I must've walked by the dana hotel and spa ( 660 N. State St.; DanaHotelAndSpa.com ) a thousand timesliterally.
However, I recently got a chance to stop by and spend the night. Is it worth a vacation stop for your friends/relatives or a staycation for yourself? Windy City Times took a closer look.
Check-in: Usually, checking into a hotel is just a ho-hum affair. However, at the dana, even that experience is difference for at least two reasons.
One reason things are different is that checking in is a sit-down experience, with stools in front of a desk with seated staff. The second reason is Princessan agent provocateur who, within 30 seconds, engaged with me in some conversation that you don't usually hear at the front desk. She is, as they say, worth the price of admissionand made for the most unforgettable check-in experience I've ever had ( in a good way ).
Spa: The spa at this stop offers practically everything one could want: massages ( including hot stone, Swedish and even special ones for mothers-to-be ), facials, glycolic peels, waxing, nail care, citrus detox wraps and more. My aesthetician, Aimee, was very helpful and soothing as I had my facial ( although I came to the conclusion that I need to relax more )and she even gave me some packets of cleanser and exfoliant so I can maintain until my next visit.
freestyle food + drink restaurant: A friend and I decided to check out dana's freestyle spot, which is just as sleek as the rest of the hotel. ( The State Street patio is open, but we stayed inside since it was approximately 300 degrees outsidealthough some intrepid souls sat out there. )
The cuisine is mostly contemporary Americanand pretty delicious. The rock shrimp ( tempura-battered in chili aioli, oven-dried pineapple, crispy garlic and ginger ) is practically addictive, and my friend absolutely loved her strawberry shortcake crunch bar. Also, I have give shout-outs to servers Mike ( who likes to dance, apparently ) and Ciaran.
Room: My room ( called the tranquil king suite, and other rooms are given labels such as "nirvana" and "utopian," in keeping with the chill vibe ) was as contemporary as the rest of the hoteldown to the wine racks. Except for the front door, there are lots of sliding doors, which was pretty cool, except for the one which covered either the door or the bathroom ( but not both ); if two people were sharing that room, things could get awkward, depending on how closely they know each other. However, speaking of the bathroom, the showering area is huge, with two separate shower heads, hoses and seats. Ohthere are also two balconies that provide an expansive urban view.
Exercise room: The exercise room is open 24 hours ( which I tested, stopping by at 3 a.m. ). There's a full slate of weights and some cardio machines, although the television didn't workwhich actually got me to concentrate more on the workout. ( It's strange how that works. )
Vertigo Sky Lounge: The Vertigo Sky Lounge, fittingly, is at the top of the dana. The indoor/outdoor spot runs year-round, including have the city's only outdoor rooftop ice bar. It's open until at least 2 a.m. every night, although the patio closes earlier.
Overall: Is the dana worth a stay? Absolutely. It's an unusual hotel in some ways but the cool vibe is undeniable, and the location is convenient to Michigan Avenue, the Red Line, the Loop, etc. Plus, there's Princess!