Luxury Hotels: The first stop on our luxury tour of the Windy City was The Talbott Hotel, a boutique hotel nestled into the heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood.
Pulling up to the front of the hotel was more similar to pulling up to a stately apartment building that you've lived in all your life. The doormen quickly opened the door for us and whisked our luggage inside to let the front desk know we were ready to check-in. Check-in was quick and easy, everything it should be at a luxury boutique hotel, a member of the elite Small Luxury Hotels of the World, no less.
Located at 20 East Delaware Place, The Talbott is literally right around the corner from Clark Street, Chicago's beacon of fine dining and primo shopping. Because the hotel is small, it doesn't have a gym onsite, but instead offers guests day passes at the luxurious Equinox fitness center, only a block away on Michigan Avenue.
The Talbott hotel boasts the largest standard guestrooms in the city, spacious enough to allow room to walk around and not feel claustrophobic. Standard room amenities include Frette linens, cozy residential carpet (which feels amazingly luxe underfoot) and 42-inch LCD television sets add to the homey-atmosphere, which is reminiscent of an old school hunting lodge. I was pleased to also discover a room safe large enough to hold a laptop computer, as well as numerous HD television stations and, most importantly, complimentary Internet access.
The building is from the 1920s, but the hands-on owner and capable staff have managed to transform the boutique hotel into a wonder of modern technology. Although the building and décor maintain an air of bygone times, technology is used behind the scenes to ensure that every guest has the best possible experience, and has a minimal impact on the environment.
As one of the first Green Seal-certified hotels in the United States, The Talbott hotel offers "Sustainability Without Compromise," to reduce the hotel's carbon footprint. The low-impact technology is so sleek and sophisticated that it doesn't affect the comfort or luxury of your stay, but enhances it behind the scenes.
The Talbott's commitment to maintaining a luxurious and sustainable property includes:
An extensive recycling program — the hotel not only uses recyclable consumer paper products and biodegradable and non-phosphate supplies, but also uses small soaps and shampoos in the bathroom and donates leftovers to to a charity that recycles them for the needy
The latest green technology — energy-efficient equipment and lighting, water-conserving fixtures, and automatic sensors for lighting, heating and air conditioning in low-traffic areas
An optional "eco-mode" for guestrooms — a simple, one-touch button that wirelessly alerts the staff that the guest has chosen to have the bed and bath linens replaced every other day and also allows the room temperature to adjust within eight degrees while guests are out of the room
The purchase of carbon offsets — for guests that use the eco-mode setting in the room, the hotel purchases a one-month carbon offset to allow you to continue being green, even after checking out of the hotel
An investment in wind energy — we offset 100 percent of the property's carbon footprint by purchasing wind energy credits
The Talbott has more plans to upgrade its technology in the future as well, including installing Mac minis in guestrooms, which will make the hotel even homier than ever.
Although Clark Street and Chicago long-time establishments like Gibson's are just around the corner, The Talbott is home to Bice Bistro, an upscale Italian-style bistro that perfectly complements the comfortable neighborhood feel of The Talbott. Bice Bistro also provides 24-hour room service for the hotel as well as catering for events in The Talbott's three customizable meeting rooms.
As a non-smoker, I appreciated that only one floor has smoking rooms, rather than mingling smoking and non-smoking. Unlike some hotels where smoking and non-smoking guestrooms mingle on a floor, my roomy room was not tainted by secondhand smoke smells.
With the warm welcoming lobby, super spacious guestrooms, a friendly and knowledgeable staff that takes the time to greet each guest as they come and go, it was easy to see why The Talbott has become a favorite with numerous publications.