Lodge Kohler, the 13-month-old hotel in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is quite close to Lambeau Field.
It’s a bit of stretch saying that to find a bed any nearer the 50-yard-line, you’d have to be inside the stadium. But the lodge is just 100 yards – the length of a football field – west of the field. Which seems entirely appropriate.
I stayed at the hotel recently during a visit to Green Bay that included access to the sidelines to watch a Packers practice. I also stopped by the team’s impressive Hall of Fame, toured the city’s lovely botanical gardens, visited several breweries and dropped by the city’s way-cool train and antique car museums.
When it came time to bunk down, I was more than happy to return to Lodge Kohler, which has a AAA Four-Diamond rating, a rooftop perch for drinks and a Kohler Waters Spa. Because it was a midweek, preseason visit, the tab was less than $125 a night. If you wanted to stay overnight this weekend, when the Packers are playing the reviled Chicago Bears, the rate would more than triple.
Christine Loose, Kohler’s group director for lodging, said Mark Murphy, the Packers’ president and CEO, had a vision for the new Titletown District just to the west of the stadium that featured an upscale hotel as an anchor.
“Kohler jumped immediately to the top of the list because we are a Wisconsin-based company with a long history rooted in the state,” she said, noting that both Kohler’s American Club Hotel and the Packers are celebrating their centenaries this year.
“Mark Murphy approached Herbert Kohler with the idea of bringing these two iconic Wisconsin institutions together,” she said. “The Packers wanted something that would stand out in the market. We took that direction and ran with it.”
The hotel has 144 rooms, 10 of which are suites. In part because Herbert Kohler, who’s nearing his 80th birthday, is an active swimmer, Lodge Kohler has a lap pool. There’s also an oversize workout room with plenty of machines, which means guests seldom have to wait to get on a piece of equipment.
One of the key attractions is the spa, with its Herbert Kohler-designed hydro-therapy room. It has what Loose called a “one-of-a-kind” hydro-experience pool where visitors can walk down the natatorium's pathway and be massaged with water jets hitting their bodies at different heights.
On the fifth floor, the Taverne in the Sky has a terrace with fireplaces overlooking Lambeau Field to the east. In addition, there’s a small dining terrace that overlooks Titletown on the north side of the hotel. And on the ground floor, the Leaps & Bounds Cafe has a patio that’s across the Plaza – which is used for the hotel's yoga classes and other activities – from the Hinterland Brewery and Restaurant.
It’s also just a stone’s throw away from the 100-yard-long (I see a trend here) and four-story tall grass-covered Ariens Hill, which is turned into slippery sledding slope in the colder months. That’s when an ice-skating rink appears on the plaza, too.
Underneath the hill is the 46 Below Restaurant, named for the famed Ice Bowl, when the Packers whupped the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 during the 1967 NFL Championship Game. Figuring in the windchill, the temperature that day was a bone-cracking minus 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Legend has it that it was so cold that the UW-La Crosse marching band canceled its halftime performance because the woodwind instruments froze, the mouthpieces of the brass instruments stuck to the players’ lips and several band members were taken to local hospitals suffering from hypothermia.
Packers lore aside, Loose said Lodge Kohler planners – overseen by Herbert Kohler –- “took advantage of all the assets of our location to integrate the hotel into our setting.”
And development of the district is ongoing, with Microsoft’s “TitletownTech” project now under construction. A joint partnership with the Packers organization, it aims to help emerging and existing businesses in the Fox River Valley transform their operations through technology. Other goals are helping firms develop and bring new digital products to market and, in some cases, providing financing to launch nascent ventures.
Though some guests who are on business trips with tight schedules might never explore Titletown, tour Lambeau Field or visit the stadium’s Hall of Fame, Loose said the concierge staff at the hotel are happy to design visits to Green Bay sites that pique their interest.
In addition to our the hotel’s proximity to the stadium during the regular season – to say nothing of the Packers' anticipated playoff run to this season's Super Bowl – Loose said Lodge Kohler is about “more than just the Packers.
“We are in the heart of where Green Bay comes alive. This is a great community. We’re honored that we’ve been able to bring an experience of this quality to the Green Bay market."
Getting there: Lodge Kohler at Titletown is 120 miles north of downtown Milwaukee via Interstate 43 and Lombardi Avenue.
More information: See lodgekohler.com. The hotel has a number of packages, including the preseason Sideline Experience (starting at $248 per person, based on double occupancy), two-night Home Game Package (starting at $748 per person based on double occupancy), Explore Lambeau Package (beginning at $213 per person) and the simple Bed and Breakfast Package (starting at $73 per person). For ideas on other things to see and do in the often underrated Green Bay area, see greenbay.com.