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The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle may have thrown away one of its most charming qualities, but the one in Madison, Wisconsin, is doing right by itself with a $100-million renovation that is set to be complete next summer.
The renovations will include the construction of a brand new tower that will bring the room total to 202, rehabs of the two existing building from the 1940s and 1970s, an acre public plaza with plans for an ice rink in the winter (shown above), four restaurants, and a full-service spa, fitness, and personal training center.
The Edgewater sits between the Capitol Building and Lake Mendola, putting visitors in walking distance to both the downtown district as well as the water (plus, great views). Madison is known as a college town with a good beer scene, and this contributor guesses that it could be a national draw for tourism if it wasn't located in Wisconsin. No disrespect to the state - we've been multiple times and enjoyed it - but not many people who live outside the Midwest would consider it a vacation destination.
The residents of Wisconsin Dells claim that their hometown is the "waterpark capital of the world," and after a recent visit, we totally believe them.
The Dells is a small, sub-6,000 population city in south central Wisconsin that gets its name from the glacial-carved gorge and sandstone formations along the Wisconsin River. The natural beauty of this area is absolutely stunning, but that's not what the majority of the people come for. During the summer, they come for the 21 resorts with outdoor waterparks.
Considering the Dells is only 19.5 square miles in size, that's pretty incredible. As if that many waterpark resorts in one place isn't mind-boggling enough, here are four more fun facts about the Dells:
Over the past few years, we've heard all about Traverse City and the rest of Northern Michigan as being a great lakeside summer destination, but few are aware of the peninsula that sits directly west across Lake Michigan in Wisconsin known as Door County. Right, we know what you're thinking. The first thing that comes to mind when someone says "Wisconsin" is winter, and you can get cheese in any supermarket, thank you very much.
This mentality is precisely what makes Door County so enjoyable to visit, the fact that it crushes all your preconceived notions of what Wisconsin is as a state and travel destination. What you'll find during the summer months is a bed-and-breakfast paced community on a peninsula that is comprised of a series of small towns tucked in between dairy farms, wineries, and cherry orchards.
While there are a few bigger properties, small inns and B&Bs are the way to go to soak up the area's personality. One that we can recommend firsthand is the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, which hosts traditional fish boils four nights a week throughout the summer months. As you can see from the photos, the cooking process is quite a show.
Time for a little bit of Thursday fun as we check in on some unique events taking place at hotels around the world. We're used to seeing properties offer special events including concerts, conferences, and cocktails, but now and then we come across happenings that truly capture our attention.
Today, we've rounded up some gladiators, Scottish marksmen, and dogs without a home. Our gut tells us the dogs will fly off the shelves, but the three-day hunting spree? We're a wee bit skeptical.
Sometimes hotels create events and offers purely for publicity rather than profit, and we're curious to see how much interest these events gather.
Have no idea what we're on about? Read on for details!
Caledonian Macnab, The Caledonian: This classic Edinburgh hotel is offering a package that allows "competitors," aka you, to take part in a Scottish sporting contest they call the Caledonian Macnab. There are three stages to the contest that takes place over the course of three days amidst Scottish landscape. Participants are challenged to catch a salmon (day 1), shoot a brace of grouse (day 2), and "stalk a red" deer (day 3). Fishing, shooting, and stalking sounds like a mancation if we've ever heard one, but is the Caley really a bachelor party type of crash pad? We think not!
OpenThread / Healthy Hotels / Hotel Fitness / Hotel Food / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Spas / Wisconsin Hotels / → All Tags
It seems like the US is slowly coming around to the idea that unhealthy foods make unhealthy people. Hence programs like Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign, and NYC's crusade against sugary sodas. But now, hotels are starting to catch on too (hello Even Hotels!), which is why we thought it would be a good idea to highlight some fitness-loving hotels this week.
Like Wisconsin's Sundara Inn & Spa, one of the first hotels to join a new program that aims to educate hotel guests about healthy raw foods and even help them implement diet changes during their stay.
Now, we're generally against hotels barging in on our vacation and telling us what we should and shouldn't eat—there's just too many delicious treats everywhere. But in the name of moderation, we're willing to go along with this. Just as long as we can enjoy our raw foods with a pancake or two on the side.
You have plans to take the kiddies to the final Harry Potter installment today, but you're tapped out of ideas on how to keep them busy for the rest of the summer. One option is to bring them to Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark to study under a Lego Certified Professional.
The Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, resort will have Lego-themed Artitecture events August 14 to 16. These interactive seminars will offer hands-on building sessions and discussions for the children from LEGO Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker.
By all stereotype-riddled accounts, Midwesterners should be laidback and genial. Too friendly, even. And nowhere might that be truer than Wisconsin, a gentle respite of summer camps, lake cabins, and farmers markets.
Of course, not all Midwesterners fit that bill, epitomized best in the 1920s and 30s by the likes of Al Capone, John Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson. Their refuges of choice? When the “heat was on,” writes the NYT, “bad guys on the lam” headed for Wisconsin’s north woods.
Some of their spots of choice have stuck around, and Wisconsin travelers can make like a mobster and disappear down the state’s back roads for a few days. The NYT details three resorts and lodges with gangster history.
Brett Favre...are you in or are you out? Active or retired? Healthy or injured? QB for the Minnesota Vikings or not? Whatever it is, please make up your mind soon. That's because your whole family has a huge block of rooms reserved at the Best Western Midway Motor Lodge near Lambeau Field in Wisconsin reserved for November 1 when the Vikings play your old team, The Greenbay Packers.
Favre is expected to sign with the Vikings soon, unless a recent surgery on his arm has some undesirable consequences. But even if it does and Brett decides to choose retirement once and for all, the Midway Motor Lodge has a fairly flex cancellation policy.
The group isn’t required to guarantee payment for the rooms until 45 days before the check-in date, so it can cancel the reservations in the next two months without financial penalty. [Hotel Manager Doug] Warpinski said Favre’s family and friends routinely stayed at the hotel for home games in Favre’s final five years with the Packers.
If Favre does end up playing for the Vikings and will be QB for the Green Bay game, then at least you know where he might be headed once the game is over. PS. The hotel also has an indoor pool.
[Photo: AJC Blogs]
Packers fans: put down that pigskin and forget the primal urges of football. Now you can get some refined Starbucks and Sharper Image iPod docking stations with your fourth downs and offsides, at a new hotel in Green Bay.
LodgeWorks has just put the $7 million-dollar touch on The Hotel Sierra Green Bay, formerly the Regency Suites, and within spitting distance from Lambeau Field and nearby the city's anticipated promenade called CityDeck.
And it's more upscale business traveler hotel than a football lover's hang: "...an open eight-story atrium filled with lit palm trees, porcelain tiles, warm rugs, oversize lamps, zebra woods and other natural elements."
We can't really see Packers fans snuggling into the those animal patterns, but then again, maybe they will.
The 40-year-old Abbey Resort on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin has undergone a $40 million makeover and after two years of renovations, the hotel is nearly complete as well as under new managment by HostMark Hospitality Group.
The updates include LCD TVs in the 334 guestrooms, outdoor patios or balconies, and wireless internet in the common areas. The TVs (on the wall on the left in the photo) look sweet but we're not sure we agree with the choice of bedspreads. It's not quite floral but it has some greenery on it. Then again, this is Wisconsin not New York.
The resort also features the 35,000-square-foot Fontana Spa which has more than 40 different types and a fitness center. More treatment rooms are going to be added so doublecheck before you book about any renovation work still being done.
Spring rates start at $119.
· The Abbey Resort reviews [TripAdvisor]