The American Club Resort - Kohler, Wisconsin

The flowing corn fields of rural Wisconsin might be the last place you'd expect to find a Forbes Five Star Award winning resort and spa. But when you're one of the largest privately held companies in the world - and they've named the town after you - pretty much anything is possible. Such is the case with The American Club, in the tiny hamlet of Kohler, Wisconsin.

American Club Resort Kohler

The story of The American Club began nearly a century ago, when the hotel was opened as housing for immigrant workers at the adjacent Kohler factory. Today, the resort has been transformed into a Five Diamond luxury retreat, anchored by the Kohler Waters Spa and an array of major championship golf courses.

American Club Resort Kohler
Classic greatness.

For the first time in, well, ever, a luxury hotel played the role of understudy in my excitement leading up to the trip. The cause was a little place called Whistling Straits - host of multiple PGA Championships and the site of the first real father-sons golf trip with my dad and brother. The only thing which topped the challenge of the course was the indescribable beauty which went along with it. And while Whistling Straits might have been the center of all of our collective attention, The American Club was not to be outdone.

Whistling Straits
One of the best days of my life...

The hotel's bid to capture more of my attention began just moments after checking-in, when I found myself on a massage table in the award-winning Kohler Waters Spa. The "Golfer's Massage" stretched muscles that I didn't even know existed, and released a nagging crick in my neck which had bothered me for weeks. I enjoyed the experience so much, I returned to the spa each day after golf to soak away the frustrations of the round in the heated pool and sauna. My only regret, however, was that someone didn't snap a picture of us three dudes waiting for the elevator in our bath robes.

Kohler Waters Spa
When not on the course, the first lounge chair on the right was home.
Credit: Kohler Co.

The pampering continued in our guestroom - specifically the miniature Kohler Waters Spa of a bathroom. The rainmaker and traditional shower heads - which could be operated separately or together - kept those muscles relaxed long after the Golfer's Massage had ended. Needless to say, by the end of our stay I was ready to visit the Kohler Design Center next door.

American Club Resort
A Kohler commercial in your guest room...
Credit: Kohler Co.

The rest of the room pretty much embodied everything I love about great hotel rooms: lots of space - although not enough to practice our putting - a wet bar, and, of course, the prized white duvet. Although this must have been some sort of special Wisconsin duvet, because it had the ability to take you from ice cold to sweating like a sauna in less than 2 minutes. Or maybe the bed had some sort fancy heater that I didn't know about. Either way, the A/C was turned to 64 degrees each night. Then again, that's pretty much my standard temperature in hotels.

American Club Resort Rooms
Right before my brother and I practiced our back flips.

Aside from the incredible golf, posh accommodations, and the Kohler Waters Spa, there were several other amenities that made me wish The American Club was home. Topping the list: the spread of fresh Wisconsin cheeses and wine that was on display in the lobby each evening. After returning home, I went to our kitchen looking for the same, but sadly all I could find was a couple of Kraft singles and a corked bottle of Chardonnay from New Year's Eve.

American Club Resort
The breakfast spread was pretty awesome too.

Of course, the quickest way to my heart - besides free wine and cheese - is with a great coffee shop. The Greenhouse was easily the most beautiful setting for a coffee shop that I've ever encountered. The surrounding gardens of The American Club were overflowing with beautiful colors, and made the morning walk for coffee the best part of the entire trip. Well, except for Whistling Straits, of course.

American Club Greenhouse
One of the most beautiful rooms I've ever entered...
American Club Resort
The courtyards were overflowing with colors.

Years ago, Kevin Costner narrated an ad where The American Club was described as "A place unlike any other place in America." That sense of disbelief was never far from the surface during our visit to The American Club. From the hotel, to the Kohler Waters Spa, to the incredible Whistling Straits golf course, none of it seemed possible in the rural hills of Wisconsin. And yet, if there's one thing The American Club proves beyond any doubt, it's that "If you build it... They will come."

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