Flipping through glossy travel magazines or dialing up spa stories online often will often lead to jungle villas in Bali or desert retreats in Arizona. Thankfully the spa scene in Southeastern Wisconsin is just as indulgent, with six spas that are within a 90-minute drive of downtown Milwaukee. The best part? You can just hop in your car and go; no need to board a flight. If you have flexibility to visit a spa during the week, you’ll likely save $10-$30 on your treatment and not have to elbow your way through the facility.
Kohler Waters Spa at The American Club
Distance: 55 miles
Would you expect anything less than luxury from this high-end plumbing manufacturer? Set to launch an expansion in February, after which time the spa will have a new café, as well as additional treatment room. Until then there are plenty of reasons to visit. On the top deck is a glass-enclosed space with a fireplace, perfect for cozying up with a good book. The spa’s 30-foot indoor relaxation pool, with an 8-foot waterfall, is quite large for a spa. One of the new treatments — “Healing Waters Treatment” (50 minutes, $176-$206) — relies on Kohler’s custom Vichy shower, which continually sprays hot and cool water while you receive a full-body exfoliation, lymphatic drainage technique and Moroccan-oil hair treatment.
Distance: 56 miles
Tucked into the 1,300 acres at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is a spa that’s in a separate building from the lodging and dining. WELL Spa + Salon is the country cousin of the spa with the same name inside The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Massages are unique, including the “Lava Shell Massage” (80 minutes, $225), wherein a lava shell massages the skin, and the enhancements you can tack on to any massage range from an avocado-butter application to the hands and feet (for further moisturizing) to aromatherapy.
Avani Spa at Abbey Resort
Distance: 57 miles
Located on Lake Geneva’s quieter side, in the town of Fontana, the spa at this nautical-themed resort with lake views makes for a nice day-long getaway, including the Atrium Pool (with its two whirlpools) and a sauna. Salon services and spa treatments are sprinkled throughout the menu, including massages, facials, body scrubs and wraps (including the “Body Coffee Wrap, 50 minutes, $120-$130; and the “Balancing Lavender Body Experience,” 50 minutes, $120-$130). If it’s winter, don’t leave without taking a spin on the outdoor ice rink.
Aspira: The Spa at The Osthoff Resort
Distance: 60 miles
This quaint community’s most luxurious accommodations (at The Osthoff Resort) offers a window into the good life via a day at its spa, Aspira: The Spa. Among its specialty treatments is an ode to the Native American settlers who once considered the lake’s surrounding cedar trees sacred. The “Wild Chamomile/Ancient Cedar Body Treatment” (105 minutes, $240-$250) starts with a cedar scrub to exfoliate the skin followed by a mask, oil massage and balm, all folding in lavender and wild chamomile. A cup of chamomile is included.
Evensong Spa at Heidel House
Distance: 93 miles
Heidel House’s spa is in a separate building from the resort, which contributes to its cozy vibe. There’s also an indoor labyrinth (made out of washed river stones) and café, as well as a room with a fireplace and walls of windows overlooking a natural setting. Whether it’s a Swedish massage or heated-stone massage, you can further customize by tacking on any of six enrichments, such as a chilled stone-facial massage or raindrop therapy (essential oils applied to the body’s energy zones). A hot mineral soak can further elongate a treatment, too.
Distance: 119 miles
What Sundara — beautiful, in Sanskrit — does well is employ Ayurvedic techniques, wherein a treatment’s aromas and products are tailored to your body type. Two great examples are the Purifying Gemstone Energy Massage (90 minutes, $225) and the Raysayana Four-Handed Massage. There’s also a strong Feng Shui aesthetic throughout, and every treatment begins with a purifying bath ritua,l folding in dirt sourced from the nearby Baraboo Hills (trust us—it’s rejuvenating!). Don’t forget your swimsuit — you’ll want to enjoy the heated outdoor pool, in an area that also includes a fire pit and waterfalls. Come May, a new outdoor saltwater pool will open as part of the spa’s expansion.