Conrad Chicago Hotel
“Make yourself at home” usually means just the opposite. It is an invitation to relax, to be waited on. It makes clear that you are not a burden, but a cherished guest. This was the welcome I received at the new Conrad Hotel, located on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Greeted on the first floor, a sincerely friendly woman offered to carry my bags before escorting me to the lobby on the 20th floor. Here, a bright-eyed gentleman checked me into my room where a complimentary bottle of wine, fresh strawberries and chocolate awaited.
Let’s pause here.
Gathering an honest opinion of a new hotel can be difficult. Everything is new and so everything is clean, neat, orderly. It hasn’t been lived in. Nothing’s been tested. But the culture of the hotel, passed down through the hierarchy, can always be read in the manners of the staff. I checked into my room wearing distressed jeans, with my hair wrapped neatly in a scarf. Not disheveled but decidedly casual, probably too casual. I could have easily been dismissed. But the staff went out of their way to be warm and welcoming.
The perfect start to the perfect staycation.
Don’t Just Stay. Stay Inspired.
Unlike many of the new boutique hotels sprouting up downtown, the Conrad is made with the business traveler in mind. It isn’t overly customized and it isn’t pandering to millennials. It’s, in a word, traditional. A whiskey old fashioned in a world of trendy fruity somethings. The responsible one in a group of bohemians.
The colors from the lobby to the rooms are beige, brown, and burnt orange —a safe, tasteful palette. The beds are reliably comfy, the showers are spacious, and the toiletries handle necessities. There’s a shoe shine kit in the closet, along with dental, shaving, vanity, and sewing kits. Opening each box, I could almost hear my mother scolding me for not having packed the items myself. You know, just in case. Always be prepared and stuff.
Traditional doesn’t translate into old-fashioned, however. Set the lighting throughout the room from a touchpad near the door. Request room service, a menu created by Charlie Trotter trained Chef James Lintelman, through the television. A mini-bar of pop, yogurt, and Nescafé is gratis. But a burger will cost you – almost $25. In fact, the entire in-room dining menu is quite pricey. My morning biscuit, for example, came with a $10 tag. (It was totally worth it!) Of course, if you’re here for business the office is probably picking up the tab. If you’re not into top entree prices for food you’ll most certainly devour while wearing pajamas, simply walk down to the restaurant and place an order to go, thus bypassing the in-room delivery fee.
I recommend dinning in the restaurants anyways. The food here deserves a little respect.
Conrad Chicago, 101 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611