Chicago is a city that you can easily become addicted to. Situated in between two coastal giants: New York and Los Angeles, Chicago is king of America’s Midwest and is a sophisticated metropolis known for its architecture, food and friendly disposition. Just off The Magnificent Mile – the longstanding moniker of Michigan Avenue’s luxury sector – is The Peninsula; a five-star hotel that sets the tone for a city sojourn that will have you planning your next trip to the Windy City before you check out.
Recently refitted for its fifteenth anniversary, the opulent high-rise weds the highest levels of luxury refinement with well-curated technology. Designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, the 339-room hotel has won multiple awards including Number One Hotel in the United States, World’s Best Awards Number One Hotel in North America and an American Architecture Award.
Checking into the Premier Deluxe Suite, immense attention to detail is noted. In the living room, an entire wall is embroidered with chrysanthemums – a nod to the hotel’s Hong Kong beginnings and the official flower of the city – a designation made in 1966 by request of the Committee on Beautification of Chicago. Every nook and cranny has integrated tech to ensure the stay is seamless and that any whim can be met with the slightest motion. Touch screen tablets (functional in eleven languages) sit on the executive desk, bedside tables and even in the bathtub to operate lighting, sound, curtains and even room service.
A plush king-sized bed beckons for a daily lie in; brushed-satin-lined drawers in the sprawling walk-in wardrobe keep the clothes wrinkle-free and the suede-lined jewellery box in the safe will keep your luxury timepiece cushioned and unscratched. The grand en-suite bathroom, complete with Oscar de la Renta amenities, takes dual sinks to the next level – they sit on opposite sides of the room, bookending a large two-person bathtub, complete with flat screen TV while an enormous shower room completes the space. You’ll likely forget about friends and family, but if you do need to reach out, the hotel offers complimentary worldwide VOIP calls.
Shanghai Terrace sits at the base of The Peninsula and was voted the Best Chinese Restaurant in Chicago by Zagat Survey and is a regular recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award. A mouth-watering Cantonese menu is bolstered by 1930s supper club surroundings while Chef de Cuisine, Elmo Han works his culinary magic. We started our meal with a Lost in Shanghai cocktail from the Phoenix Garden Signature list. A creamy blend of Belvedere vodka, lychee, grapefruit and cassis prepared the palates for an onslaught of flavour. The Spicy Beef Pot Stickers (highly recommended) started the party and were followed by impeccably executed Peking Duck and Chinese Style Beef Tenderloin. And to finish, it was naturally The Shanghai Dessert Trio with a refreshing edit of blood orange yuzu pavlova, strawberry coconut yuzu verrine and mango passion dumplings. No wonder the restaurant was packed.
Avoid boarding a tourist-laden bus for city highlights. Keep it exclusive and explore the city in style. The Peninsula has a bespoke BMW house car that operates on a first-come, first served basis with chauffer, and suite guests are invited to hop into a chauffer-driven MINI Cooper S Clubman to discover the best of the city in a perfectly packaged three-hour outing.
The spa and fitness centre are a must-visit, even if you do not intend to break a sweat or get a massage. Floor-to-ceiling windows on the nineteenth and twentieth floors overlook a turquoise glimpse of Lake Michigan and some of the city’s most famous buildings, and there is a half-Olympic-length swimming pool.
In a Nutshell
The Peninsula Chicago is a luxurious hotel built into Chicago’s vibrant epicentre. Designer shopping, renowned eateries, art galleries and Oak Street Beach are all within walking distance, but we can’t guarantee that you’re going to want to leave your room.
The Premier Deluxe Suite starts at $1,750 (£1,330) per night.
Words by Courtney Blackman