Arrival/Check-In: My colleague and I arrived in Chicago on a cold day. Any thoughts of taking an early morning constitutional went out the window as soon as we stepped out of the cab. The Ritz-Carlton lobby is on the 12th floor of Water Tower Place. Check-in was friendly and efficient.
Guest Quarters: I had a spacious Lakeside Suite with large picture windows and views of the lake. It really felt more like an apartment. The entrance hall with a big coat closet and a guest powder room led directly into a comfortable living room/dining area which included a wet bar and minibar, a large flat-screen TV, a large couch and two easy chairs, a coffee table, a dining table with seating for two, a desk with desktop outlets and a fax machine. Since it was a corner room, it had views of the lake and lots of natural light. The bedroom had a king-sized bed with bedside tables, an easy chair and ottoman, a dresser and a large flat-screen TV.
The marble bathroom had twin sinks, a bathtub and separate shower and a water closet. The amenities were by Asprey.
Services/Amenities: The hotel was recently “revitalized” to the tune of $100 million over a two-year period, and it shows. Directly off the lobby is Torali, the hotel’s restaurant, with a new take on Italian cuisine featuring a contemporary, chefdriven menu curated by Chef Baasim Zafar.
Directly across the lobby is Torali Bar, an attractive watering hole whether you meet a friend for a drink on your way to dinner or stop by for an after-dinner drink. Also on the lobby level, The Café allows you to grab a quick bite or an afternoon coffee. The high tops have outlets for recharging your phone or computer.
When the weather is warmer, Rooftop at Torali, on a terrace just off the lobby, looks to be a great place for a drink and a snack.
The hotel has a fully equipped gym, a lap pool and a spa offering a peaceful retreat where pampering is the priority.
The property also boasts the largest luxury ballroom in the city as well as several other event spaces.
◆ The location is just off the Magnificent Mile, a reasonably short cab ride from the Loop and a few blocks from the lake. In spite of the cold I managed to take a brisk walk along the lake for a bit of outdoor exercise.
◆ The artwork in the hotel is worth spending a few minutes admiring. I especially like The Wave, a Lasvit handblown glass installation that floats above the main lobby.
THE RITZ-CARLTON, CHICAGO
Water Tower Place
160 E. Pearson St.
Chicago, IL 60611
tel 312 266 1000
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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