If you're like me, you've walked past the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile (20 E. Chestnut St.; www.sofitel-chicago.com ) a million times.
You've probably also admired the hotel's unique architecture almost as many timesand wondered what things might be like inside.
So is this Gallic-themed beauty really worth your timeand, more importantly, your money? Windy City Times visited the hotel for a closer look.
Location: As its name indicates, the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile is mere steps away from some of the best shopping in the cityas well as Lake Michigan. In addition, it's a short distance to the Loop and Chicago Riverwalk as well as incredible restaurants and nightlife. (You'll read more about the Sofitel's culinary offering's later.) The Sofitel is also close to all sorts of public transportation (trains and buses), meaning you're minutes away from museums, sports venues and more.
Feel/atmosphere: The Sofitel offers 415 guest rooms ranging in size from 350 to 1,235 square feet as well as 63 suites that are 500 to 1,235 square feet. (FYI: I put in numbers for staying Aug. 23-24; the room I stayed ina luxury one-kingwas slightly more than $341.) My room was immaculate and almost plush, although the size made it almost a bit too cozy for a "luxury" room; however, the bathroom was more impressive, with a large tub and upscale products (Lanvin, of course)although some may wish the toilet was separated more from the rest of the space.
And get those outdated ideas out of your head about any "snootiness" because of the French vibe. Although I'm pretty sure most of the staff isn't French, the employees couldn't have been nicer or more helpful.
Amenities: Boy, does the Sofitel have amenities!
Spa services include massages, facials, manicures and pedicures you can get in your own room. (BTW, if you're worried about safety, don't be: Only hotel guests and registered visitors can access floors with guest rooms.) And for those who need to conduct work, there are high-speed internet and two (!) 24-hour business centers.
And as I do with every hotel, I had to check out the fitness facility, located on the second floor. Going there at 4 a.m., there was only one other person therebut this space is definitely impressive. There are all sorts of machines (for lifting, isometrics or cardiovascular activity), free weights, yoga mats and even a wall-mounted item that tests your coordination/speed.
As for restaurants, there are three: the chic Cafe des Architectes and the more laid-back Le Bar and La Terrace. With the weather being stunning (and the temperatures even a tad cool), my dining companion and I opted for La Terrace and had the most wonderful time. The food was quite tasty (including some of the best fries, um, pommes frites I've had in a while); other delectable items included everything from deviled eggs with salmon roe to an irresistible chevre cheesecake.
COVID/health and safety: Some staffers wore masks during my visit, although guests are not required to. Also, there were multiple hand-sanitizer dispensers, including in the fitness center. A full page about the Sofitel's health/safety standards is at www.sofitel-chicago.com/all-stay-well/ .
Bottom line: The Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile has much to offer: a prime location, great eats and a friendly staff. Is this spot worth it for a staycation or to have your family/friends visit for one of the most American of holidaysLabor Day? I answer with a resounding "oui!"
Note: This visit was arranged.