What: A luxurious Midwest getaway, The American Club is located an hour north of Milwaukee and 2.5 hours north of Chicago. It’s in Kohler, Wis.—as in Kohler the bath company, which owns the American Tudor revival-style Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel. And as you’d expect, Kohler Co. decks out the guest room bathrooms with its top-of-the-line fixtures, including striking briolette glass sinks, a chromotherapy tub that fills from a spout in the ceiling and the “Kohler Showering Experience,” a spacious standalone stall with multiple showerheads to add a massage effect. The décor in the rooms is masculine—think cream-and-beige thick striped wallpaper, and a bamboo-trimmed wooden headboard with wine-colored velvet drapes—but they are cozy and inviting. And the spa-like bathrooms are such an indulgence, they make it difficult to ever want to leave.
Where: The hotel is the centerpiece of the Village of Kohler, a small company town (population 2,000) that’s filled with charming brick homes. The American Club was built in 1918 and originally housed the immigrant workers of the Kohler bath factory across the street. The historic Tudor building was transformed from a dormitory to luxury hotel in 1981. But it still shows its roots—oak-paneled hallway walls are adorned with workers’ artifacts, like citizenship papers. And despite a 2012 renovation, there’s still an Old World feel throughout the property; the cozy lobby features brown leather chesterfield sofas fronting the fireplace, and the library (that converts to a martini bar at night) still has the original wood-paneled walls.
When: The American Club, which just received its second consecutive Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award, is a year-round destination. Wisconsin winters can be brutal, but the stately brick building and its grounds get even cozier when blanketed in snow. The best time to visit is spring through fall, though, when you can play on the four Pete Dye-designed golf courses. We’re also partial to visiting in October, when the annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience draws top names in the culinary world, including Food Network personality Anne Burrell, Top Chef Masters competitor Tony Mantuano and PBS host Lidia Bastianich.
Why: This is a haven for golfers. The Blackwolf Run’s River and Meadow Valley have hosted the U.S. Women’s Open in 1998 and 2012, and the Whistling Straits courses hosted the PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open and the Palmer Cup. But the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Kohler Waters Spa attracts all types for its top-notch service—even manicures and pedicures get a special touch—and specialty hydrotherapy treatments like the Lavender Rain, a lavender and eucalyptus exfoliation that’s followed by a Kohler Vichy shower, a moisturizer application, and warm stones on your back and feet.
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Immigrant Restaurant is a romantic dining spot. Each of the six labyrinthine rooms pays homage to a different immigrant group that settled in the area; try to snag one of the Dutch Room’s popular alcove booths. After a contemporary American dish, like asparagus flan with a scoop of pistachio pesto, and chilled lobster topped with pickled white asparagus, skip the sweets and order the Evolution of Cheddar flight (after all, you are in Wisconsin). The fresh curds and seven-year cheddar alone warrant a repeat visit here.
Photos Courtesy of Kohler Co.