08.22.13

Hinsdale Living: Where to Visit and Stay in Lake Geneva

A Shore Thing

by Wendy Wollenberg

Lake Geneva for a weekend or a lifetime.

Chicago families craving an escape to the great outdoors seem to fall into two camps—those who go to Michigan for their getaways, and those who travel north to Wisconsin. My family is Wisconsin-faring folk; I’ve been visiting Lake Geneva for as long as I can remember.

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While Memorial Day through the Fourth of July remain prime times to take a trip to this picturesque lakeshore burg, late summer and the fall months hold an array of charms (plus fewer crowds) as well. Pick a weekend in August, September, or October, pack up the car, and make the 90-minute trip north. You’ll be greeted with shopping options covering everything from beach souvenirs to designer labels, restaurants ranging from seafood shacks to foodie delights, and hotels catering to families, groups of friends, and couples looking for a romantic respite…

WHERE TO STAY

Whether you’re traveling to Lake Geneva with kids, a gathering of friends, or your SO, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa (7036 Grand Geneva Way, 800-558-3417, grandgeneva.com) won’t disappoint.

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Grand Geneva, which is a AAA Four Diamond resort, opened in 1968 as the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel, the first of its kind in the country. The hotel welcomed celebrities such as Bob Hope, Sonny and Cher, Liza Minnelli, and Bill Cosby (as well as a bevy of “bunnies”). The resort celebrates its 45th anniversary throughout 2013 with “throwback” room rates, a display of Playboy memorabilia, and special concerts that pay homage to this unique property’s storied past.

The Grand Geneva’s Prairie-style buildings surround a scenic lake and are set on two championship golf courses. Seasonal activities include indoor and outdoor tennis, hiking, biking, and a ski and snowboard park. While the weather is still warm, take a dip in the resort’s gorgeous outdoor pool, or cuddle up at Embers Terrace, an open-air lounge set around a glowing fire pit.

To completely unplug and unwind, make an appointment (or two, or three) at WELL Spa + Salon, a haven for pampering services. The Fitness Center at Grand Geneva also offers a basketball court, an indoor lap pool, a 35-foot climbing wall, and specialized classes like yoga and Pilates to burn those extra calories you may have spent. You are on vacation, after all!

Filed in Press Coverage