We've all been there. The thought of going on a trip sounds so refreshing and tempting, an escape from our routine, but then reality sinks in as we make arrangements and we have to deal with the hassle of shopping around looking for the best hotels we can afford. Well, I found the cure for that: Spontaneity and the Booking.com mobile app.
When Booking.com and Time Out decided to send me on a trip but not tell me the destination till the night before departure, I’ll admit I was skeptical about being able to get the hotel I wanted, but with the Booking.com app on my side, I had nothing to fear. As soon as they told me I'd be flying to Chicago, I immediately loaded up the app and in minutes, my reservation with The Langham in downtown Chicago, the number one ranked hotel in the city, was confirmed. Oh, did I mention it happened to be 4th of July weekend? Booking.com and Time Out, you like to live dangerously. I can respect that.
When I arrived at The Langham, I was immediately struck by how luxurious the property was. Checking in, I was greeted by the super accommodating front desk staff, and the moment I opened the door to my room, I was blown away by the beautiful amenities offered by The Langham. From the gentle strings of Classical music playing as I walked in, to the monogrammed robes perfectly placed on the huge king sized bed, the mood had been set perfectly.
My first stop after getting freshened up was to the Concierge desk, where the fantastic Timo Nequin had suggestions for places to hit up for a late lunch. I had heard that Chicago is a hub for great restaurants and my first meal in the city certainly lived up to that billing. Siena Tavern was a mere five-minute walk away and the contemporary Italian fare on offer was delicious! Try the spaghetti, you can thank me later.
The rest of my day was spent in the trendy Wicker Park area of Chicago. Teeming with eateries, bars and stores, it was a hive of activity. I stopped into local boutique P45 to check out their delightful wares and later on, indulged my weakness for sweetness at Stan's Donuts & Coffee which, funnily enough, originated in So Cal.
The next morning, I'm not ashamed to say, I slept in. I blame the ridiculously comfortable bed in my room! I headed out to the Lincoln Park area to experience a neighborhood famous for its beautiful homes. Coffee was next on the agenda and luckily Elaine's Coffee Call, located in the lobby of the historic Hotel Lincoln, was just a few minutes’ walk away. Dinner proved to be a particular highlight of our time there: GT Fish & Oyster kept the bar high with amazing small shared plates, and they also make a mean cocktail, so be sure to order a couple.
Day three was spent at the world famous Art Institute, a must-see attraction with amazing architecture, not to mention priceless pieces of art. I couldn't think of a better way to cap off my trip to Chicago, with inspiration and creative energy pouring out of every display. It was the perfect metaphor for my entire time in Chicago, a city bustling with activity that gave me the jolt I needed to take back home with me. And any time I feel a quart low, I know Booking.com has my back and another shot is just a few clicks away.