Nothing about my “living like Oprah without her money” vacation was cheap. Despite the pay for 2 nights, get the 3rd free promo, the Peninsula Chicago was still an expensive stay but worth every penny! I wasn’t concerned that I was forgoing points by staying here, I wanted to treat myself to this 5 star luxury hotel, winner of so many travel awards.
The hotel is well situated to shopping and attractions – the Art Institute, Grant Park, River tours and Navy Pier – are all within 15-20 mins walking. Across from Saks and the Miracle Mile, you have a plethora of shopping options. There are private cars and taxis available at the front door in case your feet are not the preferable transit option.
I had booked a standard room which is pretty large with a good layout. Walking into the room, you have a long hallway with large closet and a separate area outside of the bathroom with built in cabinets to store clothes as well as outlets to charge devices. The bathroom was slightly larger than my first floor of my house (ok, slight exaggeration but not by much). The bedroom consisted of a King bed, work desk, sofa and TV that swings out toward the seating area or swivel around to watch in bed. The very tech room had a control panel which i quite fancied as well as a outside temp display at the front door which was helpful in the morning.
The hotel delivered a newsletter each night (bedtime reading) for the next day’s scheduled activities in the hotel as well as complimentary gym classes. The free gym classes were open to hotel guests and gym members. The trainers very welcoming and friendly but don’t be fooled, the classes were tough – nothing easy in the sessions I attended (i should have tried yoga instead of the cardio training). The bonus was the views of the city from the training room – a nice way to cool down at the end of the class. There is a pool and spa that I didn’t visit/use which I regret looking back. Next visit must do both.
The Concierge Team:
Superb! The team was impressive from my first email prior to arrival to my flight check-in upon departure. Prior to arrival, I was sent a list of restaurants which ranged from low end (a diner), to self serve/takeaway (Whole Foods) to fancy/out of my price range. I was able to research all of the options to narrow my choices prior to arrival. My first onsite impression was favorable as each introduced themselves to me and we had a bit of a chat regarding my visit. I was given a map to explore with my destinations noted as well as their mobile numbers to use if I had any questions or needed assistance while off premises. They would book my ticket for Second City Comedy as well as recommend an Italian restaurant that I would have never found on my own (inside an office building on the second floor). The team was outstanding and thus far #1 – no other team can compare in my travels thus far.
Upon arrival after a long day and flight, i ordered a burger (after the healthy spa visit, i needed a bit of comfort (not healthy) food) which was perfectly seasoned and cooked that I may have broken the land/speed record for eating that night (thankfully no witnesses).
Wow! I had my various chargers on the desk in a bit of a mess, I came back and they were all organized with rubber bands around the wires. I had clothes on top of my suitcase and came back to find they were folded and inside the suitcase. There is a turn down service at night, always nice to come back to music playing and an inviting plush bed to fall into after a long day. So many little touches that were unexpected but appreciated.
Of the four restaurants onsite, I chose the hotel’s street level restaurant, Pierrot Gourmet. It was open for all meals and served a good. reasonably priced breakfast. They also had bakery takeaway (bonus points for me with a dessert addiction) with tasty cookies, fresh pastries, assorted macaroons and homemade chocolates to bring home to the family.
There is a lobby bar that i peeked into but it was too crowded for me to easily slip into the bar. The outdoor patio/roof was not open during my stay but looks fun.
The hotel is active and responsive on social media platforms. The Twitter team is quick to reply. The Facebook team posts updates, promotions and hotel activity daily. There is also a newsletter to sign up for on the website (note: the awesome photos/activities will have you longing to book a flight to Chicago to hang out at the hotel rather than working at your desk)
This is a hotel I didn’t want to leave, truly a hotel resort within the city, my comfortable home away from home. But you do need to leave to see the sights, savor the foods and meet the people of Chicago. Although I won’t fault you if you don’t leave and partake in afternoon tea, the chocolate event with jazz band, the special academy classes, the spa, the fitness center, the pool, the outdoor terrace and the many other options at the hotel.
If you want a memorable stay in Chicago, definitely upgrade your experience by staying at the Peninsula. Once you land on their website, you will be hooked, it will be hard to stay anywhere else. I’m glad that I spent the extra to stay at this luxury piece of heaven – my inner hotel girl was definitely happy being spoiled – I can’t wait to go back!