Four Seasons Hotel Chicago has everything you need for the perfect staycation with your family. For an up-scale brand that one might suspect caters to adult couples and business travelers, it was remarkable how thorough their child-friendly program has been conceived. I recently brought my crew there for a fun little diversion from everyday life, and we were blown away by the experience. Check-in was super easy which is always a plus when you have three kids in tow. At 13, 8 & 5, my kids passed on the option of visiting the toy chest upon arrival, but for those of you with younger kids you’ll definitely want to take them up on this option. When we entered our room, the kids were thrilled to see plush toys, t-shirts, baseball caps and bathrobes in just the right sizes for them displayed out on the bed. Talk about a welcome! The hotel also provides special toiletries for kids, which is a nice touch.
Prior to our arrival, we reserved a pizza making class for the kids. All 3 donned their chef hats and aprons and bounded into the hotel kitchen to make their own pizzas. There was an enticing array of toppings with everything from fresh veggies, to herbs and spices to artisanal meats. My husband and I negotiated hard with our 5 yr old daughter to let us assemble the toppings on half of her pizza. When you’re finished making them to your specifications, you can choose to have them served to your room or whether you’d prefer to enjoy them in the hotel’s farm to table restaurant, Allium. We asked to have them held until dinnertime in the restaurant. Either because our kids asked so many questions about the kitchen workings, or maybe because the personnel at the Four Seasons are some of the nicest people in hospitality, we were taken on a full tour of the hotel’s pastry kitchen. The kids couldn’t get over the size of the industrial mixer. Neither could I frankly.
On our way back up to the room to change into our bathing suits we stopped by the Kid’s Clubroom. We expected this to be geared towards our youngest but the boys were pleasantly surprised to find a Wii, Foosball table and Air Hockey table. The entire family spent about 40 minutes in here in heated battle. As expected, they have toys for youngsters of all ages: stuffed animals, Chalkboard easel, tons of Legos, board games, a play kitchen and a cozy tent with beanbags among other things. Every hotel should adopt this concept.
Another feature that was thoroughly enjoyed was the in-room visit by the Ice Cream Man. Yes, you’re reading this right. The hotel’s very own Ice Cream man showed up at our door with an old-fashioned ice cream fountain cart and all the fix-in’s for made-to-order sundaes. At that point, my daughter asked if we could move in.
Eventually, we got the kids into their suits and up to the pool. The pool at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago might be one of the most beautiful and serene in all of Chicago. You really forget that you’re smack dab in the middle of the hustle & bustle of Michigan Avenue. The kids spent the rest of the afternoon jumping and splashing around in the pool. My husband and I happily watched the action from the adjacent hot tub.
Of course by the time the kids got out of the pool they had worked up quite an appetite, so we headed to Allium, the hotel’s restaurant. The hostess handed out the standard activity books and crayons to the kids. Before walking away she asked them if they wanted to find a special hidden arcade machine that was hiding in plain sight. Well, that got them interested. Off they scurried to find said machine allowing my husband and I to enjoy a quiet moment. Not surprisingly, we didn’t see them again until our food was served. The food at Allium is delicious. We think it has one of the best burgers in town. That night they had a truffle pasta special which was heavenly. The kid’s pizza didn’t disappoint either and they loved knowing that they had a hand in preparing their meal.
After dinner we had promised the kids that we would all settle in for a movie night. Once again, the hotel surprised us with a delivery.
We are lucky in that we travel a lot as a family, but rarely have we experienced a hotel that is so welcoming to kids. When a hotel is so thoughtful in their approach to children it really raises the experience to a whole new level and makes us parents so much more relaxed. I cannot say enough wonderful things about our stay.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary Let’s get Away package to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own. This article first appeared on Chicago Parent where I am a contributor.