Sunday, October 4, 2015

Midwest Adventure Starts in Chicagoland

I wanted a trip that would give me lots of stories for my Midwest Travel section on I managed to piece together and amazing adventure that spanned over six days, with my friend Lynn along for the ride the first four.

I picked Lynn up at O’Hare Airport and we headed to our first stop, the Kohler Water Spa in Burr Ridge, Illinois.

I had wanted to check out this spa ever since my trip to the Kohler Spa at the American Club in Wisconsin. I didn’t get a chance to spend as much time as I’d like at that spa, but I scheduled the whole afternoon here for us to enjoy.

Lynn went in for the Bamboo Bliss, which used a warm bamboo to give the ultimate Swedish massage. It was said to improve circulation and help with muscle aches. Lynn fully agreed she felt great and the description of “bliss” was accurate.

In the meantime, I went in for a Neat Feet Pedicure, a signature treatment at the Kohler Spa. My feet needed attention after all the travel and walking and this was a perfect remedy. It included a salt scrub to get rid of the dead skin and soften my feet, a warm stone massage, and a pedicure.

Before and after our treatments we enjoyed the water spa amenities that Kohler does so well, from hot tubs, to cold plunges, three different types of showers, sauna, and steam room.

After we had sufficiently relaxed and lounged, Lynn and I bid the spa farewell and headed off to dinner in nearby La Grange, another suburb of Chicago.

We were the guests of Vikram and Agnes Singh at their contemporary Indian restaurant Kama Bistro.

Kama Bistro was opened in 2009 using family recipes -- Vikram’s father is a chef in India – with a bit of a twist, such as freshly ground spices. It had earned the restaurant a Bib gourmand in 2014.

One of the other things Kama is known for is their creative cocktails. I had to agree they got it right with the Cucumber Chili Martini, made with Belvedere Vodka, cucumber, and a house-made chili syrup, which I was happy was more flavorful than spicy.

We had a hard time narrowing the menu choices and got some help from the wait staff. Although we ended up with too much food, I’m glad we were able to taste so many of their delicious options.

The Malai Kofta, dumplings made from paneer cheese and potatoes and served in a tomato sauce with raisins and cashews, was just amazing, as was the pork belly -- a hit at Chicago’s BaconFest – Beef Tikka, and Lamb Shank in a yogurt sauce.

We scooped up sauces onto warm garlic naan bread before tasting some of the Indian desserts along with Kama’s special ginger tea , which was just what our full stomachs needed.

After dinner, we drove to Oakbrook and checked into Le Meridien, which had recently opened. This modern hotel is a chic addition to the area.

Lynn decided to rest in the room, but I had been told to check El Tapeo Restaurant on the roof. It was indeed quite unique and contemporary, with Spanish Tapas, handcrafted cocktails, and sangrias.
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I definitely couldn’t eat any more, but I did try and enjoy their fruit-filled White Sangria before heading back to the room for a good night’s sleep.  In the morning, we were going to be checking out of Le Meridien and driving to the shores of Michigan. 

Note: Click on the banner to purchase Spafinder gift cards with a bonus. Cards can be used at Kohler Spas. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Perfect Lake Geneva Farewell

It was the final day in Lake Geneva with my friends Cortney and Amy.

We had been up late the previous night and slept in at Maxwell Mansion. We each had our own rooms and I loved my General Ulysses S. Grant suite.

I took one final bath in my antique soaking tub before we headed back to the Baker House for a fun and delicious brunch.

The Baker House keeps its 19th century image with period dress for the employees and hats for all of the visitors to wear.

We were greeted politely and, after we chose from the hats, were escorted us to our table overlooking the lake.

We were told the brunch came with unlimited champagne. We each had a glass before I switched to tea and received a lovely pot with a glass of honey.

Each downstairs room of the Baker House mansion contained different food items for one of the best brunches I’ve ever had.

The bar was set up as an omelet and eggs benedict station and the bartender was happy to customize your eggs any way you would like.

Every room was warm and comforting. Chafing dishes were set up with everything from Chicken and Dumplings to Bread pudding in the main living room and salads lined the hallways of Baker House.

The desserts were on tiered trays and in antique cups. There was also a chocolate fondue with plenty of choices for dipping, including fresh fruit, marshmallows, pretzels, and cookies.

First, we had salads, then went on to the main course breakfast. Cortney went for the eggs benedict with some bacon, while I went for a veggie-filled omelet.

We both indulged in the potatoes au gratin, which were rich and also delicious. As much as we wanted to try more, we were stuffed.

After we finished eating, we went for a tour of the Baker House rooms. They were all quite elegant and we were told they were adding a small, exclusive spa to give the guests even more of a luxury experience.

When the tour was over, we headed back to Maxwell Mansion to pack up our things and bid our hosts farewell.

It was a scenic drive along the lake to Avani Spa at the AbbyResort and we were ready to be pampered.

Our afternoon started with relaxing massages and then we were served lunch in the private sanctuary suite at Avani Spa

The suite was private and also had a pool and lounge area. We lounged for a while. It was a perfect way to end a girls’ getaway to LakeGeneva, a place I will certainly be returning to.