Monday, July 2, 2018

Lake Geneva tour, Cheese Box & last thoughts

We got back from our 10-day trip to western Michigan and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin this past Saturday, and I am feeling rested and refreshed! Naturally, I had to blog about the last couple days of our trip and leave you with some parting thoughts. First, let's start with the boat tour we took around Lake Geneva.

(read about when we ate there in this post here)

We decided to a luncheon boat tour of the lake on Friday. It was a little over 2 hours around lunch (obviously) which worked perfect because that still left the balance of our last afternoon there to do nothing by the pool. It was a very low key boat tour. In my head I was picturing your typical Catamaran. Yeah, no. I am pretty sure the husband and I were the youngest people on the boat by about 20 years. Not complaining! They still served alcohol, but if you're looking for a party boat, this is not your kind of tour!

Stone Manor (biggest house on Lake Geneva)

We ate lunch while getting a tour of all of the residences around the lake. I honestly had no idea the real estate here was so extravagant and beautiful! And it definitely makes me want to get a lake house... just maybe 1/10th the size of the standard house here. We happened to get seats on the second floor of the boat, which worked perfectly from a visibility standpoint. And apparently, it was super hot in the lower level, so we definitely lucked out.

Top: American Eagle | Earrings: Nickel and Suede in Medium ChambrayDenim shorts: American Eagle | Bag: Longchamp "Large Le Pliage" tote in navySandals: Sam Edelman "Gigi" (in almond patent)

I was perfectly comfortable in the outfit I chose for the tour. Basically all I packed for this trip were shorts and tees. I do wish I packed at least one pair of jeans and a light jacket, though Thursday and Friday were particularly hot - like pushing 100 degrees hot! I still love my Longchamp bag for travel. It holds a ridiculous amount of stuff, but weighs next to nothing, so there is no bulk whatsoever, and you can load it up without sacrificing your shoulders as a result! And the fact that it folds completely flat is such an added bonus. We drove this trip, so the foldability wasn't necessarily a factor - but when you're working with 2 carry on bags only, being able to fold this up into a carry-on is super convenient.

After the boat tour, we did a bit of souvenir shopping and then spent the balance of the afternoon by the pool. We planned to go out for dinner but decided to stay in, order a pizza, and watch a movie instead.

The next morning, we packed, loaded up the car and had one more good breakfast. We went back to the same place we went our first morning there - Simple Cafe, because I had been jealous of the husband's corned beef hash and wanted to have some for myself! There was a little wait, so we popped into their bakery next door to buy some sweets for later! Our last stop was The Cheese Box because. Cheese curds!

I picked up some string cheese and some white cheese curds for myself, but I also wanted to bring back some cheese for my coworkers. I was a bit overwhelmed! I had no idea where to start, so we asked one of the employees for a recommendation. She asked if I wanted to simply have them make up a cheese flight for 4 people, and I immediately said yes!

Cheese flight from The Cheese Box

He threw some thinly sliced meat in there then topped it with sharp cheddar, swiss, smoked pepperjack, and I *think* some onion jack, though I will have to wait and see for sure! They made sandwiches, too, and I can't even imagine how good those must be!

Ok, so now some closing thoughts. I've been blogging about everything we did in Lake Geneva, but I haven't spoken about the resort itself. The reason why we came here is because it falls in our timeshare network. I've been to two other resorts in our network - the Orange Lake resort in Orlando and the Desert Club Resort in Vegas. For this trip, we spent 6 nights at the Grand Geneva resort.

Our timeshare is through Holiday Inn, and this was unique because it was a resort within a resort. There were about 6 Holiday Inn hotel buildings located within the Grand Geneva resort. It was great because we had access to all amenities whether directly on the Holiday Inn building property or not. It's probably easiest to sum up my thoughts in a pros and cons list. I will start with the cons.

Sunnies: Oakley "Kickback"Top: Express | Shorts: Express (similar) | Sandals: Sam Edelman "Gigi" (in almond patent)

1. We had to check in at the Grand Geneva reception desk - there was nothing specific to Holiday Inn Club members. This really sucked because when you own a certain amount of timeshare points, you're in essence, buying your status. And because of our points, we were told we NEVER have to wait in line during check in. There's always a special lobby just for Premier and Signature owners. Welp, not at this resort. And of course they had a computer go out so the line was ridiculously long. I wished they would have given us a huge disclaimer during booking that we wouldn't have our normal perks. It wouldn't have been so bad had we not expected not to have to wait in line...

2. The husband booked a 2-bedroom suite, but there was confusion when we checked in. The lady asked if we had two reservations, which we did not. Just one. What actually happened is that we did have two bedrooms, but they were actually ADJOINING rooms, which is why it must have been coming up as two reservations. We didn't realize that until later though. We checked in, got to our room and noticed we were missing a second room! When the husband called the front desk, we found out that we were also supposed to get the room next door, which was adjoining, it's just that it wasn't cleaned yet. Well. That was not made clear to us when we checked in. We had no idea we would have access to that room, too. Once we got access to that room, everything was fine. It was super spacious and more of what we were expecting.

3. That second room was the bigger of the two rooms and where we spent most of our time. Except when we first got into the room, it felt super hot. The thermostat said 76-degrees vs. the smaller room which read 67-degrees. We decided to let the big room cool down and spend time in the smaller room while we left the door between the two rooms open. 2 hours later, the temperature only dropped 2-degrees. We called maintenance and it turned out the coils had frozen over, so they defrosted them while we went to dinner. The guy came super fast and was very nice. Once the issue was fixed, we were fine the rest of the week.

4. We had to go to the front desk 3 times because our keys wouldn't work. That was SUPER frustrating considering we had to get in our car and drive to the front desk every. Single. Time. And yes, we realize room keys can easily be deactivated by cell phones or other credit cards - we travel a lot and stay in hotels a lot. We understand how this works. But for it to happen 3 days in a row even if we kept the keys isolated by themselves? Super frustrating.

5. The keycard access for the gate to the main pool would not work. Yep, one of the times we thought *our* keys weren't working, we found out it was the key reader at the gate itself that wasn't working. Even though we reported the issue, it remained inoperable the whole afternoon and that gate was locked. That meant, if we needed to use the restroom, we had to use the interior doors, walking through a restaurant (in swimwear...) to negotiate our way to the bathrooms. Totally not awkward for me. And I'm sure people eating want to see me walk by them in swimwear.

6. The main pool was great with cushioned beach chairs, but I kept getting bit! I am not sure why. I left with 6 bug bites by the end of that afternoon. It's not like it was nighttime with mosquitos, you know? Frustrating to worry about bug bites while you're trying to relax and lay out.

7. When we checked out today, we realized something was wrong with the air conditioning unit in the smaller room - it was leaking and there was a puddle of water on the tile as a result. We noticed it just as we were almost out the door and reported it to housekeeping as we were leaving.

8. I was so excited because on their fitness website they listed Pilates as an option for classes. However, there was no Pilates at all on their weekly class schedule. There was a blurb that implied that Pilates may be available but on an individual appointment basis, but I tried 3 times to talk to someone about this at the fitness center, and there was never anyone at the desk. When I asked the reception desk about it in the main lobby, they could not answer my question and simply gave me a brochure. Which turned out to be the brochure to the spa. Not helpful. I gave up.

Ok those were a lot of cons. But, let's talk about the pros now.

1. This was only a 4.5 hour drive from our house and it felt like you were definitely in another part of the US farther than 4.5 hours away.

2. I liked that the Holiday Inn Club Vacation buildings were tucked away on their own lot. We could literally park right in front of our building, and be inside our room within 20 steps! Had we stayed at the main resort, I think it would have been more of a pain to park and have long walks to our room every time we left.

3. The resort was very conveniently located, super close to downtown. 

4. For a resort this size and all of the amenities we had access to, it was very reasonably priced. We got a lot for the amount of points we used here.

5. Although we did have a few hiccups I mention above, the staff was quick to help and very nice. I guess that's why I can't be very upset about anything because they fixed everything very quickly and were friendly and apologetic about it. The other hotel residents were also pretty nice - we never came across anyone obnoxious or inconsiderate which was nice.

6. There was a smaller pool by our building that we ended up using since I was getting bit at the main pool. Even though it was smaller, it wasn't overcrowded at all, so we had plenty of room to lay around with all of our stuff. 

Final verdict:
At the end of the day though, the real question is - would I go back? And my answer would be yes. Would I go back right away? Probably not. There are so many other resorts in our network that I would certainly want to try first before giving this one a second try. However, it's nice to know that if we are in dire need of a quick weekend away, we could easily drive there for a weekend and enjoy ourselves. The town of Lake Geneva in and of itself is worth the trip!

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  1. you look so relaxed and happy, glad you had some time off. Sorry for all the cons, it is totally irritating.


  2. I just love seeing your vacation outfits. So cute and comfortable! Your vacation looks beautiful and fun, but sorry about all the frustrations! Thanks for taking the time to do such thorough reviews on the properties you visit, though!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  3. I love Lake Geneva! The houses there are so beautiful! My college roommate and I have done the hike around the lake several times!

  4. Lake Geneva looks beautiful! I would totally do a day trip if we lived a couple hours away. And it’s so great to read a thoughtful review! When it comes to travel, these posts are my favorite to read (and write lol)