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Open Marriage Expert Keeps it Tame at the Burnham

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  Site Where: One West Washington Street [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60602
June 4, 2008 at 3:37 PM | by | ()

We now present you with our VIP Hotel Reviewer Series in which we hand-pick experts in the travel and media worlds and beyond to tell us what are their favorite hotels and why. Once a week, we'll feature a hotel review from said VIPs about their favorite leisure or business hotels. Pay attention: These VIPs are experts at what they do and they don't mess around when it comes to their hotels.

Our next VIP reviewer is Jenny Block, is a prolific writer on arts and culture for a wide variety of regional and national publications. She has also just written a book titled, “Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage.” Here she tells us about a recent trip to Chi-town. Enjoy.

When my girlfriend asked me to join her on a business trip to Chicago, Illinois, I simply couldn't resist, especially when she told me we'd be staying at the Hotel Burnham. It's a Kimpton property, which is a boutique hotel group that I adore. They are always just the right mix of hip and comfortable and Hotel Burnham was no different.

Location, Location, Location
The property is centrally located at Washington and State Streets, walking distance to Jimmy John's (fabulous sandwiches), Baskin Robbins, Nordstrom Rack, H & M, and the list goes on.

The hotel's entrance is very understated, with a small awning and heavy, glass, double doors. But, if you don't keep an eye out, you just might miss it. The lobby is elegant without being stuffy. It has overstuffed chairs and chaise and always had people mingling in it. The building itself is an historic one called the Reliance Building. It was built in 1895 and continues to be considered an important architectural landmark.

Room Reaction
The rooms have the same vibe as the lobby. We stayed in a King Suite. It wasn't gigantic. But it was perfect. Quaint would be the word, I suppose. It had everything we needed including really groovy animal pattered robes to borrow during our stay as well as shmooshy blue socks and leopard print shorty pajamas hanging in the closet for purchase.

There was one room set up as a living room/office with a desk and chair as well as sofa and coffee table. The other room held little more than a comfy bed, bench, and nightstands. Both rooms boasted a separate television and there was even a flowy, partial canopy over the bed. And they had the best blackout curtains, which is an absolute must for me.

Service Woes
The service was a little shaky. The host at the restaurant, for example, told us there was nowhere to get breakfast after noon and yet there was a famous, breakfast all-day-long diner just a few short blocks away.

We did have excellent luck with one concierge and one of the desk clerks. But our room was cleaned late on three of the five days we were there and the "help" line would often ring and ring unanswered. And when the front desk immediately forgot our room number when we called down for take-out menus, they did send up a bottle of wine with the menus when I called back.

I will say this. We requested an early check-in and they had our room prepared at 11:30 a.m. instead of 3:00 p.m., which was fabulous.

Amenity Madness
It's not cheap. Room prices range from around $250.00 to over $400.00. But there's free Wi-fi; a fantastic restaurant called the Atwood Café with a to-die-for brunch; free coffee in the morning and wine in the early evening; and you can even borrow a goldfish during your stay to keep you company.

Bottom Line I would definitely go back again and I would certainly recommend it to others. But here's the deal. If you like a really full-on service, Hotel Burnham may not be for you. But for a comfy, well-appointed boutique setting with a classic look and an inviting feel (not to mention a fantastic Chicago location), this place may be perfect for you.

[Hotel Burnham Photos: Kimpton Hotels]

Check out where our other VIP Hotel Reviewers have stayed.

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