Joan Larsen’s Travel: The Midwest’s Wondrous Hidden Getaway – The American Club

Posted on June 7, 2017


By Joan Larsen


More often than we might admit, we find we need a change from the “every day” that has felt – well, often mundane.  A “jump-start” is truly what we need… and perhaps, just a little time “away” would do a world of good.  A special hand-picked getaway, one not too long — but one that opens up our worlds in unexpected ways I have found to be absolutely blissful.

2-bedAnd so I am really raving about a hidden gem that I have discovered – a place for families, for couples with romantic tendencies, or for two dearest friends who agree they need time away to re-charge their batteries.  If you already live in the Midwest, it is not far away.  Otherwise, it is the perfect addition to sight-seeing Chicago, my beautiful home town.

3-hotelbath-smallWe are all familiar with bathrooms.  The word Kohler has to strike a bell.  But most of us would not know that this lovely little town of Kohler – 4 miles away from Lake Michigan, less than an hour above Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is home to The American Club – the only five-star resort in the entire Midwest.  Yes, it is off the road – hidden, as many lovely places choose to be – but, I promise, it is the escape where village charm meets old-world elegance.  You will come home regaling your friends with this mind-boggling, unbelievable holiday.

You really should stay there – the spa, fishing, swimming, golf – well, just name it!





BUT if you find accommodations too pricey, you still will be able to stay at a nearby motel, making the amenities of The American Club your other home.  Be sure you do your dining there.  Their food is a destination all of itself.  Their annual Chocolate Gala or their Thanksgiving Dinner, reminding you of days of old, are good excuses to get on the road.  And it is very doable, I promise you.


Walk across the street from the hotel for the most memorable – and free – tour of Kohler’s factory to see how those stunning tubs and showers used in their hotel rooms were made.  It’s industrial art, dedication of workers above and beyond at the Pottery, and an opportunity to see an automated pouring machine that pours a bathtub every 30 seconds, 24 hours a day.  I never thought I would rave over plumbing, but my eyes were opened to something I had never thought of.   It is just a “don’t miss”!


7-designcenterPrepare to drool at the Kohler Design Center, adjoining the hotel, and discover how classy bathrooms can appear, almost as if they were works of art.  You will find that you can spend the better part of a morning here, always finding new bathroom wonders around every corner.  And believe me, you will be talking about this “feast for the senses” Design Center later, never forgetting this experience.  Bringing children along?  Their favorite will be the Numi toilet, looking like a white Lego block and featuring ergonomic seating, an integrated BIDET and touch screen icons that let the user warm the seat and play music, among other things.  It has a foot warmer, and, ahem, washes and dries the sitter.  (You won’t forget it easily, either!)

The short YouTube tour is only a teaser.  You can turn on the water in the faucets, see working dream showers and tubs in action when you tour this beautiful place.  Around every corner, you will see another fixture of the future.

You’ll need more than a day or two here.  If you are a hotel guest, there is a group of amenities offered that are rarely seen.  At least, take a tour of the Kohler Waters Spa for a look at a dream world.

And then there is a not-to-be-missed free tour of the Austrian Waelderhaus, built in the same architectural style as homes in the Bregenzerwald region of Austria where the Kohler family came from.  And these are just a sprinkling of the wonders!


In the nearby town of Sheboygan, people actually fly into to see the Kohler Art Museum’s most well-known section:  their washrooms have been named the #1 washrooms in the world – for good reason!!!!  The offerings of the museum alone are most unusual as well.  I personally find the gift shop a bonanza for unique Christmas shopping!

Return visits?  They will be assured I promise you.  When it is Kohler and The American Club – the Midwest’s surprising “hidden secret” – we are talking about, life is about to take a turn for the better!!


“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

  – Miriam Beard


Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth.  But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again.  She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”