Happy Birthday to Us!

06 May, 2014

May 6, 2014 marks the 46th birthday of the opening of the Lake Geneva Playboy Resort and this month (May) marks the 20th birthday of the opening of Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. It’s a little confusing, we know, so hopefully this post will clear some things up for you.

On May 6, 1968 the property opened as The Lake Geneva Playboy Club Resort.

Hugh Hefner and the Lake Geneva bunnies christened the indoor pool to mark the opening of the Lake Geneva Playboy Club

Hugh Hefner and the Lake Geneva bunnies christened the indoor pool to mark the opening of the Lake Geneva Playboy Resort

The resort offered horse stables, an airport, a ski lodge, and two tournament-style golf courses, complete with a 15-acre lake and wildlife refuge. Guests could skeet and trap shoot or exercise in the resort’s fitness center and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Dining options included four restaurants and four bars. The favorite attraction? Approximately 60 beautiful girls in rabbit costumes seen parading the campus.

In the summer of 1968 The Brute was opened. With 68 bunkers and average green of 8,000 square feet, The Brute was consistently named among the nation’s best, and remains one of Wisconsin’s top-rated golf course’s.

A logo hot air balloon soars high above The Brute golf course in 1981.

A logo hot air balloon soars high above The Brute golf course in 1981.

In October, 1971, the second 18 hole course was opened. The Briar Patch was a Scottish design course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye.

Bill Pullen, (Managing Director '70-'72) and Ken Judd (Golf Professional) with Jack Nicklaus on the 1st tee of the Briar Patch.

Bill Pullen, (Managing Director ’70-’72) and Ken Judd (Golf Professional) with Jack Nicklaus on the 1st tee of the Briar Patch.

Shade Tree recording studio officially opened in early 1978. Performers who passed through Lake Geneva included some of the music industry’s biggest names: John Cougar Mellencamp, Survivor, T’Pau, Cheap Trick, Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi, Adrian Belew, Robert Plant of Led Zeplin, Enuf Z’nuf, Crash Test Dummies, Nine Inch Nails, Live, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more. All of these artists at one time or another recorded music in what is now an engineering office at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.

Shade Tree Recording Studio housed may great names before it closed it's doors.

Shade Tree Recording Studio housed many great names before it closed it’s doors.

In 1982 the Lake Geneva Playboy Club was sold and became a family friendly destination under Americana Hotels.

In 1993 Americana sold the property, in dire need of renovation, to the Marcus Corporation who turned the complex into a state-of-the-art facility. The property underwent a much needed renovation of the interior, indoor pool, lobby lounge, restaurants and guest rooms and re-branding as the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.

The main entrance off of Highway 50 to Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in 1994.

The main entrance off of Highway 50 to Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in 1994.

Since it’s opening 20 years ago, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa has undergone multiple renovations and additions, each enhancing the destination’s experience in its own way.

  • In 1997, the Briar Batch was renovated by Bob Cupp and renamed The Highlands and the recording studio was turned into an engineering office.
  • In 2001 Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark was added, a 50,000+ square foot indoor/outdoor waterpark.
Moose Mountain Falls

Moose Mountain Falls is a 50.000+ square foot indoor/outdoor waterpark

  • In 2005 the convention space was increased to 62,000 square feet of meeting space and exhibit area.
  • In 2009 Grand Geneva underwent an expansion of the outdoor pool deck and the addition of a California style fire pit and dining area known as Embers Terrace.
  • 2013 introduced the addition of the Geneva Club, an amenity similar to a home library, including a fireplace, bookshelves, comfortable seating and workstations for individuals and small groups, Wi-Fi Internet access, printers and televisions.
The Geneva Club is the newest amenity.

The Geneva Club is the newest amenity.

As you may have gathered, the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa has a rich history that we have hardly scratched the surface of. So, until we can convince the walls to start talking, check out the historical timeline we have put together for your enjoyment.

P.S. Don’t for get to stop by and check out the memorabilia case in the lobby featuring a bunny costume hand made by the original Lake Geneva Playboy Resort seamstress.

 

 

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