17 Fabulous One-Stop Weekend Escapes
Treat yourself to a getaway at one of these special Midwest lodgings. Even if you never venture far from the grounds, you'll feel like you've had a vacation.
French Lick, Indiana: French Lick Resort
Step into the Victorian-opulent lobby at West Baden Springs Hotel, and you'll know that you've arrived somewhere amazing. A 600-foot glass dome-hailed as the eighth wonder of the world when the hotel opened in 1902-arches six stories overhead.
Through the 1930s, this hotel and neighboring French Lick Springs Hotel (about 140 miles southwest of Indianapolis) reigned as the fanciest of 40-some resorts built around the area's mineral springs. Neglect then took its toll, but a $500 million renovation turned the hotels back into luxury destinations. Guests love the spacious rooms, plus spas, restaurants, golf and hiking. French Lick Springs' attractions include a casino. French Lick Resort
Related: Top 20 Things to Do in Indiana
Wisconsin Dells: Sundara Inn and Spa
The real world can't get past the front gate of Sundara Inn and Spa. The resort, named for the Sanskrit word for "beautiful," hides among tall pines on a winding side road outside Wisconsin Dells. You'll be reminded how great a show sunlight, fire and grazing deer put on when you have nowhere else to be.
Float through a seamless series of hot tubs, steam rooms and heated towels. Flute music and earthy oil scents fill the halls. Privacy is as complete as you want to make it at this adults-only lodging. You can eat breakfast in the quiet atrium, but there's always room service, too. And while Sundara provides free chauffeur service to area entertainment, you might not choose to leave. Sundara Inn and Spa
Galena, Illinois: Inn at Irish Hollow
Let yourself be pampered at this secluded, romantic lodging. Stay either in the main inn, which was once the general store, post office and shopkeeper's home, or choose from five private guesthouses, all with luxurious and spacious accommodations.
Eating is one of the pleasures here; you can have a full country gourmet breakfast delivered to your room. The inn also serves a seven-course candlelight dinner. Activities include hiking on the 500-acre wooded, rolling estate or the 1,300-acre nature preserve next to it, while Galena (10 miles northwest) offers plenty of nearby shops and restaurants. Inn at Irish Hollow
Related: Top Things to Do in Galena
Ridgedale, Missouri: Big Cedar Lodge
Ozark cooking (blackberry cobbler!), attentive service and upscale pine cabins tucked in the woods along Table Rock Lake make this resort an ideal getaway.
You could just relax in your cabin, but a variety of activities beckon at the sprawling resort: swimming pools, hot tubs, trail rides, tennis, golf, hiking trails, spa services and a marina with a full range of water sports. And Branson's shopping and entertainment are just 10 miles away. Big Cedar Lodge
Related: Top Stops in Branson
Traverse City, Michigan: Chateau Chantal
Chateau Chantal is a little taste of the Mediterranean right in northern Michigan. The 65-acre estate sits on a ridge overlooking Old Mission Peninsula, which means if you stand outside the inn, you're surrounded by a 360-degree panorama of rolling vineyards, tidy orchards and sparkling Lake Michigan. Not surprisingly, many of the rooms have lovely views.
Visitors can take cooking classes, attend wine seminars or tour the winery. You could easily while away a weekend here, but if you feel like venturing off the property, other wineries offer tastings and Old Mission Lighthouse sits at the very tip of the peninsula. Chateau Chantal
Related: Top Things to Do in Traverse City
Bayfield, Wisconsin: Old Rittenhouse Inn
This Queen Anne mansion has luxurious rooms and suites with up-to-date amenities (minus TVs). Gas fireplaces, steam showers, whirlpool tubs and leather-padded window seats make guests feel pampered, while antiques and built-in bookshelves preserve the turn-of-the-last-century home's feel.
When you want to venture beyond your lodging, tiny Bayfield offers stunning views of Lake Superior and activities that include walking tours, bike rentals, kayaking and sightseeing boats to the nearby Apostle Islands. Old Rittenhouse Inn
Related: Top Things to Do in Bayfield and the Apostle Islands
The Langham Chicago (pictured) Impeccable service begins when a Chanel-suited staff member greets you in the Mies van der Rohe skyscraper in River North. Fine art graces the walls, and the 316 guest rooms (complete with marble baths and rain showers) are some of the most spacious in the city. chicago.langhamhotels.com
The Peninsula Chicago Impeccable amenities give one of the city's luxe properties its sterling reputation, and its on-site dining offers a slice of excellence to those who can't spring for a stay. Refreshed guest rooms include state-of-the-art tablets controlling lights, room temp and the TV. peninsula.com
Waldorf-Astoria Chicago It's a boutique hotel that, frankly, doesn't feel like a hotel. And it's a thoughtful place to settle in with that special someone. Rooms boast plush king beds and amazing bathrooms that come standard with mosaic-tiled walk-in shower and a deep soaking tub; many rooms have gas fireplaces and balconies. waldorfastoriachicagohotel.com
Related: Top Things to Do in Chicago
Harrodsburg, Kentucky: Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Plenty peaceful during the day, Shaker Village becomes downright Zen in the late afternoon and evening. An overnight stay gives you time to tour this living-history site as well as enjoy a quiet night in the country.
Thirty-four brick and clapboard buildings house workshops, guest rooms, a restaurant and gift stores at Shaker Village (25 miles southwest of Lexington and 120 miles south of Cincinnati). Overnight guests stay in the same buildings where Shakers worked and slept, supping on Kentucky corn pudding and tart lemon pie. The bedrooms and suites, though comfortable, reflect the essence of Shaker simplicity. Hand-woven rugs cover oak floors, and sunlight pours through rippled glass behind muslin curtains. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Chetek, Wisconsin: Canoe Bay
What is most noticeable at Canoe Bay near Chetek, Wisconsin, is what's missing. Kids. Traffic. Cell phones ringing. Few sounds break the spell of this 280-acre retreat surrounded by North Woods.
Couples come to hide away on honeymoons or rekindle relationships in 23 rooms and cottages around Lake Wahdoon. Many couples choose to cocoon in rooms and cottages that glow with warm wood tones and reflect the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Fresh flowers, baked goods and steaming coffee discreetly delivered each morning add to the atmosphere at this getaway (100 miles east of Minneapolis). Canoe Bay
Twin Cities destinations
The Saint Paul Hotel (pictured): Since 1910, elegance has been the hallmark of the 255 rooms and suites at this downtown landmark known for it European-style furnishings lobby cocktail bar and indoor palm trees. saintpaulhotel.com
Hewing Hotel Framed hatchets, exposed timber and brick, and custom Faribault Woolen Mills throws reflect the artsy vibe of this former warehouse in Minneapolis' North Loop. Get skyline views from the rooftop pool. hewinghotel.com
Loews Minneapolis Hotel This super-luxe lodging spares no detail, even when it comes to pets. Four-legged family members dine on gourmet room service. loewshotels.com
Related: Top Things to Do in Minneapolis; Top Things to Do in Saint Paul
Kohler, Wisconsin: Destination Kohler
You can blend exercise, nutrition, design and a lot of pampering at Destination Kohler, a five-star resort starring the famed Kohler Waters Spa. There's golf on award-winning courses, a variety of fitness classes and personal training opportunities, and more than 75 yoga classes a week. Relax at spa treatments, then treat yourself to a choice of restaurants. To maximize your good mood, the Kohler Design Center, an art gallery of a kitchen and bath shop, inspires soothing home spaces. destinationkohler.com
Rockbridge, Ohio: Glenlaurel Inn & Spa
Glenlaurel Inn caters to couples in Ohio's Hocking Hills area, 55 miles southeast of Columbus. Retreat to nicely appointed, Scottish-theme cottages and rooms, some with hot tubs and some with two-person whirlpools. Meals are an occasion: Six- and seven-course dinners are served in the Manor House (where a bagpiper in full kilt dress pipes on the weekends).
Explorers can head to nearby Hocking Hills State Park, where the attractions include 100-foot-high Ash Cave and fern-filled Conkles Hollow. But for a casual walk, there's no need to leave Glenlaurel's 140-acre, heavily wooded property; secluded trails wind past sandstone cliffs, caverns, waterfalls and mossy glens. Glenlaurel Inn & Spa
Related: Hocking Hills Trip Guide
Custer, South Dakota: Custer State Park resorts
Four historic lodges plus a variety of cabins nestle among 71,000 acres of mountains at Custer State Park, including the State Game Lodge, a 1920 stone and wood masterpiece surrounded by ponderosa pine forest. Activities throughout the park include hiking, boat rentals, horseback riding, safari jeep tours and a chuck wagon cookout. Be sure to drive the spectacular, winding Needles Highway and walk around lovely Sylvan Lake (pictured). For a glimpse of wildlife, ogle the bison wandering on the Wildlife Loop. custerresorts.com
Related: Top Things to Do in the Black Hills