Arrival/Check-In: A thick fog stubbornly clung to the Chicago skyline, obscuring our view of the 82-story building that houses the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. The lucky occupants who live in the condos and apartments on the upper floors know what it is like to be a mythological god reigning from the clouds. Arriving at 10 a.m., after an 18-hour Amtrak journey, it almost seemed miraculous when we were told our room was ready.
Guest Quarters: After waving our room key to activate the elevator — a wonderful security feature — we passed through a hallway covered in white wallpaper and bold graphic lines depicting Chicago neighborhoods. Our king room, with a park view, had dark chocolate walls and a bright turquoise carpet. The built-in wardrobe was covered in a textured silver which was repeated on the bathroom ceiling. A curved, black-lacquered minibar with a drawer filled with wine glasses was tucked beside the wardrobe, and a high-backed gray chair occupied the corner. In addition to the standard lamps on each bedside table, a pair of chrome gooseneck reading lamps could be twisted to the perfect angle for late-night reading. A sliding wooden door with a frosted glass panel divided the bedroom from the large bathroom. The black tiled floor was flecked with specks of silver so bright they cast twinkling shadows on the walls. A pair of bathrobes and Anne Semonin bath amenities completed the modern retreat.
Services/Amenities: The Chicago Radisson Blu Aqua is the first U.S. hotel for the brand. Well known by international travelers, Blu properties offer luxurious accommodations. While waiting for a business associate, we warmed ourselves beside the lobby’s 50-foot-long fireplace built into a mirrored wall covered with interconnected brass Egyptian medallions. Felini, a bar and restaurant serving contemporary Italian food, occupies two floors. Upstairs, the view of the sleek exhibition kitchen is open to all. Burning off those calories after dinner is easy at the hotel’s 8,000-square-foot fitness center with an indoor basketball court, indoor and outdoor pools (the rooftop pool is open seasonally) and a one-fifth-mile jogging track that circles the exterior of the building. In addition to a business center with free printing, the hotel has a game room with a card table and a pool table, as well as a media room for intimate movie viewing.
The Experience: Located steps from Millennium Park and a short walk to the Magnificent Mile, the hotel is in a building that received the 2009 Emporis Skyscraper of the Year Award. The waving lines of the balconies give the structure a modern fluidity.
Big amenities, smart looks and an efficient staff make the Radisson Blu Aqua a cool choice for the traveler who wants it all.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Separate tub and shower
- Large vanity
- High-quality towels
- Powerful, unattached hair dryer
- High-quality bed linens
- Large, flat-screen television
- Large desk with convenient outlets
- Complimentary in-room WiFi
- Complimentary bottled water
- Stocked minibar
- Ample lighting
- In-room coffeemaker
- Iron and ironing board
- On-site restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service
- 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center
- Turn-down service
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
221 N. Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
tel 312 565 5258
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Without visiting, it’d be easy to throw Chicago into any number of categories. Everyone thinks they know Chicago; after all, it’s the third-largest city in America, the most prestigious foodie city in the country, the city of jazz, a comedian’s playground, an architect’s dream, a writer’s paradise. The list goes on. Only when walking the streets themselves do you realize there’s nothing categorical about the Windy City, especially as it continues to evolve.
PHOTO: © ADRIAN OLSTAD
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