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Radisson Blu Peekaboo: The New Chicago Hotel Has a Running Track, Billiards Room

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  Site Where: 221 North Columbus Drive [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
November 4, 2011 at 3:33 PM | by | ()

The Aqua wall and weights just inside the gym entrance

Happy Friday! We've spent most of this week filling you in on everything from the beds and balconies to the design details of the just-opened Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago, but there's one huge area we've saved for last: the massive fitness center, outdoor activity deck and two pools.

The reason for these extra amenities and the large gym is the fact that the Aqua Tower is also a condominium. Want to live above the Radisson Blu hotel? You can, and if you do, you'll need more than a typically small hotel-size gym. Thus the fitness center is 8,000 square feet with new machines, stretching areas and floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside it is also what we'd consider one of the coolest "secret" amenities of the hotel: a basketball half-court.

We're not going to lie; we're not personally into basketball and we probably haven't seriously dribbled a ball since high school Phys-Ed. And yet, we freaked out and spent a full hour shooting hoops with two friends it was that fun and unexpected.

We further lost track of time upon discovering the games room, with a pool table (a very nice one), a card games table (poker nights, anyone?), a mini fridge and iPod-compatible sound system. On the same level is an entire movie screening room with free Tuesday movie nights. We couldn't get a photo of it because it was in use when we peeked in. To find free amenities like this in a hotel, you'd otherwise have to be in Vegas and specifically requesting them, not always for free. Suffice it to say that we were quite impressed.

Now let's talk outside, on the 70,000 square foot activity deck. If the indoor, two-lane Olympic swimming pool isn't enough, there's also a giant outdoor pool (now closed for the winter), and a sun deck with cabanas for the hot days. Around this is a running track, which loops the building and landscaped gardens, allowing joggers to enjoy views of the Aqua Tower and the neighborhood from all sides. We suddenly had an urge to take up running.

With all this outdoor stuff yet to experience, rest assured we'll be back in warmer weather to check up on the Blu. For winter however, expect it to become a hot spot of the social sort.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]

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