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More Than a Goodie Bag: Chicago Hotels Go All Out For the Munchkins

July 30, 2012 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Bunk beds! Get 'em in your very own family suite at Hotel Lincoln

We love summertime in Chicago, and not just for the warm city nights and rooftop cocktails, but also for the city’s tremendous family-friendly offerings. From the Lake Michigan beaches and boating to Millenium Park, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium, there are countless ways for families to live large while the kids enjoy summer break.

We say you shouldn’t stop short when it comes to your hotel stay either. And thankfully, you agree as we often hear from readers who want to know more about family friendly hotels in Chicago. While there really are a good lot available, we recently came across two Chicago hotels that bring better game to kid-friendly stays.

Kiddos, meet two new Chicago dream hotels.

Family suites at Hotel Lincoln come complete with cool clubhouse vibes

At the new Hotel Lincoln, bunk beds seal the deal for most kids and stand out in the hotel’s nearly secret family suites. Basically two adjoining rooms, the family suites feature a larger main room with a king and a smaller kid room with bunks; each room features its own full bath and TV. Though the kid rooms are quite cozy, there’s a fun clubhouse vibe going that draws the kids right in, not to mention the fun toys tailored to different ages (think board games and Lincoln Logs, PlayStation or Xbox). The kid bathrooms are sweet, too, with Land of Nod robes and a step stool.

The only bummer is that you’ll have to give up lake views as all three available suites offer neighborhood views only. But here’s another thing that rocks at Hotel Lincoln when it comes to kids; the city’s big and beloved Lincoln Park with its zoo, nature museums, lakefront path and beaches is just across the street, so live views are at the ready. We found summer rates for the family suites at Hotel Lincoln starting at $349.

Back in Chicago’s Lakeshore East/Loop area, the kid-themed suites at Swissotel Chicago are an even bigger surprise, perhaps because very few know they exist. It’s no help, either, that Swissotel’s website doesn’t feature photos of the rooms, which leaves the kid-themed suites a mystery. But we checked out one of these babies recently and let us tell you, the Swiss really know how to bang out a sweet kid’s room with a nice package, to boot.

Similar to Hotel Lincoln, Swissotel’s kid-themed suites are basically two adjoining rooms. But the kid room is accessorized to the max with your choice of a theme: either the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium or Field Museum (think dinosaurs).

The Swissotel waves its magic accessory wand and—voila!—a kid-themed room appears

Kids get to participate in a VIK check in, which basically means they get a special folder with activities inside (nothing terribly new here). But the real treat lies behind the hotel room door. Themed bedspreads cover two double beds, stuffed animals and games paint the room and kid-sized activity table, even the bathroom is tricked out with themed bath toys and accessories.

Swissotel offers the suites in two packages. We found rates as low as $349 for the “kid-themed room,” which is two standard adjoining rooms, one fully accessorized with your choice of theme. Spend $200 more (we found rates as low as $549) for the “kid-themed suite,” and the adjoining parent room becomes a huge Lifestyle suite with a separate master bedroom and bath, plus a living space with a full guest bath. Oh, and suite takers also get four tickets to the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium or the Field Museum (about a $100 value).

Kid-themed accessories cover the bathroom, too, at Swissotel

Perhaps a sign that other Chicago hotels are ready to up the ante on their kid-friendliness, The Palmer House Hilton soon plans to launch “The Peackock Club,” the hotel’s new VIP program for kids that promises royal treatment before, during and after a stay. We’ll share more about this and other rockstar kid’s programs at Chicago Hotels as soon as we hear more.

Photos: Nina Kokotas Hahn

Have you stayed at a Chicago hotel with an amazing -- or terrible -- kid program? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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