The Best Resort Hotels in the Midwest in 2017

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
Photo: Courtesy of Grand Hotel

The Midwest is a region that is often misunderstood by coastal travelers. Yes, you’ll find plenty of open fields and farmland, as well as urban centers like Chicago and Milwaukee. But many of the heartland’s most popular resorts happen to be tucked away on the water. As a matter of fact, almost all of the resorts topping our list this year can be found near large rivers or lakes. At Big Cedar Lodge, a resort set on 4,600 acres in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, guests can head out kayaking or on sunset cruises on Table Rock Lake. Families love this Missouri property for outdoor adventures like archery and horseback riding, while couples may spend their time indoors, enjoying the 18,000-square-foot spa. These are just a few of the amenities that propelled the resort to be No. 1 in its region for the second year in a row. “Big Cedar is great for romantic trips, family trips, girls trips, and just to getaway — even as a solo traveler!” said one reader. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Hotels were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities. The Osthoff Resort, on Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake, also earned raves from our readers — “The lake is spectacular, clean and blue,” said one fan — as did the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island. Readers enjoyed the old-world charm of this historic resort, which first opened in 1887, and the pleasures of Mackinac — the Michigan island has no cars, and people get around via horse and carriage. “The Grand Hotel is one of the few places you can dance nightly to an orchestra,” said one reader. “There’s also high tea with a harpist, walks on the green lawns, and rocking chairs on the longest porch in the world.” Read on for the full list of winners.

01 of 05

5. Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Sundara Inn and Spa
Courtesy of Sundara Inn & Spa

Score: 90.82

02 of 05

4. American Club at Destination Kohler, Kohler, Wisconsin

American Club, Destination Kohler
Courtesy of Destination Kohler

Score: 92.93

03 of 05

3. Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Osthoff Resort
Courtesy of Osthoff Resort

Score: 92.95

04 of 05

2. Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
Courtesy of Grand Hotel

Score: 93.48

05 of 05

1. Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri

Big Cedar Lodge
Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

Score: 94.49

“The most scenic and relaxing location in the country.” That’s how one reader describes this Ozarks, Missouri, resort, where guests can stay in cabins and sit around bonfires. While it may seem like a bit of hyperbole, guests of Big Cedar Lodge truly believe that this property is worth visiting every year — and many of them do. “My family has gone here for years and it holds a special place in our hearts,” said one reader. “Some of our best memories are from family gatherings and anniversaries celebrated there,” said another. From the friendly staff to the plethora of outdoor activities (fishing, canoeing, hiking), Big Cedar delivers the classic American getaway.

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