The Great Snow Trip of 2014 began with the vague thought that it might be nice to go somewhere for my birthday on January 20.
Somewhere that Tom would like which meant…somewhere with snow.
So I looked north. North to Wisconsin and Michigan where they had substantially more snow than we did – not difficult since we rarely get more than a couple of inches here in Lexington, Kentucky. I began contacting resorts that were billed as ski destinations even though we don’t care about skiing but because I knew they would have snow.
And the trip began falling into place.
The first location we would visit would be The Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. This visit actually began with an email requesting a visit to Timber Ridge which is also part of their property but we decided this family orientated location with a water park would be better for another time with our grandson in tow, so we settled on The Grand Geneva Resort.
And we are so glad we did.
The closer we got to the Grand Geneva Resort, the more snow we saw and the happier we got. Located just a short drive from Chicago and Milwaukee, the beautiful resort was originally opened in 1968 as the first Playboy Club Hotel in the United States. The opulent hotel included an indoor swimming pool, two championship golf courses, and a ski lounge designed in the shape of two interlocking snowflakes as seen from the air. the hotel even had a private airstrip. In the mid 1900’s the Marcus Corporation purchased the property and renamed it The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, a year-round vacation destination. A complete renovation occurred with updates to the guest rooms, golf courses and grounds and a spa was added. Small remnants of the Playboy Club history remain and the employees are proud of the resort’s past and will happily tell you all about the fascinating details.
The deep snow was everywhere and the resort had been covered over. It was fabulous. The pool, a summertime staple, was buried.
We checked into our comfortable room and enjoyed the snowy view from our patio.
We were pleasantly surprised when there was a knock on the door and a lovely array of treats was delivered to welcome us to the resort.
After a relaxing night, we spent the morning touring the resort with Michelle Goebel, the Marketing Communications Manager. The resort has plenty of rooms in suites located in several connecting buildings, all of which were still beautifully decorated for Christmas. There are also nice one and two bedroom suites with full kitchens available at Timber Ridge which is just a short drive away. You can park your car and not need it again during your stay as there are trolleys which run all over the resort. We took one for our tour and it was a really convenient way to get around.
The property is really gorgeous in the winter with snow everywhere but it is actually a very popular summer destination as well. Skiing is the big draw for the resort in the winter and, while it was quiet in the morning when we took our tour, by the afternoon, there were skiers everywhere. After walking around the hotel, we headed to the Mountain Top Ski Lodge which is the place to be in the winter at the resort. The drive through the grounds was peaceful and beautiful with snow covering everything and a stream running beside the road.
We made it to the ski lodge and checked out the sign indicating the wide variety of runs available. The varying difficulty levels of the runs makes this a great getaway location or families or groups of friends, since each person can ski a run geared to their ability level.
The lodge was quiet and the snow making equipment was silent on this visit.
But when we returned later in the afternoon, it was a different story. There were people everywhere, clomping around in their ski boots, having a hot drink, or just enjoying the slopes.
We were especially intrigued by all the small kids who were skiing. They were having a class and we were interested to see the “magic carpet” that took them up the slope instead of the chair lift.
After an afternoon in the snow, we were ready to relax in our room but we had mentioned to Michelle that the water pressure and temperature in our shower was not very good. We really just wanted to let them know for the next guests but we had no sooner returned than we got a phone call and they offered to move us to a suite. We were reluctant to pack up and move for one night but thought it would be interesting to see a suite, so we made the move.
And we were so glad we did.
The suite was huge with a small kitchen and – my favorite – a fireplace! I proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon perched in front of that fireplace.
Not only was our suite absolutely sublime, we also had an incredible view.
We managed to tear ourselves away from our suite long enough to head to the Ristoranté Brissago for dinner. We had eaten at The Chop House the night before which was very good but the Italian food at the Ristoranté Brissago was absolutely amazingly good. I started with this fabulous soup that had little pasta balls filled with cheese that melted in your mouth and I could have cheerfully eaten approximately 3,982 of those little pasta balls.
Then I had a pizza but this was not your ordinary pizza, oh no. It was fresh and delicious and melted in your mouth and I wish I had a piece at this very moment.
We enjoyed every single moment of our visit to The Grand Geneva Resort but Tom was crushingly disappointed that he didn’t get to try one of the local microbrews. He had sampled New Glarus beers before and really wanted to taste the Fat Squirrel – yes, that is actually the name of a beer – but the bar was not open until 3:00 at the ski lodge and we didn’t make it back there that evening.
That just means we will have to go back.
Full disclosure: Our stay was provided by The Grand Geneva Resort, but as always, we will share my honest opinions about any travel experiences we have.Pin It