It’s a truth universally acknowledged that summer and vacation go together like peas and carrots. Unfortunately, it can be tricky finding the time or money to go on said vacation. Exhausting work schedules and busy calendars prohibit most, including us, from taking week-long trips to far away lands. So how did we take our break? By treating ourselves to a short but oh-so-sweet, 24-hour staycation! We were lucky to team up with Starwood Hotels and Resorts to relax and enjoy our own great city of Chicago, not as residents, but as vacationers.
Of course, we had plans to do all the touristy things. Go to the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower, segway around Millenium Park, cruise along the river on the architectural boat tour, cheer on the Cubs at Wrigley. But when the weekend rolled around, we fully embraced vacation mode and opted to kick back, rest, and have fun. (Read: eat, drink, and indulge a little!)
Saturday afternoon we packed our SPF and headed to North Avenue Beach for a few hours. A dip in the lake and some frisbee was the perfect activity to send us into a vacation stay of mind. Then we made our way to The Sheraton Hotel in River North. Lucky for us, two north siders, the Sheraton is ideally situated near where the river meets Lake Michigan in the heart of Chicago’s best shopping, restaurants, and cultural sites. It’s a ten-minute walk to Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, and the Bean. Plus there’s just something about staying in a hotel that made the whole vacation thing that much more real.
That night we had a good old fashioned girls night, dining at Bandera, one of our favorite restaurants on Michigan Avenue that we don’t get to frequent as often as we’d like. (If you go, get the Macho Salad. Can you saaay avocado and goat cheese? We can. And did.) Plans to go out and party hardy were foiled by sleepy eyelids, so champagne, snacks, and a movie in our hotel room was the perfect night cap. (If you haven’t yet seen Tina Fey and Paul Rudd’s Admission, do. It’s as awesome as they both are.)
Sunday morning we slept in and ordered room service. Whether you’re in Figi or Fargo, room service is the greatest thing ever. Fresh, hot culinary treats (in this case, omelets and bacon) brought right to your bedside. Unexpected bonus perk: the Sheraton served Starbucks beverages. Mmm mmm good. We felt energized and raring to go… to relax some more. Bathing suits went back on and to the hotel’s pool and sundeck we ventured. I know it might sound like we were being a bit lazy, and let’s be honest, we were, but it’s not every day we can hang out on a sun-drenched balcony overlooking some of the best views in the city. We had to take advantage of it!
That afternoon we dined on the patio at Tavern on Rush, one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants. Their menu is large and believe it or not, everything is good. The ahi tuna appetizer smothered in avocado was our favorite dish followed by the creamy cheesecake for dessert. After lunch we window shopped along Oak and Walton Streets where all the fanciest stores nestle. We popped into our favorite Kate Spade to see what colorful new goodies they had in store. Fortunately for our bank accounts, we abstained from any impulse purchases. And eventually we made our way over to 900 N. Michigan Ave for the grand finale: manis, pedis, and massages at the Mario Tricoci Salon and Spa. Neither of us had ever actually taken a “spa day” before (meaning having more than one service done in a single visit) and boy was this the perfect end to our little non-getaway. After that we headed back home, relaxed, restored, and ready for another work week. Crazy to think we didn’t even have to board a plane.
Lucky for you, Starwood Hotels and Resorts (think FourPoints, Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, and even the St. Regis) is giving away 16,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points to one lucky winner! This would be enough for a 1 night stay at a category 5 hotel or 1.5-2 nights at a lower category hotel. OR, you could do cash and points (so pay for part of the room with cash, rest in points). Whoever wins has to join Starwood Preferred Guests if they don’t already belong so the points go into their account.
Leave a comment telling us what you’d want to do on your own staycation! What Starwood Hotel would you stay in? What restaurants would you dine at? Cultural sites would you visit? What do you want to do in your city that you usually don’t get around to doing? Who would you spend the time with? Or would you enjoy a little “me” time?