O’Hare International is one of the largest airports in the world, with flights from across Europe and the Americas; British Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines and Norwegian fly from London. It’s 15 miles from the Publishing House, which takes about 50 minutes in a taxi. Or, fly into Chicago Midway, which is slightly closer at 30 minutes away. For either airport, the hotel can arrange a private transfer by Tesla, for $75 each way.
It’s a seven-minute walk to the the nearest L-train station (Morgan); from there, it takes 10 minutes to get to the heart of downtown Chicago. For intercity journeys, head to the majestic Union Station, a mile from the hotel (10 minutes by taxi). Amtrak services run right across the country from here – classic routes include the Lake Shore Limited to New York (19 hours), the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles via Arizona (40 hours) and California Zephyr to San Francisco via Colorado (51 hours).
You don’t need a car to get around the city (there’s the L-train for that), but you can hire at the airport if you’re plotting a road trip around the Great Lakes. There’s a car park four blocks from the hotel (drop your bags off first and then go and park), which costs $20 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
Pick a book from your room (each one has a selection by its namesake author) and settle into the reading nook on the second floor – if you get really hooked, you can purchase it to take home too. When you get peckish, drop by the butler’s pantry for homemade cookies and a cuppa to enjoy by the piano in the living room. For all your beauty needs, take the 10% off coupon from your room and head to Solo Salon; it’s in the same building as the hotel, so no need to worry about the Windy City causing havoc with your hair-do on the way home. The West Loop is walking-distance from big-ticket sports events too – Chicago Bulls (basketball) and Blackhawks (ice hockey) play at the United Center, which is just a mile away.
Fashion, art, music, antiques… this list goes on and on at Randolph Street Market (1341 W Randolph Street), the West Loop’s monthly vintage bonanza. Its food-focused rival is Chicago French Market (131 N Clinton Street), where 30-odd local gourmet artisans set up stalls in a Parisian-style hall. The Fig Tree (1037 W Madison Street) is the kind of shop that makes you book extra baggage for the flight home; it specialises in baby gifts and boutique stationery. Catch a small-scale live concert at City Winery (1200 W Randolph Street), accompanied by a flight of the house-made wines.
Okay, okay, you might not think you’re the kind of person who goes round looking at train stations on holiday, but trust us, Union Station (500 W Jackson Blvd) is well worth a peek. It’s a 1920s architectural masterpiece by Daniel Burnham, with soft light streaming in through the arched windows.
Sultry wine bar The Press Room couldn’t be more local – it’s in the basement below the hotel. Sidle onto a leather banquette and order charcuterie and small plates, or perch at the bar with your choice of poison; show your room key for 10 per cent off. Everyone’s a friend at The Publican (837 W Fulton Market), where the locals crowd onto communal tables to feast on heaving plates of brunch – go for the mighty porchetta sandwich or the broccoli scramble with horseradish cheddar. Lunch at Parlor Pizza (108 N Green Street) means Italian-style wood-fired pies and craft ales, either in the industrial interior or out on the rooftop terrace. The burger at buzzy diner Au Cheval (800 W Randolph Street) is roundly considered the best in all Chicago, and there’s no harm in testing the theory (alternatively, the potato hash with duck-heart gravy is plate-lickin’ good). The Girl and the Goat (809 W Randolph St) is special enough for any occasion, with a raw bar and open kitchen conjuring the likes of braised pork shank with stonefruit kimchi, and pan-roasted halibut with marcona almond butter.
Whether you take them shaken or stirred, Maude’s Liquor Bar (840 W Randolph St) is the intimate local lounge for cocktails and French bistro favourites – go for the heady sazerac (Rittenhouse rye, absinthe demerara sugar, Peychaud’s), smashed chartreuse with mint and ginger beer, or keep it simple with a glass (or bottle) of Bordeaux red.