by Amanda Norcross
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and the neighboring towns of Williams Bay and Fontana-on-Geneva Lake offer everything from motels to vacation rentals. But nothing compares to The Abbey Resort, a classic Midwest retreat that beckons families to relax — and do little else. Its idyllic location makes it particularly popular for weddings and family reunions.
The lakefront resort offers ample opportunities to get out on Geneva Lake, including its own marina and water sports equipment rentals. Other family fun includes a multitude of swimming pools (including one just for young kids), organized activities, a kids’ club and even a virtual reality experience!
If you’re looking for a laidback vacation with the kids, we highly recommend a stay at The Abbey Resort on Geneva Lake.
Our Editor Loves
- Lakefront resort
- Swimming pools
- Virtual reality attraction
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The resort offers 334 rooms spread across seven buildings. Family-friendly guestrooms feature one king bed and a sofa bed or two queen beds, as well a mini-fridge and coffeemaker. Connecting units, cribs and rollaway beds are available.
Families also have the option to rent villas, each one equipped with a full kitchen. For a complete list of villa options, visit The Abbey Resort - Vacation Villas.
We were just at The Abbey a couple of weeks ago for a 2-night stay visiting family in the area. Super excited when we drove up - the view was amazing! Then we parked and started walking into the hotel and the front-door staff couldn't have been less interested. They didn't even open the door for us. (We had 8 adults & 4 children under 10.)
We requested 4 rooms (2 with 2 beds and 2 with 1 king) and that they be close to each other. Well, the reservation wasn't correct. They reserved 3 1-bed rooms and 1 double. We were told that if we changed it now, then the rooms wouldn't be together. We left it as it was and had to adjust sleeping arrangements. Also, I was told that the rooms would be courtyard view. 3 of the rooms were, however, our room was facing a roof (seriously). I could walk out and touch the roof. (I was glad that I wasn't actually vacationing there, as it would have really pissed me off waking up to that every morning.)
My husband noticed that the hallways, along with the doors weren't clean. Not really dirty, but just not maintained as I woud think a 'resort' should be.
We got in late, went to bed. The room was kind of chilly the first night, but we thought it was just that the HVAC didn't have time to warm up prior to going to bed. But then we found out the 2nd night that we actually didn't have heat. They sent up a maintenance man who said the unit was broken and that they would have to move us. It was late, we were all ready for bed, so we said no. They brought us blankets to keep us warm. They did comp us 1 night.
Also, the remote didn't work the first night - we had the front desk change it out the next day and it was fine. One thing that was SUPER annoying was the blower in the bathroom. It was on constantly, whenever the light switch was turned on, and it was REALLY loud. We told the front desk about it - they 'made a note.'
Our children and their families stayed at the hotel to dine in the first night. They were a party of 8. The restaurant staff apparently had a problem figuring out how to seat a party of 8 and it took a very long time to get them seated. And it took my daughter having to step in to help the staff figure it out. Crazy!
We did all have breakfast at the hotel the last day. We were a party of 12 and arrived right at 7am. We were seated, ordered and then our food came out, but only 3 plates at a time. CRAZY! Before the last of us got our food most of the others were already done. They had plenty of staff to help bring out the food so that we could all eat together, not really sure why they couldn't get that. Dissappointing.
On a positive note: The food was excellent! The beds were very comfortable & the cleaning staff did a great job every day putting the room back to order
I probably won't stay here again. We stayed in the off-season and the pricing was lower. If I had come during the height of the season and paid the increased prices, it would have been a problem.
by Stephanie B
I still can't believe how horribly this property is kept. The entire weekend of our visit we walked past the same huge pile of dirt and lint surrounding the garbage can in the communal area. Do the owners not believe in vacuums? The carpets in our room and the spa locker room were disgusting tool. I kept my shoes and socks on with my robe rather than use the provided flip flops. There were dead insects in the bench seating area by the jacuzzi both days I visited the spa. It was appalling. The first room we were assigned was literally a painted concrete ceiling complete with cobwebs and spiders. We asked to change rooms. The front desk told us "they are all like that" but switched us anyway. The second room's ceiling was finished but the bath/shower combo was riddled with mold. The baseboards were caked with dust. It was on the second floor so we climbed the stairs with our luggage only to learn the door was broken. So we had to climb down and ascend the other stairs in order to enter the building. The on site restaurants were similarly kept in disarray with crumbs and dirt everywhere. We went to both the casual and "upscale" ones. We visited in Oct. so it was "off season" but the places were jam packed with limited parking. We saw a few conventions and a wedding on property during our stay. So they are doing business. I am embarrassed for them. The computers were down when we were checking out and it was just the moldy cherry on the rotten sundae. I still can't believe how poorly the property is kept. It is just gross. Also to any staff that intends to respond to my review, please don't bother. I am writing this so other potential guests will know about our experience and either know what they are getting ahead of time or look elsewhere or skip Lake Geneva all together. The only bright customer service spot of our trip was a little restaurant not affiliated with The Abbey called Gordy's Boathouse. It was clean, well cared for and they took great care of us. They should open a hotel!
Kids and families can visit Rainbow Point for organized activities including arts and crafts, games, movies and more -- perfect when youngsters need some downtime.
Immersion Virtual Entertainment
This attraction, added in 2017, includes a virtual reality experience with headsets, a separate virtual reality movie theater and a cafe. Reservations are recommended; additional fees apply.
The resort offers indoor and outdoor pools -- including a separate kids' pool and an activity pool with waterslides. The indoor pool is open year-round; the outdoor pools are typically open Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The resort offers complimentary bicycles on a first-come, first-served basis. Child-size bikes are available!
The Abbey Resort also offers organized activities, live entertainment and fireside S'mores on select days. Ask for a schedule of events at the front desk.
The resort has its own marina, should you want to bring your boat! In 2018, the marina will be revamped with new piers, lighting, sidewalks and more.
This restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and is especially popular for its breakfast buffet and Sunday Harborside Brunch. Visit on Saturdays for the Prime Rib Buffet. Kids' options and pricing are available for all meals.
The Waterfront is a fantastic place for families to gather for a meal, with casual favorites (burgers, salads, pizzas and the like), live entertainment and of course, waterfront views of Geneva Lake. A separate children's menu is available. The Waterfront restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily.
Cafe Latte is exactly what it sounds like -- an adorable coffee shop with Starbucks coffee and all of your favorite coffee drinks. It also offers an assortment of pastries, sandwiches, salads and other light bites. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday to Saturday.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The daily resort fee ($13, plus tax) covers many of the resort's amenities and activities, including Wi-Fi, complimentary issues of USA Today (Monday to Friday), complimentary scheduled transportation to downtown Lake Geneva, bicycle rentals, board games, access to Avani Spa's Fitness Center and fitness classes, and valet parking.
The resort's fitness center offers a nice selection of cardio and weight training equipment. Fitness classes are also offered. The gym is open 24 hours.
Visit the onsite gift shop for keepsakes to take home or any toiletries you may have forgotten to pack. You can also purchase snacks, beer and wine here.
Babysitting services are available for kids ages 12 and under, 7 a.m. to midnight daily, year-round. Parents often opt for these services when attending weddings at the resort.
The Art of Smart Timing
The Abbey Resort is obviously busy Memorial Day through Labor Day, when families descend upon the area for summer vacations. Christmastime is also a popular time to visit the resort and general area, with the town of Lake Geneva hosting a series of holiday events.
The Abbey Resort is located just under an hour from General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. You'll want to rent a car to get here.
The resort provides complimentary shuttle service to Williams Bay and Lake Geneva.
For Mom and Dad
Be sure to make a reservation for the Avani Spa at The Abbey Resort. The spa offers a fantastic selection of massages (including a 50-minute maternity massage), facials, wraps and scrubs. Teen-specific services are also available.
Another option for adults-only time is Bar West, which serves cocktails and light bites on Fridays and Saturdays. Ask about Wine Down specials.