Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at the Elysian after a traffic-filled drive from Chicago O’Hare Airport to find a courtyard reminiscent of Paris, with a water fountain that immediately soothed this weary traveler’s nerves. The doorman warmly welcomed me and escorted me to the reception desk. Check-in was fast and efficient and before I knew it, I was being escorted to my Gold Coast Suite. My escort showed me around the large suite, which felt more like a private apartment than a hotel room. As he was leaving, he said the Elysian is a tip-free hotel, which, I must admit, is a first for me. (30/30)
Guest Quarters: The Gold Coast Suites, named after the neighborhood in which the hotel is located, are spacious, to say the least, encompassing 890 square feet. All of the hotel’s rooms have balconies furnished with a table and chairs — enticing for morning coffee or evening drinks in the open air. My room faced north, so I did not have a view of the lake but still enjoyed a nice urban vista. One feature I thoroughly liked was the soundproof windows that made the suite quiet for a city hotel. There is a wet bar in the large entry hall that leads into the living room, the main feature of which is a working gas-fired fireplace with a large, flat-screen TV above. The large bedroom features a king-sized bed, a chaise longue, a dresser and a chair and a desk with easily accessible desktop plugs for charging laptops and cell phones. The spacious and beautifully appointed dressing room connects the bedroom to the large, white Carrera marble bathroom, which contains a deep soaking tub, a separate shower and dual vanities with inset LCD TV. The décor is in muted tones of either champagne or platinum, making quite an elegant effect. The toiletries are Asprey. (29/30)
Services/Amenities: The Elysian has two of the hottest new eateries in Chicago: Balsan, for informal dining, and Ria, a more formal setting. I had a superb dinner and a great breakfast at Balsan. In fact, both meals were among the best I have ever had in any hotel or independent restaurant. With an informal restaurant of this quality, there is no reason to leave the hotel for a meal. The hotel bar, Bernard’s Bar, with its club-like atmosphere, seems to be a popular gathering place for Chicagoans as well as hotel guests. The most notable feature of Bernard’s is the large window behind the bar that overlooks the entrance courtyard and allows natural light to enter what would have been a dark space. As an outdoor person, I liked this especially. There is complimentary access to the Elysian Spa & Health Club, which features a lap pool, whirlpools, sauna, steam room and a full range of exercise equipment. A particularly nice complimentary service is the private fleet of luxury automobiles for local transportation and airport transfers. (39/40)
The Experience: Staying at the Elysian is truly a unique experience, and I would definitely stay there again. Although the building itself is quite special, the lasting impression of my stay is of the dedicated staff members, who were attentive to all my needs and provided flawless service with a smile.
Total Score: 98/100
11 E. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60611
tel 312 646 1300
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