American Club Brings Luxury Lodging to Kohler

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The American Club in Kohler, Wisc. offers a mix of quiet retreat and world class resort facilities.

One of the world’s elite resorts has its roots in your bathroom – in a whole lot of bathrooms, actually,

You’ve seen the name “Kohler” stamped on any number of fixtures either at home or in public restrooms around the world. There’s a whole lot of money in sinks and toilets, s0 what would have otherwise been a tiny town in Wisconsin evolved into a global destination for luxury travel and golf.

Located a little more than an hour north of Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport and an hour south of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Kohler is home to both Black Wolf Run and Whistling Straits – elite golf courses that host major tournaments for both the men’s and women’s pro tours. In fact, Black Wolf Run hosted the Women’s U.S. Open twice, and Whistling Straits will host the men’s 2015 PGA Championship and the 2020 International Ryder Cup.

But, before those courses set up Kohler as a golf destination, the American Club established itself as one of the world’s great resorts. In fact, fewer than 50 resorts on the planet earned five star ratings from both AAA and Forbes. Kohler is one of them.

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This is how to decorate a Lombardi Room.

The entire complex is tucked away into a quiet, woodsy stretch of street called Destination Kohler. The central complex of the sprawling village is the American Club Lodge. Built in 1918, the facility was originally set up as a residence for immigrant employees at the Kohler plant. In 1981, it evolved into full service luxury hotel with rooms themed to an individual historic theme. There are rooms for Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis, Franklin Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart.

I took up two-day’s residence in the Vince Lombardi Room – a perfect spot for proper guy travel (especially when the guy grew up a Packer fan). The suite’s stand decorated with the classic, almost Victorian style of an English country house — wood-lined walls, dark furniture, rich carpeting and warm lighting. However, the rest of the details — from the TV to the whirlpool tub to the wifi are all properly modern.

The grounds stick to the Wisconsin woodlands theme with the warm hallways connecting to densely planted walks. One contemplative area of the lodge sets benches amid a dense mini-forest of the state’s native species. The overall atmosphere is quiet, peaceful and sophisticated without kneeling at the altar of pretentiousness and snobbery. This is still Wisconsin, after all.

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The main lodge building stands a short walk from the Carriage House complex — home to the five star Kohler Waters Spa. The full service center offers massages and treatments intended either for men and women or a general unisex crowd. I’ve had the opportunity to see spas around the world — including international destinations in Las Vegas, London and Italy – and I’ve never seen a more complete facility.

The best element of Kohler’s appeal is its location. It’s in an area established enough to be reachable, but far enough off the beaten tourist path that it can serve as an escape for the luxury traveler.

In the coming days, we’ll include a review of the resorts dining to round out the American Club experience.