Family Adventure Mom

Adventures On The Road
Picnic in the Clouds

Miracle Mile Style




Hotel Monaco, Chicago
Usually, when I get to a city hotel, I can’t wait to head out and explore. That’s not the case at Chicago’s Hotel Monaco, where I stay on frequent business trips to the Windy City.

My guestroom has two tall windows with wide, padded sills. I pull on the leopard-print terry robe provided for guests, grab a good book (such as Chicago-based Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen), and settle into my perch. From behind my 10th-story pane, I watch police pull up to the 7-Eleven, cabs cruise down Wacker, and tourists tote shopping bags. The hotel’s aim is to give guests “the illusion of floating on a magic carpet above the calming flow of the Chicago River.” In the thick of a midwest metropolis, I’ve found the ultimate relaxation station.

When I finally feel like stretching my legs, I head for the lobby. With its French Deco paintings, working fireplace, and comfy chaises for sipping complimentary coffee and wine, it’s more like a lush living room. When hunger strikes, there’s no need to leave the hotel; it adjoins South Water Kitchen, which dishes out imaginative plates of American comfort food. After a long day of travel, I welcome the chance to settle in to a cozy booth and savor a rare steak and mashed potatoes.

Located at the corner of Wabash and Wacker, the Hotel Monaco is within walking distance of my favorite Chicago spots – Millenium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center (arts performances, visitor information, and a super gift shop), and the Magnificent Mile. Last time I strolled down Michigan Avenue, I encountered dress forms sporting eco-friendly frocks, some made from potato chip wrappers and house keys. I’m a bargain hunter, and always make time to shop on State Street at Nordstrom Rack, Loehmann’s, and Filene’s Basement.

What I like most about Hotel Monaco: it’s cutting edge, yet comfortable. If I crave company, I can share my room with a goldfish (the staff handles care and feeding). Jet-lagged? In-room spa treatments include hydrating body wraps and botanical based facials. The Monaco’s KN Tranquility Suite features a draped entryway and water fountain. As is true at all Kimpton Hotels (the San Francisco-based company currently manages 42 boutique hotels in North America), cats, dogs, and kids are warmly welcomed.

Hotel Monaco’s family-friendly practices (borrow cribs, booster seats, and nightlights, instead of lugging yours) are one reason I recently spent the night there with my husband and kids. My 9-year-old daughter Cady and 6-year-old son Hudson were thrilled to find child-size animal print robes in our guestroom closet and immediately climbed onto the padded windowsills. They loved sightseeing from that spot so much, we skipped dinner out and had a “window picnic.” We spread towels over the cushions, dined on deli sandwiches, and watched the urban action. When it came time for bed, the kids chose to slumber on their magic carpets, snoozing soundly as streetlights twinkled on the Chicago River.

Where: 225 North Wabash
More: 866-610-0081, 312-960-8500
Rates: Standard rooms, $200 and up. Suites, $300 and up


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© Deborah Geigis Berry, The Family Adventure Mom, 2008-11. All rights reserved.

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