Sometimes Even The Local Tourist Needs To Get Out Of Town

Sometimes, despite my love of this city, the hustle and bustle can be a little exhausting. So when Hope Bertram of Windy City Social invited me to take a road trip with her, Liz Strauss and Beth Rosen I said YES.


Liz, Hope and I drove up the hour and a half in a new Buick Lacrosse. GM had given the car to Hope for a week and that’s why she had the idea for a road trip. The car is gorgeous – and I’m not just saying that because it’s the same red as my logo. She met me at The James last Saturday and the valets were fighting over who could park it!


She also arranged a night at the Grand Geneva Resort. Located a couple of miles east of Lake Geneva it’s the former Playboy Club and both Liz and Beth remembered coming to it back in the day. The building definitely has that Hefner feel; it’s a very masculine resort, with interior rock walls and dark wood paneling.


The rooms are in the process of being renovated. Hope & I shared a spacious suite, and although the furniture and accents were a bit outdated (cast-iron chandelier) there were flat screen TVs. Liz’s room was lighter and had not only a modern fireplace, but a TV IN the bathroom mirror!


Our rooms all faced the golf course and a small lake. Since Hope and I were on the ground floor we had a patio, and Liz had a balcony. After relaxing for a bit Hope and I drove “into town” and explored Lake Geneva. What that translates into is we bought fudge – lots and lots of fudge. By the time we got back Beth was there and we headed to dinner at the Geneva ChopHouse.


It was a gorgeous evening so we sat outside overlooking a patio, a stretch of golf course, and the lake. There were two corporate parties on the patios below us and one had a musician, so we were treated to some live music while we dined. It was as lovely as it sounds. 


We started with the wagyu beef carpaccio to compare it to the Kobe sashimi from David Burke’s. There was no comparison – Kobe wins. Fortunately the rest of the meal was great. I had the bone-in strip (Kansas City), Liz the prime rib, and Beth & Hope the ribeye, and all were prepared perfectly. Not only that, but they were fantastic cuts. That wasn’t surprising since our server Michael told us all their meat comes from Allen Bros. here in Chicago. The wine list was also up to par, with both Kim Crawford and Simi available by the glass. Towards the end of the meal the middle of the patio became a fire pit, a nice touch that kept us warm as the air chilled. My favorite part of the dinner, though, was the fact that these four social media ladies didn’t touch our phones after the first course.


The next morning Hope and I tried to go for a walk, but most of the grounds surrounding the resort belong to the golf course, so we headed over to the spa. Grand Geneva has a full-fledged fitness center, complete with climbing wall, indoor tennis courts, and lap pool, and a full service spa. I don’t get to spas too often, (although lately it seems like it’s become part of my job) and on the infrequent occasions when I do get my nails done it’s the $35 mani-pedi combination. This time, I had my first paraffin wax pedicure (decadent!) and a manicure and walked out of there feeling spoiled rotten.


We headed back to the city, while not entirely relaxed (are entrepreneurs ever completely calm?), a bit more than we had been and ready to jump back into our hectic, plugged-in lives. Chicago is my happy place, but now and then a drive out of town will bring a smile to my face.


Thanks to GM and to Grand Geneva Resort for the getaway!


Our view: 







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