Posted on 08/08/2018
With summer well under way and some of us lucky enough to be going off on holiday, we thought we would introduce to you Kohler’s very own resort and how it came to be.
Kohler’s 145-year rich history is well rooted in the manufacturing of plumbing products, but having perfected plumbing it branched out. Over the years it has grown into a family of businesses that encompass not only Kitchens and Bathrooms but also Power, Decorative Products and Hospitality.
At the heart of Kohler’s hospitality ventures is Destination Kohler. Located in the Village of Kohler, Wisconsin, two and a half hours north of Chicago; Destination Kohler is home to The Amercian Club, championship golf courses at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits, eleven dining outlets, The Shops at Woodlake, River Wildlife, Kohler Waters Spa, Sports Core Health & Racquet Club, Kohler Design Centre and numerous other resort properties.
The American Club®
Central to Destination Kohler is The American Club, a five-star, five-diamond hotel that has stood as an icon of gracious hospitality for 100 years. Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, it is the only Forbes Five-Star hotel in Wisconsin and one of only 52 hotels in North America with this designation. Despite this, the resort had very humble beginnings.
Before it was a luxury hotel, The American Club was a dormitory for immigrant workers who came to Kohler, Wisconsin, to work for the company. It began as a vision of Walter J. Kohler, Sr. (President of Kohler Co. from 1905-1940). He believed that “a worker deserved not only wages, but roses as well”, and wanted to create a place for workers to live in harmony. Opening in June 1918, it drew its name from Walter's wish to encourage patriotism in its residents and help the many foreign-born workers attain American citizenship and included not only a dormitory, but a pub, bowling alley and barbershop.
In 1981 this American icon was reborn as a world-class hotel, preserving the history of yesteryear while continuing to promise the single level of quality that remains a signature of Kohler. Today this redbrick, Vermont slate building welcomes guests with gracious hospitality that has earned it many accolades. Guests come from around the world not only to stay in one of the hotel’s 241 rooms but also to golf at Kohler’s award-winning Championship courses, eat at its distinctive restaurants, and rejuvenate at the Forbes Five-Star Kohler Waters Spa.
The River and The Meadow Valleys
Over two centuries ago, Chief Blackwolf and his Winnebago tribe resided in the Sheboygan River Valley. Today, melded into that very same river basin formed by the flows of glacial runoff, you’ll find The River and The Meadow Valleys at Blackwolf Run®.
When The American Club® opened in 1981 it offered its guests a charming retreat where you could fish, hunt and hike and enjoy gourmet dining with unparalleled hospitality. But one thing was missing: golf. Herbert Kohler turned to one of the best modern architects in the game, Pete Dye, and presented him with the opportunity to craft a rough-hewn course that complemented the natural surroundings of Kohler Village. Together they created the championship courses of Blackwolf® Run. Along with creating an opportunity for outstanding play, they also had a solid commitment to complement and protect the wildlife that surrounded it.
Blackwolf Run opened for play in June 1988. It is regarded as one of Pete Dye’s crowning achievements, and has hosted a number of professional championships: the Andersen Consulting World Golf Championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997 as well as the U.S. Women’s Open in 1998 and 2012.
As the legacy and stature of the Blackwolf Run® courses grew, the demand for play continued to outstrip supply at Destination Kohler. As a result, a quest began to construct another golf venue – something very different from Blackwolf Run.
Herbert Kohler saw the potential for championship courses in an unlikely spot. Located nine miles northeast of The American Club along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the land he chose was perfectly flat. Together with Pete Dye, he created a world-class seaside links course inspired by Ireland with endless views of Lake Michigan and challenges galore. A true reflection of the Irish countryside, it is wild and unkempt and even features grazing Scottish Blackface ewes.
Whistling Straits® opened in 1998 and today, professionals and novices alike travel from far and wide to take on the heralded masterpiece carved into the Wisconsin coastline.
The Straits at Whistling Straits® is arguably the greatest championship course in the United States, has hosted the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships and the 2007 U.S. Senior Open, and it is the future site of the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Kohler Waters Spa™
Today no luxury hotel would be without a luxury spa. In 2000 Kohler Waters Spa opened next to The American Club®, in the Village of Kohler bringing the ultimate spa experience to its guests.
The 25,000-square-foot, full-service spa offers guests a tranquil environment, classically KOHLER® bathing products and exclusive therapeutic water services. From soothing water-inspired treatment rooms to inviting respite spaces to the relaxation pool, Kohler Waters Spa provides well-being around every corner. The enclosed rooftop deck with whirlpool, fireplace and lounge ensures a year-round relaxing escape.
Accredited with a Forbes Five-Star rating, one of 31 spas in the world with this designation, Kohler Water Spa creates the perfect environment to relax, renew and reconnect with loved ones—and yourself.