Herb Kohler Jr. always dreamed of having a red-roofed hunting shack.
Kohler Jr., the larger-than-life chairman and CEO of the Kohler Co., which owns The American Club, usually gets what he wants. Sandhill, a new luxury cabin accommodation, opened at the five-star resort north of Milwaukee this spring.
Going "rustic" seems to a growing trend at golf resorts I've visited lately. Sandhill is the second unique cabin I've discovered in the past two months: The other being the Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland in Meadows of Dan, Va.
It's no secret that well heeled travelers -- the sort of high-income folks who play golf at The American Club and Primland -- are always looking for something different and special. Sandhill and the Tree House are vastly different from your traditional hotel room or golf condo.
And that's what makes them very cool.
Sandhill -- named after the pair of Sandhill Cranes that return to the property each year -- scores high marks for its secluded setting on more than 350 acres near the Straits Course at Whistling Straits. Dozens of evergreens hide the cabin from traffic on the rural road through a sleepy neighborhood.
The reclaimed wood used to make the 2,000-square-foot cabin was rounded up from six different barns throughout Wisconsin.
The two-bathroom, three-level cabin sleeps six, two in a loft and four in the basement, including one queen sofa sleeper. The cathedral ceiling, wraparound porch, two walk-in showers, elaborate kitchen and fine furnishings make it feel more like a palace than a cabin.
Families, couples or golfers looking for some privacy might consider calling this place home for a week or more.
A separate, smaller building called the "Poker Room" features a card table, wood stove and sauna.
Behind the cabin is a pond, a fire pit, and walking and biking trails. The use of mountain bikes is included with the stay. Bird hunters can hunt onsite from October through March or have access to River Wildlife, the resort's private hunting reserve.
This is as close to roughing it as a five-star resort will allow.
The real draw is the proximity to the spoils of The American Club's restaurants, the Kohler Waters Spa, and the courses at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits. Guests can enjoy complimentary access to Sports Core Health & Racquet Club as well.
Prices begin at $785 for up to four people on weekdays with a three-night minimum. For an additional fee, guests can have the pantry and refrigerator stocked with produce and meats from Woodlake Market, located in Kohler.
When the Golden Eagle Tree House opened in 2011, it became an instant hit at Primland, a gorgeous golf resort tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Virginia.
The resort -- home to the Highland Course, ranked No. 13 among the top 100 public courses in the country by Golf Digest -- is already looking into building another one. The Tree House sits on the strong limbs of one of the oldest oak trees on the property, overlooking 2,700 feet of elevation above the Dan River Gorge.
The cabin, made of red cedar, was designed and prefabricated in France by renowned tree house architect La Cabane Perchee. Amazingly, not a single nail was driven into the tree to hold it in place from its perch hanging out over the gorge. The interior features a large studio setup with a king bed, soaking tub and flat-screen TV.
Sitting out on the deck is a must at sunrise and sunset. Guests can even request a Ford Explorer for accessibility to and from the main Lodge at Primland, home to several fine restaurants and a super Native American-themed spa.
The only drawback is the cabin sits next to the Highland's fourth green, a par 3. Signs are placed on the tee warning golfers not to bother guests by peeking into the Tree House, but some can't help it. Rates run from $425 to $549 a night.
September 19, 2012