The Ritz-Carlton Chicago Review – Who Could Ask for Anything More?

“What a difference a day makes” is the way I felt after just one wonderful night at the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel.

Approaching the Ritz-Carlton, Chicago,a Four Seasons Hotel

The 25 million dollar renovation, the most extensive in its 33 years, is a gift to its guests. The redesign of the Hotel done by BraytonHughes Design Studios of San Francisco is pleasant and comfortable. The firm has styled Four Seasons properties in Costa Rica, Egypt, Seattle and Wyoming in addition to Chicago.  New design features include custom furnishings in shades of pewter, blue topaz and amber.  Deep woods and rich earth tones with a blend of contemporary and traditional furnishings comprised of graceful upholstered wall coverings and large graphic patterned carpeting create comfort and ease.

Stepping off the 12th floor elevator, one is greeted by the lobby's dramatic views of the city's skyline. The new bar and lounge, a sky-lit fountain centrally anchors the room, surrounded by natural scenes of art nouveau plaster relief are great places to visit and relax.  Elevated urns and stone paths transition the lounge area to an exciting new restaurant where diners are invited to experience the lobby's energy from morning to night as we did one evening.

The twelfth floor lobby

I was amused when my friend told me a story of a journalist she once knew who stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago when it first opened in 1975 (although it has been managed by Four Seasons since 1977). As part of his evaluation of the hotel’s amenities, he ordered, and, of course, got, a peanut butter sandwich at 3:00 am.  My husband and I had very different measures for our evaluation, and we were satisfied beyond any expectation.

Approaching the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, we were immediately impressed with its location.  It is a lovely hotel and busy, attracting visitors from all over the world (the Italian soccer team was in residence during our stay) but it is not ostentatious.  It is just there, elegantly, where you need it to be.  It is across the street from the water tower tourist office in one direction and the Museum of Contemporary Art in the other. It is next to and connects with Water Tower Place with access to 24 hour parking there as well as shopping and restaurants. The Northwest hospital complex is just down the street and around the corner is the newest Broadway in Chicago theatre with other theatres in every direction and shopping everywhere.

Lower lobby

Stepping inside the lobby is lovely but going to the twelfth floor is necessary for registration. This is a huge beautiful open space with services such as check-in, concierge, the business office (free computer), and stairs to the spa area on one side, a large space for relaxing and viewing the city in the center and deca RESTAURANT+BAR on the other side.  The feeling is casual elegance, comfortable and relaxing.  Sean Murphy checked us in. Welcoming and charming, he took time to be sure we knew about the hotel’s amenities and the special elevator arrangement.

Sean Murphy welcomed us

Two of three computer spaces

Entering our suite, we were very impressed with its size and luxurious appointments. This would be a great place to entertain guests but we were alone this time. Walking through the door, there was a powder room on our left and ahead we had a wonderful view of the city and Navy Pier from both the living area and the bedroom.

Navy Pier from our window

Through the large, comfortable bedroom, there was a great walk in closet. In addition to the usual space for hanging clothes, there were built in drawers and cupboards.  Walking through this area was a lovely bathroom with two sinks facing us, and a toilet and tub to one side and a stall shower on the other side.  That this area was attractive was noted but it wasn’t until we used each space that we really appreciated its features.  The tub was outstanding.  I was pleased with all the safety features but its design almost forced each of us to relax.  It was just wonderful.  The stall shower was very pleasant, too with very good water pressure.

A comfy room for relaxing or entertaining

After a lovely dinner at deca RESTAURANT + BAR (see review) that lasted a long while, we chose to simply relax one with the terrific TV, and the other curled up on the couch, reading.  The elegance of the muted décor, high ceilings, elaborate moldings, lovely window treatment, comfortable furniture swept us away.

Looking toward the door

Eventually we found the bed to be outstandingly comfortable, the sheets and bedding made us feel like royalty and the mattress was just perfectly supportive.  You would not catch us up at 3:00 AM checking out peanut butter sandwiches.  We were delightfully comfortable - relaxing and renewing.

Breakfast at Tempo was great

We awoke to an exquisite morning, refreshed and energetic and wanting to explore the area.  We walked in many directions, each rewarding and then before we left we tried the exercise facilities which were free and up to the minute.  But back to our first walk to Tempo, another 24-hour restaurant a few blocks away where we enjoyed breakfast.  Luckily, we were early because a huge line began to form as we left-everyone knows their food is very good and very reasonable.  After eating, we walked toward the lake, the buildings were sparkling in the sun and we walked toward Navy Pier, past hotels, and condos along the lake. A different walk than our usual at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  At Ohio Street there was an underpass and, on the other side of Lake Shore Drive we had three choices: the beach, a shoreline walk or Navy Pier.  Being new to us, we chose the shoreline walk and were rewarded with the skyline from across the water.

Sitting on a bench in the park, viewing the skyline

Walking a bit further, we reached Navy Pier, with its varied activities, restaurants, boat rides, Shakespeare Theater and its carnival atmosphere.  Families were out an about but when the skies opened, we were happy that a cab was nearby to bring us back to the beautiful, comfortable surroundings of the Ritz-Carlton Chicago.  It was a joy to stay here.

Exiting the elevator on our floor

Ritz-Carlton Chicago, Four Seasons Hotel
160 East Pearson Street
at Water Tower Place
Chicago, Illinois

Telephone: 1 (312) 266-1000
Guest fax: 1 (312) 266-1194
Room reservations: 1 (800) 621-6906 or
1 (312) 266-1000

Photos: Leon Keer

A great place to workout

Total Number of Rooms: 435 including 344 Guest Rooms and 91 Suites.
Amenities include:
At the hotel-
24-hour In-Room Dining,24-hour laundry/dry-cleaning/pressing,24-hour multilingual Concierge,Complimentary overnight shoeshine,Express check-in/check-out, Non-smoking rooms, One-hour pressing, Self-parking, Umbrellas, Valet Parking, Services and amenities for younger guests (cooking classes)
In your room-
All news cable network, CD player,Clock radio,Complimentary local newspaper,Complimentary wireless Internet access

UPDATE:The Ritz-Carlton Chicago takes morning yoga to new heights this summer with its first ever Saturday Sunrise Yoga on the Sun Deck. The classes are offered at 7:00 am on Saturdays through September 3, weather permitting. Guests will enjoy striking yoga poses amid picturesque views of the John Hancock Center, Lake Michigan and surrounding tall buildings.

Classes are $10 per person and available only to hotel guests and members of the hotel’s Carlton Club. Reservations are recommended. Guests are encouraged to arrive 10 minutes early to get their yoga mats, towels and to access the sun deck located outside, just above the hotel’s indoor pool on the eleventh floor.
For more information or reservations, please call (312) 266-1000.

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