From one Chicago view to another. This is the Chicago Water Tower, conveniently on Mag Mile. Built in 1869, it is the second oldest in the USA (after Louisville’s). The whole structure is 154 feet high and it had an interior standpipe, about 138 feet tall, to hold water for firefighters. Today it is a tourist centre. It is also in the direct view from east-facing bedrooms at the luxury Park Hyatt Chicago hotel. The gal was in bedroom 1106, which, sensibly, has a comfy window seat the whole width of its big picture window, and looks out past the Water Tower to Lake Michigan beyond.
This leads me to think what does any girl actually want from a luxury hotel? Let me think of some of the necessary bits that, together, make the jigsaw complete. The right foods and snacks are essential. At the Park Hyatt, the boss, Walter Brindell, makes sure that there are complimentary drinks 24/7 sensibly hidden in an alcove off the library-room that is the ground floor lobby. There is no alcohol provided there, but they have tea and coffee and bottles of water. During cold weather there are also urns of superb hot cinnamon apple cider. Even the honey pots are stylish – they are French.
Girlahead of course needs a gym, ideally one that is open 24 hours a day. She needs a proper elliptical rather than the shallow ones that bump you up and down, and she loves the side-to-side wave machines, and a muscle-motivating Power Plate. More than one Pilates ball is essential (only one, and you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will head for it just before you are ready). A swimming pool is much appreciated, and bikini spin-driers should be automatic.
Then, if we are talking about a business-type overnight stay, the breakfast venue matters. If our business-travelling Girlahead is typical, she may well have had a commitment last night for dinner so the breakfast room is all the more important. At Park Hyatt Chicago, the one restaurant, NoMi, is cantilevered out from the seventh floor of the building – no it does not quite touch the Water Tower. NoMi? NOrth MIchigan.. Originally designed by Tony Chi, it now has enormous lampshades over and it has been separated into various kitchen- and dining-room areas, with a wine room as well.
And Girlahead wants service with a smile, and generous portions. Hyatt is into healthy foods and the basic breakfast menu includes two smoothies. Order the care smoothie, and you get a carafe with blended raspberries, peaches, strawberries, aloe vera, soya milk and ground almonds. According to Hyatt’s nutritionalist, Patricia Teixeira, peaches have lycopene, which is good against prostate cancer (no, not for you, Girlahead..), and lutein, for healthy eyes (could be for you). The really healthy intent could then be somewhat offset by a signature NoMi Benedict, with applewood-smoked Nueke’s ham and a citrus hollandaise…. oh well.
You need a bedroom of course (Park Hyatt Chicago has 203 of them) – and even for a business traveller, great retail helps. Mag Mile, as we know, is one of the world’s best-ever meeting point of great shops, and down below the hotel, right in the same building, are, for instance, Armani and Bottega Veneta. If your room is associated with retail all the better. Here you can book the 1,400 sq ft Bottega Veneta Suite, complete with Bottega Veneta furnishings, like chairs, a sofa bed, folding camp stools. Walls are covered in suede, leather, Ashahi bookcloth and mohair velvet, carpets are soft New Zealand wool. One of the pluses here is that you can buy most of the items, as a souvenir of this lovely luxury hotel…