60611 Travel Guide
It's not a rare 1961 Ferrari GT California but it is pretty sweet.
Thompson Chicago has revved up their offerings for hotel guests, thanks to a new partnership with Lexus.
Guests can ride around town in a sleek Lexus IS 350 convertible or a ginormous LX 570 LUV--luxury utility vehicle--without any mileage restrictions, i.e. no one telling you the ride is only good for a one-mile radius from the hotel. The rides are complimentary and feature a pre-programmed navigation system with addresses to Chicago landmarks and nearby road trip destinations outside of Illinois. But of course, you'll still rely on Google Maps anyways.
Guests can also choose to ride in the house car, which is an LS 460 L flagship sedan, driven by a personal chauffeur and equipped with complimentary bottled water, the Chicago Tribune newspaper and Wi-Fi mobile hotspot functionality.
Rates next weekend at Thompson start at $429 a night so having the use of a Lexus during your stay makes that a little more bearable. And if you already own a Lexus, you can book the Thompson Chicago through the Lexus Drivers Site and get a $100 hotel credit which can be used towards dining and drinks at the hotel's Salone Nico or Nico Osteria.
Possibly not the scrub selection
First it was massage with beer. Now it’s with bourbon. Are Four Seasons trying to tell us something?
First comes the scrub: a wicked scrub of brown sugar, ginger, pecan and Kentucky bourbon. Then, once your pores have been suitably boozed up (and back bacteria slaughtered by the bourbon), comes the massage – not just any massage, but one with hot stones.
Does it get any better than a bourbon scrub and a hot stone rub? Indeed it does. The treatment ends at the bar: not the poncy spa bar, but the actual hotel bar, Allium, where you’ll sample its signature single-barrel bourbon. Presumably you’ll be expected to change out of your robe for this part.
Sleeker. Sexier. Sassier.
Those are the three words used to describe the freshly revealed design of W Chicago Lakeshore after a massive renovation that made this beach-side stunner even more stunning.
Forking over about $38 million dollars for a much-needed refresh of the 520 guest rooms and suites, corridors, and even building exterior, the only hotel that overlooks Lake Michigan is once again the hotspot for visitors. And for locals too thanks to a few new restaurant and lounge offerings.
This summer, the hotel's fine-dining establishment, Travelle, will spin-off an outdoor restaurant on the banks of the Chicago River. Elle on the River will claim the open spot from the hotel to the river between State and Wabash and should be the hot-spot for visitors and locals alike all season. Tim Graham, the chef inside, will oversee the menu outside, filling it with Mediterranean-style tacos and refreshing punches for those lingering long lunches. Some dishes to choose from include tacos filled with chickpea to mahi mahi and chicken to braised pork shoulder
And if the temps aren't hot enough, chef has prepared some house-made hot sauces to kick up the spice. An apropos "rookie" sauce is perfect for beginners, where the "blazing" is for the more seasoned.
The Thompson Chicago has decor filled with leather and aubergine hues— and now it has a scent to match. 12.29, the New York-based olfactory branding company that's developed custom scents for clients such as Rodarte and The Quin Hotel, has created a special scent exclusively for Thompson Hotels, and Thompson Chicago is the first to try it out.
Called "Velvet," the scent comprises notes inspired by the look and feel of Thompson Hotels. In addition to the components mentioned above, the spicy scent contains amber, smoky cedar wood, and fresh tobacco. We popped into the hotel last night to do a little sniff test, and found that the scent is noticeable but subtle, like a fragrance put out by a fancy candle burning (and not—don't worry—like a heavy cloud of room spray.)
Speaking of candles, 12.29 is hosting a pop-up boutique in the lobby through March 20. The company typically only sells its candles ($150 a pop) online, but the temporary shop will offer them up in four different scents. The fragrances come in poetic names such as "A Forgotten Memory" and "A Dark Desire Affair."
Photo: JennyBerg for HotelChatter]
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Billed as a "lifestyle boutique hotel alternative," the ACME Hotel in River North has a hip, young—dare we say "alternative"—way of doing things.
First, there are blueberry-lavender "doughssants" in its coffee shop and a bar made out of leather belts in its lobby. Then, there's the technology. If you thought the Smart TVs and loads of iPod docking stations were cool, wait till you hear what the hotel is doling out now as a guest amenity: Google Glass.
It looks like these three idiots are now on the Trump Chicago's blacklist. Heck, maybe they should be on every hotel's blacklist.
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, a trio of suburbanites (LOL) stopped by the hotel's 16th-floor bar on Saturday night. They had one drink, but appeared so intoxicated the bartender didn't think it fit to serve them a second round. So, they went to get a few cups of coffee and sober up, right? Wrong.
The three gentlemen proceeded to a stairwell and turned on the water valve—surely proving they were sober enough for another drink, right? The water valve, which shoots out 250 gallons of water a minute, caused $700,000 worth of damage to the property's elevators, marble flooring, and walls and ceilings. But there's a happy ending: all three of these charmers, who range in age from 24 to 25, were charged with criminal damages.
Fortunately, nothing seemed amiss on social media or on TripAdvisor, leading us to think the issues were probably hidden well from guests. Indeed, CBS News reported that it was largely the parking structure's elevators that were affected and not the regular guest elevators. But still, #neveragain drunk dudes. Never again.
[Photo: Trump Chicago/Facebook]
Billed as the only downtown Chicago hotel that overlooks Lake Michigan, W Chicago Lakeshore boasts views of the "sparkling lakefront and Chicago's glittering skyline" on its website. True, but the interior view may be a little less, shall we say, shiny. Don't fret, W diehards: That's all about to change.
On TripAdvisor, a user called Seattle97010 titled his June 2013 review of the property "Renovation Ready," and noted the "shabby condition" of its rooms. (Look, he did say the "restaurant was great, though.") In response, a W rep apologized and promised: "we will be going through a complete renovation and redesign soon." When will it be finished? The jury's still out. Drive-bys confirm that there is in fact some scaffolding and construction equipment outside the hotel—always a good sign—and another W spokesperson told us that renovations should be done by the end of the year.
When it comes to hotel rooms, is Chicago maybe, possibly, likely overbuilding? Whatever, who cares?! Clearly, hotels don't. On the heels of news about a few new Hyatts coming to town, we've not got word that Marriott's AC Hotels brand is set to open in the popular River North neighborhood.
It was only last June that Marriott announced that it was importing its AC Hotels brand from Europe into the U.S., starting with Miami. Now Chi-town will get a piece of the Spanish brand. According to Crain's Chicago, the AC will open in the existing Four Points by Sheraton hotel at 630 N. Rush Street. The hotel will have 217 rooms and all the design elements of an AC hotel, namely lots of cool, design-forward, public spaces for the millennial guests to socialize in. Oh and free WiFi, too.
No word on when the conversion will happen but we'll guess sometime after Miami opens, so probably. 2015.
[Photo: AC Hotels by Marriott/Google Street View]
UPDATE Nov. 5, 2013: The hotel is now opening next Summer, not Spring as initially planned/hoped by everyone eager to sleep with this Virgin.
A while back we were stoked to find out that the Virgin Chicago, due to open next
spring summer, would have not just a rooftop bar but also a Virgin Clubhouse. Granted, we weren't exactly sure what would be in the Clubhouse, but if it was anything similar to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses found at airports around the world, we knew it had to be something cool.
But now the clubhouse may not even happen.
The hotel's developer, Lionstone, has pulled the information referencing the Clubhouse from their website. Boo. But fortunately, the rooftop bar and lounge remains. (They also pulled this rendering of the hotel's entrance which a Virgin rep told us was not accurate at all.)
One of our operatives skipped by the hotel the other month but the Virge was pretty well-covered up. Such a modest Virgin! But still, we hope it won't be much longer before we get some real news out of this joint.
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Keeping with our series of bending the ear of our favorite barkeeps, we recently had the opportunity to find out what NoMI Lounge Manager and bartender, Kevin Beary, at the Park Hyatt Chicago thinks about the industry's preferred poisons.
HotelChatter: So, what's your bar-tending journey?
Kevin Beary: I started my hotel bar career at the historic Bellevue in Philadelphia and moved to the iconic Clover Club.
HC: NoMI is quite the destination in Chicago, with an ideal location and great reputation, what is your thought process when designing a new cocktail menu?
KB: A new cocktail list is like the first day of school. It's a little nerve racking but exciting at the same time. It allows me to be creative yet still stay true to the NoMI experience.
There's no doubt that Chicago has become quite the hotbed for new hotel action in the past few years. From trendy boutique hotels with a definite artsy edge to names that are synonymous with luxury. Fortunately, we got to lay our very own eyes on a new property that fits into the latter category; the Langham Chicago.
Langham opened in July in a 'soft opening' that elicited lots of "oohs" and "ahhs", including our own when we got a glimpse of what's inside the former IBM building along the Chicago River. To the untrained eye, many people wouldn't take note of the building itself, but design junkies will know the building to be the last of famed architect, Mies van der Rohe. It should also be known that the inside pays as much homage to the designer and his building and we couldn't be more wowed.
Full of little details from hanging Czech glass globes in the lobby, designed by London-based Richmond Group, hand-picked art pieces and the subtle tech-y nod to the building's former glory in Travelle, the upscale restaurant on the lobby level; it would be hard to check-in to this hotel and be underwhelmed. Each of the 316 rooms are so well thought out featuring high-end furniture, plush fabrics and sleek marble, in even the basic of rooms.