Chicago winters are too long. I have very few good things to say about the months of February and March. Dreary, chilly times like these call for family fun to shake things up a little bit. An overnight get away (even in your own hometown) can be just the thing to cure the winter blahs. Bring on the staycation!
Over President's Day weekend, we had the opportunity to get away to the Ritz Carlton Chicago (which I can assure you is worlds away from our actual Chicago home).
It is amazing what a lake view, room service breakfast, plush white robes and some late night candy and game playing can do for your state-of-mind.
The best part of our excursion was the rare combination of absolutely lovely, serene surroundings PLUS the presence of kids -- every where. We weren't the only couple at the Ritz with our three kids. There were a ton of kids there -- all taking advantage of the same family-friendly amenities offered to us. Trust me when I tell you that the Ritz Carlton Chicago sincerely, truly wants you to bring your rugrats to their lovely hotel. I swear. It is true.
Our action-packed overnight included: the opportunity to kids to choose a new toy from the "toy wagon" at check in, a swim in the lovely hotel pool, a fun pop up tent set up in our room upon arrival, accommodations for my daughter's American Girl Doll (luckiest doll in the world) and a delicious meal at Deca Restaurant (yes! with the kids!). Oh, and the nicest room service breakfast a girl could ask for.
There were some aspects of the experience that really went above and beyond that I wanted to mention to you because they are available to every family staying at the Ritz. At 4:00 p.m. every day, families are invited into the kitchen to make cookies with the pastry chef. The kids don the cutest chef hats you've even seen and roll and cut out their own cookies. Later that evening, those very same cookies appear in your room with frosting and sprinkles for the kids to decorate and devour. As if that sugar rush wasn't enough, around 8:00 p.m. there was a knock at the door from a friendly face in a red-striped jacket offering the kids their pick of goodies from her "Candy Cart." I admit to helping myself to a few things as well.
In addition to the big, sweeping family-friendly gestures, I noticed that there were some smaller things that made us all feel like we were welcome at the Ritz. As we walked through the lobby (likely somewhat loudly), the hostess at Deca got our attention and offered the kids little packages of pennies to make a wish in the fountain and small cup of fish food to feed the fish in another nearby fountain. Nice touch, huh?
Highly recommend everything about this special family getaway.
Disclosure: We were fortunate to receive complimentary accommodations at the Ritz Carlton to check out the family-friendly amenities discussed here. And yes, I would go back again and pay for it with my own money because it was worth every penny.