There is something to be said in favor of the staycation, or – as I call it – hometown travel. You never know what you might discover in your own city or town. You could come upon a gem that was there all the while.
This is exactly how I feel about Villa D’Citta, a Flipkey property and boutique bed and breakfast in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life and consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the city’s geography, neighborhoods, and landmarks. Yet the existence of this opulent mansion had eluded me all these years, even though I must have driven or walked past it dozens of times. Recently, though, I was lucky to stay at Villa D’Citta, as it was the site of BlogHouse, a four-day blogging conference and workshop, which I attended with a group of other travel bloggers and the professionals from Navigate Media Group.
The mansion dates back to the late 1800s when it was built as a summer cottage for wealthy tycoons. It has since been renovated and today it is a luxurious Tuscan-style villa, complete with a private grotto and full gourmet kitchen. Each room is well-appointed and features common amenities, and even some that were new to me (flameless, remote control candles, anyone?). The rooms, with very Italian-centric names, vary in size and in the number of people they can accommodate. I still don’t know how it happened, but I was fortunate enough to be rewarded with my own room (most everyone else shared rooms). I was assigned the Euro, a single on the top floor of the mansion. It was plenty of space for just me, with a spacious closet, a safe, a flat-screen LCD television, and an electric (also remote-controlled) fireplace that works as an actual heater. The Euro does have its own bathroom but it is detached; I had to walk just a few steps down the hallway to get to it but I had it all to myself.
To go along with this gorgeous property is the unsurpassed service and attention to detail provided for all guests. Cathy Hartmann, Director of Villa D’Citta, is known to “run a tight ship”, but she is extraordinarily pleasant and accommodating. She’s also one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met. Along with her assistants, Cathy spends long hours at the villa, making sure everyone’s needs are met.
As for the actual BlogHouse experience, it was enlightening and invaluable. I learned a great deal about the business of blogging and I’m excited to put my new plan into action. I won’t outline all of the details here and now; instead, I’ll leave you with some photos of the gorgeous Villa D’Citta.
If you’re traveling to Chicago, or if you live here and are looking to do some hometown travel of your own, definitely consider Villa D’Citta as an accommodation option. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I’m currently trying to come up with a reason to stay there again.