Daily HeraldDaily Herald

Married couples reconnect in cocoon-like surroundings of Sybaris Club

A king-size water bed, recessed lighting, a gas fireplace, a stereo, TV, VCR and CD player, and a whirlpool for two.

And that’s just the basic suite. Work you way up to the most luxurious lair, the Chalet, and that includes: A three-level building with a built-in garage, a 22-foot swimming pool with a beautiful hanging waterfall, steam room, custom-built bed, recessed lighting, four-sided fireplace, whirlpool, pedestal sinks, double large shower and a 10-foot water slide from the loft bedroom into the swimming pool below.

Did we forget: There are no telephones, or windows either, to serve as distractions.

By now it should be clear that Sybaris is about keeping the world on hold by exercising the pleasure principle.

Obviously Sybaris owner and founder Ken Knudson thinks cavorting in cocoon-like cottages with thickly carpeted rooms and mirrored walls, whirlpools, waterfalls, water slides, swimming pools, fireplaces, and – of course – king size water beds is the perfect antidote for marital bliss.

Said Knudson, “It was to provide couples an opportunity, albeit a shot-term one, to remove themselves from the pressures of their everyday world, from the children they worked so hard to raise, from the mayhem in their lives. It was a ‘far-away’ destination located nearby, a place where they could escape from the real world for a few hours or overnight to rejoice in one another, to rekindle their relationship, to become more in touch and in tune with each other.”

But how did it start?

Randell D. Repke, the vice president who was with Knudson from the beginning, said it began with a simple shopping excursion.

“Ken and his wife went shopping at Woodfield and saw a real nice bedroom set,” Repke said. “He took some measurements and it wouldn’t fit into his bedroom, so he decided to build his own.” It was a raised platform bed outlined by lights. A couple of his wife’s friends saw it and wished they had something like it – far away from the kids and the in-laws.

“A light bulb went off in his head,” Repke said. Why not build a place where people can get away from kids and in-laws, but a place where you wouldn’t have to hop a plane? “So we figured we would go out and buy a hotel and try our design. We ended up in Downers Grove.”

Somehow all the Downers Grove rooms got completed and the Northbrook property was added. With it came the swimming pools, set at a constant 92 degrees for fun and frolic. And with Northbrook came the luxurious Chalet. Today, there are 5 luxurious Sybaris locations, including Frankfort Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana and beautiful Mequon Country Inn, just north of Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Leave a Comment