A few weekends ago I had the chance to go back to Chicago, one of my favorite places in the world! I lived there for the two years right after I graduated college and have nothing but fond memories of Weiner Circle and Blue Cheese stuffed olives. This was the first time in a while that I wasn’t going to be staying with a friend, boy, I guess I’m getting old and businessey. One of my best friends’ wedding brought me to Chicago and that’s how I learned about the Radisson Blu. I couldn’t have loved it more. I had such an amazing stay at this up and coming, trendy hotspot. If you’re planning a visit to Chicago (which I highly recommend in the summer), then I highly recommend you stay at the Radisson Blu Chicago, a more upscale version of the traditional Radisson. You know I’m a pretty seasoned traveler, especially now that I’ve been doing travel writing for Fodor’s and Forbes. This hotel certainly stacked up to the many beautiful 5-star hotels I’ve been. Plus, the rooms are pretty reasonable, depending on the weekend, for about $250 a night. Not bad for a hotel packing more amenities than you can even imagine.
So, here we go. Amenities first since that’s always what I tend to appreciate the most. The hotel is surrounded by a park, which includes free wi-fi (a huge perk in my opinion, who wants to pay for wi-fi!? But very nice to have it). They also have an enormous fitness center with extremely modern machines, a view to die for, colorful kettle bells and even yoga studios. Plus, if you want the concierge can book you a personal trainer or a yogi where you can downward dog in between your business meeting or after a long day of shopping. There is even a half basketball court. Something else really unique is the game room, with pool table. There is an indoor lap pool and a very nice outdoor pool and deck with lots of chairs and tables for peeps to hang at. Oh, and they have a mini movie theater you can rent out or I heard they even do screenings for guests on occasion.
So now let’s talk design. All I can say is WOW. The check-in desk is sleek and the rest of the hotel is simply spectacular with so much attention to detail that you might miss it if you don’t stop and look around once in a while (Get my Ferris Bueller ref?). Anyway, The lobby features a 50-foot fireplace that actually made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest fireplace. This gives the lobby a wonderfully warm and inviting feeling. Along the wall above the fireplace is a wall made of intricate gold metal discs, but not just any discs, they were handmade by a famous Egyptian jewelry designer! The carpet in the lobby is a giant map of Chicago. The walls along the perimeter are composed of reclaimed brick that all come from old buildings in Chicago. My next favorite part is that the hotel really wanted to showcase artists who really appreciate Chicago. So on the walls built of brick, there are cut-outs that resemble Chicago’s skyline. I mean, can you even? Such attention to detail. Oh and speaking of artists, the wallpaper in the guest room hallways was created by a local artist, Steve Slasky and is inspired by the different neighborhoods of Chicago. And did I mention there is an actual art gallery in the lobby? This place is a design nerd’s heaven! Clearly I am getting carried away.
Onto the rooms, I was blown away. Though luckily not literally since I spent much of the free time I had in my room on the ridiculous balcony. What? It’s the windy city. Had to be careful! Only complaint I have is that there wasn’t any furniture. Probably because it would blow off. So I couldn’t really spend as much time as I would have. Even in the lower category rooms you will have a fabulous view of something, the park, Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building. There are two different decor options for the rooms. Mansion or Naturally Cool. Mansion has dark woods and shimmering, glittering black floors. It is a rich, dark feeling. My favorite though were the Naturally cool rooms, which is where I stayed. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. And they were immaculate. There was a little area with a desk and chair to do your business, a mini-bar, and floor to ceiling windows surrounding the perimeter. The bathroom was the real star of this property though. With a deep tub, I couldn’t resist taking a relaxing soak in this zen-like atmosphere. There are sliding doors, however for the bathroom, which didn’t lend itself to much privacy. But as long as you’re here with a loved one you’ll probably be okay.
Location, location, location. Although you’re not right on Michigan Avenue you are within walking distance to the Loop, Millennium Park and the Chicago River (along with many of the museums and other tourist sites.)
The restaurant here, Filini is run by a 100% Italian chef who will settle for nothing less. The open and airy atmosphere is a great place for people watching or to sample some of the fabulous Italian wines that they stock. The candle-top tables here are stunning and make the atmosphere chic yet intimate. The pizzas here with out of this world. They also have outdoor seating for the fabulous summer nights in Chicago
Free Cocktails and Snacks in the Business Lounge.
Work off your delicious Chicago meals in the 8,000 square foot gym!
For more information about the Radisson Blu visit their website or call 312-565-5BLU for reservations.