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Top Three Chicago Hotels for Fall Fun

October 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM | by | ()

Nevermind the bikes at Hotel Lincoln, zero in on that cool safari-style helmet

The cool air, the brilliant leaves, the pumpkin spice lattes, the big sweaters to hide our bellies—ah, fall, how we’ve waited for you. And how we love to getaway to big cities like Chicago now, when the autumn season makes for a beautiful, sensory backdrop to our hotel shenanigans. Think it's a coincidence "The Layover's" first episode is in Chi-Town next month? We think not!

Speaking of Chicago hotels, several grabbed our attention this week, especially those hotels wooing us in with all the right moves well before the wicked cold snap of winter kicks in. Leaf peeping in Lincoln Park? Check. Hearty fall fare and ghoulish cocktails? Right on. Spooky pumpkins carved side-by-side with a chef? Sweet.

Yep, we’ve honed in on the best Chicago hotels to get your fall swagger on, so go on and get it now.

Leaf Peeping at Hotel Lincoln
As if we haven’t already raved enough about Hotel Lincoln and its unique neighborhood location, may we remind you that this new-since-March Chicago hotel is located directly across from the city's largest park, which also fronts North Avenue Beach and Lake Michigan. Hotel Lincoln also offers free bike rentals and free pedicab service, available for two-hour blocks of time on a first-come, first serve basis. Big wow, you say, right? And we say, yes, big wow. It’s true that several Chicago hotels offer free bike rentals, but none like Hotel Lincoln that can claim direct access to Lincoln Park with its free local zoo and meandering tree-covered paths, many of which lead to the lakefront. Leaf peeping, straight up.

Satisfy Carnivorous Hankerings at Hotel Burnham and Hotel Palomar Chicago
Bring on the bacon this fall with especially tempting eats from remarkable chefs at two Kimpton hotels in Chicago. At Atwood Café in Hotel Burnham , Executive Chef Derek Simick turns your typical veal or chicken scallopini upside down with a breaded and pan-fried rabbit scallopini served with haricot verts, fennel and splash of cider ($27). Hop over to Sable Kitchen & Bar Hotel Palomar Chicago, where Bravo TV's “Top Chef” competitor and Executive Chef, Heather Terhune, has us salivating over her new Bacon Jam, packed with bacon, of course, and onions, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, maple syrup and brewed coffee. The jam is no less served with a side of creamy brie and toasted baguettes ($13). Nom nom nom.

No way to go wrong with bacon jam, brie and toasted baguettes from Top Chef Heather Terhune at Sable Kitchen & Bar, Hotel Palomar Chicago

Pumpkin Carving and Cocktails at Fairmont Chicago
For those with pumpkin carving envy (that’d be us), head to Fairmont Chicago where Executive Pastry Chef Erin Brew and Executive Sous Chef Ronnie Rios are teaming up to teach kids of all ages how to carve and decorate pumpkins with style. The free class will take place on October 27 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the hotel's aria restaurant. Bonus for kids who show up in their costumes, as they'll have a chance to win four tickets to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium; those that bring a non-perishable food item for the Chicago Food Depository will also get to bring home a free pumpkin carving kit.

If carving is not your thing, hit aria's bar instead for spooky spirits like a Blood Orange Martini (orange vodka, Campari and OJ) or a Jack-O-Lantern cocktail (Hennessy VSOP Cognac, OJ, ginger ale, and Grand Marnier).

Chef-led pumpkin carving and ghoulish cocktails will spice up the scene at aria restaurant, Fairmont Chicago

We found rates at Hotel Burnham starting at $199, Hotel Palomar Chicago at $209, and Fairmont Chicago at $229. At Hotel Lincoln, we like the “Second Bedroom” package which starts at $139 and includes complimentary spiced hot chocolate and sweets from the hotel’s café (Elaine’s Coffee Call), in-room breakfast for two and passes for two for ice skating.

[Photos: Hotel Palomar Chicago, Nina Kokotas Hahn/HotelChatter]

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