If you're looking for a magical winter getaway or staycation filled with cheer, Chicago's hotels go above and beyond during the holiday season. From elevators decked out with candy delights, to grand trees festooned with gilded ornaments, the attention to detail and creativity will warm your heart.Fun events, including a wine-and-present-wrapping combo and a luxury cookie exchange, make for the perfect opportunity to reunite with friends and family. Here are eight merry events at Chicago hotels that you'll want to pay a visit to this holiday season.
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park (200 North Columbus Drive) is kicking off the 2016 holiday season with its third annual Cookies and Cheer Luxury Cookie Exchange on Thursday, December 1. This modern-day cookie exchange takes the stress out of holiday baking, with each guest taking home three dozen gourmet cookies of their choice, wrapped in custom, luxury packaging, perfect for gifting or simply enjoying.
December 1, 5:30–7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60. Register in advance.
Hampton Inn Chicago, located inside the historic Chicago Motor Club building (68 East Wacker Place), will be offering an unbeatable holiday combo to help you get your gifts wrapped while you relax thanks to their "Wrap Up and Wine Down" offer: Purchase a bottle of wine and you'll receive complimentary gift wrapping supplies including wrapping paper, scissors, tape and bows so you can get all of your holiday wrapping done with a little wine indulgence to make it all the merrier.
The "Park & Stay Package," which includes valet parking service, makes it easier than ever to pull up and park your cares away for a weekend of holiday fun, with rates beginning at $159. For more information, call 312-419-9014.
December 1, 6 p.m.
Celebrate the season with a holiday-inspired tea from executive chef Anthony Zamora and executive pastry chef Scott Green of the luxe Langham Hotel (330 N. Wabash Avenue). Enjoy views of the Chicago River while sipping tea and indulging in savory delights, sweet pastries and scones. Guests receive a glass of complimentary bubbly and children under the age of 10 leave with an adorable Langham teddy bear as a special holiday parting gift.
While you're at the Langham, be sure to check out the intricate holiday-themed sculptures made of sugar and chocolate created by Green, recently named one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in North America.
The Wonderland Tea runs through January 7, 2017; Monday–Wednesday, 3 p.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets are $75 for adults; $30 for children 4–12.
4) Hotel Palomar's Holiday Elevator
Zoom up to your floor in an elevator like no other at Hotel Palomar (505 N. State Street): Once weekly during the month of December, one of the hotel's elevator cars will be decked out Candyland-style by Dylan's Candy Bar. Santa himself will be on-board greeting guests with holiday treats.
Additionally, Hotel Palomar will be partnering with Dylan's Candy Bar to host weekly candy cocktails and mocktails for guests during their well-known wine hour—a Kimpton brand perk: The Dylan's Candy beverages will be available complimentary to hotel guests every Friday during wine hour (5–6 p.m.) through the end of the year. For an over-the-top indulgence, book the special Dylan's Candy Sweet Suite package themed for adults or kids: Everything from bedding, apparel and treats will be included in the suite.
The holiday elevator will be decked out on Fridays in December.
When the big man in red comes to Chicago, the Swissotel (323 E. Upper Wacker Drive) puts him up in style. Starting on December 1, the hotel's 41st-floor, 5-room Presidential Suite is transformed into a stunningly whimsical display decorated in the spirit and magic of the season. Six Christmas trees, a table set for Santa and his reindeer, and snacks and giveaways to spread good cheer greet hotel guests and visitors. Stop by to get your photo taken with Santa.
Santa's visiting hours:
December 3, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
December 10, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
December 17, 1 p.m.–4 p.m.
For over 140 years, Chicago's Palmer House Hilton, located in the heart of the Loop at the corner of State and Monroe (17 E. Monroe Street), has been treating guests to opulent and gracious hospitality.
Retail and real-estate magnate Potter Palmer considered the Palmer House his crown jewel, hence he named the extravagant hotel after none other than himself. Once touted as the largest hotel in the world, the Palmer House has a lobby that has seen dignitaries, celebrities and royalty come and go.
The Palmer House Hiton's 18-foot tall tree, decorated with 7,000 lights among its 15,000 branches, is located in the grand, historic lobby. Enjoy a holiday cocktail treeside at the Lobby Bar, perhaps the Hot Toddy, a Hot Buttered Rum, or Mulled Red Wine warmed with orange and lemon zest, nutmeg, star anise, cloves, vanilla bean, brown sugar and honey. Or keep it nonalcoholic and opt for the premium hot chocolate or spiced hot apple cider.
Surrounded by the twinkling lights of Chicago's skyscrapers, the luxe Peninsula Hotel's Sky Rink (108 E. Superior Street) is perhaps the tallest skating rink in Chicago. Tucked into a pine tree filled winter wonderland, skating here is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Step into the on-site Chalet for a selection of hot beverages and snacks, including hot chocolate, cider, glühwein (a German, warm spiced wine), warm pretzels, funnel cakes and apple fritters.
Suggested donation of $15 per adult and $10 for children 12 years and under; all monies collected will be donated to two Chicago children's charities: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, and Hephzibah Children's Association.
The Winter 2017 skating season is already underway!
There's no better way to get into the spirit of the season than relaxing with a luxury, holiday-themed spa treatment. The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago (120 E. Delaware Place) has experiences for the both the naughty and nice this holiday season, from a sweet caramel coffee pedicure to berry illuminating facials. Plan a mini-getaway from the craziness of the holidays.
The Spa at Four Seasons is open 8 a.m.–9 p.m. daily. Request a spa service.