Feel like you're literally on Cloud Nine when you check into the refined Four Seasons Chicago. The pampering never stops and guest rooms begin on the 30th floor (the hotel sits atop the tony 900 North Michigan Shops), so there's a distinct feeling of seclusion—and great views to boot. Rooms are inspired by 1940s French decor and have spa-like baths with Chinese marble. The lobby art is well worth a look, and breakfast at Allium is a great way to start the day. There's also a lovely spa on the premises that's one of downtown Chicago's best.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While the hotel bills itself as kid-friendly with an ice-cream cart and Kids Club Room, the idea is that kids keep quiet and to themselves, something to consider for families with young tots.
Standard rooms offer either a lake or city view--both are superb. Design fans will want to splurge on the one- and two-bedroom suites as they were designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, whose projects include Four Seasons and indie luxury-boutique properties around the globe.
Traveling with a group? The hotel will add a bed to any room for an additional $40.
Creamy marble is a hallmark of the baths' design, with tiled walk-in showers, Malin + Goetz toiletries and plush bathrobes.
Don't just whisk through the seventh-floor lobby, take note of its private-art collection, a mix of splashy, modern pieces spanning glass, porcelain, photos and paintings.
Want to know more about the art collection? On the hotel's website art consultant Elizabeth Weiner hosts an in-depth tour.
A 50-foot-long indoor pool with Roman columns is a treat for hotel guests. Natural light pours in via skylights and there's plenty of lounge furniture, plus a whirlpool. Whether the pool is an add-on to your spa visit or a place to swim laps, the pool easily accommodates.
Considered a premier spa in downtown Chicago, the spa has all the goods for a day-long visit, including sauna and steam rooms, showers and treatment rooms, plus a dedicated salon area for manis and pedis. Seven different massages are proof of the therapists' knowledge. The signature "Gold Coast's Ultimate Secret" facial folds in the Secrets de Sothys product line.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Concerned about the spa prices? Visit on weekdays for rates of $10-$30 less per treatment.
A 24/7 facility on the hotel's eighth floor keeps adrenaline pumping and muscles toned. In the 2,300-square-foot gym are elliptical trainers, treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights and more.
Brunch at Allium, the hotel's lone restaurant, is a sea of beautiful people on the weekends while lunch and dinner selections like lobster nachos and a sausage-stuffed chicken leg marry elegance with comfort.
Have kids in your room? Then you'll want to dial up the hotel's "ice cream man," who will deliver an ice-cream cart to your room for DIY sundaes.
Allium's bar pours many French and Californian wines by the glass but also shows off its mixology expertise by putting a spin on classic cocktails, with drinks like Chocolate Orange Old Fashioned.
No need to bring the car unless you plan to leave the downtown area. Snug in the tony Gold Coast, designer-label shops are within a five-minute walk, along with high-design restaurants and cafes. If you need to get downtown, Uber and taxi drivers are at your service.
Spiaggia (2-minute walk) continues to reign as one of the Gold Coast's best restaurants (also an Obama favorite) with a James Beard Award-winning chef as the owner and modern-Italian tasting menus. Happy Camper Pizza in nearby Old Town (16-minute walk) riffs on the vintage-camper motif with a super-casual and tasty menu of pizzas, each named after a male name (like the "Jay," topped with Canadian bacon and pineapples). This family-friendly spot is a refreshing shift from Chicago's deep-dish-style pizza.
The Drake, a Hilton Hotel (3-minute walk) is an iconic grand dame of a hotel in Chicago, just like the Four Seasons, and at the Coq d'Or the vibe is very much 1930s. It's also been continually operated since that time. Zebra Lounge (10-minute walk) is a lesser-known and very intimate piano bar.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Although part of a luxury worldwide brand, this Four Seasons manages to retain a personality. Its location is truly the best spot for a five-star hotel as the Gold Coast is where it's at for luxury-lifestyle shopping, dining and other attractions. Plus, the rooms are very spacious and there are a lot of perks for guests, such as the indoor swimming pool, lavish spa and amazing dining.