My husband and I stayed in Chicago for 4 days and had the pleasure of staying at The Blackstone, A Renaissance Hotel. If you have never done a city like Chicago, then you would have been as cautious as I was when the bell guy asked me to hold onto my keys while our car was outside the hotel. I did apologize to him, but I felt safer having my husband stand with the car as I went to check in...he agreed that it was smart of me to be cautious. This was however before I met Sam & Rory and got to know some wonderful people who worked at the Blackstone hotel. It was 55$ a night for them to valet the car,however, it was worth it and it seems fairly standard in Chicago to pay for parking.
When we checked in our room wasn't quiet ready and so we handed the keys to the valet after checking and tagging our bags...they are nice enough to store the bags for you at the front desk and call you when your room is ready. The valet guys were all very friendly and nice especially George, they were very helpful also in directing us and saving us some time.
The hotel staff, especially Rory & Samantha were wonderful people who we made friends with over our stay and hope to meeting up with when we go back to Chicago...in fact Chicagoan love their city so much they were trying to convince us to move there. Loved them! They were so helpful, engaging and really made us feel like we were at home. They also gave us access to the VIP lounge were they served hot breakfast, Starbucks coffee, specialty drinks, snacks from 5-7 and dessert from 7-10, a nice way to save some cash. It was because we were on our honeymoon.
The hotel itself was beautiful, had a very 20's vibe with a modern twist. Everything from the railings to the chandeliers had history behind them. In fact, we discovered that at one point the hotel was owned by the producer of the Beatles and several movies had been filmed there including the movie Untouchables. My husband was in heaven...to stay at the same hotel where a DeNiro film was done. There was also a Starbucks attached to the hotel, the hotel was centrally located, easy to to get to shopping, food, train and buses. Near Museum Campus and Soldier Field and right on Michigan and our building was easy to spot from every angle...just look for the green roof.
The room itself was very modern and clean, we didn't have much of a view and was a bit concerned about how visible we were from our room to the hotel next to us, but we just kept our blinds down. The bathroom was unique and very classy, the bed was super comfy and we really enjoyed the whole experience. In fact the hotel is so unique that it even has an art hall where you can purchase art. We didn't eat at the restaurant at the hotel, but from reviews I've read and from checking it out...it seemed like a good place.
I also have to say their city tourism girl Amanda was very helpful in directing us around town and giving us options to save money. With some research on my part and her help, we got a great deal on all the attractions and transportation.
We got a CityPass: 80$ a person and can purchase at any museum (access into all the museums and the Sears Tower....with skip the line which was a big selling feature).
CTA Pass: Purchased at CVS Pharmacy 14$ for 3days and access to all city transportation.
I recommend the Shedd Aquarium...when school is NOT out! We didn't do the Planetarium or the Field museum, but by the end of the week I had wished we chose to do one of them because the Museum of Science and Industry was not such a great time...unless you have kids. Its rather out of the way and just didn't seem like a good use of our time.
I loved the Art Institute of Chicago and if your an art junky like myself you will really enjoy it. Sears Tower is something you have to do when your in Chicago...but after being on the Eiffel Tower, The Empire State & CN Tower...this was peanuts and it was all enclosed so you don't get that feeling of being so high up.
We also did lots of shopping, including Magnificent Mile...which unless you are very wealthy is just a place to check out. We did most of our shopping on State street. Millennium park, Soldier Field, Wrigley...all things we did and they are fun to see. The tours of the stadiums are not cheap and we were not interested in a 35$ trip through Wrigley when you can pay 10$ to see a game.
We ate at Gino's East Famous Pizzeria, which was a nice experience. They have a wall next to the bathroom that is full of celeb photo's...Gino's is no joke! A bit of a wait but well worth it! We ate at the House of Blues, which was fun. Good food, nice area...very romantic walk, menu done by a food network chef, great music and atmosphere and I tried a Pull-boy (deep friend shrimp in a bun) need I say more???!.
We also hit Navy Pier one night which made me feel like a kid again, but it was very picturesque and a really fun experience. I recommend eating on the Pier at Bubba Gump's Shrimp & Co. which was lots of fun! They even make you do movie trivia surrounding the movie...get the Mango Mojitos! Food was amazing, staff and everything was a great experience. Check it out!
While at the pier there are a bunch of places you can eat including Harry Carry's, which if you are a sports fan is a cool experience because they have memorabilia everywhere!!! A museum I would say...they even had the original Ghost Busters script!My husband almost cried.
Lastly on our way out of Chicago we checked out a burger joint featured on Diners,Drive-ins and Dives called "Big & Little's" a bright yellow sign on North Orleans Ave. will take you right there and there is a parking lot. My hubby tried a deep friend burger...yup deep friend! I had a burger with a fried egg on it. It was delish! People come from all over to try Big & Little's, they had a bunch of different hot sauces and burgers to satisfy anyone's hungry!
All and all...great trip...great food...great ppl...lots to do...Can't wait to go back! Thanks for everything Chicago!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Blackstone in downtown Chicago is a storied architectural icon rooted in the city's legendary past, but newly updated to deliver a distinguished hospitality experience for today's discerning traveler. Previously known as the Renaissance Blackstone, this recently revitalized destination is blooming as a point of cultural and creative discovery on the Cultural Mile. The Blackstone, where epic history meets a clever contemporary attitude. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Renaissance Hotel Chicago
- Renaissance Hotel Blackstone
- Renaissance Chicago
- Chicago Renaissance