This year my mother and I kicked off our February at Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for their Winterfest. Earlier this year I wrote about a few different places around the United States where you could have a fun winter vacation, and Lake Geneva was one of them! It had been a long time since we’d been there. I mean, I was probably in grade school or possibly junior high. We had gone up to Lake Geneva in the summer for a family reunion because the bulk of that side of my family lived around the Chicago area, which isn’t too far to the south.
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While planning our trip, there were plenty of hotels we could choose from, but we chose to stay at Harbor Shores right on Wrigley Drive. A few things that are important to us when we’re staying somewhere these days are having a balcony (that faces something pretty is a bonus), having a fridge and a microwave, a table to work or eat at, and proximity to restaurants. We aren’t really eating out yet, but we will get the food to go and eat in our rooms or outside somewhere. Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva had all of that!
Due to the current pandemic, at check-in, they currently require taking the temperatures of all guests. Masks are also required (although I’ll be honest, not every guest always wore them). They state a limit of guests in an elevator as well, but if someone wanted to get on with us and they weren’t wearing a mask, we asked them to wait for the next one. There were also hand sanitizers located throughout common areas.
Details About Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva
The lobby area was cozy with couches and a tv. Gino’s East Restaurant and Bar was located just off the lobby. We never ended up eating from there, but we typically love Gino’s. Down another hallway, you are taken to the indoor pool area. I loved that they had a sauna along with the hot tub and pool. If I had a bathing suit or something, I would have loved to sit in the sauna for a while! There was also a wall of windows by the pool so you could still see the lake.
Back by the lobby is a staircase to the lower level. Here is the fitness room, restrooms, and a game area with table tennis and a larger connect-four game. There weren’t pieces for either of these, but I would assume they were kept at the front desk because of the pandemic. The door to the outdoor pool and hot tub is also located here. The patio was covered in snow when we were there, but in the summer there would be lounge chairs along with a pool and hot tub. Since the hotel is on a hill, this lower level walked out onto the ground level, and the main level with Gino’s had a balcony over the outdoor pool area.
They also have 6 different conference rooms you could rent for an event. Two of the rooms can combine to make one large ballroom so you could host a smaller function to a wedding or family reunion. Unfortunately, because parking is rather limited, there is only one car per guest room allowed in the parking lot. That means that if anyone attending your event is not staying at the hotel, they’ll be directed to park elsewhere.
What Kind of Rooms Do They Have?
Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva is a 5-story hotel with 108 rooms. The east side faces Seminary Park and the west side faces Lake Geneva. There are 3 different types of rooms overlooking the park: 2 queen beds, 2 queen beds-accessible, and 1 queen bed with a recliner chair. On the side that overlooks the lake, there are also 3 different types of rooms: 2 queen beds, 1 king bed with a queen pull-out sofa, and 1 king bed-accessible with a queen pull-out sofa. The lake view rooms also have their own balconies.
All of the rooms have high-speed wireless, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, a FIREPLACE, and a wet bar area with a microwave, mini-refrigerator, and Keurig. For the Keurig, you get 2 free K-Cups a night, but if you want a different flavor or to purchase more, the front desk has them. There was also a rack of DVDs in the lobby area, but I didn’t spend my time going through them.
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Entering the Rooms at Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva
When we first entered our room we were surprised by the closet space! It was especially great for us in the winter with all of our gear and wet boots. This front entryway had a wood-looking floor that was easy to wipe the melted snow off of. The built-ins were great because there were two 2 luggage racks so we could each have our own side. We then kept things like our face masks, gloves, hats, etc. on the shelves in the middle. Honestly, that closet space was better than many others I’ve seen.
The bathroom was also a good size (especially compared to the last few we’ve had). The shower was a walk-in and the countertop had plenty of room for both my mother’s things and mine. There was also a hairdryer and a couple of travel-size toiletries. On the wall in the entry area, which would be covered by the bathroom door if it was open, there was also a large mirror.
Getting Comfortable in the Room
As we walked further into the room we saw the wet bar area, which was larger than we anticipated. There was plenty of counter space along with the Keurig, sink, fridge, and microwave along with cabinets you could use. On the wet bar, they had styrofoam cups for the coffee along with plastic cups for water, sugar and creamers, a roll of paper towels, and an ice bucket. Next to the wet bar was the dresser which had a fireplace built into it, the TV, and the DVD player.
The beds were nice and comfortable. They had a sign saying if you liked the pillows you could purchase one at the front desk. There were two types of pillows on my bed. Personally, I just thought they were okay, nothing amazing that I would want to buy, but I’m picky because I have a bad neck. Plenty comfortable though. I also loved the look of the bed frames. However, I ended up with a few bruises on my legs from the piece at the end (I’m clutzy though).
The artwork over the beds were beautiful lake views. There was also a sign by the beds with a number we could text for the front desk. I loved the idea of being able to just send a text to the front desk if we needed something!
In the corner of the room, there was a table with two chairs. When we eat, we move the table so we’re both sitting in front of the window. The table was also great so we could pull our computers out and get done any work we needed to.
What Was the Condition of the Rooms?
When talking about the conditions of the room, they were nice overall. I loved the closet area and having the fireplace. The views were awesome and what really made it great! The view was especially nice because we could also oversee some of the Flat Iron Park, which was where some of the snow sculptors were. The curtain was a little tricky to open, but once we figured out the trick, we were good. The chairs on the balcony were also comfortable.
The thermostat worked very well (sometimes you just can’t get the right temperature). However, when the heater would kick in it would make a noise that always startled me. Luckily, it never woke me up during the night though. While the floor in the entryway with the closets was updated and nice, the floor in the bathroom looked a little dated, but not necessarily in bad condition.
What Was Around Harbor Shores?
As I’ve mentioned, our room overlooked the lake. The hotel was actually just across the street from it. All we had to do was cross the street and we were in Flat Iron Park along the lake, and where the snow sculpting was taking place. The rest of the town area was very walkable, even in the freezing cold. There is one main street with a bunch of cute boutiques, some restaurants, and a chocolate shop! If you want to visit anything else around the lake, like the Ice Castles, nothing is really too long of a drive.
Right next door is The Baker House, which had the Ice Bar and a restaurant. They had 3 heated tent areas and some fire pits around their front area with the Ice Bar. On the other side of our hotel was the hotel, The Cove. I had looked at that one, but the views just weren’t as great. However, they had a restaurant in there as well, Sprecher’s, that we ordered one of our meals from.
Another restaurant we ate from was Oak Fire Restaurant & Pizzeria. We had dinner from there, but then we also had a lunch of their Nutella Pizza another day. It was very appropriate at it was World Nutella Day! The pizza was amazing! If you like Nutella at all (and I mean, who doesn’t), I highly recommend this! And the dough/crust part was great so I wish I had ordered pizza from there for my dinner, but I’ll do it next time.
If you were visiting during the summer, this hotel is in the perfect location as well for boat rentals. The boat launch is also just across the street from the hotel so it’s the perfect location if you’re bringing your own boat.
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Would I Recommend Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva?
I would definitely recommend staying here. The lobby area isn’t too large, so I assume it could get crowded, especially around the elevators. We went during the week, left on Saturday, and Friday and Saturday, the traffic definitely picked up in the hotel. However, during the week it was slower (which is why we travel then) at the hotel and around the festival. I can only imagine how crowded Lake Geneva would get in the summer months, so I would stick to shoulder seasons if you can!
We didn’t really interact with any staff except the girl at the front desk when we checked in, but whenever we walked by all bundled up, they seemed nice enough. I felt bad for the housekeeping crew because with all the snow outside, people were bringing water in on their shoes and the floors would get pretty wet. We always felt bad walking if they had just mopped up an area, but they were very kind about it.
What about you? Have you ever stayed at Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva?
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