In Chicago, the third largest city in the USA and a vibrant economic metropolis in the state of Illinois, the Peninsula Chicago has been created as a luxury class retreat for discerning travellers. The hotel opened in 2001 as the third five-star hotel in the Peninsula Hotel Group in America. We visited the hotel on the Magnificent Mile, home of Chicago's most magnificent skyscrapers, during the holiday season of 2015.
The Peninsula Chicago - an address of the luxury class
The 20-storey grand hotel with its 339 rooms and suites stretches over around 35,000 square meters above the North Michigan Avenue complex, an exclusive shopping center with posh boutiques from Ralph Lauren to Tiffany's.
When we arrived at the lobby on Superior Street and Michigan Avenue, we were a bit taken aback. Is that supposed to be the lobby of a luxury hotel? An employee resolved the situation and showed us with the sentence "... you will see it, when you get there!" the way to the elevators. These lead to the reception and adjoining lobby on the fifth floor. When designing the hotel, the architects orientated themselves on the historic Art Deco style that characterized Chicago's cityscape in the 1920s and 1930s. The walls feature symbols from Chicago and Midwest history—industrial, agricultural, and aviation.
The Peninsula Chicago – the smart hotel room
Since opening, the Peninsula Chicago has continually invested in the thoughtful advancement of its facilities. During the current renovation, all rooms and suites will be comprehensively modernized and revolutionary smart home technology (so-called Peninsula-In-Room-Technology) will be installed. The hotel group even has its own research and development department for hotel room technology. In our guest room, for example, everything could be controlled via tablets on the bed or desk or smaller display elements on the walls. Depending on the country of origin, eleven languages can be preset and enable access to all electrical devices in the room, including lighting, curtains, air conditioning and TV, as well as all hotel services and restaurant menus, with just one touch. Other options include room service, do not disturb alerts, and weather, outside temperature, and humidity alerts.
Each room has its own business center. The functional desk hides the all-in-one fax/printer/photocopier/scanner device, access to free high-speed Internet and an iPod docking station. A great feature was the charging cable for a variety of smartphone models in a drawer in the bedside table.
Our hotel room was open plan and radiated elegance and tranquility at the same time. The furniture is made of a noble, predominantly dark wood and the cupboards are covered with leather. Floor-to-ceiling floral artwork depicts the chrysanthemum, Chicago's official flower. On the bed was a Teddy Page and plush Mini Cooper. Guests of the suite can take this, of course in real and life size, for a city tour.
The Peninsula Chicago – Restaurants
Chicago is known for its exceptionally fine dining scene. The Peninsula Chicago is in good company with three award-winning restaurants, each unique for their outstanding cuisine.
Designed like a typical Mediterranean bistro, the European-inspired Pierrot Restaurant offers Gourmet specialties from Alsace and sweet delicacies. During our stay, stollen and delicious cookies were sold to match the Christmas season, as well as a wine from the sophisticated selection. Typically America, the Oktoberfest also takes place every year in the Pierrot Gourmet.
Shanghai Terrace is a Cantonese restaurant in the style of a dinner club from 1930's Shanghai. It was very busy when we stopped by at lunchtime. In the summer months, delicious dim sums or spicy wok dishes can also be enjoyed on the terrace. Now, in the run-up to Christmas, the hotel has set up an ice rink in proper style with a small chalet.
The restaurant in the lobby is flooded with light and has a six meter high window front. The high-ceilinged rooms were lined with fine carpets and were now stylishly decorated for Christmas, albeit more in the “American way”. Like the Peninsula Hong Kong's famous counterpart, the lobby serves breakfast, light lunch, dinner, cocktails or afternoon tea.
When we arrived we were greeted warmly and shown to a table. The lunchtime patrons were mainly business people and elderly ladies who met for a glass of champagne. In addition to a changing three-course executive menu (32 USD), the lunch menu offers a selection of several starters, main courses and, of course, desserts. We ordered two lobby burgers with hand cut fries for $22. The meat for the burger comes from the most expensive domestic cattle in the world, the Wagyū. We ordered it medium fried.
While we were waiting for our burgers, the extremely courteous but not intrusive staff constantly asked how we were feeling or refilled our drinks. To bridge the waiting time, freshly baked rolls and creamy butter came from the kitchen.
Our food came in just a few minutes. Terrific! Meat tender as butter and, as desired, medium, side salad in a sour cream and crispy bacon. The fries were just right too - crispy on the outside, still fluffy on the inside.
Since our main course was so phenomenal, we wanted to see how good the chef was at desserts and chose the salted caramel ice cream. Result: the kitchen of the Peninsula Chicago can also prepare excellent desserts. A creamy ice cream with an interesting taste of salty notes. A caramel tart was served with it.
Every hotel also needs a good bar. At the Peninsula Chicago, this is designed with black granite, fine wood and an open fireplace. The selection of spirits is exquisite.
The Peninsula Spa
The two-story Peninsula Spa is located on the 19th and 20th floors of the hotel. As soon as we got out of the elevator, we were greeted by a fragrant smell. Immediately we felt very relaxed. Both hotel guests and local members will find a well-equipped fitness center with a magnificent view of the skyline as far as Lake Michigan, a 25 meter indoor swimming pool and several saunas.
The Peninsula Chicago – Info
|108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
|ebookers* or Hotels.com*
Which travel guide do you recommend for Chicago?
|For the perfect city trip to Chicago, we recommend you this guide. Here you will not only find a detailed city map, but also a lot of information about all the important sights. You'll also get great suggestions for outings in Chicago's outskirts.
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Review of the Peninsula Chicago
- Spa / Pool
We are very happy to return to the Peninsula Chicago to enjoy the hotel to the full again. The smart hotel rooms, the great gym and the large indoor swimming pool on the 19th floor make the Peninsula a great hotel.