Spring break is here for some and coming up for many, which means kids will be out of school with days and hours to fill. While a trip to a faraway land sounds nice, it’s not always feasible or, frankly, in the budget. For anyone staying local, you might consider a staycation at The Ritz Carlton Chicago, A Four Seasons Hotel. I know that sounds like an enormous splurge, but hang on: the reality will surprise you!
The Hotel feels like a resort right in downtown Chicago — guests never have to leave the building!
My family was recently invited for a preview of what families can expect. Upon checking in, the kids were greeted with the toy wagon. They were literally looking over their shoulders to make sure it was actually for them. The concierge also gave them a scavenger hunt that we completed throughout our stay. [Aside being tons of fun, the scavenger hunt will lead you to the secluded Terrace with a koi pond that was super fun to find.]
We stayed in a beautiful room on the 28th floor with gorgeous views of the lakefront. The view was lost on Little, whose focus was solely on the tent complete with child size bathrobes, blankets, teddy bears and balloons that was set up in the living room!!!! There were complimentary gifts and refreshments tailored for each of the kids, which was a lovely touch. Along with their gifts, each of them was given a fun checklist of activities for the kids to complete during the stay. They were thrilled that jumping on the bed was one of the featured tasks! (Hotel-sanctioned bed jumping? Fantastic!)
Our first activity was to check out the new behind-the-scenes half basketball court that just opened. The court is located in their massive boiler room making even the journey getting to the court a cool, behind-the-scenes experience. They adored being able to run around and shoot hoops. During the spring break period, the court will be used for both shooting hoops, as well as some supervised games and activities.
After working up our appetites, we headed to the hotel’s kitchen for pizza making and cookie decorating. The staff did a great job showing them how to properly work with the dough, roll it out and use the cookie cutters. The toppings for the pizzas were endless! As we were not quite ready for dinner, the kitchen let us assemble the pizzas and then they baked them when we came down to the hotel restaurant Deca at dinnertime. We had so much fun cooking in their kitchen that the staff gave us a full tour of the hotel’s kitchen operations. It was amazing to see all of the different stations that make up the facility. I highly recommend asking them for a tour. The kids loved seeing the giant mixing bowls, and where they wash and inventory all of the silverware.
Before dinner, the kids were excited to have some down-time in the room. Little and Middle wanted to play in the tent and build a fort, while Big wanted to do some school reading. While we were up in the room, we were visited by the hotel’s Candy Lady. Yes, that’s right, a traveling candy cart comes to your room where you can select a custom mix of treats. This had a huge WOW factor for all the kids. And who doesn’t love a good malted milk ball? The in-room amenities don’t stop there. The hotel makes it super easy to have a fun family movie night with a great selection of family friendly dvds (as well as on-demand movies) available. Don’t be surprised when the doorbell rings and they deliver popcorn and treats to your room.
As if that wasn’t enough fun, the large lap pool located in the spa was a huge hit and a great place to burn off some of the sugar. It stays open fairly late so it was perfect for an after dinner swim.
The Ritz is conveniently attached to Water Tower making it just steps from The American Girl Store and The Lego Store. There truly couldn’t be a better location from which to explore Chicago.
160 East Pearson Street at Water Tower Place, Chicago
We received a complimentary stay at The Ritz to facilitate this review. This review first appeared on Chicago Parent, where I am a contributing blogger.