The view from your hotel room is everything, said The Ritz Carlton Chicago
OK, so The Ritz Carlton Chicago officially never said this but it didn't have to. The five-star hotel is a testament to “room with a view,” and it helps being in Chicago, home to an absurd amount of killer views. Throw in great service, a brand-new sparkly 12th floor lobby lounge/restaurant/bar and an amazing spa, and you’ll want to stay here even if you're a "I spend zero time in a hotel" type of traveler.
Wow factor: Here’s the thing about Chicago. Many hotel lobby/check-in desks actually start on a high floor of a building (for The Ritz Carlton, it’s the 12th floor). Allegedly, after asking locals, this is for “safety reasons” (uhhhh…huh?) but, more realistically, it’s to capitalize on these stellar views. That said, many hotels have striking views, but after checking out a few, The Ritz Carlton really does have prime real estate (this is based on the Lakeside Suite, which I stayed in with views of the skyline, the lake and the John Hancock Tower). But, wait.. there’s more. The indoor pool on the 11th floor is underneath a skylight, and the John Hancock Tower looms above you. WHAT THE HECK?? Is this real life?? Architect genius at work here.
Service and facilities: The staff is great, and everyone was on point. There was one instance where I called the operator to have my luggage taken downstairs, and she was like “we don’t do that here” and I was like “you do now” and I hung up on her. Haha. No, it didn’t happen like that but she did say I had to be in the room, which was weird, but then I remembered there are more than 400 rooms here and they definitely don’t have an army of bellhops. Otherwise, all good. There’s a residence next door that shares the spa, fitness and wellness facilities for members. So, in the spa, there were guys who basically lived through seven wars getting dressed and steaming up. I actually loved this because it had that old-school Ritz Carlton flair and made you feel even more fancy. And, back to the pool: amazing. That skyline with John Hancock Tower looming above is amazing.
Room: My corner Lakeside Suite was massive. It went through a renovation in 2010 (the building dates back to 1975), and it’s pretty modern. The highlight is definitely the views from the living area, dining area or the bedroom. To be honest, it feels more like a residence than a hotel room, so expect that home-away-from-home feel. Also, a plus: the windows open for fresh air! I love this. I travel so much that circulated air in hotels get to me at a point, so this was a nice amenity.
Food/beverage: The food and beverage revolves around Torali on the 12th floor, as well as a bar and a cafe with outdoor patio. To be honest, the F&B just launched four days before I arrived so I can’t wait to go back and check out how they’ve taken over the world.
Drawbacks: The only real drawback was the fact that you had to get in one elevator to the 12th floor, then another elevator to your guest room but, again, this is common at many five-star hotels in Chicago. My other, not-a-big-deal gripe is that you wait a while for the elevators during peak hours. I mean, seasons don’t fly by here, but there were times I waited more than a minute. Who AM I??
Is this hotel right for you? The hotel is great for business travelers, families using Marriott Rewards points, gay travelers, travelers with pets and solo travelers.
Rates: Rooms can go as low as $281 for a standard room and $389 for a suite.
Final thoughts: If you love to be surrounded by views, and want to take selfies obsessively in their amazing new 12th floor lobby, book away.