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The American Club
What: The American Club
Where: Kohler, WI
Distance from Milwaukee: 55 miles
Tucked into this company town—home to the manufacturing of Kohler plumbing products, such as toilets, soaking tubs and fixtures—is a luxury hotel (The American Club) with a spa that is continually ranked as the best in the Midwest. Of course, some of the treatments at Kohler Waters Spa show off just how luxurious—and deep—Kohler’s tubs can be, including the Tea for Two® and RiverBath by Kohler. Stay in the Carriage House rooms above the spa and you never have to go outside. Golfers love to come here during the warmer months but even during winter, it’s a cozy, pampering retreat. Also on the property is the Kohler Design Center (there’s no cost to enter), a showroom of the company’s stylish products, including its “Wall of China” (toilets galore). On the lower level is a historical museum telling Kohler’s story while the second level features vignettes of the sinks, tubs and more in high-design schemes. Back in the room are dark woods and jewel tones for an air of sophistication. At the Carriage House, all rooms include afternoon tea, continental breakfast, and evening drinks and snacks. No need to leave the property: a shuttle takes you to a plaza of shops, including Craverie Chocolatier Cafe (try the Terrapins, a take on the caramel-infused “turtles” that’s made by Kohler, among other chocolates) and Cucina, an Italian restaurant. You can even pick up a bottle of wine and deli foods like Wisconsin artisan cheeses at Woodlake Market. Or, splurge on dinner at The Immigrant; lunch is served at The Horse & Plow, a pub with an upscale twist.
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Sundara Inn & Spa
What: Sundara Inn & Spa
Where: Wisconsin Dells, WI
Distance from Milwaukee: 119 miles
Most people know “the Dells” for its water parks, amusement parks, and kid-friendly attractions. However, there is also a very adult reason to come to this central Wisconsin town: a full-fledged spa in the woods. Adopting a very feng-shui aesthetic, the vibe here is very calming, with soft golden and red hues in the rooms and other areas. The spa also folds in Ayurvedic therapies and suggests that a treatment begins with a Purifying Bath Ritual (a five-step self-guided treatment lasting a half hour that begins with a rainfall shower and exfoliation using sandstone body polish). Overnight accommodations are split between 26 suites and a few villas. The villas are an ideal option for small groups, as they feature a kitchen, three-way fireplace, and an outdoor veranda with room for eight people. Every morning begins with a complimentary breakfast of organic yogurt and signature granola, pastries, and made-to-order eggs, along with tea, coffee, and juice. There’s the option to order lunch and dessert, too, with gourmet additions: think Wisconsin artisan cheeses at lunch and grilled salmon for dinner. Meals can be taken beside the infinity pool or on a second-floor indoor balcony with splendid views.
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The Osthoff Resort
What: The Osthoff Resort
Where: Elkhart Lake, WI
Distance from Milwaukee: 60 miles
While the best seasons to visit Elkhart Lake (pop. 1,000) are spring, summer and fall, the resort’s Old World Christmas Market (inspired by Christmas markets in Germany) is a huge draw. This year’s dates are Dec. 2-11, 2016; it is the market’s 19th consecutive year in this Norman Rockwell-esque town. Located on 500 feet of shoreline on Elkhart Lake, the resort offers Aspira Spa, Lola’s on the Lake, and L’Ecole de la Maison (a cooking school with one- and two-day courses). On the cooking school’s website is a directory of courses that remain in 2016, with the 2017 schedule releasing this month. Spa treatments range from healing focuses like reiki to pure bliss with the Wild Chamomile/Ancient Cedar Body Treatment, an exfoliation with Aspira’s cedar scrub followed by a 50-minute reflexology massage. There is plenty of room for small groups to spread out or couples to feel “at home,” thanks to a mix of two- and three-bedroom suites, plus plenty of one-bedroom accommodations. All suites have a kitchen or kitchenette. Or, book a guest room: all have a private balcony, two-person whirlpool bath, and a small refrigerator and microwave.