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Sometimes no matter how much we need a vacation, we only have time for a quick getaway. Even I have a finite about of time I can be out of the office, but adventure beckons and I go on the search for a destination within driving distance of my home in Carmel, Indiana.
Chicago is a great town to explore and re-explore. Although I have been many times (especially when my children were younger), there always seems to be something new to check out—particularly in the food department.
Recently, The Man and I spent the weekend in Chicago with my stepson. We were looking for activities that were (hopefully) fun for an almost-twenty year-old. I booked our Virtuoso preferred property, the Park Hyatt Chicago and reached out to the fabulous hotel concierge for assistance. The concierge helped me create an entire weekend’s itinerary offering suggestions and giving insight as to what is new in the city and the hours of operation of tours and restaurants.
On our way to the hotel, we stopped at Reza’s Restaurant—a wonderful Mediterranean and Persian restaurant recommended to V by one of his soccer buddies. What a treat!! We ordered the roasted feta cheese (fantastic!! Satisfied my ever-present cheese craving), the vegetarian lentil soup (yummy—I almost licked the bowl), and the Kabobs (I had the lamb). The restaurant was located in a trendy, ethnic neighborhood, and had a warm, inviting and artsy feel. The service was good and the food just spectacular!
We drove to the Park Hyatt, which is located in the heart of Michigan Avenue next to Water Tower Plaza, Ghirardelli, and the Peninsula Hotel. It is quite the convenient location!
When we walked into our room, I was instantly drawn to the incredible city view. Just wow! The window came with a comfy sitting area, which I used to get a bit of work done and (mostly) just watch the downtown hubbub in the late summer drizzle. Much to my delight, our windows opened and the sound of the Michigan Avenue came pouring into our room. We could just feel the city!
Our room came with an iPad to use to explore options for the city and the hotel, nice bath amenities, and complimentary water. Downstairs in the living space, the hotel offered complimentary water, soft drinks, and warm beverages along with a wide selection of daily papers.
We hung out a while on the roof top deck, NoMi Garden until the rain caused it to close. We moved our wine and snacks inside to NoMi Lounge, which still offered sweeping views of the city and a warm, casual atmosphere.
Walking into the lounge, I spied the Cellar Table (oh how I want to dine there) and the cheese collection—it was a happy place indeed!
NoMi Kitchen offers an open concept style of dining with views of the Chicago skyline as well as completely open views of the kitchen and preparation areas adding a feeling of energy to the dining experience. I loved how the restaurant used small vintage touches, such as vintage canisters and art. The Hotel offers a variety of ways to dine privately and semi-privately...depending on your group's needs and expectations.
The concierge assisted me in making reservations for the architectural boat tour with Chicago Line Cruises. Although I had taken this tour years ago, I wanted the guys to see the city from a different vantage point—low on the river. The tour took us through the river channels of Chicago and gave us a historical and artistic perspective of the city. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and had a bit of that Chicago “rough around the edges” style that added to his charm. As we cruised, we had excellent vantage points from which to take postcard worthy photos--minus the clouds.
After our cruise, we headed back to the Park Hyatt to get ready for our evening out. We had quite the night planned--stopping first at Andy’s Jazz Club which allows patrons under 21 years old to listen and dine when they arrive by 7:00pm when accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Park Hyatt has a lovely complimentary Audi car with driver for its guests to reserve and so we arrived at the Jazz Club in style. The car is available with advance reservation (limited hours) to take guests anywhere within a two-mile radius. I loved this service!!
After appetizers and cocktails at Andy’s, and listening to some great jazz music for a few hours, we made our way to Girl and the Goat—one of my favorite restaurants. Girl and the Goat is a quirky farm-to-table restaurant with a vibrant clientele and an ever-changing menu. We took a small plates approach to dinner to ensure we were able to try a wide variety of options. We had squash blossoms, a beet salad, duck tongue, pig face, oysters, sautéed green beans, and, of course, goat. Even though we are typically late diners, and our reservation was after 9:30pm, we were amazed at how late people kept appearing at the hostess desk to dine. What an energetic city!
The next morning, we needed to work of a few of the calories we consumed our first day in Chicago, so we reserved three complimentary bicycles from the Park Hyatt. This may be one of my favorite amenities a hotel offers!! The Park Hyatt offers a bike concierge who ensured our bikes were properly set up and that we had the water and safety equipment we needed.
We rode our bikes across Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive; going under the tunnel to get to the trail along Lake Michigan. We joined the throngs of walkers, bikers, and runners (some of whom passed me riding at grandma speed) cruising along the lake. As we pedaled, passed and tried to stay out of the professional exercisers’ way, we passed volleyball tournaments, families picnicking, boats, and swimmers in the lake. The path continues quite a ways and offers views of the Chicago skyline when you stop along the lake. It was an enjoyable ride (although it does get crowded on a Saturday morning).
We returned our bicycles and made our way to our last stop—Eataly. For me, Eataly is simply food mecca. All of the cheese, wine, pasta, olive oil, and chocolate a girl needs. You can eat, drink, and shop to your heart’s content. I find many of my favorite Italian products here—at surprisingly good prices. The store just makes me happy!! Since we had a great workout, we felt free to taste away…
We left Chicago completely satisfied—we came, we saw, we ate, we experienced.
Our clients staying at the Park Hyatt Chicago receive special amenities such as breakfast daily, upgrade upon arrival if available, a $100 hotel credit and designation as a VIP.
Becky Lukovic of Bella Travel Planning, is a luxury travel advisor independent affiliate in our Carmel Office. She specializes in romantic travel, honeymoons, anniversaries, destination weddings and independent travel throughout Europe.
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