You'd expect a hotel that offers gourmet room-service menu items for pets to be pretty unique and luxurious.
On both counts, Streeterville's Loews Chicago Hotel ( 455 N. Park St.; www.loewshotels.com/chicago-downtown ) succeeds, although the luxury is different than one would find at, say, a Ritz-Carlton or The Drakeit's more of a quiet, contemporary sort of comfort.
Interestingly, the 50-story building ( which has hotel rooms and residences in approximately equal number, although the entrances to each are in different areas ) seems remarkably hidden, despite the fact that it's near Navy Pier. ( I had no idea it's actually been open for two years. ) This can be a blessing and a cursethe former in terms of the guests'/residents' privacy and the latter in terms of business.
The exterior of the building is clean and contemporary, although not revolutionary. However, I did find it very appealing, as I did the spacious, two-story lobby that, like every Loews hotel across the nation, has its own local touches. One of the most interesting is a piece called "City Rising from Ashes" that pays homage to The Great Chicago Fire ( with one block that represents The Water Tower, which survived the blaze ). Another touch involves the elevators, which features lines from Carl Sandburg's iconic "Chicago" poem.
The rooms, like the rest of the hotel, are clean and contemporary, with touches of Chicago. My room had a spectacular view of Streeterville and Navy Pier; it almost felt like I could jump and land on the venue's famed Ferris wheel.
As I alluded to in the first paragraph, Loews is very pet-friendly. Howeveras I asked if certain floors are reserved for pet owners, partially in consideration of those with allergiesthe clerk admitted to me that there are certain rooms for the owners and their dogs/cats, but that's only if the person doesn't sneak the pets past them ( although that begs the question why someone would do that ).
Also, I would recommend checking out the hotel's ETA Restaurant & Barand I definitely am endorsing the spot's Secret Garden, a heavenly cocktail consisting of kappa pisco, Giffard black-rose liqueur, demerara syrup, lemon and egg white. Some of the culinary highlights include the ribs and the E.T.A. Burger.
Lastly, I checked out the fitness facility ( at about 4:30 a.m., as it's open 24 hours )and I have to say it's one of the best hotel workout areas I've ever seen. There are multiple cardio machines as well as structures that allow for everything from pull-ups to leg liftsbut the Matrix weight machines ( with digital readouts that count your reps as well as the total workout time ) really blew me away.
However, no hotel visit is perfect. I did have a least a couple quibbles:
The hotel offershey!Audi car service. I thought I could take this back home, since there's a two-mile radius, but was told that it's only for corporate destinationsalthough that's not implied on the website.
Regarding the room, some of the chairs looked inviting, but were not exactly the most comfortable. Also, there was a small part of the room window that guests can open. However, there was a sign that read, "Please keep window closed to avoid pests entering room"which makes one wonder why that part of the window is even there.
But those are just quibbles. Loews Chicago Hotel is a fantastic option for those who are visiting the cityor for those, like me, who like the occasional staycation.
Note: This hotel visit was based on an arranged invitation.