Sweet Home Chicago

I'm back from Chicago ....brrrrr.  Yes, it was bitterly cold....but nice and toasty in Neiman Marcus(!)  The Magnificent Mile really is magnificent, but on with the hotel review. The  Hotel Palomar does so many things right it's hard to know where to start.

Palomar Lobby
Why I'd definitely go back:
  • Well, of course it's new, so it has that fabulous new hotel smell. Really.  There was a distinct calming (but not overpowering) scent as soon as we entered the lobby.  Lovely.  
  • Spectacular staff and attentive service - beginning right at the front door with "D" the doorman.  He operated above and beyond the call of duty; offering restaurant and nightclub suggestions and even arranging a ride in a Hummer for our return to O'Hare. I love things that are a little out of the ordinary, so we went with it.  Nice ride.
  • The heat lamps in the entry way.  Genius.  Kept us warm and happy while we waited for a cab.
  • Gorgeous lobby with a flickering fire and funky furniture.  There were several different seating areas.  A big room, but somehow still cozy and intimate.

Art in the lobby.
  • The young, good looking staff at the front desk were quick to mention the complimentary wine every night from 5-6pm.  There was something else about hot chocolate and apple cider too, but I was still thinking about the wine....
  • There were 3 of us, so we opted for a roomy one bedroom suite.  It had a sizable living area with a sectional sofa, huge desk and floor to ceiling windows with a spectacular view of downtown Chicago. 
  • It's a pet-friendly hotel (it makes me smile to see a pooch in the lobby).
  • Each room has a safe sized to perfectly fit your lap top (thoughtful).
  • A pair of super soft animal print bathrobes (cool).  
  • The bathroom was something that all hotel bathrooms aspire to be..Big.
It's a shame, however, to have that HUGE shower and that wee little shower head. The Fuji hot tub made up for it though...

Not just plenty of counter space, but enough room for 3 (THREE) women apply their faces in the bathroom mirror.....at the same time.  Unheard of!  Plus, big plush towels and fancy Etro bath products - it felt and looked like a spa. But, while the ginormous bathroom was the high point it also had the only teeny, tiny negative we could find in the whole room:  the door is a heavy barn-door-like-sliding-thing with a gargantuan full length mirror on the outside. Cool concept, but a little hitch in the design didn't allow it to actually close all the way. It gave you the feeling that you just didn't have all the privacy required to take care of business.

Bathroom door open
Bathroom door when it's pulled shut as far as it will go.
  • Great bed and super soft linens.....and oh so quiet....
Love the Chicago inspired art above the bed.
and in the hallways.
The Sable Kitchen & Bar is attached to the hotel through a short hallway.  (Yay! we can go somewhere without a coat!)  We noticed that every time we passed through this particular hallway, we caught a whiff of natural gas. Curious (and frankly worried that we might blow) I asked Charles, the concierge.  Evidently, the restaurant's stove is on the opposite side of the wall and that smell often escapes into the hallway.  He added that they've had a team of engineers working on it for weeks and they're hoping to remedy the situation asap.  I can live with that.  

The Sable works magic with a grilled cheese and tomato basil soup - delicious and full of flavor.  Plus, the cheeseburger with caramelized onions on a pretzel roll was something I'll continue to dream about every time dinner rolls around.  
Sable Kitchen & Bar
The bar scene was casual and lively but not too loud.  In fact, I actually requested that they turn up the music.  Good crowd mix - all ages - and comfortable.  Oddly, the bar lacked some fairly basic liquor choices - Bacardi Rum, and Belvedere or Chopin Vodka.  This put a lot of undue pressure on our hard-working bartender to suggest something new and different for us to try when we really just wanted our faves. 

Overall, The Hotel Palomar is practically perfect in every way.  If you book it, remember that they cheerfully honor their Best Rate Guarantee, so if you find a better rate somewhere else, they'll match it.  Believe me, they did. (See previous posts:  Dialing for Dollars and Facebooking for Dollars).

If you go:  A half block away is the biggest and best omelet at Eatt. 
Good luck finishing this puppy.
Also, do yourself a favor and have dinner at Rosebud.  Italian perfection.  Order the eggplant salad - Oh. My. Word.  It doesn't sound good, but it IS a thing of beauty.  Delicious.


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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?