Enjoy an extraordinary night’s sleep in Wisconsin
BY GARY KNOWLES For Sun-Times Media
Tom Bodett reminds us, "Motel Six...will leave the light on for you." That's good to know when you're searching for a place to stay, late at night out on the road. But there's something to be said for choosing lodging in advance, beyond ordinary. Here are seven special places in Wisconsin:
The Ambassador Hotel, Milwaukee
This 1927 Art Deco jewel was rediscovered by a Marquette University alum under layers of commercial carpeting and dropped down ceilings. Lovingly shined-up, today's Ambassador preserves the best of Art-Deco elegance with marble floors, signature plaster-work and gleaming nickel sconces. Spacious rooms offer all the modern comforts, feather pillows, flat screen televisions, free Wi-Fi and turn-down service. Envoy, the in-house restaurant, offers all three meals and Sunday Brunch, served in endless small plates at your table. It may be the best value in the state. Downtown Milwaukee, Miller Park, museums and the festival grounds are a short drive away.
A Victorian Masterpiece
The White Lace Inn, Sturgeon Bay
Step back to the elegance of the turn of the 19th Century. The White Lace Inn consists of 18 exquisite guest rooms in four turn of the century neighboring homes. You'll be surrounded by antiques, sleep on queen or king size Victorian beds, soak in oversize whirlpools and dry by a fireplace. The innkeepers prepare gourmet breakfasts and all Door County awaits out the door.
The Quintessential Cottage
Seth Peterson Cottage by Frank Lloyd Wright, Mirror Lake
The dream cabin sought by most getaway romantics includes a cozy cottage in the forest with sun-light streaming in, a fireplace, a comfortable bed overlooking a pristine Wisconsin Lake - and yes, secluded. Maybe with breakfast included. And a bonus? How about designed by America's most revered architect? Yes, this is it. And it's the only one. Near Wisconsin Dells at Mirror Lake State Park. Wrightophiles know it and it's in very high demand, but worth a try to call it your own. Two night stays generally required.
Grand Resort Living
The Grand Geneva Resort, Lake Geneva
Generations of Chicagoans have made Lake Geneva their first choice in resort getaways. Easy living, elegant dining, spa services, championship golf, shops, tennis and outdoor recreation are all covered at The Grand Geneva. A short scenic drive into town multiplies by the dozen the shopping, dining and entertainment options. Excellent guided boat excursions cruise the lake, reveal the historic mansions and beautiful lake country scenery.
On an Apostle Island
The Lightkeeper's Lodge, Madeline Island
The Inn on Madeline Island
Catch the ferry at Bayfield to cross a two mile stretch of Lake Superior to historic La Pointe on the Madeline Island in the Apostles Chain. It's the only one not in the National Lakeshore Park. Some 250 people live here year-round and it has white sand beaches, shops, pubs, dining and a great place to stay called The Lightkeeper's Lodge. You'll be a world away from ordinary, surrounded by the greatest lake with a beach out the front door - and still have access to satellite TV, an in-room frig and micro-wave. Special sailing, yoga and excursion packages are available.
The Worker's Dorm Upgraded
The American Club, Kohler
When the Kohler Company welcomed immigrant workers to America in the last century, it helped them get settled by offering lodging in a company owned dormitory. It also offered opportunities to learn English socialize and get a foothold in a new country. As time passed, it was no longer needed and by the 1960s, was used for company offices and storage. When Company President Herb Kohler said he wanted to create a top quality resort people thought it a folly. Today it is "The American Club," a AAA 5 Diamond Resort and one of the most exquisite lodging establishments in the United States. The Kohler Waters Spa, Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straights Golf Courses, and The Shops at Woodlake make it one of the hottest "must get there" places on world traveler's lists.
Sleep on a Submarine
USS Cobia, Manitowoc
Here's a sleep you won't soon forget. The USS Cobia is a real World War Two Submarine permanently docked at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. Groups can arrange special sleep over events and on several nights a year family sleepovers are arranged. Bring your own bedding and be prepared for close quarters. The Cobia sleeps up to 55 people. The adventure begins at 7:00PM and concludes the following morning. For $44.00 per person you get a bunk, educational activities, and admission to the museum the following day. The submarine is fully heated and air conditioned.
Gary Knowles is a Madison-based travel writer, photographer and consultant to travel industry. He serves as the travel advisor on Wisconsin Public Radio's Joy Cardin Show.