Staying at the Peninsula Chicago

By Pamela Wade

Pamela Wade checks into the Peninsula Chicago.
Staff from the Peninsula Chicago.
Staff from the Peninsula Chicago.

Check in: The Peninsula pageboy in the entrance hall decked out in - surely impractical - white uniform and pillbox hat is the first sign that this is going to be an upmarket experience. The upstairs reception alongside a grand lobby where people are choosing petits fours from tiered cake-stands, while a string duo plays classical music from a minstrel gallery, is another.

Room: Mine was a Grand King Deluxe, light, bright and sunny with a desk complete with printer. The huge plasma TV has a very handy memory card reader, ideal for reviewing photos of the city's distinctive skyscrapers.

Price: From US$525 ($730) per night for this room.

The bed: Mercifully low on decorative cushions, it's big and beautiful, the sheets 100 per cent Egyptian combed cotton, the quilt light and soft, the mattress so spectacularly comfortable that it almost blighted my day having to force myself to leave it in the morning.

The bathroom: Space defined by quantities of marble and mirror - as you'd expect - but the TV over the bath is a treat, angled just so for relaxed viewing across a blanket of scented bubbles.

The toiletries: Oscar de la Renta.

The view: Seventeen storeys below, beyond the hotel's terrace is Michigan Avenue, aka the Magnificent Mile, lined with big-name shops. Across the road is the quaintly castellated Water Tower and beyond it the soaring black angles of the John Hancock Building - quintessential Chicago.

What's so good about it? Everything's so good - better to ask what's best: did I mention the bed?

And the bad? Breakfast isn't included. That's it. Unless you count dissatisfaction with everything once you're back home, from your sub-standard bed to the failure of a good fairy to magically transform your tangled cables into neat coils tied with satin ribbon while you're out.

What's in the neighbourhood? Across the road for Giordano's deep-dish pizza, and then, to walk it off, practically all the main sights, from Navy Pier to the Willis Tower to Millennium Park. For the lazy, there's a chauffeur-driven Mini Clubman available.

Food and drink: The siren call of the pizza (see above) meant I didn't investigate this, though I did walk past dazed guests wallowing in the signature Chocolate at the Pen experience, which involved an entire buffet of chocolate drinks and desserts.

Exercise facilities: Apparently. If I were there in winter, it would be the Sky Rink on the roof for me.


Perfect for: Anyone who enjoys treats, fine things and thoughtful service, which includes special and individual arrangements. Even the kids have their own programmes and giant teddy bear in pageboy's uniform.

- NZ Herald

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