Finally! 10 straight days at home in Chicago for the first time since June. No work travel, no leisure travel, no personal obligatory travel. No suitcases, no miniature toiletries, no Project Runway marathons. My own food, my own bed, my own car, my own house. Heaven!
Cats! Ez attacking my feet beneath the covers, malevolent Mia chasing Ez across the bed (and over my back), Mia now batting the cord to the venetian blinds above my head to get my attention.
5:08 a.m. and there goes the ‘L’ train, shaking my bed. And here comes the sun (damn Eastern exposure) — over the ‘L’ tracks and straight through the catawampy blinds destroyed in protest during one of my frequent absences.
The sound of the wind whipping across Lake Michigan reaches right up into my bed and judging by the non-stop whir of my furnace it’s a cold one out there today. Too cold to walk to the gym. And too cold to go to the store for groceries. Yet, I have no food in my house…
I’m checking-in to a hotel.
THE WALDORF ASTORIA CHICAGO
Chicago’s obviously a big, cosmopolitan city with more luxury hotels than you can shake a stick at, but ask any in-the-know local and you’ll probably learn that the Waldorf Astoria Chicago is generally regarded as the best of the bunch. It’s the only AAA five-diamond hotel in The Second City with 5 out of 5 bubbles on Tripadvisor and Travel + Leisure ranked it 44th on their World’s Best Hotels 2013 list. And for today — a chilly late-autumn weekend — I can think of no better place to stay in my fair city. Some hotels just fit certain seasons, and the Waldorf Astoria Chicago especially shines in The Fall.
To be specific, here are 40 reasons to love the Waldorf Astoria Chicago during a blustery November weekend:
- The Waldorf Astoria Chicago is situated in the heart of the city, dangerously close to the best shopping ($$$$) and restaurants ($$$$). I could throw a Manolo Blahnik from my balcony and hit Barney’s
- The roasted mushroom appetizer in Balsan is umami heaven
- Bernard’s is Chicago’s coziest boîte and my new hangout
- Subtle nods to Coco Chanel and Dior throughout the property (check-out the corset-styled drapes in the lobby)
- Original, unique, Louvre-worthy artwork by Dawn Clements, Javier Marin and others
- That insane, 8-foot-wide starburst chandelier in the lobby (modeled after one of Coco Chanel’s brooches)
- The Waldorf Astoria Chicago accepts and awards Hilton HHonors points
- Tipping is discouraged
- A small fleet of Lexus vehicles are available (complimentary) on a first-come, first-served basis to transport guests within a two-mile radius of the hotel
- Free wi-fi
- Gratis newspaper delivery
- Shoeshine service on the house
- Pets welcome (I left Ez and Mia at home)
- The Waldorf Astoria Chicago lobby features marble floors, classical busts, and a nickel ribbon wall
- Private cobblestone entry
- Scored a courtesy upgrade!
- The suites, the suites, the suites. Did I mention the suites? Spacious, spacious suites
- Large, private entryways. It doesn’t sound like much, but they make you feel like you’re living in a Manhattan Upper East Side penthouse rather than staying in a standard hotel room
- Champagne and platinum color scheme (classy)
- Artwork (the bright colors contrast nicely with the champagne/platinum and lend a feminine touch)
- High ceilings, airiness and plenty of natural light
- One-touch lighting, doorbell and privacy button
- A working fireplace! Perfect for today. Or any day in Chicago in November, really
- Massive balcony
- Chicago skyline and glimpses of Lake Michigan
- 180 degrees of windows
- Copies of Chicago Social magazine
- iPhone charging deck + speakers (although it does not accommodate an iPhone 5)
- Beds composed of clouds. I fell asleep with the tv on (NOT classy)
- Silence! Like sleeping in a tomb. I overslept without any sounds of the city to wake me
- Elaborate master bath with mosaic tile floors, marble walls, an oversized soaking tub, shower the size of a racquetball court, and toilet telephones (?)
- TVs embedded in the mirrors
- Ferragamo bath products
AMENITIES & SPECIAL TOUCHES
- High-end silver fixtures, top-notch linens (the draperies cost more than I earn in a year), crown molding and beveled mirrors
- A hotel gift of Elysian Spa & Health Club products
- Custom stationery
- Microwave, in-room ice and wet bar
- The Waldorf Astoria Chicago gym is ridiculously equipped
- Complimentary fitness classes, including pilates (high-tech machines available) and gyrotonics (whatever that is)
- Lap pool, private locker room, whirlpool, sauna and steam room
Well, that was a wonderful little respite from reality. Although I already miss Ez and Mia. Time to return home.