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by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

The European-themed Swissotel Chicago ( 323 E. Wacker Dr.; Article Link Here ) brands itself as a luxury hotel—one of a part of a global chain, and is the only Swissotel in the United States. But is the local hotel worth your time and, more importantly, money?

—Location: The location is prime. Swissotel is steps away from several landmarks, including the Loop, Millennium Park, Navy Pier and the southern part of Michigan Avenue.

—Feel/atmosphere: Swissotel definitely exudes an upscale feel, from The Palm restaurant ( which is actually a separate entity within the hotel ) to the high ceilings and unique light fixtures. The desk clerk was certainly friendly, and I was under the impression that she would be happy to answer any questions ( even if she had to find out from the office, which she did a couple times ).

The room itself was moderately spacious, but didn't seem to have any personality. However, it was spotless and the bed was more than comfortable. ( By the way, Swissotel has a staggering 661 rooms, and they currently cost a minimum of approximately $209/night. )

—Amenities: The amenities are impressive. For example, the penthouse fitness center ( one of the largest I've seen in a hotel ) has a panoramic view of the city as well as a more-than-satisfying array of strength and cardiovascular machines—and there's a large kitchen area there.

As previously mentioned, The Palm ( part of its own chain ) provides some mouth-watering dishes—although the prices might make one hesitate ( e.g., $38 for a salmon filet ). Fortunately, Amuse, Swissotel's own first-floor lounge, offers some pretty cool dishes ( like a guilt-inducing shortrib grilled-cheese sandwich ) that are not as financially onerous but are equally delicious. Room service is also an option, with such choices as the bed-and-breakfast package.

Swissotel also offers a wide selection of exclusive meeting and event spaces in Chicago for every size of corporate and social event. The contemporary ballrooms can be customized for various types of events—and then there's the 14,000-square-foot Zurich Room, featuring 17-foot high ceilings and unobstructed viewing for up to 1,800 attendees.

And the hotel hosts a variety of events that are accessible to hotel guests and the general public alike. December's Santa Suite is a memorable event, but there are also items like the upcoming Vitality Day 2019 class on March 21 that will feature a sound-bath meditation ( https:// Article Link Here ).

—Bottom line: I wouldn't put Swissotel in the same classification of such hotels as The Peninsula and The Ritz-Carlton—but that's not necessarily a bad thing. This is a hotel that can take care of almost every need you may have, efficiently and elegantly.

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

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