The Windy City in the Spring is a personal favorite. After lodging at The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, my love for the city rivals that for New York. As expected with The Peninsula Hotel Chain, excellence is everything.
The Lobby Restaurant
Upon entering off the elevator on the 5th floor, “The Lobby” restaurant, awaits beyond the check-in desk. Contemporary American cuisine is on offer for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch in an elegant environment that boasts 20-foot high floor-to-ceiling windows.
Afternoon Tea is served from 2:30-4:30 pm Monday through Saturday and after dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings, a Chocolate Bar with more deserts than you could fathom is served.
For myself and my companions, this was our breakfast choice daily; the Chinese Breakfast, consisting of Shrimp Dumplings and Lobster with Scallop Congee is phenomenal.
We made our way to Shanghai Terrace for lunch as it was voted the Number One “Chinese Restaurant in Chicago” by Zagat Survey; we enjoyed shrimp and chives dumplings. I’m told the barbecue pork buns are a must. We were able to dine outside (outdoor seating is open May-June, weather permitting).
The bar is well appointed and stocked. Depending on your mood, you can sink into a comfortable armchair or ‘belly up’ to the bar.
Classic cocktails like the Pimm’s Cup (pimm’s, lemon, ginger ale, cucumber and mint ) or The Peninsula concoctions like Strawberry Fields (absolut citron, chambord, lemons, strawberries, sprite) are on offer.
There’s almost no excuse to leave the confines of the hotel.
Of course, I made a visit to the Spa and indulged with the Jade Hot Stone Massage ($340 for 2 hours) as jade is cleansing and calming for the body. While I did not have time for a facial, consistent with all Peninsula Hotel Spas, ESPA is the product of choice, and the aromatherapy of essential oils, ensured a truly heavenly experience.
The pool is fantastic! Kid friendly, and excellent lay out. The outdoor terrace allows you to take some outside time, making the pool area feel more like a spacious resort than that of a pool on a roof top in a large city. The wonderful design struck us as having the option to go outside is not something we find often on our city travels.
I can not say enough about the room. We ordered room service one evening, just so we could spend time in it.
Spacious, immaculate, a décor of off-white marble had such an inviting element that we enjoyed going to our room.
We did not spend too much time in the rooms because…. the location of this hotel is phenomenal.
Located at 108 East Superior Street, North Michigan Avenue is steps away with all of the shopping, restaurants and Chicago vibe one could ask for.
Of course Neiman Marcus was a ‘stop’ but I really “got my shop on” at Luxury Garage Sale at 1658 North Wells Street. This is a store with a mix of luxury consignment and new pieces. Chanel, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Pucci were just the start. I was besides myself with the eclectic mix of traditional pieces and avant garde vintage style. I could have spent the entire trip in there.
At 730 North Rush Street, walking distance from The Peninsula, is Giordano’s Gold Coast location; there are three Giordano’s in Chicago. They are famous for deep dish pizza. We waited 90 minutes for a table (we sat outside) and that pizza was worth the wait. We went for the “Stretched Thin Crust” with cheese, a Greek salad and the Italiano Salad. With a little wine, we enjoyed people watching. It was truly one of my best memories of the trip.
Keys to the City
A stay at The Peninsula Chicago not only opens the doors to a beautiful guest room, but also experiences in the Windy City only available to Peninsula guests. Each Peninsula Chicago guestroom key unlocks the door to glamorous, bespoke happenings at Chicago’s most coveted venues such as exclusive kitchen tours at a three-Michelin-star restaurant, the best seats for theater shows, luxury private shopping trips and more at Chicago’s most captivating cultural venues:
•Grace Restaurant | Exclusive kitchen tour and creation of an amuse with the chefs, wine cellar tour and tasting at the famed three-Michelin-star restaurant
•The Art Institute of Chicago | Guests who purchase tickets via Concierge will receive Fast Pass access and a complimentary guidebook
•Broadway in Chicago | Guests who purchase theater tickets via Concierge will receive incredible house seats and complimentary private VIP intermission
•Chicago’s First Lady Cruises | Guests who book their cruise ticket via Concierge will receive a complimentary beverage on board
•Saks Fifth Avenue | Guests who book private shopping session will receive express complimentary alterations, complimentary delivery to the hotel or free shipping within the USA and a complimentary cosmetic basket
•360 CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory) | Guests who purchase Sun and Stars specially priced tickets via Concierge will receive access to return for a second visit to the observatory within 48 hours of first visit, enabling guests to see both sunrise and sunset
Very Important Pets are looked after well at The Peninsula Chicago. Furry Friends of less than 20 lbs weight are greeted at the hotel with a pet bed, water and food bowls and a tempting pet-friendly in-room dining menu with savoury gourmet treats. Upon request, dog walking, dog sitting and the exclusive ‘Rover Relaxation Massage’, are available. The hotel also has access to 24-hour emergency veterinarian.
Yes – you read that right: they have luxury doggy massages! The mark of a truly luxury hotel is how they treat your furbies…..
Human VIPs have to settle for MINI treats
The Peninsula Chicago offers a unique chauffeur service, featuring two bespoke MINI Cooper S Clubman cars. Offered as a complimentary amenity to Suite guests, the high-performance pocket rockets are a treat for those looking for motoring thrills as they are whisked away on an exciting city adventure. MINI Coopers are subject to availability, for a maximum of three hours per stay.
Next time you find yourself searching for a Chicago Luxury experience, follow this recommendation and you will not be disappointed!
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Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Editor with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. She has worked with PRADA USA Corp., Jurlique, Amore Pacific and the New York Daily News in management capacities including Marketing, Client Relations, Employee Relations and Training Management. She has authored and published the column, “Ask Angela,” featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. Her beauty advice has been featured in Shape and Fitness Magazines and CBS News.
She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Writing. Angela also has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Angela is currently creator of Circuit Cosmetics, a Brand Ambassador for luxury beauty line, Patchology, an On Air Guest for QVC and blogger for www.thelaughinmommy.blogspot.com.
In her spare time you can find Angela running, spinning, practicing yoga or getting beautified. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her Husband, Son, and Chihuahuas.