After I walked across the hotel room decorated in soft aqua and looked out the big round window that offered a stunning view of the water, I had to remind myself that I was not on a cruise ship and was instead still in the Midwest. We were visiting The Edgewater, a hotel that feels like a resort, in Madison, Wisconsin. After a $100 million renovation, The Edgewater seems like it is much farther than the two and half hours it took my family to get there from our home in the Chicago suburbs.
The location and amenities of The Edgewater make it a fun getaway for Chicago families as well as a great place to enjoy a girls’ weekend.
Fun Family Trip
We stopped to look at a digital gallery along a wall leading to the restaurant that celebrates the people and places of Madison. My daughter checked out the original American Girl dolls on display, my husband surveyed the Super Bowl championship rings and I read about some of the history of the hotel, which first opened in 1948, including famous guests like Elvis. I thought it encapsulated how Madison and The Edgewater appeal to a wide variety of ages and interests.
If you are looking for a fun family getaway for spring break or over the summer but don’t want to deal with TSA or to travel far, The Edgewater could be the answer.
The hotel is located near several different Madison highlights, all of which can be educational (but don’t worry, I’ll never tell the kids how much they’re learning). The Madison Children’s Museum, which bills itself as “the learning playground no one ever outgrows, where there’s always something fun to do,” is less than half a mile from The Edgewater. It is also just blocks from the Capitol Square and the Wisconsin Statehouse, which offers free tours.
The Edgewater is also very close to State Street, which leads straight to the University of Wisconsin. We had fun wandering through the shops and stopping at cafes along the street as we made our way to the campus. If you have aspiring paleontologists or astronomers, consider a visit to the Geology Museum, which is free and features dinosaurs fossils, meteorites and rocks from a time when there were volcanoes in Wisconsin.
Back at the hotel, you can walk down to the lake or go skating on an ice rink in the winter. The Boathouse, the hotel’s casual restaurant, will be opening later this spring and sounds like it will be a good family dining option.
Great Girlsfriends Getaway
We certainly had fun as a family, but I’m eager to go back with some friends for a girls’ getaway and some time at The Edgewater Spa. The Edgewater offers a Girlfriends Getaway package that includes guest room, private yoga class, 60 minute spa treatment of your choice (massage, pedicure, microdermabrasion or facial) for two, 20% off additional spa services, 10% off of retail, and two specialty cocktails in The Statehouse Bar. For the yoga class, there is a private yoga room, separate from the Fitness Center, which itself offers a stunning view of the lake to make that treadmill or elliptical time a bit more lovely than usual.
My tween daughter and I were lucky enough to get pedicures there and those were heavenly. The spa space is beautiful and, best of all, very serene. I don’t think my feet have ever been so happy, and it felt like all the weight of winter was washed away. If you’re going with the Girlfriends Getaway package, be sure to leave some time for the relaxation pool.
The Statehouse restaurant offers upscale dining sure to please foodies and would be a great place to end a day of pampering. The view of the lake from the restaurant is divine. We were there at sunset and watching the sun dip below the lake really did make it feel like we were on a true vacation.
Located on Lake Mendota and opened in 1948, The Edgewater Hotel is part of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust, with the great stories to go with it. Guests have ranged from Bob Hope to Bob Marley, but you don’t have to be among the rich and famous to enjoy a quick escape. Rooms start at $179.