- Lake Geneva Hotel, Lake Geneva, WI (1911) (S.171)
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The Lake Geneva You Never Knew
by Sharyn Alden Madison Magazine
Everyone's familiar to some extent with the Geneva Lakes area. But you may not know one of my favorite getaways - The French Country Inn, a fine water's edge restaurant, lodge and former gangster getaway.
Back in the 1920s, dapper Chicago gangsters, including "Scarface" Capone, George "Bugs" Moran, Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn and John Dillinger, drove north for their rest and relaxation, away from the pressures of Prohibition. One of the hideaway retreats was the Lake Como Hotel, now The French Country Inn. Locals tell stories about an underground speakeasy called the Sewer, and the secret tunnels that connected to the building for fast getaways. That hideaway feeling is still evident. Practically invisible from the street, the only way in is via a narrow wooded road.
In 1986 the resort was purchased by the Navilio family, who completely revamped it and gave it an elegant European flavor. The main guesthouse was shipped from Denmark at the turn of the century and is a masterpiece of Danish craftsmanship. It originally was showcased at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The 33-room inn has lovely accommodations all in the name of pampering.
Kirsch's, the inn's smartly appointed restaurant, offers award-winning dinner entrees, including chateaubriand and Chilean sea bass. The restaurant also puts on a wonderful brunch. Reservations recommended. For more information, call The French Country Inn at (262) 245-5220.
Hotel Como Today http://www.frenchcountryinn.com