The Heart Knows What the Heart Needs
Sometimes life, as lovely as life might be, needs a jump-start. You need a break, and not just any break—you need a transcendentally romantic break.
Chicago is for Lovers?
Chicago is mostly big—big buildings, big outdoor sculptures, big parks, big fountains. It is the city of big shoulders and great big museums. It's a wonderfully big city. But is it the city for a cozy romantic weekend? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Chicago can be as intimate as it is brash. It offers places to nestle and renew. So do not hesitate. Give your kids a great big hug, send them off to grandma or auntie and book a reservation for a romantic stay in a romantic hotel in Chicago. If you have to save up for it first, have patience. The anticipation will just make your tryst all the more worthwhile.
Harvey House Bed and Breakfast
Okay, it's not strictly inside the city limits, but it's close enough, e.g., Oak Park, eight minutes from downtown. Harvey House Bed and Breakfast (107 S. Scoville Ave., Oak Park, IL) is close to the "L" if you need to get to Chicago, but that may not even seem necessary once you've seen the immediate neighborhood where you can walk to shops, restaurants and galleries. Pride of place goes to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park, IL), the home & studio of the influential architect, with guided tours focused on his early career.
At the Harvey House you and your sweetie have a choice of suites, including the Garden Suite, complete with waterfall shower, oversize jacuzzi and three-sided fireplace. The ambiance is intimate yet luxurious.
Harvey House also offers special packages. If you choose the Romance Package, you will discoverchilled champagne and chocolates prepared by local chocolatiers waiting for you in your room.
Champagne, chocolate, a ginormous jacuzzi, your sweetie and Frank Lloyd Wright all in the same neighborhood. You have to love it!
Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park
The Fairmont (200 N. Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL) offers both luxurious surroundings and proximity to some of Chicago's best attractions, such as the Art Institute, Millennium Park and shopping galore. The concierge service is reportedly friendly, attentive, and informative. After spending a day holding hands and wandering downtown Chicago, come back to the Fairmont for your chocolates and champagne, and gorgeous views of the Chicago skyline.
Extra perk: This hotel offers its own babysitting service.
Hard Rock Hotel
Did you meet your sweetheart at a dance? At a Pearl Jam concert? Or did you think he was like a cute version of Ozzy Ozbourne? No matter, if your relationship has at its core a mutual love of rock & roll, this is the hotel for you. The Hard Rock (230 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL) is the beating drum at the heart of the city.
The rock & roll gear is mostly in the public areas, but (thankfully) toned down in the guestrooms. The real star is the building itself—a 40-story art deco masterpiece built in 1929. Ask for a room with a view, because the view will be magnificent.
Rock on, you young-at-heart lovers, rock on.
Palmer House Hilton
Celebrate the history of your love at this beloved historic site, the longest continually operating hotel in the U.S. Built in 1871, burned down two weeks after its opening, and up and running again in 1873—that takes real Chicago grit. And that grit is inextricably intertwined with its sheer elegance and sweep. The opulent lobby is done in Beaux Arts style and features brilliant frescoes and a mural by the 19th century artist Louis Pierre Rigal.
The Palmer House (17 E. Monroe St., Chicago, IL), is so gorgeous you may not even want to leave during the length of your stay, but bear in mind that it's close to the Art Institute, the lakefront, Millennium Park and lots of shopping.
In this illustrious hotel, even the brownies are made from a recipe concocted by the hotel chef in 1893.
You can't really go wrong with any of the room choices at the Palmer House. They're all beautiful and comfortable, and there are a few packages available. Check out the bed and breakfast package with its choice of breakfasts—healthy or decadent!
The Drake Hotel
The Drake (140 E. Walton Pl., Chicago, IL) is one of those iconic places brimming with nostalgia. Built in 1920, it is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and an integral part of Chicago history. Originally conceived as an "urban resort," the Drake was enormously popular during the 1920s with the high society of Chicago, including celebrities and devil-may-care young folks. Decades later, Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio carved their initials on the bar counter—and if that's not romantic, we're afraid we don't know what romance is.
The Drake has undergone many changes over the years, but it maintains its solid foundation in Chicago history. It has made many technological improvements and now stands as a monument to both past and present.
It's also a great place to stay. Besides the elegant yet comfortable rooms, it offers several eateries, including the Coq d'Or restaurant & piano lounge and Palm Court for Afternoon Tea service. If you prefer, there's in-room dining available from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Have a fine romance, gather some memories to share and come home refreshed.
Judith loves cats, books, and road trips with her husband. She was born in rural Indiana, studied English Literature at the University of Chicago, and has lived in Chicago, Boston, Deerfield, MA and now Louisville, KY. She owned a bookstore for several years and is a past-president of the Mass. & RI Antiquarian Booksellers. She edits novels and stories, and makes pictures which have been shown in galleries and juried shows. She loves to write, and her motto is "stay curious."