I guess I am directing this at Chitown (for obvious reasons), but would appreciate others input as well.
I'm looking for an upscale hotel in downtown Chicago for a weekend w/ the lady (her b-day). Price is a concern, but I want quality. I have been looking at the Affinia, and the Wyndham. I would also appreciate recommendations for a good Italian restaurant. Any help is greatly appreciated
Very OT--Chicago hotels
I guess I am directing this at Chitown (for obvious reasons), but would appreciate others input as well.
the chinatown hotel. it's quite luxurious, and by luxurious i mean it smells awful, is nearly impossible to find, and is all around great.
It was the Chinese language TV that got me. Thanks Dex!
I love the intertubes!
I spent the night before my interview watching Chinese soap operas and HBO.
I wouldn't recommend taking a black light to the rooms, either.
Take her to David Burke's. It's not Italian, it's a steakhouse, but it's really really f-ing good.
The Omni is nice and in a decent spot on Michigan, if you plan to do some shopping and the usual tourist stuff. The Hilton is good, and at the other end of Michigan right across from Grant Park. I've stayed at the House of Blues as well, it's good.
Is Burke's on Michigan?
It's called David Burke's Prime, and it's in the James Hotel on State street. It's expensive as HELL.
Considering that I already bought the normal presents and all that jazz, and this was sort of on a whim I will probably skip it. Run on sentences suck.
The Sheraton is real nice, its about 150 a night but its got the best beds and if you get the right room a great view of Downtown.
I second the Sheraton
GREAT location for getting to Millenium Park, Shopping on Michigan Ave, Museums, Art Institute, Etc.
Update - I was actually thinking of the Hyatt on the south side of East Wacker next to the swisshotel, but the sheraton is like just northeast of it and in a good spot too.
I would recommend checking out a place called Club Quarters, they are a kind of unique Hotel concept, primarily geared towards business travelers, therefore weekend rates are very good for the location (either in Central Loop or on Wacker and Michigan). Another one worth checking out are either W Hotel, and the Hyatt on Wacker. Otherwise I don't have too much hotel experience in the city, being from here and all that.
For Italian, I would highly recommend a place called Volare. It is kind of tucked back in the River East neighborhood, not as expensive as some of the places you would normally find in the tourist areas, but for the price is very delicious. Another one to check out is Osteria Via Stato. I have never been (but am going on Friday night) and my wife claims its a great place.
On the off chance you end up in Lincoln Park/Lakeview, my favorite Italian place in Chicago is Sapori Trattoria, on Halsted. Its a little bit farther from where you will be visiting most likely, but is reasonably priced and very excellent food.
The one on Wacker is where I stayed my wedding night. Try and get one of the top rooms (the elevator does not even go all the way to the top). The rooms at the top are somewhat small but they take up the entire floor less the staircase. You will will have a 270 degree view of the city.
I like DiNotto in Old Town. First time I was there was several years ago and every time I have been back I thought it was excellent.
Club Quarters is a business hotel. So for a romantic weekend? You've got to be kidding me! The Peninsula is the best hotel in Chicago hands down (I live here, so I should have some cred).
I live here too. Lets celebrate.
Personally, I don't put too much stock in staying at the nicest place, if you are here as a tourist you will be spending most of your time experiencing the city.
I suggested Club Quarters since you can get fantastic deals (admittedly, if you stay at the loop location it is a haul to get places...However, I just checked, a room at the Wacker and Michigan location is $94 bucks a night for this weekend). It is a really nice place for the deals you can get, and that location puts you walking distance from the restaurants and places you will be seeing.
Obviously if you are going to stay at the nicest place in town, irrespective of cost, then yeah, go somewhere like the Peninsula. But that wasn't his question, now, was it?
I'm actually staying in the Club Quarters on Adams and Clark as I type this, and it is a perfect location. I got a single room with a queen size bed for only 75/night, which is cheap as hell for downtown Chicago. I can't complain one bit. As far as romantic, it isn't super sweet, but the rest of the city by far makes up for it.
Sapori is a good place. I'm moving a block away in June. Can't wait. If you are going out that direction and want a small little place that makes awesome pizza/pastas and is good for a glass of wine, I also recommend Spacca Napoli. It's further northwest of wrigley (ravenswood and Montrose I want to say but don't quote me)... delicious. I could talk about Chicago food all day.
Sapori Trattoria is excellent for the price
Is awesome. And they give you a ton of food.
Osteria Via Stato is a good place. I can vouch for that.
I would give it a B or B+. Some things were a big hit (Parmesean crusted Sweet Onions) and others were just okay. For the price though, I think it is a win. Sapori is probably still my favorite Italian place in the city if I am not going to drop a ton of money.
Best hotel in Chicago. Pricing is a little high :) But seriously, if you do get a chance to stay there on a discount, it's a great experience.
I second the nod for the Omni. I also recommend the Hilton on Michigan Avenue. If you don't want to be on Michigan Ave (but why wouldn't you as a Michigan fan?), then the Palmer House (Hilton I believe) is a nice place. The Drake Hotel is also a nice place and is also located on Michigan...
As far as nice Italian places go, there will be no shortage in the city... There is a pretty high price range. I've been to Spiaggia before. That is a nice place to take the lady and it's right in the middle of the mag mile. The Italian Villiage is in the loop. IIRC, they have a couple levels and each level is a different Italian place. Each level ranges in price too... Have fun! Don't forget to get an Italian beef loaded with giardiniera...
Can't wait to move back to Chicago.
Yeah, going to Portello's for sure to get an Italian beef before we leave.
FWIW, both full-service Hilton's (the one on Michigan and the Palmer House on State St.) are outside of the main shopping/bar/restaraunt area of town.
To be honest, the Palmer House is a terrible recommendation. They have been doing renovations for a while now, it's in a terrible area for a romantic weekend (Loop instead of Streeterville / Gold Coast), and is overpriced. If you want outdated and overpriced in a bad area.. then by all means.
I also tend to think the Drake is a little overrated. Nice area though.
Been there several times, every time it's been awesome, great location too.
slight disclaimer though, haven't been there in the last year
Well, I'm a Hotel Director of Marketing in Chicago. So...
When are you coming? Prices in Chicago are extremely volatile based on season and whether there is a convention.
The nicest hotel in the city, in my opinion is the Peninsula, but it's ungodly expensive.
A step down in price, but still quite nice is the Fairmont. I'd also take a look at the Renaissance on Wacker, and the Swisshotel - they're all somewhat upscale, contemporary hotels. Also, the Sofitel generally gets the best customer reviews in the city.
I'd generally stay away from Club Quarters (or anything in the loop) for a social visit merely because you'll be leaving that area of town everytime you want to do something. I'd go no further south than the river.
If you're choosing between the Wyndham and the Affinia, they're both a good location, but, IMO, the Affinia is significantly cooler, and has an awesome roof-top bar.
For Italian, if you want the most authentic experience possible, heading to Taylor St. (it's a bit of a hike from where you'd be staying, however) would be reccomended. The original Francesca's is there. Other than that, it's hard to miss at places like Rosebud's or Carmine's (these two have the same menu).
Short notice, but we're going this weekend. Going to leave tomorrow and stay Fri and Sat night. I looked at the Peninsula, but can't justify the price.
The Sofitel is definitely an option too. Appreciate the info about the loop, because that would have been annoying. Thanks for the info.
was happy both times
There are many nice hotels in Chicago to stay at. You should be able to find reasonable deals.
It really depends where you want to stay, on where to reccommend.
For a tourist, you will either want to stay near or on Michigan ave or in the Gold Coast. Do not be seduced by low rates in the loop as it is dead on the weekends.
Many great hotels from the pricey: four seasons, penninsula, sofitel; to next tier down: hyatt regency, westin, marriott
I like to stay at Westins and there is one around the 800 block of Michigan ave.
As far as italian restaurants, there are some great choices. If you don't mind a short cab ride, I would reccomend Tuscany or Rosebud in Little Italy on Taylor. There are several other neighborhood places as well, but if you are going to get in a cab you might as well go to little italy in my opinion.
Good luck and spend lots of money here.
you will have a better experience staying closer to the action. The Hyatt Regency and Swishotel is about as far south as you will want to go. You are still within easy striking distance of the museum campus if so inclined, but night life/day life/vibe will be much better for you.
Make sure you grab a burger at the Billy Goat (the original) on lower Michigan ave, just north of the river (basically under the Wrigley bldg). Whenever I have friends in town I always bring them there and they are never disappointed.
the peninsula is the jam
i usually stay at the w on west adams, but rooms can be a bit small for a vacation type trip
with the Kimpton boutique hotel chain when I was in Washington DC. Its a bit more decorative than your typical hotel room and they are generally located in old renovated downtown buildings. Maybe its not considered fancy, but its definitely different. They have pretty good weekend rates too.
It looks like Chicago has the Hotel Monaco and the Burnham Hotel and Allegro. I have no idea what they are near to in the city though.
I appreciate it.
On another note; if anyone is staying in the Detroit area, check out the Townsend Hotel (in Birmingham). We stayed there Valentine weekend and all I can say is it's worth every penny. Their restaurant, the Rugby Grille is amazing, best roasted chicken I have ever had. Ever.
Damn, I should have utilized the MGo for my trip to Boston in June. Good thinkin', TIMMMAAY. I spent a good 4 hours trying to find the perfect hotel taking into consideration price/location/"niceness" of the hotels. I found that a place like the Marriott was $350 a night!!! I found a decent place, not far from the Marriott for much cheaper.
I usually agonize over review after review, and so on, and on... Then I was getting my daily intake of MGo, and figured I'd give it a shot. Thanks again everyone, still undecided, but I think Dex's input carries more weight than the rest of y'all. Chinatown it is...
put in a low bid (30 to 40% lower than published rates) for a 5* in the Mag mile/ Gold Coast area and see what happens. I got the JW Marriot in Orlando for $150 a night in March, when the Marriott.com price was $299.
In terms of actual hotels, The Parc Hyatt on N.Michigan is awesome, and the W Lakeshore is really nice (smallish rooms, but great bar/ restaurant). The Sofitel was also pretty nice.
1) Stay at the James Hotel if it's in your price range (quick check on Orbitz for a few weeks from now had it basically the same price as the two you were looking at).
2) For Italian and not big loud rambunctous places, I'd look at Piccolo Sogno, A Tavola, and Gioco. And if you can blow big bucks on dinner, then Spiaggia is the only way to go.
Also, are you coming in the near future, or is this several months out when it's warmer? Some Italian places have great outdoor dining, but obviously that's not an option the next few months.
Are you doing the dinner tomorrow night? Tomorrow night is the last night of Restaurant Week and Chef Week. A ton of restaurants have $32 3 course meals for that, including Gioco (Chef Week) and Piccolo Sogno (Restaurant Week).
See these links:
I was gonna be a smart-ass and say "well, we try to eat dinner every night", but with the awesome links I had to preface it. Thanks.
Also, I'm now thankful that I broke down and got a Blackberry, so I can reference these suggestions while there.
And if you're willing to go away from Italian, the Lobby at the Peninsula is participating, and Tizi Melloul is a fantastic place for a nice romantic dinner and they're actually giving you their 5 course Crescent Room menu for the $32 bucks. I've had that before and it's excellent.
Here's the menu (pdf):
You don't choose -- you get ALL of that stuff even with just two people, if they do it the same way they did when I went with my wife a couple months back.
One comment, stay away from the Italian Village restaurants. I found them to be very uninspired and kind of pricey for what you got. Chitown is of course correct about Carmine's and Rosebuds, those are can't miss (though trend a little pricier).
Stayed there once, it was really nice. Kind of a small feel, plus a really nice free happy hour, tons of good food and good wine. I would recommend it if its not more than the other ones.
If you want to trek up to check out Wrigley Field/the Clark Street scene on either night you could start out with dinner at Mia Francesca on Clark just north of School. Great Food and very reasonably priced. BYOB too if you want to grab a nice bottle of wine to take with you - I think they charge like $5 corking fee, but worth it to save a little cash and still have some nice wine with a good meal. You could even take the El train to get to the neighborhood from downtown.
Sofitel has amazing beds and is right near (but not on) Michigan Ave. I used to work in Chicago for a major consulting firm and they always put clients up at the Sofitel, Peninsula or Palmer House. The Westin River North is not too bad either; it's where I generally stay.
Second that Carmine's and Rosebud are good places and are near the Gold Coast/Michigan Ave. area you'll probably be. I'd also recommend getting drinks in the Signature Lounge at the top of the WaterTower hotel -- it's expensive but worth the view. Second City is a comedy club/show and is another good activity.
Signature Lounge for cocktails is a phenomenal call if "romantic evening" is your goal. One clarification - it's in the Hancock Building, not the Water Tower Mall (they're next to each other). It's a bit overpriced, but there aren't that many places you can have your drinks 96 stories in the air.