Staring out at the horizon of Lake Michigan for too long is bad for you. You can lose track of time if you’re not careful and be stuck there in a daze all day. It’s that mesmerising.
From our aptly named Spectacular King room in the W Chicago Lakeside Hotel, we were welcomed every morning to sunrise views over the lake. The W is one of the few places in Chicago you can stay on the lake’s edge or with views of Navy Pier.
Navy Pier is the city’s entertainment pier where you’ll find the original Ferris Wheel (though more up-to-date than George Ferris Jnr’s first attempt in 1893). There are fireworks every Saturday night from here. You can go up to the top of the W and see them from ‘Whiskey Sky’ the hotel’s top-floor bar. Whiskey Sky has 200 degree views of the lake and the south of Chicago.
Our room on the 18th floor already had a pretty comprehensive view of Navy Pier, so we didn’t need to go up to Whiskey Sky to see them. The atmosphere there is ‘late night’, which in other words means the lights are low and the volume’s high. Not really our scene but I can see why it’s popular.
The hotel itself is popular too. The lobby bar was always well-patronised and there weren’t many times we didn’t see the concierge busy helping guests. We took advantage of both: great inside and outside bar seating and helpful staff with expert local knowledge. The rooms in the W are excellent too.
The Lake View rooms are – for obvious reasons – more desirable. It’s great to be able to watch the world go by from the comfort of your own room. The people on the lake’s esplanade, the flotilla of local yachts that moor together in the harbour for big boat parties, the sun rising from the surface of the lake in the early morning… perfect.
Our Spectacular King room was spacious and well-furnished. The bed, which was so high Mrs Romance had to do a little hop to get in it, was pure comfort. We speculated that the beds are that high so you don’t have to get up to look out the big windows facing the lake. Who knows, right?
The bathroom is comfortable and well-appointed, and is stocked with towels, gowns and cosmetics from Bliss Spa and Beauty Center, the hotel’s very own piece of paradise on level six.
Our only reservation was the internet. Like so many places we’ve found in the States, WiFi in the rooms is quite expensive. $15 per device per 24 hours seemed a bit steep. The one day I used it, the connection went down city-wide! To their credit, the hotel didn’t charge me for it though.
As its name suggests, the hotel is right on Lakeshore Drive. Of course, you’re seconds from the lake front (though you have to walk a block down to find the underpass to the esplanade) and the little beach there. Navy Pier is right there too.
If you walk north up the shoreline from the hotel, you’ll come to another, bigger beach – Oak Street Beach – where you can sit and eat at the beachside café there, or play a bit of beach volleyball.
It’s only a couple of minutes’ walk west before you’re in the city proper and from there the Windy City and its very own river is at your feet.
The W Hotel Chicago
644 N Lake Shore Drive,
Chicago, IL 60611-3017