Whether you are coming in from Ireland, Iowa or Itasca, a stay in a downtown Chicago hotel is a treat. Not just for business travelers anymore, downtown hotels have realized that families flock to Chicago for the theaters, the sights and of course, the shopping, and many have designed great packages with kids in mind. At the end of a busy day of culture, tourism or rampant consumerism – American Girl Place, I’m looking at you – here are some of the best places for families to put their feet up.
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
120 East Delaware Place
It’s a splurge, no question. But if you looking to pamper your little ones, the Four Seasons Chicago is the place to do it. Inform the reservations desk of the ages and names of the kids in your party and upon arrival you will receive a special treat. With advance notice, your room can be stocked with child-sized robes, children’s toiletries, baby equipment, age-appropriate toys or coloring books, all free of charge. The Four Seasons Chicago is located right on Michigan Avenue, close to American Girl Place, North Avenue beach, and Lincoln Park, so be sure to reserve one of the hotel’s customized Radio Flyer wagons for getting around. The hotel’s famous Sunday brunch, which is an experience to remember, has a great kids’ table.
W – Chicago Lakeshore
644 North Lake Shore Drive
Although W hotels are usually known for their hip decor and happening nightlife, this chain is surprisingly family-friendly. At the W – Chicago Lakeshore, kids receive a welcome amenity at check-in. If you spring for a “Spectacular” room with a view overlooking Lake Michigan, you can watch Navy Pier’s famous fireworks from the comfort of your room. Add in the heated indoor pool, and your kids will be sold. W hotels are part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts chain, so if Mom or Dad has a lot of points from all that business travel, this may be the place for your next getaway.
Four Points by Sheraton Chicago
Downtown Magnificent Mile
630 N. Rush St.
This outpost in the Four Points by Sheraton chain has positioned itself as a reasonably priced hotel for families in the heart of it all. With its great location right off Michigan Avenue, the Mag Mile Four Points offers special packages for those coming to town to enjoy American Girl Place, Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium. An in-room fridge and microwave makes it easy to keep your kids favorite snacks on hand – and there’s even a Trader Joe’s nearby. The airy heated indoor pool will be your family’s favorite hangout when you come back from hitting the sights.
Embassy Suites Chicago
511 N. Columbus Dr.
One of the biggest problems for parents when sharing a hotel room with their young kids is what to do after the kids go to bed. At an Embassy Suites hotel, however, all the rooms are suites, so you can put the kids to bed in one room and still read or watch television in another without waking anyone up. The Downtown/Lakefront location is located just steps from Navy Pier and is convenient to the Loop sights and Michigan Avenue. There’s a large movie theater and the family-friendly restaurant, P.J. Clarke’s, in the same building as the hotel, both of which could come in handy on a cold night.
Emily Paster is a mother of two living in the near west suburbs. She teaches writing at Loyola University School of Law. Read more of her thoughts on balancing work and family and raising kids in the Chicago area on her blog West of the Loop.