There’s nothing better to motivate a weary business traveler through a day of meetings than the promise of a late-afternoon massage. Thankfully, those were the circumstances facing me one Chicago day in May. After an early-morning flight and a full day of meetings, I found myself gleefully checking into Waldorf Astoria Spa & Health Club at Waldorf Astoria Chicago.
Pulling up to the 5-star property feels more like arriving at a private residence. Part of the property is, in fact, residences; however, driving into the tucked-away courtyard, looping around the fountain and arriving at the canopied hotel entrance set against a white stone façade feels exclusive and grand yet still secluded and intimate.
The hotel boasts 215 guestrooms and suites over 19 stories in Chicago’s toney Gold Coast neighborhood. The cozy yet elegant vibe continues in the lobby, spacious but not overwhelming, and follows throughout, including the darkened, relaxing bar, Bernard’s. Years prior to this visit, Bernard’s was my first taste of this Chicago luxury hotel, stopping by for pre-dinner cocktails with a colleague.
On this afternoon, I visited Waldorf Astoria Chicago for a different reason — seeking a bit of a reprieve and a few moments of solace in the award-winning spa, well-known for boasting superior treatments, luxe facilities and a wide range of options.
Once inside, I checked in for my Waldorf Signature 60-minute massage, and the air of exclusivity and intimacy continued. The large locker room was quiet, without another patron in sight. After I changed into my comfortable robe, I relaxed for several minutes with a magazine on a heated stone recliner near the sauna.
I was then escorted to a different lounge area, with cushioned recliners arranged in a semi-circle. The green tea-infused water and assorted nuts were a perfect light snack as I finished an article and waited for a therapist to escort me back to my treatment room.
Massages represent only a handful of the myriad wellness offerings available to spa goers. Treatment options include facials, waxing, tinting, body treatments, manicures, pedicures and specialoccasion makeup. All, with the exception of body treatments, are available in-room for guests of the hotel. One treatment stood out to me as I perused the spa menu — the 60- or 90-minute Ashiatsu massage, which uses deep barefoot compressions over the body in a push-and-pull motion while the therapist uses overheard bars for balance — something not seen on most spa menus.
Additionally, the venue offers DREAMDRY, providing blowouts, updos and more, cofounded by Rachel Zoe and Robin Moraetes. The Health Club features up-to-date cardio and strength training equipment but mainly focuses on classes including Pilates, Gyrotonics, Total Body Blast, kickboxing, aqua aerobics and Hydro-Tone. The indoor lap pool also hosts water classes.
My 60-minute massage was nothing short of blissful. So blissful, in fact, I don’t remember many details. Within minutes of the treatment beginning, I found myself in a state of semi-conscious oblivion, just enjoying the immediate relief and relaxation that comes with a well-executed massage. Just the right amount of applied pressure aided in working out the knots and kinks in my right shoulder caused by carrying my laptop and pulling my suitcase. Soft music and dimmed lights helped put my mind, moving a mile a minute all day, at ease. And an aromatic oil filled the room with a calming scent.
The hallmark of the signature massage is it is fully customizable — therapists use varying techniques to address the individual needs of the patron. Searching for stress relief? Looking to eliminate pain in specific areas? Just seeking calm? This massage is perfectly suited to those spa goers.
The true test of any great experience is the service. And while the service experienced during my visit was certainly top-notch, it was only after I departed I realized how truly on point the spa staff is. In a rush to leave and get ready for a dinner appointment, I quickly dressed and gathered my belongings. (So much for long-lasting serenity!) Back at my hotel, I realized I’d left my ring — my grandmother’s wedding ring with a deep significance to me — in the locker. Within minutes of my phone call, the ring was located, marked and stored for safekeeping until I could return to pick it up the next day. A huge sense of relief washed over me the minute I knew the heirloom was safe, secure and in good hands.
In good hands — just as I was during my luxurious treatment.
Waldorf Astoria Chicago
11 E. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60611
tel 312 646 1300
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
On Location Experiences makes it easy for travelers to head to London or Mexico City for upcoming NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders Oct. 6, and the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 13; Wembley Stadium hosts the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Oct. 27, and the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 3; and Estadio Azteca hosts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 18.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Hotel brands all over the world have pushed for sustainability. For many, it began with reducing single-use plastics, like straws. InterContinental recently announced the end of in-room miniature toiletries.