By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 19, 2023 at 9:09 AM

LAKE GENEVA – For more than two years, Milwaukee-based Marcus Hotels & Resorts has been refreshing its already comfortable and sprawling Grand Geneva Resort & Spa here in Lake Geneva.

The third phase – a redesign of the resort’s 358 guest rooms – was recently completed.

(PHOTO: Marcus Hotels)

The Grand Geneva property opened as the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel in 1968. That venue closed in 1982 and in 1994, Marcus Corporation bought the property and renovated it into Grand Geneva.

If you’ve ever been there, you know that the AAA Four Diamond resort is the kind of place you quickly convince yourself you could happily call home.

It has two championship golf courses, a WELL Spa, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, the Dan Patch riding stables, views of rolling countryside, a ski and snowboarding hill and adventure center, three high-end restaurants and, since 2000, a waterpark and family-friendly hotel that is also a big draw.

The resort also has two clusters of townhouse rentals, each with a common pool area, on the property.

(Did I mention it has its own airport?!)

A free trolley bus shuttle connects it all.

In spring 2021, Marcus kicked off an intensive renovation of Grand Geneva’s public spaces, including the lobby and its comfy adjacent lounge – which overlooks the outdoor pool, one of the golf courses and its lake beyond. It also opened a 60-seat outdoor dining space called The Landing.

Lobby lounge
The Lobby Lounge (above in a Marcus Hotels photo) and a renovated bathroom (below).

In summer 2022, all of the guest room bathrooms were completely renovated with high-end Kohler fixtures.

Now, a six-month overhaul of the guest rooms and suites themselves has been completed.

The spaces are bright and contemporary. Light-colored walls are accented with grey panels and carpets that tie together both the darker and lighter hues.

A Superior Queen room. (PHOTO: Marcus Hotels)

There’s new framed artwork on the walls, and gloriously light-blocking drapes as well as sheer curtains for when you want both natural light and privacy.

Sleek wooden furniture manages to feel modern and classic at the same time, and the beds, pillows and linens are lush and enveloping.

The rooms and suites come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have walk-out patios, others have balconies with views out over the golf courses. Some have fireplaces, some have kitchenettes and dining areas.

A balcony view.

“Each room has been completely reimagined from floor to ceiling with a palette of neutral colors and natural woods,” says Grand Geneva Resort & Spa Managing Director Skip Harless.

“New modern residential finishes, furnishings and specially curated artwork by Midwestern designers welcome guests to a timeless, inviting space where they can take advantage of all of the amenities and services Grand Geneva is known for.”

What hasn’t changed is that feeling that everything you need or want is right at your doorstep.

Guests can opt in to a club room that serves breakfast, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, and the Geneva Chop House is as splurge-worthy a restaurant as you’ll find, with great steaks – some wet-aged, others dry-aged – and fresh seafood, plus nice outdoor seating.

bone-in ribeye
A dry-aged bone-in ribeye (above) and oysters (below) at Geneva Chop House.

Next up, Grand Geneva plans to refresh its 62,000 square feet of indoor and 15,000 square feet outdoor meeting and event spaces.

That work is expected to begin soon.

“Grand Geneva’s newly transformed rooms add another level of contemporary luxury, as we continue to enhance our guests’ award-winning hospitality experience while celebrating this beloved Lake Geneva resort,” says Marcus Hotels & Resorts President Michael Evans.

“The continued investment and improvements to Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and the Marcus Hotels & Resorts portfolio ensure that travelers will enjoy these properties for generations to come.”

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Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.