Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

STAYCATION REVIEW The Ritz-Carlton: Class, comfort by Water Tower
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Liz Baudler
2017-10-24

This article shared 808 times since Tue Oct 24, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


I have stayed in many and varied hotels: As a pretty utilitarian sort, I never expected to stay in the Ritz-Carlton ( 160 E. Pearson St.; RitzCarlton.com ). Recently redesigned with a chic, modern, yet still opulent feel, the Ritz invited me to spend the night and check out the spa the next morning, and I wasn't going to say no, so here's what happened.

—Location: The Ritz sits a few blocks inside the north end of the Magnificent Mile and top of part of Water Tower Place. In fact, there's a stop on one of the hotel elevator that takes you directly into the mall. So, overall, it's well-located for a shopping trip. Our room overlooked the old Water Tower and, to the east, Navy Pier and the Museum of Contemporary Art—a view my partner found amazing.

The multiple elevator situation: There's an elevator from the Pearson Street entrance to the lobby and, around the corner, elevators inside the lobby that actually take you up into the hotel. It can feel a little confusing and also like you might have spent 50% of your stay in an elevator, but I don't see another solution for the space.

—Feel/atmosphere: The downstairs entrance, the actual lobby and the space around it are striking, with vibrant, dark and light patterns on plush carpet. I also loved the bold art that highlights the lobbies, hallways and rooms. The clientele's mood at the Ritz appears equally split between people having a upscale, relaxing dinner as well as people who have important business mergers in the morning, and the space seems to accommodate both nicely.

The staff is overall, unfailingly attentive. They would like to do whatever they can for you, which was helpful in smoothing over some communication issues. I got champagne when I checked in, but I would have preferred more information about the hotel layout, such as where I could find the spa. In one of my many trips in the many elevators, I ran into Ricardo, who took time out of his day to ask me how I was doing and if I was enjoying myself. Later, in the Club Lounge, he remembered me and did everything he could to help my partner and I get some dinner after hours. Even when I asked him about the enchanting, spicy perfume in the bathroom, he called the spa to figure out if it was for sale.

Our room, a suite on the 21st floor, was gigantic: there was actually a French door between the bed area and what could have passed as a living room in a Chicago apartment. There were two sinks and a walk-in shower in the bedroom, plus a tiny refrigerator and espresso-making area in the hallway. My partner and I were concocting a plan to steal our king-size bed by the next morning. It was a hotel bed that actually delivered on the promise of luxurious comfort, pillowy without being overbearing. The sofa and chair in the room were surprisingly comfortable too, although worn a little bit on the arms.

And if you put on a Ritz-Carlton bathrobe, you will not want to take it off—they are thick, almost quilted, and don't have the slightest bit of roughness to them.

—Amenities: From a previous visit, I can tell you that the Italian steakhouse, Torali, is quite delicious, with vast options for fine alcohol, delicate appetizers—the bigeye tuna crudo was a great mix of salty, smooth, tangy flavors and textures—and of course, a fine juicy steak. Their rooftop bar is also daringly designed, popping with blue light: it was a little too cold and windy for us on our visit, but on a nicer day I would visit for aesthetics alone. There is a small cafe in the lobby serving La Colombe coffee, small appetizers and sandwiches, and oatmeal and butterscotch cookies. With its free wifi and proliferation of sofas, armchairs, and tables, the lobby is an inviting place to hang out, and the cafe helps feed you while you're there.

For this visit, we were supposed to take our dinner in the Club Lounge—an exclusive area available with certain rooms. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner at certain times, and has snacks and beverages throughout the day. This too is stunningly well-decorated with casual style and another great view—my partner said she would happily live in it for a week.

However, we weren't told when the Club Lounge served meals and, thus, when we arrived at 8 p.m., a not unreasonable time for dinner in our view, we had missed the food. Luckily, our friend Ricardo hooked us up with a lovely white wine and some tasty leftover hors d'oeuvres, including a mini-asparagus quiche, a pork slider and what my partner described as "smoked salmon on a first cousin of a Triscuit". ( She really liked that one. ) The caramel pudding was a favorite of ours, too.

Breakfast the next morning, offered at 6-11 a.m., was the most hearty and varied complimentary breakfast buffet I've had in a hotel, with fresh fruit, bacon, eggs, about five different toast options, and a lox and bagel station. The bacon was really good. At breakfast, we also saw another couple make the same mistake we made about dinner, so it seems that in general that Club Lounge services need better explanation. ( And might I suggest lengthening the meal times by at least a half-hour? )

At the spa and workout facility, both the pool and exercise room struck me as small but well-equipped and, from the treadmills, you get another great view of the city. They also have steam rooms and a sauna. About my spa treatment: Initially, I was supposed to have a massage, but at the last minute was offered a 50-minute facial instead. I am definitely more of a massage person—soap and water is about all that happens to my face—but Daniela was very understanding of my total confusion regarding this rite of spa passage. Despite doing some heavy-duty maintenance on my chin, she and the spa's aromatherapy helped set a relaxing atmosphere. Her attention to detail was clear—I had written on my pre-treatment sheet that I had shoulder tension and despite the fact that I was getting a face treatment, she obviously took some time with my shoulders. The products she used felt fantastic—I actually liked the sonic treatment—and I keep enjoying my very smooth skin. I would certainly do the 80-minute facial in the future. It's possible to visit the spa without staying at the hotel, as long as you don't mind adding $10 to the bill.

—Bottom line: It's definitely an aesthetically excellent hotel to experience. I could actually see the Ritz-Carlton working better as a spa staycation than a home base during a trip—since you won't want to leave the bed or take off your bathrobe.

Note: This hotel visit was based on an arranged invitation.


This article shared 808 times since Tue Oct 24, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Soapbox travels to Chicago to raise hand-hygiene awareness 2021-07-21
- Clean beauty company Soapbox unveiled the world's biggest bottle of soap in New York City's Times Square on July 15, marking the launch of a multi-city tour aimed at raising awareness for the importance of hand ...


Gay News

SAVOR Lincoln Park spot Mesa Urbana 2021-07-04
- More than four years ago, I traveled to a small Glenview strip mall to visit the Mexican fusion spot Mesa Urbana—and was bowled over by dishes such as shrimp farfalle, pechuga de pollo (chicken with onions ...


Gay News

STAYCATION 21c Museum Hotel's 'Love Is Love' package 2021-06-27
- The 21c Museum Hotel—a chain of mid-size hotels known for being in medium-sized cities such as Cincinnati, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky—took a leap in early 2020, opening its largest hotel here in Chicago (at 55 E. Ontario ...


Gay News

Ten incredible places to visit in Armenia 2021-06-27
- Armenia is one of the most fascinating places in the world, with rich millennia-old history, ancient monuments, majestic countryside, lush highlands and much more. I just came back from this country. It was my third time ...


Gay News

STAYCATION Rating The Godfrey Hotel Chicago's Pride Month package 2021-06-21
- The Godfrey Hotel Chicago (127 W. Huron St.; https://www.godfreyhotelchicago.com/) is currently offering a Pride Month hotel package for June that includes overnight accommodations, a table for two at the I/O Godfrey rooftop, a massage at the ...


Gay News

Pride Journey: Palm Springs 2021-06-10
- Palm Springs is my happy place. The city and the surrounding area provide me with the perfect mix of relaxation and entertainment. Having been to Palm Springs numerous times prior to this visit, I wanted to ...


Gay News

Essential tips for your COVID-free travel 2021-06-10
- COVID-19 will make travel a bit more complicated this summer. Going to Europe? Taking a cruise? Visiting Hawaii, San Juan or St. Lucia? Or maybe you are planning a road trip? The rules for traveling responsibly ...


Gay News

SAVOR Talking with new Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai; Profile of Travelle's breakfast 2021-06-09
- Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai Travelle at the Langham (330 N Wabash Ave.; https://www.travellechicago.com/) has undergone a major change during the COVID pandemic: New Chef de Cuisine Qi (pronounced "tee") Ai was promoted from sous ...


Gay News

Pritzker announces 'Time for Me to Drive' campaign to jump-start Illinois tourism 2021-05-12
- Gov. JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Office of Tourism and industry leaders to kick off "Time for Me to Drive"—a new campaign to promote the return of travel across the state. In its first new campaign ...


Gay News

Essential tips for your COVID-free travel 2021-05-08
- COVID-19 will make travel a bit more complicated this summer. Going to Europe? Taking a cruise? Visiting Hawaii, San Juan or St. Lucia? Or maybe you are planning a road trip? The rules for traveling responsibly ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Black trans candidate, travel case, trans death, CEO fired 2021-05-02
- RuPaul's Drag Race alum Honey Mahogany—who currently holds a vice-chair seat in her local County Central Committee—announced that she will be seeking the role of chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party when current Party Chair ...


Gay News

Warrant issued for Joliet teacher accused of inappropriate communication with teen boy [UPDATE] 2021-05-01
- Joliet police issued an arrest warrant for a former Catholic school teacher accused of inappropriately communicating with a teenage boy, a. Fox32Chicago.com item reported. Jeremy M. Hylka is facing charges of traveling to meet a child ...


Gay News

Former, current Chicago aldermen facing multiple charges 2021-04-29
- On April 29, former 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz was indicted on federal charges alleging he spent cash from a political fund he controlled on sports tickets, travel, meals and other personal expenses, The Chicago Tribune ...


Gay News

WORLD Namibia ruling, U.S. embassies, Kenya refugee camp, trans teen 2021-04-25
- Namibia's High Court ruled against a gay couple battling to obtain travel documents for their twin daughters, born to a surrogate in South Africa, after authorities refused to do so on the basis the infants were ...


Gay News

COVID: CDC updates domestic travel guidelines 2021-04-03
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update regarding domestic travel—and eased restrictions for travelers who are fully vaccinated. The CDC website stated, as of April 3: People who are fully vaccinated with ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.