Boutique Hotel Set on Shores of Lake Geneva
When a rambling summer estate was built on the shores of Lake Geneva’s Buttons Bay back in 1883, the local newspaper called its location “unexcelled” and “so pretty that it is a wonder that others have not seen it before.” The property included eight acres set along the shoreline and a luxurious hilltop residence with commanding views of the water. After serving as a private home for wealthy businessmen and a gathering spot for local political leaders, the mansion was razed in 1989 and replaced with The Geneva Inn. The English-style lodging lives up to the estate's tradition of luxury with a fine-dining restaurant, dramatic architectural features, and panoramic lake views.
The Geneva Inn’s Grandview Restaurant and Lounge, an upscale steak-and-seafood spot, makes the most of its waterfront location. Tables are strategically arranged so that all diners can enjoy unobstructed views of the lake and the marina through floor-to-ceiling single-pane windows. Though the dinner menu changes seasonally, there’s always a focus on fresh seafood, such as seared norwegian salmon or seared sea scallops with macadamia-nut risotto. The restaurant hosts a daily complimentary continental breakfast for overnight guests, and on Sundays, guests and locals alike stop in for a decadent champagne brunch that begins with a complimentary glass of bubbly.
Each of the guest rooms features bedtime chocolates and free WiFi. The land-view rooms exude an elegant country charm, with wooden furnishings and traditional floral fabrics. Many have private balconies and oversize whirlpools. A raised fireplace distinguishes the hotel's three-story atrium, and outside there's a private pier lined with boat slips (open seasonally). If you'd like to explore your surroundings, a 22-mile lakefront footpath starts right outside the inn.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: Lakeside Mansions and Historical Museums
Located within 90 miles of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison, Lake Geneva has become one of the Midwest’s most popular destinations for recreation. Geneva Lake—a gaping gulf of fresh water ripe for swimming, leisurely sails, water skiing, and tubing—is the resort town’s biggest draw in the summer. Admire the scenery by taking a stroll on the Geneva Lake Shore Path, a 21-mile walkway planned by early settlers that stretches around the entire lake. Along the way, you’ll pass expansive gardens and the opulent estates that helped the town earn the nickname “Newport of the West.”
In the winter, outdoor activities range from sledding and cross-country skiing in Big Foot Beach State Park to ice-fishing on Geneva Lake. There's also plenty to do indoors. The Geneva Lake Museum takes visitors back in time with re-created late 19th- and early 20th-century shops, and the 1897-era Yerkes Observatory is home to the world's largest refracting telescope.