Luxury is a term that has become increasingly overused in in today’s society. You can find run down, crappy apartments that claim to be luxury dwellings and have the nerve to charge as such. With this oversaturation of the word, you have wade through the false listings and advertisements to find true luxury. But when you do find it, it’s extremely easy to recognize. That’s why it was so refreshing to see the most luxurious hotel in the city for myself, The Waldorf Astoria (previously the Elysian Hotel). Located in the heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood, which boasts the famed Oak Street shops and The Magnificent Mile, the Waldorf Astoria is a true Chicago gem.
The French influence is obvious when you pull up to the hotel. Renowned French architect Lucien Lagrange designed the Waldorf. It’s reminiscent of Parisian grand hotels of the 1920s. The interior was designed by Simeone Deary Group and embraces fashion icons Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. When you walk in you see how much effort was put into the design, it just makes you want to pull out your camera and take pictures of everything you see. There’s a piece of art in the sitting area that is so popular that they have even put it on postcards. But the main and best part of entering the lobby is the service you get. It starts before you get there with a staff member contacting you to see how they can personalize your stay. Then when you get there and check in, that same staff member is scheduled during the course of your stay to give you he personalized attention that is lacking in today’s hospitality sector.
As you get led to your room, you know that this is the real deal. Everything about the place screams luxury and sophistication. Of the 188 guest rooms, 85% of them are suites and besides the traditional amenities and services, the rooms are also appointed with fireplaces, furnished outdoor terraces, freezer, microwave and so much more. They provide Baltic bed linens, Salvatore Ferragamo bath amenities and plush terry cloth bathrobes. There is nothing more you can ask for in the room, you will truly be resting in the lap of luxury.
As far as food is concerned, you will be more than set at the Waldorf. Sure it’s located next to great Chicago dining like Del Frisco’s, Gibsons, Hugo’s and all the fine dining on Michigan Ave., but you don’t have to leave the hotel for a great meal. The Waldorf Astoria’s Executive Chef and France native Herve Cuyeu and Pastry Chef Andrew Johnson have you covered. The hotel’s bistro-like restaurant, Balsan’s, serves seasonal market-fresh cuisine and is actually inspired by Chanel’s companion, Etienne Balsan. And if you’re looking for something a little lighter, just head down to the “haute hangout” Bernard’s Bar. This 34-seat intimate bar features signature cocktails sculpted by Tom Hogan, who is like an artist/sculptor/bartender hybrid. And if you don’t want to leave your room at all, feel free to take advantage of the 24-hour in-room dining.
If you’re looking for relaxation, head to one of the main attractions of the hotel, the Spa. It is ranked as one of the best in the world, and I can honestly say it’s the most impressive spa I have ever seen. Usually it’s just the women who get to really enjoy the spa services at a hotel, but there is actually a part of the spa that caters just to us men. You can get a shave by barber extraordinaire Oscar Zamudio. Or you can step into the eucalyptus steam room and inhale the mesmerizing aroma while relaxing. They almost couldn’t get me away from it and to tell the truth I wish I was in there right now, but if I was I wouldn’t be able to tell you about it.
I definitely vouch for the Waldorf Astoria Chicago and feel it is definitely one of the best hotels in the world, but to be honest they actually don’t need my endorsement. They have a laundry list of awards and accolades to hang their hat on, most important of them all is that it’s an AAA Five Diamond Award Hotel. And if you would like to relax in true luxury, you should make a reservation ASAP by clicking here or calling (312) 646-1300.