45 Years of Memories
The AAA Four Diamond Grand Geneva Resort & Spa announces a yearlong celebration of the property’s 45th anniversary. Throughout 2013, guests of Grand Geneva can look forward to special promotions and happenings, including specialty room rates, era-honoring events, and a gallery retrospective of the resort’s history. In addition, the resort will be publishing an illustrated, commemorative coffee table book on the property’s rich history, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the United Way of Walworth County.
A Bunny Tale
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, Sonny and Cher, and Bill Cosby.
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.
Celebrating 45 Years and Beyond
Beginning this month, the Grand Geneva will unveil a variety of promotions to celebrate this historic milestone. Throughout 2013, a series of initiatives will be unveiled, a selection of which include:
- On-going work with local historians and residents to build a collection of memorabilia for display in the hotel
- Specialty room rates offered throughout the year
- “Throwback” pricing on select activities throughout the year, reflecting the 1968 prices from when the property first opened
- Era-themed concerts throughout the summer, with cover bands playing music tributes to the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s as a part of the resort’s annual Summer Concert Series
- A fall soirée to cap off the year of events
Grand Geneva is also collecting favorite memories from both guests and employees, with special prizes awarded to the best submissions. In addition, online followers can track the resort’s 45 years of memories on the Grand Geneva’s Facebook and Twitter pages, which will be unveiling contests and sweepstakes throughout the year. Fans are encouraged to share their own memories and memorabilia by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.