You would expect a luxury spa built around the Kohler name to have interesting hydrotherapy treatments -- and Kohler Waters Spa delivers. It is part of Destination Kohler, an unusual resort spa in the historic village of Kohler, Wisconsin, where the original Kohler factory is located. Surprisingly, many people visit this spa in winter, because you can cozy up in your room, get spa treatments, and stay inside.
It's a great spa destination for couples, girlfriends, and even solo travelers.
In winter, most of the traffic is local -- people driving up from Chicago and other nearby cities for a weekend getaway. But in summer, the glorious weather draws people from all over the country -- and the world. It's a two-hour direct flight to Milwaukee from the New York region, so it's easier to get there than you might think.
If you want a spa-focused visit, stay at the Carriage House, a 55-room, three-story brick hotel that was originally the grocery store and shops for Kohler's factory workers. Not only is the spa is located in the Carriage House, but you enjoy extras like complimentary access to the spa facilities, even when you don't have a spa treatment scheduled.
Spa reception is on the ground floor of Carriage House, along with a spa cafe where you can have dishes like the Kohler Salad with salmon.
If you want to have your lunch at a specific time, it's a good idea to pre-order your lunch.
After checking in, you take an elevator one floor down to enter an elegant spa made with the finest quality materials from Kohler's own tile, bath and fixture lines. There's a beautiful co-ed pool with a waterfall and lounging chairs, or you can relax in the men or women's lounges.
The steam room was better than most -- nice and hot, with a steady stream of steam going -- and the perfect place to relax and loosen up for your treatments.
I'm up for anything that's different, so I signed up for the Rock 'N' Roll massage, performed on a special (and super-expensive) European massage table called WaveMotion. This table can literally rock as the therapist works, which quickly puts your brain into relax mode. It was hard to stay awake during this service.
You get the massage fully clothed, and the therapist works through gentle compression moves and stretching techniques. It's like getting a massage while you're floating on a raft, and every once in a while, it feels ike someone is pulling the raft through water. This is the table is literally spinning 360 degrees on its axis, something only the WaveMotion table can do. Rock 'N' Roll is a profoundly relaxing treatment, and it is great to get right before bed.
The next day I was set for the Magnificent Wrap, so-called because it is meant to remineralize your body, in particular bring up your levels of magnesium, which many people lack. This service combined a few different elements Kohler Waters Spa is known for, particular time in a hydrotherapy tub and a Vichy shower, along with exfoliation and an application of mineral-rich lotion.
That left me in good shape for my Advanced Skin Restoration Facial, which included a glycolic peel to exfoliate my skin and anti-aging products from the Skin Authority line. We started with dermaplaning, where the esthetician uses a light, feathering touch with a scalpel to gently remove the top layer of dead skin cells and fine vellus hair on the cheeks. Combined with the peel, it was a super-exfoliation that left me slightly pink and shiny. It was a good anti-aging treatment, but not something to get before you head out into the sun.
Before or after your treatment, there's a glass-enclosed rooftop deck with 16-foot fireplace, whirlpool and skylights, and a little open-air patio. When you're ready to exercise, there are plenty of choices. Carriage House has a small fitness room, but one of the Kohler buses can ferry you to a huge complex called Sports Core, with fitness equipment, group exercise classes, swimming pools and tennis courts, even a small beach.
Entrance is free when you stay at Kohler, but the classes are extra.
There's also a yoga studio called "Yoga on The Lake" at Kohler's nearby shopping center (an easy walk), and Kohler itself is a beautiful community for walking or running. River Wildlife is a 500-acre wilderness preserve outside of town with more than 18 miles of trails open to guests of Destination Kohler and private members. River Wildlife is the base for lots of spa-friendly outdoor activities, including hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, archery, and horse backing riding in summer, or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
All together, these make for a satisfying spa experience -- any time of year.