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):
- The Blackstone in downtown Chicago is a storied architectural icon rooted in the city's legendary past, but newly updated to deliver a distinguished hospitality experience for today's discerning traveler. Previously known as the Renaissance Blackstone, this recently revitalized destination is blooming as a point of cultural and creative discovery on the Cultural Mile. The Blackstone, where epic history meets a clever contemporary attitude. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Renaissance Hotel Chicago
- Renaissance Hotel Blackstone
- Renaissance Chicago
- Chicago Renaissance