Luxury Hotels: The Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park manages to be simultaneously grand and welcoming. Walking into the Fairmont Chicago's enormous circular lobby could feel a bit overwhelming, but the affable staff is warm and welcoming and directs guests to anywhere they want to go. And even if no staff were around, there's a fancy-schmancy touch directory to help guests get around; giving everything from the local weather to the location of a special event.
The dramatic lobby is just the tip of the iceberg of this hotel's recent $50 million transformation. Centered in the lobby is the Eno Wine Room, a favorite of both locals and guests. Grab a glass of wine and pair with savory cheese or a sweet chocolate truffle. This Eno location also offers wine education classes for a fun way to learn about wine and wine pairings. In the morning, the same circular oasis offers breakfast options.
The Fairmont's renovation also updated the guestrooms with light, bright and spacious guestrooms, as well as luxurious suites and one of the city's few on-site spas.
Touring the spa, one feels completely removed from the city. Fairmont Chicago's mySpa is 11,000 square feet of luxury indulgence, including private treatment rooms and baths. In addition to a wide variety of menu options, mySpa also offers oxygen treatments, the latest in non-invasive skincare therapy. Designed to refresh and rehydrate, oxygen treatments offer instant results and touchably soft skin.
The Fairmont's restaurant, Aria has quickly become a local favorite. My guest and I were treated to lunch at Aria, which features locally sourced and organic ingredients with a decidedly Asian twist, as envisioned by Chef Brad Parsons. Before the meal arrived, we were presented with naan freshly baked in a tandoori oven and accompanied by three dipping sauces.
Knowing that we would be dining out later that evening, we chose to go with several appetizers: Cilantro cured salmon carpaccio, big eye tuna tartare, rock shrimp tempura and butter poached peekytoe crab. All of the appetizers were elegantly presented with luxurious touches like pink peppercorns, making for a perfect midday exploration of the extensive menu. Aria also offers diners iPads to make the dining experience high-tech and allow diners to explore unfamiliar ingredients used in the pan-Asian cuisine.
With Aria and the Aria bar and club, The Fairmont is quickly engaging in Chicago's culinary scene, offering special dinners like the Snout-to-tail & Beer Dinner event that took place shortly after our visit. The event was designed to capture the Windy City's current obsession with pork and showcase local farmers.
If the hotel itself doesn't offer enough to do, with meeting rooms, a full spa and fitness center, gourmet restaurants, exquisite suites, including the Presidential Suite where President Obama and his staff stayed during the election, then there's always Fairmont Gold. It's a special members-only lounge on the fifteenth floor. Let's just say there are plenty of nearby attractions to get you out and about.
The Fairmont Chicago's premium location in the city offers easy access to some of the city's most notable attractions, including Millenuim Park (just a block away), as well as the Chicago River, Navy Pier, local theatres, Soldiers Field and the popular Museum Campus which includes Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum.
Our room offered spectacular views of neighboring skyscrapers and the city skyline, as well as technological advancements and a spacious bathroom with a rainfall shower and separate tub. The guestrooms are very contemporary and well lit. There are large windows to allow plenty of natural sunlight and a feeling of openness, as well as special amenities and touches like a closed off toilet and a dressing area.
The Fairmont also offers five very special and very luxurious suites, each with its own magnificent feature: The Presidential Suite has a Kauai grand piano; The Fairmont Grand and Grant Park Suites have a wet bar and fireplace; and The Millennium Park Suite has its own kitchen.
The emphasis on comfort extends to the Fairmont's In-Room Dining, which offers not only room service, but special options for staying in, including a Bath Sommelier, Movie Snacks and other hospitality services.
Although large hotels can be cold and uninviting, the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park manages to be both a stately high rise while also being warm and welcoming.
The Fairmont Chicago Millenium Park
200 North Columbus Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60601