You need a shot of romance this winter, and there are lots of hotels in Chicago that are romance-ready.
The trick is finding the perfect one. We figure you already know (or have stayed at) the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton, and as lovely as they are, we wanted to give you a few others to consider. So, we toured, checked thread counts and found these gems. Choose from over the top, modern and sleek or traditionally romantic.
Over The Top Luxe
Lovely hotel with top service. The rooms aren’t the most dramatic, but are comfortable and luxe. However, with such a lovely pool (50 meters and dramatic city views) it could be hard to leave to take advantage of the rest of the hotel. And while no one thinks “bargain” and “Peninsula” in the same breath, they are running a special with a room upgrade, breakfast, parking and 30% off spa services.
Pluses: In-lobby chocolate bar on Friday and Saturday nights will put any chocoholic into orbit
Minuses: Rooms are lovely, but lack the “wow” of Trump
Price Range: Couple’s Retreat is $360 (2-night minimum) for a Grand Deluxe Room
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Splurge worthy. If you get the chance to stay at Trump, book yourself a room on one of two spa floors. You can walk in your robe to the gym or spa, or book a suite with an adjoining couples treatment room. No need to ever leave. Floor to ceiling windows at this hotel put all others to shame. The views sweep along the river to the lake. Stunning.
Pluses: Rooms are larger than any other hotel we toured, serene furnishings, warmer for eye and neck pillows
Minuses: Location stunning but not in a neighborhood for shopping or shows
Price Range: $550+ for Executive Spa Room
Waldorf Astoria (formerly The Elysian)
Just named the Best Hotel in the U.S. for 2012 by Trip Adviser, this Art Deco style hotel is for the fashion lover. Everything from drape hems to marble detailing is inspired by a designer like Coco Chanel or Christian Dior.
Pluses: 80% of rooms have fireplaces, in-house spa, Gold Coast location close to shopping and entertainment
Minuses: The spare rooms won’t do it for those who equate romance with chintz, throw pillows and canopies
Price Range: $545 and up for Executive Suite
Modern, Sleek and Sexy
Dana Hotel & Spa
For the couple that loves a shot of excitement (or tequila), Vertigo, the rooftop bar at the Dana Hotel & Spa provides an outdoor ice bar, heaters and cozy blankets. When you go indoors, choose the Tranquil Suite with a double shower, floor-to-ceiling windows and a great view of the city. You’re not in the ‘burbs any more.
Pluses: Reasonably priced, well-stocked mini bar, in-hotel spa, room service provided by Aja.
Minuses: Not everyone will love the modern decor and poured concrete ceilings
Price Range: $200-$400 for suite
Art lovers should check out and into The James. Just blocks from the Museum of Contemporary Art, this hotel features rotating, curated art on the walls and conceptual video art in the courtyard. The Loft Suite has its own media room (we won’t tell what DVD you bring with you!) and spare, mid-century modern furniture.
Pluses: In-hotel gym and spa, hotel restaurant is David Burke’s Primehouse (yum)
Minuses: Avoid the Apartment Suite, which is set up for a business trip
Price Range: $300-$500 for suite
Home to the very happening Pump Room, Public Chicago is a converted condominium building and the rooms still have details like bookcases and extra-large closets. The three celebrity suites—Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra—are a fun touch.
Pluses: Ian Schrager-designed beds with over-the-top thread counts
Minuses: Very so-so bathrooms, spare decor may leave some a little cold
Price Range: Suites range from $400-$700, but winter promos for standard rooms start at $110
Home to the yummy restaurant Sable Kitchen & Bar, this cheery, modern hotel has floor-to-ceiling windows and no overhead lights, for a flattering look. The King Spa Premier has a 2-person soaking tub, and animal-print robes. (Rwwr!)
Pluses: The mixologists at Sable can get you in a happy mood quickly; pool on the 17th floor
Minuses: No spa, but staff can arrange in-room spa services
Price Range: $200-$300 King Spa Premiere
We met Make It Better reader Tara Kelly in the lobby when we went for our tour. Sent there for a night of relaxation as a gift from her 6 children, she loved the hotel. The Beaux-Arts building (check out the doors and stairway!) is convenient to theaters downtown and the Lyric Opera.
Pluses: Free wine reception from 5-6 p.m., beautiful high ceilings, some suites have a view of Millennium Park
Minuses: Standard rooms in the historic building are cozy, but not fancy and luxurious
Price Range: $300-$400 for a suite
The Talbott Hotel
We strongly recommend the Talbott for the spouse who never quite gets the details together. This quiet hotel looks like a Ralph Lauren ad come to life, and they offer a “Personally Yours Romance Package” complete with rose petal turndown service, monogrammed robes you get to keep, and late checkout.
Pluses: Frette bath linens; near, but not on, the Mag Mile
Minuses: If you’re looking for a “scene,” this isn’t the hotel for you
Price Range: Romance Package suite starts at $299