The Windy City Westins of
After flying into O’Hare International, I found the Westin O’Hare to be one of the best locations around the airport, and only two blocks from the Blue Line “EL”subway train into the city, which is about 25 miles away.
The Westin O'Hare is the only four-star, four-diamond hotel that is just five minutes (and a complimentary shuttle ride) from O'Hare. The hotel is ideal for corporate meetings, special events, and social occasions because you don’t have to go into the city, just have the executives fly in from all points of the world, and confer in comfort on the VIP floor.
Within blocks of the Westin O’Hare are the
And to my delight, the Westin offered me free shuttle service for the two blocks to the El Train station for a comfortable ride into the city to check out the other two Windy City Westins.
Next stop on the Windy City Westin tour is the Westin River North, the premier hotel in one of the Chicago's most vibrant districts - Michigan Avenue an area filled with art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and trendy nightclubs. This Westin is an uniquely personal hotel, committed to individual service with true Midwestern friendliness.
Just steps from the Westin River North's front door you'll find all the excitement of Michigan Avenue, with the Chicago House of Blues just across the street, and the famous Harry Carey sports bar on the corner of Illinois Street, where you can catch a free trolley to Navy Pier and Millennium Park.
The West River North is in the heart of the financial district, with the
Groups will enjoy the graceful beauty and service that have earned the Westin River North the Successful Meetings' Pinnacle Award. The Grand Ballroom is a choice venue for receptions, spilling onto an outdoor terrace where I savor a magnificent view of the city. All rooms have the Westin’s legendary Heavenly Beds and invigorating Heavenly Baths, two-line phones, data ports with high-speed Internet access, refreshment center, bathrobes, deluxe amenities.
The Westin River North is just minutes from Navy Pier (have your concierge hook up a Lake Michigan dinner cruise on The Odyssey, the largest dinner cruise in the USA). The Westin River North is convenient to shopping along
featuring a comprehensive selection of state-of-the-art Life Fitness cardiovascular and strength-training equipment, the fitness center also provides personal training service, which is included in the price of membership, according to Marketing Manager Pam Vreeland, whom I have lunch with at the hotel.
Equipment at the health club includes Life Fitness treadmills, elliptical trainers, stairmasters, recumbent cycles, upright cycles, eight stations of strength equipment, and dumbbells. In addition, Reebok Core training equipment, including exercise balls, ab roller, and the balance board are available. Certified personal trainers also are on hand to provide health assessments, nutrition guidelines and individualized programs to ensure that workouts are safe, efficient and effective.
And if that is not enough, the hotel provides Runner's World Maps of the neighborhood, outlining recommended 3- and 5-mile jogging, walking, bicycle routes..
For information about memberships to any of the Windy City Westin's health club, call 312/744-1900, ext. 41. The health club is open from 5:30 a.m.- 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, and from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Westin Chicago River North just unveiled two new WestinWORKOUT guestrooms (at an additional charge) for work outs in the privacy of the room using a Reebok Tomahawk XL Indoor Cycle or Life Fitness Treadmill, Reebok Pilates/Yoga and Spinning DVDs, and a custom-designed fitness shelf that holds adjustable dumbbells, resistance tubing, a stability ball, yoga mat, and additional Reebok workout equipment, and a Rodale Press fitness library.
Whew, now after getting in shape I walk the one block to Harry Careys for a beer and chili to watch a baseball game with the locals.
I enjoy lunch at the hotel's Ember Grille with Pam Vreeland, the PR executive for the three Windy City Westins (I know she must work out here, because she is certainly peppy.)
Any as an oxymoron to all this health consciousness, drink fine spirits and smoke imported cigars in the Hana Lounge, often with a twist of jazz, or we are now back again to health at the award-winning Kamehachi Sushi Bar.
The Westin River North is a powerhouse spot for doing business, with these major companies within blocks of the hotel: First Union Securities, Leo Burnett, and R.R. Donnelley, Illinois State Building-James Thompson, IBM, Oracle, Heller Financial, Arthur Andersen, A.T. Kearney, NBC Tower, Merrill Lynch, Chicago Board of Trade, Bloomberg Financial, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Ernst & Young, Towers Perrin. I certainly would have enjoyed Starwood's (Westin is a Starwood's luxury brand) Turbo Net High Speed Internet access if I could tear myself away from all this fitness stuff, but I did read the free newspaper and caught up with the movies on the cable telly.
This is where the true wealth of Chicago resides.
I was informed by a guide on a SeaDog fast boat Navy Pier cruise (you can walk) that the
The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago's offer 751 luxurious guestrooms and suites that are now all smokeless. Upon check in ask for a Lake view room or a conencting view room if with family, and many are handicapped accessible. I really dug the ergonomic desk chair, I even used the video check out.
Refreshemnts from the fully-stocked min-bar could be cracked out but first its stint on the exercise cycle ensuite and then a roll on the yoga ball before settling in with, the remote control television (There's another oxymoron going on here.).
Back downstairs I noticed how many families (yes, Westin has cribs) were staying at the hotel (maybe because they allow small pets) as a base to discover the Lincoln Park Zoo (hey, its summer) just down Mich. Ave.; later I splash in the cooling waters of the Oakstreet Beach, reached by a Lake Shore Drive underpass. I must say the sands were silkier than in the Caribbean, but more radiant, and locals were grabbing as much beach time as possible before the city’s awesome chilly winters rolled in off the Lake.
Chicago is certainly a city of "Big Shoulders", as stated by Carl Sandberg in "Chicago Poem", and the Windy City Westins have developed a superb shape up program to really enjoy it. Oprah should be working out here!
By Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.