In Travel Journal

For over forty years, the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa has remained quite the gem of Southeastern Wisconsin. It boasts an ideal location for Chicago and Milwaukee residents alike- just far enough to “get away from it all,” yet still within a comfortable hour or two’s drive.

Back in its heyday of the late 1960s, it was the home of The Playboy Club. The allure of the club was legendary- horse stables, a ski lodge, two golf courses, even an airport- no doubt to taxi in the rich and famous visiting from both coasts. While you aren’t likely to see any young Bunnies lounging around these days (the club has been closed for some time), the expected luxury amenities are still available to guests today: a spa, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and several dining options. We stayed for three activity-packed days and two nights, and still did not have enough time to experience all the resort has to offer. (A longer stay might have also given us the chance to venture into nearby Lake Geneva, the super charming lakeside town popular for weekend getaways.)

Grand Geneva is absolutely great for families- they can stay at the resort’s Timber Ridge Lodge, which offers suites with kitchenettes, separate bedrooms, and fireplaces to make for wonderful family accommodations. Pets are welcome (they get their own room service menu!) and the kids will probably beg you to spend the entire day at the indoor waterpark…. and if you’re in the mood to reclaim your playful youth you will let them do it! I never had that kind of pool when I was a kid! Aside from the lazy time spent at the pool, our days were rounded out with all kinds of fun: nature walks, bi-plane rides, low-cost Bingo competitions, and complimentary stargazing at night through the resort’s full size telescope. I only wish we were able to participate in some of the seasonal activities coming up around the bend: the autumn corn maze and haunted, pumpkin patch hayrides, or maybe the snow-sculpting and ice skating in the winter.

I think that the best family vacations are the ones that balance all that togetherness with a few opportunities for much needed individual R&R. Throughout the weekend, we allowed each other the time to stray from the group as we examined the many choices for entertainment. Dad hit the links as I took the kids to ride horseback and enjoy the free petting zoo. After that, he took them for a walk while I snuck away for an absolutely wonderful deep tissue massage and facial….what a life! I came back to the room, rejuvenated, and listened to their stories of going on the Junior Escape, a made-for-kids attraction of great fun: rock climbing, cooking classes, and science adventures. What a great weekend!! The Grand Geneva is worth the trip, no matter what time of year you are able to visit. I get excited just thinking about coming back…I guess that’s how Hef must have felt.

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