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Our Story

Philosophy

Since opening in 2003, our mission has been wellness in all we do and remains all the more so today.

In everything we do, our mission is wellness and service. 
We provide a sanctuary from stress, a healing touch, a kind word, a place to reconnect. 
We set an example of love and respect for the earth. 
We embrace the joy of wellness in our own lives.

 

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Sundara is Sanskrit for “beautiful” and we interpret that as beautiful on the inside and out. 

We are adult-only for tranquility. After years of requests from guests, we are now electronics-free in common areas, meaning simply that guests must refrain from using cell phones, laptops, tablets, kindles and cameras in those areas. Think of it as permission to disconnect. We have areas designated for quiet conversation and even no conversation. The goal is for you to slow down and fully experience this oasis of calm. Your place to rebalance and recharge. And isn’t that what we all long for in our lives?

Many guests ask us why Sundara was built in Wisconsin Dells when it could have been built anywhere. While many potential sites were visited, the natural beauty of this pine forest parcel spoke to our soul. We also believed the coasts should not be the exclusive arbiters of spa travel. The heartland deserved a destination spa too.

The Area

Here are staff favorites, including wonderful insider finds, to help you nurture a connection to our corner of the world. Let us know how we might assist with maps, chauffeur service, tee times and reservations.

 

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Wild Rock Golf Club Our adjoining 18-hole championship course is built around and through a former quarry, making for dramatic elevation drops and one-of-a-kind vistas. It was named the #5 Best New Course of 2008 by Golf Magazine. Contact the front desk for tee times.

Shopping and Boutiques Just minutes from Sundara is Outlets at the Dells with chic designer brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, Loft, J. Crew, and Banana Republic, plus fitness brands including Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. In the downtown river district, make a point to stop in Winnebago Fine Goods & Gift Shop, a landmark boutique with always-on-trend moccasins and artful gifts. Across the street is the historic H.H. Bennett Studio featuring the work of Bennett, considered a founding father of landscape photography, with prints of his exquisite Wisconsin River series available for purchase. On the lovely city square in nearby Baraboo, there’s Bekah Kate’s for gourmet cooking finds and Cornerstone Gallery representing some 150 artists.

Wineries and Artisan Cheese Just a short drive from Wisconsin Dells is the Wollersheim Winery. Built in the 1840s, this hillside vineyard offers spectacular views to the Wisconsin River Valley below.  We recommend their award-winning Prairie Fumé. Fawn Creek Winery, with panoramic views to their countryside vineyard, also features a tasting bar serving both wines and Wisconsin microbrews.  For pairing with your purchases, select award-winning cheeses from the Carr Valley artisan cheese company at their landmark store in downtown Dells or choose from 100 varieties of cheese at Market Square Cheese.

Dining The tradition of the Wisconsin “supper club” was perfected here in Wisconsin Dells. It’s a style of dining that features a leisurely pace beginning with before-dinner cocktails (try Wisconsin’s favorite – the Old Fashioned), followed by a multi-course meal served by extremely knowledgeable wait staff in a more formal setting with crisp white linen tablecloths and beautiful crystal stemware. Field’s at the Wilderness is a stand-out in this category, with a Wine Spectator magazine-recognized wine cellar.  An interesting side fact on this restaurant – it was designed by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Also try, Sarento’s Italian Restaurant for authentic casual Italian dining.  

Trio of State Parks The Wisconsin Dells area is home to three state parks – Devil’s Lake, Mirror Lake and Rocky Arbor — and these are real gems for outdoor enthusiasts. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail at Devil’s Lake State Park is a must for hikers. Bring your bikes too, as bike trails abound. Stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking are particularly peaceful on Mirror Lake.

Eco-Destinations The International Crane Foundation wildlife refuge is the only place in the world where you can see all 15 species of cranes.  An open-air amphitheater opens onto a pond and tall grasses where it’s not unusual to see crane parents tending to their chick. The nearby Aldo Leopold Center furthers the legacy of Aldo Leopold, considered the father of wildlife management, in fostering stewardship of the land. 

Winter Sports When the snow flies, take to the outdoors for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing right on the grounds of Sundara.  For downhill skiing, consider day trips to Cascade Mountain and Christmas Mountain.

Eco Friendly Practices

We cherish our 80-acre pine forest and look to tread lightly on the earth.

 

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To live up to that intention, we are:

  • a seed member of the Green Spa Network, a non-profit organization that promotes the natural connection between personal well-being, economic sustainability, and the health of the planet
  • certified by Travel Green Wisconsin, a voluntary program designed to protect the natural beauty and vitality of the place we call home
  • a participant in the Global Soap Project, providing discarded soap from our suites to be processed into new soap bars that are then distributed to vulnerable populations around the world
  • a TripAdvisor® Platinum level GreenLeader™, the highest level for their environmental travel standards

We thought you’d appreciate knowing the other ways, large and small, that help us leave a lighter footprint:

  • We emphasize organic and fair trade spa products sourced from around the world. Examples include Amala skincare, Voya skincare, Jane Iredale makeup, and Organic Male OM4. Even our signature Sundara Body Polish incorporates ancient Cambrian-era sand discovered when excavating for Sundara.
  • Our suites feature bulk spa products rather than toss-away bottles.
  • The mechanical systems are high efficiency.
  • We have a robust recycling program and ask guests to consider reuse of towels and linens.
  • We grow herbs and vegetables in our organic kitchen garden.
  • We participate in Community Supported Agriculture farm partnerships.
  • Our dairy products come from Organic Valley, headquartered in Wisconsin and certified 100% organic and our fruit is organic too.
  • Our infinity pool and soak baths use the minimum amount o purification chemicals required by the state.
  • Light pollution is controlled to protect nocturnal animals.
  • We preserved as many pine trees and indigenous plants as possible during construction.
  • The villas were built with sustainable building practices and include thoughtful architectural design features to reduce electricity use.
  • Easy-on-the-environment silent sports like hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing the land define the experience here.

 

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Philanthropy

Thank you for taking a few moments to read about an inspiring organization helping women with breast cancer to heal emotionally. It is Breast Cancer Recovery, based in nearby Madison, Wisconsin and our charity partner since we opened our doors. We asked our employees to help us select a cause that meant something to them and this was near and dear to all our hearts.

 

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Sundara regularly hosts wellness retreats for women living with metastatic breast cancer. Our spa therapists donate their time. Our culinary team develops a special menu. The setting here provides healing found in nature. We donate a portion of the proceeds from our Sundara cookbook to the group’s efforts and host an annual golf and spa outing that always sells out.

Breast Cancer Recovery recognizes that, while cancer cannot be cured, it is possible for mind and body to be healed. All retreats are conducted by survivors for survivors.

The actual cost to attend a retreat is $1,500 per woman. Thanks to donors, all women receive a scholarship of $1,100.

Read more about the work of this incredible group at BCRecovery.org.

If you are a non-profit organization with a donation request, send a short summary of the need to [email protected]. Women’s health initiatives and environmental causes are of particular interest to us.