Luxury Hotels: Arriving at The Conrad hotel doesn't come with all the pomp and circumstance of pulling up to some luxury hotels. But the Michelin-recommended hotel certainly improves upon arriving at the 5th floor check-in.
Check in at The Conrad is easy, with a staff eager to accommodate and direct guests around the city. Part of the reason directions are so easy is The Conrad's prime location in the heart of all things luxe. A bridge connects the hotel to The Shops at North Bridge and out the door to the prestigious shops of Michigan Avenue.
The Shops at North Bridge offers Nordstrom as an anchor store, as well as cute boutiques and eateries. Just outside the mall, you can find Water Tower Place as well as the 900 Shops and plenty of places to snack on Chicago's Famous Miracle Mile, including The Purple Pig, a favorite of local chefs, and definitely worth a stop for a bite and a brew. When your feet get tired of shopping, The Conrad's concierge is happy to arrange a local masseuse for an in-room spa treatment, or book a massage at Spa Nordstrom.
The concierge and staff is also good at directing travelers unfamiliar with the area to local attractions, including the Loop, Chicago's historic business district, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. If you're craving a Chicago hot dog or Italian beef, the staff gave us directions to Portillo's, a Disneyland of Chicago's famous foods.
While there's plenty to do outside The Conrad, the hotel itself provides plenty of amenities. The 311 spacious, contemporary furnished guestrooms and suites offer complimentary Internet access, 42-inch flat screen televisions, in-room entertainment systems, pillow menu, deep soaking tubs with separate showers in our king bedded rooms and luxury amenities by Acca Kappa. Built in a historically preserved building, no room in The Conrad Chicago is exactly the same, giving it a unique twist on a luxury hotel chain.
Our suite offered 1.5 bathrooms, which made multiple getting ready for a night out significantly easier. The spacious suite also offered a skyline view, an excellent relief from the concrete skyscrapers seen from street level. But best of all was the snack filled bar and minibar, located directly next to the enormous flatscreen TV in the suite's living room. The candy and glass soda bottles brought us back to childhood, when the measure of a good hotel was based on the minibar stash. The Conrad passed the test with flying colors.
My guest and I weren't traveling with pets, but The Conrad is one of the few luxury hotels that is also pet-friendly. Pet accommodations at The Conrad include a signature Conrad pet bed, engraved food and water bowls, breedappropriate toys and a leash enabling guests and their pets to get out and explore the city. Pets can also have their own room service with a menu including dinner and dessert options.
Dining at The Conrad isn't just for pets. Executive Chef John Doggett presides over The Terrace at Conrad and The Restaurant at Conrad. Weather permitting, The Terrace at Conrad serves up global tapas and signature cocktails with scenic cityscape views from five stories above street level and even has movie nights and get together events popular with locals. Unfortunately, we were too busy eating our way through the rest of the city to try The Terrace, but we did have a chance to enjoy breakfast at The Restaurant at Conrad.
Like the rest of The Conrad's dining options, The Restaurant uses organic local ingredients whenever possible to put forth the best possible American cuisine with Midwest favorites. For my breakfast, (after much debate) I chose the Malted Belgium Waffle, which turned out to be the best Belgium waffle I've ever tasted. My companion chose smoked salmon on a bagel, another favorite. Whatever you choose, it's sure to satisfy, with hearty portions that are freshly made and served by expert, unobtrusive servers.
The Conrad isn't your typical cold hotel. The staff and special services make it a truly luxurious experience right in the midst of Chicago's best shopping areas.