IF YOU HEADED SOUTH FOR THE WINTER, consider heading north for the spring and summer. Just across state lines in Wisconsin are the lush 1,300-acre grounds of the AAA Four-Diamond Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. It’s now easier than ever to get there with a new chartered helicopter service out of Schaumburg, but that’s just the beginning of what awaits. Fly or drive, here’s 10 reasons why you should get to know this all-season resort.
1. It was once the site of the former Playboy Club, opened by Hugh Hefner in 1968 and famously chronicled in the Guns ‘n’ Roses song “Paradise City.” Stars like Sonny and Cher, Joan Rivers, Bob Hope and Liza Minelli performed at the on-site Penthouse Theater, which is now a private meeting space.
2. The property has its own private airstrip, which is often utilized by AM Air Service, which offers lunch and dinner flights departing from Schaumburg Airport. The trip takes 90 minutes and you have two hours for your meal; or stay the night at one of the 355 guest rooms and suites.
3. The building’s architecture was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and has beautiful views of a man made lake, golf courses and pool from private balconies attached to each guest room.
4. There are seven dining options including super-fresh Italian restaurant Brissago (ingredients are flown in weekly from Europe), the formal Geneva ChopHouse, casual Grand Café, which also allows service poolside, cocktail area Embers Terrace, the Evolve Nightclub, Links Patio and quick service sweet spot Café Gelato.
5. A newly opened Geneva Club is a warm communal space and business center with a fireplace, workstations and snacks and beverages throughout the day.
6. There is ample space for meetings and events with 35 meeting rooms and 62,000 square feet of function space including a Grand Ballroom and dedicated conference and convention center and unique ski chalet.
7. A wealth of activities are available including golf, kayaking and horseback riding in warmer weather, skiing, ice skating and sleigh rides in the winter and yearround aquatic games at the Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark.
8. There are also team-building opportunities that can be arranged such as Grand Cupcake Wars, Beer & Cheese Pairings, Le Grand Cycling Tour and Game Show Gladiators.
9. Some hospitality services include complimentary valet and trolley rides.
10. The resort now offers a three-day Wellness Retreat anchored by chef-prepared meals, premium spa and salon services, group fitness classes, daily consultations with certified nutritionists and cooking lessons.