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Many Years of Memories

A Bunny Tale

Grand Geneva Timeline

Originally opened in 1968 as the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel, the lush property served as a luxury escape for Midwest travelers. The first Playboy Club Hotel to open in the U.S., the resort brought a touch of glamour to the small lakeside community. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Lake Geneva government officials and local dignitaries joined Hugh Hefner in celebrating the resort’s grand opening.

The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired hotel featured opulent design elements including an indoor swimming pool complete with a connecting passage to the outdoor pool area, two championship golf courses, and a ski lounge designed in the shape of two interlocking snowflakes. Travelers from Chicago were able to fly directly to the resort, via the private airstrip that offered commuter service from the city’s O’Hare airport. Upon arrival, guests were transported around the resort on the hotel’s “Bunny Tram.”

With the property’s grand opening on May 6, 1968, the quiet lakeside community gained a few new residents – a bevy of lovely Playboy Bunnies, outfitted with the signature corsets, puffy tails, and bunny ears. In addition, the hotel and its cabaret stage attracted some of the era’s most famous acts including Bob Hope and Sonny and Cher.

After a stint as the Americana Hotel from 1982 to 1993, the Milwaukee-based Marcus Corporation purchased the property, reviving it as the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, a year-round vacation destination. The property underwent a complete renovation, with updates to the hotel’s 355 guest rooms, golf courses, and property grounds. Other new additions included the introduction of a Scandinavian day spa – the WELL Spa— and an outdoor fireplace lounge.

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