So many times, friends of mine from out of town have come to Chicago for a visit and they’ve looked to me for hotel recommendations. I have ideas about which hotels are nice and I know which are in great locations, but, historically, I had no intimate, first-hand knowledge of any Chicago hotels because – well, I live here. Why would I stay in a hotel when I have a perfectly comfortable home of my own? Recently, though, opportunities for some hometown travel have come my way so I’ve gotten to experience various accommodations in Chicago. After my recent stay at Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, I now know what my answer will be when someone asks which Chicago hotel I recommend.
My stay at the Sheraton was supposed to be a romantic one spent with The Working Dad. But, due to circumstances beyond our control, we found ourselves with no babysitter for the night so it quickly became a Mommy-and-me adventure. Lucia and I were off to the Sheraton after The Working Dad volunteered to stay home with our little guy. Because Lucia accompanied me, I really got to see how the Sheraton Chicago is an excellent option for traveling families.
Lucia and I arrived at the hotel a couple of hours before the 3:00 check-in time. I figured we’d store our bags and then take advantage of the hotel’s prime location, within walking distance of many of Chicago’s top attractions, and see our city from a visitor’s perspective. It was a fabulous plan… until the skies turned black. An ominous-looking storm was heading our way so we turned back and took a stroll through the hotel. It’s when we learned that Sheraton Chicago offers American Girl packages. Your little lady can bring along her favorite American Girl Doll and receive: a welcome letter at check-in; a doll-sized travel bed with turn-down service; as well as tea sandwiches and chocolate truffles. Lucia saw the display for this package and lost her mind!
The Sheraton Chicago offers a number of other packages that cater to families. This is one reason I think the hotel should be a top choice for families visiting Chicago. Here are my other reasons:
Location. I know I’ve already mentioned this but it’s worth repeating. The hotel’s location cannot be beat. Many of Chicago’s most popular attractions – such as Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile – are just a few minutes and a few blocks away. The hotel is situated right on the Chicago River (which is often overshadowed by mighty Lake Michigan, in my opinion), and guests are encouraged to enjoy the Riverwalk – for dining, lounging, or just strolling. Lucia and I took advantage of the riverfront location by walking to one of Wendella Boats’s docks and doing a sightseeing cruise that took us up and down the Chicago River and out onto Lake Michigan. The hotel also is in walking distance of a number of restaurants (from casual to high-end), a bowling alley, and a movie theater.
Sheraton Club. Let’s just say that having access to the Sheraton Club during my visit has spoiled me forever. I don’t know if I can ever stay at a Sheraton – or any other hotel – again and NOT opt for such a service. With Club privileges at Sheraton Chicago, Lucia and I had 24-hour access to the bi-level lounge. It’s located on the 33rd floor so you can imagine that the views of the Chicago River, of Lake Michigan, and out toward the city are amazing. As if the views aren’t enough, the following amenities are complimentary for Club guests: non-alcoholic beverages (bottled water, soda, coffee, etc.); continental breakfast; wi-fi; hors d’oeuvres every evening at 5-8pm; cookies and other sweets every night at 8-10pm; and the luxury of relaxing in the newly redesigned, modern lounge. While Lucia and I waited out the storm before we could check into our room, we hung out in the Club, kicked back on one of the plush sofas, and watched soccer on one of the giant televisions. Without access to the lounge, and with the storm raging, that waiting period could have been disastrous with a curious and active five-year-old. This is why I’m sold on the concept, and because the additional fee for Club access can be quite cost-effective. When you add up the money you’d spend on things like bottled water, breakfast, snacks, and in-room wi-fi, choosing Club access for the entire family just makes more sense. And if you’re traveling with extended family or friends staying in separate rooms, it’s the perfect place to gather and make plans or just catch up with one another.
Indoor pool. Does this really need further explanation? Kids love swimming pools! My daughter is no exception. We spent a few hours total in the water, accompanied by several other families and young children. The pool is located on the 7th floor, connected to the health club, and both require guest key-card entry. The pool area is lined with windows offering even more spectacular views of the city. If you’d like a better look, step out onto the sundeck (weather permitting, of course) that is accessed via the health club. Surprisingly, my little fishy wasn’t too upset about having to leave the pool; she knew there was so much more to see and enjoy in and around the hotel. That being said, an indoor pool is still a welcomed option when traveling with kids; it can be a lifesaver if the weather turns south or plans change for other reasons.
Even though our hometown travel didn’t go quite the way we had originally planned, I am overly thankful for the Mommy-and-me time Lucia and I spent together at the Sheraton Chicago. She is starting kindergarten next week so it was like one last hurrah before she really becomes a big girl! Speaking of school starting… if you’re looking to make a last-minute trip, or you’re in Chicago and thinking about your own last hurrah of the summer, definitely consider the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. I would not hesitate to stay there again – with or without my family. And when I do, I’m definitely going for Sheraton Club access.
My stay at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, including Sheraton Club access, was complimentary. This fact in no way swayed my decision to write positively about our experience. All words and opinions – as always – are my own.