I was recently in Chicago for a conference and had a wonderful time at the Renaissance Blackstone from the moment I arrived. Abel, a bellhop, opened the cab door and helped with my bags. At the reception desk, Scarlet explained that the hotel wanted to accommodate my request for a room with lake view and had only an accessible room, which meant that it included bars in the bathroom with some lower towel/robe hooks and a lower rod in the closet. Abel brought up my bags, pointed out special features of the room, found the classical music station on the radio, and ordered a full-size ironing board from housekeeping (the room had only the table-sized one).
The room itself (1121) was terrific and the view, beautiful. I could look across Grant Park at the lake and be greeted each morning by the sunrise. Although others have complained about street noise, I didn’t notice this at all. Especially appreciated amenities were the very comfortable king bed, light fixtures that could be brightened and dimmed (e.g., to leave a night light in the bathroom), empty refrigerator, coffeemaker, and—last but not least—a luxurious terry-lined bathrobe. To fill the refrigerator, if desired, one can find a supermarket a few blocks south and to the right.
Not wanting a big dinner, I sat in the quieter bar section of the restaurant, Mercat a la planxa, and enjoyed a delicious warm salad (spinach, pine nuts, currants and apples), which came with bruschetta topped with tomato salad and spices. Like the other hotel staff, the waitress, whose name I unfortunately don’t recall, was extremely helpful and eager to please.
At the concierge desk, Shannon booked me a place on the Chicago Architects Foundation (CAF) river tour and later, the hop-on, hop-off trolley tour. Both are highly recommended! Although the river tours have ended for the season, CAF offers other tours that I heard were excellent.
I really like the hotel’s location, which seems a bit quieter than other sections further north. It was lovely to walk north along South Michigan Avenue. Several times I passed the Chicago Symphony, just a few blocks up, and was enticed to go to a performance for which I was very fortunate to get a last-minute ticket.
The hotel building is gracious and welcoming. Features of the comfortable lobby include a billiards table, a gold-upholstered sofa, and a couple of nooks. One can get newspapers (Chicago, USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal), for a dollar each, in the gift shop behind the concierge’s desk, which is also stocked with drinks and other items. Off to the left in the back corner is a business office, where one can use the computer (there are two) and printer for free. I never had to wait.
My visit to Chicago was greatly enhanced by the staff and accommodations at the Renaissance Blackstone!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rediscover a legend with the revival of historic Blackstone, A Renaissance Hotel in Chicago! Meticulously restored to its original grandeur, the acclaimed Blackstone Hotel is back with 332 unique and luxurious guestrooms. Once hailed as "the premier hotel of Chicago" and the "Hotel of Presidents, the staff is eager to welcome you back to this Landmark, and share a story or two with you from our rich history. What will be your story? The Blackstone. How Chicago. Legendary. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Renaissance Hotel Chicago
- Renaissance Hotel Blackstone
- Renaissance Chicago
- Chicago Renaissance