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
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