Buoyant Mood: Midwestern Luxury at Destination Kohler

Run by a faucet company, the Wisconsin spa and resort drips with indulgence.
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Little about the Kohler Co.’s origins suggested luxury: The Wisconsin-based maker of faucets and fixtures sold its first bathtub to a farmer for one cow and 14 chickens. And yet Destination Kohler, a resort in the eponymous hometown of the company’s headquarters, now boasts one of only a few dozen spas worldwide with a five-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide.

Kohler Waters Spa guests pitter-pat around in slippers and robes all day, sipping cucumber water and champagne. The “Lavender Rain” hydrotherapy treatment typifies the experience—a lavender and eucalyptus exfoliation followed by a warm rinse under Kohler’s custom Vichy shower, whose six heads tickle and spritz the torso and legs while a technician massages facial pressure points. Full-body moisturizer and hot stones on the feet and back complete the session. The intricate tile, marble pillars, and eight-foot indoor waterfall of the relaxation pool recall mansions in The Great Gatsby. At a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge, guests dry off next to a fireplace after easing out of a nearby whirlpool.

Next door, The American Club, built in 1918 as a dignified living quarters for workers, is now a AAA 5-diamond hotel. The ivy-covered manor overlooks manicured botanical gardens, and traditional yet stylish rooms feature four-poster canopy beds and spacious baths and “showering experiences” with tension-melting heads. The luxe Eau de Vie suite includes an overflowing bath with chromatherapy (i.e., mood lighting).

The resort’s Wisconsin Room does fine farm-to-table dining in clubby environs (walnut wainscoting, chandeliers), serving house-speciality pan-seared walleye on tables set with crisp white linens and fresh-cut flowers. Lodge-like Blackwolf Run Restaurant grills rustic American fare. Outside are two Pete Dye–designed golf courses and a yoga studio with floor-to-ceiling windows on a serene lake. Feeling anxious because there’s too much to do? Just relax.


The American Club's Eau de Vie suite.
The American Club’s Eau de Vie suite.

The American Club’s burger and microbrew spot The Horse & Plow has tabletops made from bowling lanes.

The 500-acre Sheboygan River Wildlife preserve offers hiking, horseback riding, and trap shooting on the resort grounds.

Onsite Shops at Woodlake hawk craft beer, cheeses, and buttery “terrapins” from Craverie Chocolatier Cafe.