Play Time Searching for sports, finding a spa


The plan was to go to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to write about all of its sports and family fun for Baltimore’s Child and Washington Family. Three days of Lambeau Field, collegiate baseball and a roller coaster called the Zippin Pippin. And I was to stay in a place called LODGE KOHLER, a hotel that sounded suitably north woods with its cozy vibe-invoking name — and a welcome respite from Maryland humidity.

I arrived, checked into my room and stepped into the bathroom to freshen up, when I saw the earth-toned sink — two beautiful, bowl-shaped sinks, actually — and then the Real Rain shower, with DTV Prompt digital showering and three shower heads, like some sort of Medusa-esque massage chamber.

Oh, I thought. LODGE KOHLER, as in KOHLER, the Wisconsin-based bathroom and kitchen supplier that has been in business since 1873.

Hello, beauty.

Well, well, well. Suddenly my other assignment really seemed like child’s play.

Hospitality, as it turns out, is a big feature of the KOHLER company, which owns two other luxury hotels in Wisconsin and one in Scotland, all equally pampering and plush.

LODGE KOHLER opened two years ago and neighbors Lambeau Field, like you could shout out the window and ask Aaron Rodgers if he had a bottle opener. It’s easy to snap a selfie, say, while eating at the fifth floor restaurant, Taverne in the Sky, and, oh hey, there’s that state-of-the-art stadium behind me as I sip the restaurant’s signature chocolate Old-Fashioned (which is delicious).

Mid-week room rates start at $170; game day rates start at $438.

Over the past decade, real estate investors bought up nearby ranchers and turned them into tailgating crash pads. Other homes, a parking lot and a now-gone K-Mart have become Titletown, a community development adjacent to the hotel and which includes a tubing hill, a brewery and an outdoor space for concerts and a weekly summertime farmers market.

I kept dreaming about football …

To Baltimore fans used to their warehouse-turned-stadium, all this might sound too sporty to be posh. It’s not. The LODGE KOHLER’s rooms are relaxing, the bathrooms luxurious. In addition to the magnificent hardware, they are also stocked with products from KOHLER’s spa line, which feel and smell better than the usual travel offerings.

Then there is the KOHLER Waters Spa, emphasis on waters, given the nature of the company. They have a sauna, cool plunge pool, steam room and hydrotherapy services, such as the Cascading Waterfall Treatment which involves a Swedish massage under a custom KOHLER Vichy shower.

I had a 50-minute Uniquely Yours massage, which costs $130. Elisabeth, the massage therapist, spent a lot of time in the beginning of my appointment finding out how I use my body in my daily life. That led to a relaxing session with a lot of focus on my shoulders and rotator cuffs, making it easily the best massage I’ve ever had.

Something else that I like about the spa are its inviting areas of relaxation, which I took advantage of. Some spas have them, some don’t, but here, they are appealing and peaceful enough that I indulged in some down time after the massage.

Deadline? What is that?

Ah, reporting trips are always fun, because there is so much to explore. But they also means long days. I felt rested and well cared for at the lodge, however — I was also well fed. Taverne in the Sky offers a house-rubbed rotisserie chicken that is delicious and could be easily shared with your dining companion (so you can save room for dessert, of course). Other dinner delights include pork tenderloin, filet mignon and a cracker-crusted walleye. Don’t skip the cocktail though. The aforementioned Old Fashioned is made with KOHLER’s own dark chocolate brandy.

Taverne in the Sky

Leaps & Bounds is a first-floor café with good coffee and great breakfast options, as well as wine and beer on tap, and the nearby Hinterland Restaurant and Brewery is the perfect place to get the requisite cheese curds.

In all, unexpected luxury and pampering greeted me at LODGE KOHLER — and I would most certainly go back.

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