JW Marriott opens in Chicago

Marriott certainly is making the rounds. The first ever JW Marriott Marquis opened in Miami last week and coming Thursday, Nov. 11, the JW Marriott Chicago will open its doors.

Situated in the historic Continental & Commercial National Bank Building in Chicago’s financial district, the JW Marriott Chicago will be the first of its brand in the windy city. Occupying the first 12 floors of the building at 151 W. Adams St., the hotel will have 610 guestrooms, including 29 corner suites and more than 44,000-square-feet of meeting space, a 20,000-square-foot world class spa and fitness center, and two different dining options – an Italian Steakhouse and a lounge serving more casual plates and sushi.

Each guestroom will offer complimentary in-room coffee/tea service and nightly turndown service. All rooms have 10-foot ceilings with handcrafted crown molding and spacious bathrooms clad in Italian marble, featuring stand alone tubs and separate marble showers. Forty-two inch flat-panel high-definition televisions grace each room with hookups for A/V stations and Wi-Fi capabilities.

The spa, VALEO, is a 20,000-square-foot space of ultimate serenity combining fitness facilities, traditional and non-traditional spa services and myriad salon services. The fitness center will feature cardio and circuit training equipment, a large pool for laps as well as a therapeutic whirlpool.

The hotel’s restaurants, The Florentine and the lobby lounge, give travelers and hotel guests the option of fine dining or casual take-out. The Florentine, a concept from the BLT Restaurant Group, offers Italian-American fare from Corporate Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot and Executive Chef Todd Stein, of Sunda and mk fame respectively. For a more casual experience, the JW Marriott Chicago’s lobby lounge will serve light fare like appetizers and sushi.

To celebrate the opening of the hotel, individual room reservations will be available beginning November 11, 2010 with introductory rates from $179 – $329.

Trump Chicago first hotel to offer certified organic room-service menu

Looks like more hotels are helping guests live healthier lifestyles, especially during their travels. Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago just debuted an in-room dining menu that is certified organic by Oregon Tilth, an international organic certification organization.

This will be the first hotel in North America to provide an all-organic menu, created and cooked from local and sustainable farmers. The room-service menu is divided into five categories-breakfast, lunch, dinner, late-night snacks and spa dining. The in-room dining menu specifically features 10 certified organic dishes.

Selections from the organic breakfast menu include: Swiss Bircher Mueesli and a “Fight the Fatigue Fitness Breakfast” that includes a choice of fresh juice, plus an egg white omelet, chicken sausage, tropical protein shake, housemade Trump bakery muffin and your choice of Julius Meinl coffee, Harney & Sons tea or Oberweis skim milk.

For lunch or dinner, feast on organic selections including a classic Caesar salad; fusilli pasta with wild mushrooms, asparagus and English peas; wok-fried rice with tofu, beef, chicken or shrimp; wild mushroom risotto with parmigiano reggiano and English peas; organic center-cut pork chop with apricot glaze; sirloin steak frites with maitre d’ butter; and plenty of organic dessert options.

With these healthy options, you have no excuse for ordering late-night burgers and fries.

Hard Rock Hotel Chicago goes to the dogs

You want to see the Windy City but you don’t want to leave behind your furry friend. No worry – the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago is going to the dogs, literally, with their new “Party like a Rottweiler” pet package that allows visitors to the hotel to bring along their best friends (of any size!) without worry.

Why they chose a Rottweiler we don’t know, but it does add a certain edge to the fun. The hotel is offering the following to four-legged guests:

  • Travel-ready collapsible bowl
  • Natural, grain-free treats and meals from Companion Natural Pet Food
  • Doggy “clean up” bags and dispenser
  • Hard Bark Hotel guitar dog toy
  • Signature Hard Rock Hotel Chicago dog tag

Also, guests staying at Hard Rock Hotel Chicago are permitted to leave their pet in their room, as long as a cell phone number is provided to the hotel’s concierge. Concerned that your precious pup is wreaking havoc in the hotel? No worries if you’re an iPhone or SmartPhone user – borrow Hard Rock’s ‘Pet-Cam’ (free of charge) and keep an eye on your pet while you are out. This camera keeps an eye on your room, and allows guests to access the video feed from anywhere on their laptop or handheld device.

In addition to the above perks, dog-walking, dog sitting and doggie day-care services are also available.

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Chicago set to open with $89 nights

Question: Where can you get a king-sized bed and a bottle of wine for $89 on a Saturday night? (Hint: it’s not your parent’s house)

Answer: 505 N State Street, The Kimpton Hotel Palomar, Chicago

The new boutique hotel is opening its doors on Saturday, April 24, 2010, and hosting a killer sale: $89 gets you a king-sized bed, a bottle of red or white wine, and all the amenities you’ve come to love from Kimpton (like leopard-print robes and L’Occitane bathroom amenities). You’ll pay more than $89 for dinner out so why waste time waiting for a table when you can cozy up for the night with room service? (Other packages at the Hotel Palomar are available for those who want more than a hangover, courtesy of the free bottle of wine.)

Located in Chicago’s River North district, Kimpton’s newest property will lure travelers with opening season deals and access to some of Chi-town’s coolest conveniences: Michigan Ave., Watertower Place, Navy Pier and more.

The boutique hotel will come with all the same features and amenities you’re used to from Kimpton’s including an indoor heated pool and sundeck, hosted evening wine hour, WiFi access and of course, the Kimpton “Forgot It? We Got It!” loyalty program.

Stay at The Blackstone and explore Chicago by bike

We’ve been talking a lot about green travel this month. Well, here’s one more way you can do your part to reduce the impact your travels have on the environment. Book a room at The Blackstone in Chicago through October 31, and you’ll be given two Strida bikes to use for the duration of your stay.

Bike Chicago” package prices range from $199 to $269 per night and include overnight accommodations for two, a city map and the use of two bikes. Strida bikes are the world’s lightest collapsible bikes, so you can easily pedal around town and then fold up the bike and carry it with you on the bus or El if you need to travel farther than you’re willing to pedal. And because biking all over Chicago can take a lot out of you, The Blackstone will also provide you with some tasty fuel – a picnic lunch for two from Mercat al la Planxa, a Catalan cuisine restaurant inside the hotel.

The Blackstone is a Marriott property located on Michigan Avenue, near Grant Park. While it’s not the cheapest accommodation you’ll find in the city, the hotel’s restored luxury (it was originally built in in 1910), excellent service, and ideal location make it well worth the price. For the date I checked, the bike package was only $40 more than the basic rate, an amount you could easily spend on cabs over the course of a weekend. So overall, I ‘d say this is a pretty good deal. See Chicago, save some money, and do a little to help save the planet at the same time.