Family travel when our daughters were little meant children’s museums and kid’s menus. Now they are older and like fine dining, expensive shoes and real jewelry. My 18 year old just got a nose ring, so her Chicago, Illinois, bucket list included finding a new stud. At the Talbott Hotel, just off the Magnificent Mile, we could satisfy everyone, and look ahead to what it will be like treating grandchildren to the American Girl Place.
When my daughters were little, no trip to Chicago was complete without a trek to the American Girl Place. Then this shrine to the American Girl dolls opened in New York City, but the luster did not dim; every birthday or holiday included a list of necessary American Girl doll accessories and books.
With my youngest, Nora, in college, we are pretty much past the American Girl doll phase, but we were meeting Nora in Chicago and were offered the chance to the experience the American Girl package at the Talbott Hotel. So we pretended that she was still a tween.
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The concierge gave us a personalized check in, with Nora getting her own key card, with her name on it (had she brought her doll, the doll’s name would also have been printed on it). In our room, our king sized bed and a doll bed, with slippers and a robe for the American Girl doll that most families that would choose this package bring; adults can enjoy the plush robes sized for them.
The hotel package included an American Girl activity book and an invitation from a personal shopper at the nearby American Girl Place, where you could get a special concierge experience. The book, outfit and bed are all for you to bring home, so save room in your suitcase.
But Nora is 18; on that landmark birthday, she got a nose ring. She is now at the stage where she needed to buy a new ring to replace the starter stud, so our shopping was at the Water Tower Place, an upscale urban mall where we shopped for body jewelry.
The Talbott Hotel is well situated, two blocks from the Magnificent Miles and within walking distance of both Navy Pier and Millennium Park. You can also walk to The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and The Art Institue of Chicago.The boutique luxury hotel, built in 1927, was fully renovated in 2012; rooms have flat screen TVs with Apple Mac minis, free wireless Internet and deluxe linens. The lobby is a beautiful place to hang out, with leather couches and two fireplaces.
When Nora was younger, no trip to Chicago was complete without visiting the excellent Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, and a ride on the Ferris Wheel. Alas, the Ferris Wheel was closed for winter, but we had a touch of spring at the Chicago Flower Show. This indoor show has a playground for little kids; for us, there was a cooking demonstration, and flower displays where we could see what we want to put in our newly redesigned garden at home.
We were upgraded to a king suite, which had a bedroom, hallway, living room with pull out couch and bathroom with glass shower, separate tub, and two sink areas. The room had a Keurig coffee maker and mini bar with plenty of room to store snacks.
Our suite could also connect to another room, so there is plenty of space for large family that wants to stay together.
In addition to those robes, our room had plenty of fluffy towels, and great smelling bath products by Jonathan Adler.
There are umbrellas in the room, and more in the lobby – this is Chicago, after all. We went upstairs to change for dinner and it was gorgeous out. When we got back down to the lobby, it was pouring and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees.
There is no gym, but you can get free passes to the Equinox a block and a half away. This luxury gym is one of my favorites; it has excellent classes, fluffy towels and every piece of equipment you could need, but in a blizzard you would want a fitness center in your hotel (I had to run over there in shorts and it was raining and blustery).
The American Girl package comes with a personalized menu for both a child and her doll; e.g., child sized portions of grilled cheese, with a mini portion for the doll. We didn’t order room service, but we did enjoy the milk and cupcakes that were sent to our room. Every guest at the hotel gets chocolates at turn down; there are also apples in the lobby.
The Talbott Restaurant, an American bistro, serves breakfast through dinner, and has a vegetarian vegetable salad. The kale Caesar has anchovy dressing, so fish-avoiders beware.
Note: I was a guest of the Talbott Hotel; opinions expressed are my own.