Chicago, home to good food, fine architecture and many a convention can be a bit of a pricey city when it comes to accommodations. Narrowing down accommodations for Chicago was definitely one we pondered over quite a bit. Original plans were to rent out an apartment as we were going to be six adults and four kids on the trip but we soon realized that our needs would not be met with any of the rentals we found. We wanted to be IN the city of Chicago and while hotels were fairly pricey during our weekend visit, it was exactly what we needed. We found the perfect place to rest our weary bones and tired ears (mom! Mom! MOM!! yes it has started) at the InterContinental Chicago.
Disclosure : We received a complimentary stay, but as always, opinions are totally mine.
First of all…location is key! This is one of few hotels actually on the Magnificent Mile strip and right by all the fabulous shopping and the Chicago river. The view from our room as we arrived towards sunset was just what we needed to unwind and feel the beat of the city. There are plenty of hotels in Chicago but our group agreed that the InterContinental has the win when it comes to the location. Sure you could walk a block easily to get to the action, but with kids in tow we were able to make quick pit stops between the many attractions we had on our list.
Even before we arrived, I was aware of the historic charm that was still in place today. The InterContinental Chicago used to be a luxury men’s athletic club for those of the Shrine Organization. While many of the original activity rooms have been converted there’s still plenty of original elements still in place. Old world elegance with 21st century craftsmanship can be seen throughout the property. Hotel guests and passerbys can get free a self-guided tour of the hotel by signing out a pre-loaded ipad from the concierge during working hours. While I wasn’t able to do this tour, my friends were and they said it was very informative. A definite must do for history and architecture buffs. How else can you learn all about the world’s first above ground junior Olympic pool that’s still in use 85 years later?
I took a quick walk through one late evening (can we say midnight?) with the hubs, Little Monkey and sleeping Baby Boy and loved the cozy private meeting space that is Hall of Lions. Pop by if you have a chance. If I lived in Chicago, that would be my zen spot. A water fountain is accompanied by dark cozy spaces and family crests of the original founders of the Medinah Athletic Club. There’s so much history that I could go on and on about the decor, the original paintings and the Baccarat Crystal Chandeliers. But I won’t. But I will tell you that the Little Monkey was BEYOND thrilled when our concierge returned her backpack! We had left it at the reception the night before and totally forgot about it until she woke up at 8 a.m looking for Elsa…needless to say it was an emotional two hours as we figured out what to do, now that we had lost ALL the toys we brought for the trip!
Our room in the historic wing (you can get modern rooms in the newer wing but the rooms are larger in the historic one) was comfortable and extremely clean. Baby Boy took his sink baths and the Little Monkey enjoyed watching the city from our wide window. There was plenty of space for our double stroller, snack bags and large duffle we traveled with. As you can see from the pictures, Little Monkey and Baby Boy were quite pleased running and crawling around the space. Baby Boy was NOT a fan of his metal crib and so he co-slept with me whilst the hubs inched into the Little Monkey’s bed. Glad we got a double room! I was pleased that I brought along our Cars Potty because the hotel was the only spot where I knew we’d have no potty accidents. More on that very soon!
When it comes to amenities most have an additional charge. The stunning pool is free to use but there’s a cost to use the gym. You can get an in-room fridge for $25 or feel free to use the two spots in the mini bar. I managed to store my pumped milk in the two slots and survived. Though I may have tapped a bottle or two because I did get charged for a red bull and orange juice. The lady at check-out was nice enough to remove those charges once I explained that I did not actually move them. The mini bar bills you if anything is moved for more than 30 seconds…good luck keeping the toddler away from the jelly beans! I did quite a few sprints across the room to get that back in within the 30 second time frame.
Here’s a tip…sign up for an IHG members program and not only will you get free internet you will also get Starbucks vouchers for tea or coffee! That was a great surprise! Yes folks, there’s a Starbucks IN the hotel. I heard amazing things about hotel dining options, ENO and the Michael Jordan Steakhouse, but sadly did not get to try them. Given our bad luck at getting in to our top resto pics, I probably should have dined in the hotel itself! Another tip if you’re driving in, there’s parking at the back of the hotel which is $45 a day vs. the $65 at the hotel. However you don’t have in and out privileges. We were exhausted after our drive in so valet parked the first night but moved it to the back after a chat with the concierge who advised us on the new spot as we weren’t driving around the city. Cabs are too cheap to bother with driving in Chicago!
If you’re heading to Chicago and looking for a luxury family friendly spot, rich in culture, history and architecture in the middle of it all, check out the InterContinental Chicago. There’s plenty of packages, including an American Girl one ( I wasn’t into American Girl and only heard about this phenomena a few weeks ago.. so undoubtedly, the Little Monkey will be crazy over this soon!) that gives your little one a bed to take home! Shopping, a river cruise and taking the city hustle is all a step away!