grandgeneva.com/

Tomato and Basil Caprese

Ingredients:
6 heirloom tomatoes
6 buffalo mozzarella
6 basil leaves
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive Oil
Fleur De Sel
fresh cracked pepper

Directions:
Cut tomatoes according to individual sizes. Cut mozzarella in half. Gently fold tomatoes and basil leaves with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in center of plate and place mozzarella in middle, season mozzarella, and drizzle balsamic

Wood Oven Baked Sea Scallops

Ingredients:
6 ounces of sea scallops (fresh and cleaned)
1 teaspoon of garlic
6 pieces of cippolini onions quartered
2 ounces of White Wine
1 ounce of Parmesan cheese
half of a fresh squeezed lemon
2 oregano sprigs
1 ounce of butter

Directions:

Place oil into the pan, add onions and garlic and caramelize. Add sea scallops, season with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides.  Once scallops are browned, add lemon juice and white wine and reduce by 2/3rds.  Finish dish with cheese, butter and herbs. The cheese and butter will thicken the sauce in the dish.

View segment here.

08.22.17

Daily Herald – August 13, 2017

Nearing 50, Grand Geneva’s beauty remains stunning and its future even brighter

By Len Ziehm

With the big tournaments held recently at Erin Hills and Whistling Straits and the opening of Sand Valley, it may seem that luster could be off the Wisconsin golf destination that started all those good things.

Don’t you believe it, though. Grand Geneva is doing just fine, thank you.

Dave Hallenbeck, director of golf at the Lake Geneva resort, has seen it all in his four decades there. He’s impressed with the changes in golf throughout Wisconsin as well as what’s gone on at his home base.

“Blackwolf Run (Kohler), The Bull at Pinehurst Farms (a Jack Nicklaus design in Sheboygan Falls), Erin Hills, Sand Valley. These are world-class golf properties that I never would have expected in Wisconsin. Geneva National has been very successful. They have a wonderful facility over there,” said Hallenbeck. “Keeping up was our biggest challenge.”

But Grand Geneva has more than kept up with all the improvements in the Badger State, and that goes for neighboring Illinois as well. The resort is an easy drive from all parts of the Chicago area and its courses are well-known to players from that area.

Coming up in 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the resort and the 25th anniversary of its ownership by Marcus Corporation. Both milestones are meaningful, because no Wisconsin destination has the history that Grand Geneva has, and that has been beautifully chronicled in a coffee-table book, “A Grand Tale: The History of Grand Geneva Resort,” published by Nei-Turner Media Group.

The first attraction:

The building of the Playboy Club-Hotel started it all. It was completed in 1968 and brought visitors by the droves to Lake Geneva. Hugh Hefner was, of course, the man behind that.

Hallenbeck first arrived during the Playboy days. At age 19 he was a lifeguard at the Playboy Club’s swimming pool, one of the first heated outdoor pools anywhere.

Now 63, he returned after college to work as an assistant under the late head golf professional Ken Judd 40 years ago. Golf wasn’t part of the equation when Hefner started the Playboy Club. Skiing was available when the resort opened. Golf arrived shortly thereafter when architect Robert Bruce Harris designed The Brute — a course way ahead of its time when it opened.

“At the time it was massive, and that’s what Playboy wanted,” recalled Hallenbeck. “Big greens, big bunkers, one of the longest courses at 7,300 yards from the tips. In the 1960s that was unheard of.”

There’s still a mystique about The Brute. It’s always been very near the top of my frequently changing list of favorite courses. The most amazing thing about it now is the fact that the course still operates with its original greens. Hallenbeck acknowledges that something will have to be done at some point.

“Over 50 years the greens have settled, and we’ll have to address those issues,” he said. “We’ve got to tear them up, but that’s a whole year project, and that’s hard to do when you’re packed every day. Overall, The Brute has withstood the tests of time, which is amazing.”

The Brute was built after the resort was under Playboy Club ownership. Playboy departed in 1981, selling the resort to Chicago-basked Americana Hotels Corporation. The resort endured two foreclosures before Chicago’s JMB Realty Corporation took ownership in 1988 and present owner Marcus came on in 1993.

Marcus took a resort that had fallen on hard times and revitalized it with golf a big part of the process.

Beyond The Brute:

Grand Geneva’s other course is more historically significant than even The Brute. It opened as the Briar Patch, a joint design effort by legendary designer Pete Dye with a then-young Jack Nicklaus functioning as a consultant. Nicklaus was at the height of his storied playing career, having won the 1965 and 1966 Masters tournaments before being brought to the resort before the Briar Patch’s completion in 1967.

The Briar Patch was Nicklaus’ introduction to golf architecture, but won’t go down as one of his premier architectural efforts. Architect Bob Cupp was brought in for a 1996 renovation.

“He redid the whole course,” said Hallenbeck. “From a playability standpoint it’s a very nice golf course.’’

The course was renamed The Highlands after Cupp completed his work, which included the development of fescue fields. The end result is a beautiful course, one different from The Brute, with exceptional greens. Both are popular with visitors, many of whom don’t share my clear preference for the older course.

Charities at home:

Unlike Blackwolf, Whistling Straits and Erin Hills, the Grand Geneva courses haven’t made a splash hosting big tournaments. They won’t, either. Instead of being a tournament venue, The Brute and Highlands are popular destinations for charity events, and that’s been great for Hallenbeck.

“My goal was to raise $1 million for charities in my career,” he said. “That was my goal 40 years ago. At the end of this year, we will have raised $25 million.”

Grand Geneva hosts about 25 charity events each year. The Easter Seals Golf Classic and National Italian Invitational celebrated their 40th anniversaries this year. Juvenile Diabetes, United Way, Make-A-Wish — they’ve all benefited from hosting tournaments at Grand Geneva.

“I’ve been on up to 20 charity boards,” said Hallenbeck. “When I started on them I was the kid. Now I’m the senior member, and I’m working with the grandkids of some of the people I had worked with on some of these charity committees.”

He calls children’s charities “my passion,” and worries that there’ll be no one ready to pick up those projects when he retires. That’s a concern for later on, plus — with his two children getting married this fall and already settled in the area — Hallenbeck doesn’t plan on straying very far.

Looking ahead:

For now the immediate issue is what will happen at Grand Geneva as it heads into its second 50 years.

“I suspect the newest thing will be just trying to be as competitive as we are with everything,” said Hallenbeck. “Marcus is so good at doing what they do. They’ve already expanded the villas.”

Grand Geneva also offers more activities and dining opportunities than most Midwest golf destinations, and the views are stunning throughout. That suggests the second 50 years could be even better than the first.

• For more golf news and golf travel stories, visit lenziehmongolf.com.