We stayed at the Grand Bear Resort for a full weekend and really enjoyed it. Not only is it close to Starved Rock, but the small town of Utica is really quite pleasant as well. You really don't need to go anywhere if you stay in the resort, which has cabins, motel style rooms and more extensive full fledged villas because the facilities are so extensive. The resort delivers on the water park, which is in a huge hall with six sections, each of which has a different wet activity. Across the parking lot is an indoor amusement park with a dozen rides and more games, plus a sports bar and (mediocre by Chicago standards but not bad for downstate) pizzeria. Food in general is quite limited but they do have a breakfast buffet. We chose to bring our own food and were happy with our decision.
Far and away what the lodge delivers on is the water attractions. After a full weekend in the pools we still weren't tired of it. The hot tub was great, the lazy river delighted my daughter and she came to love the water slide and wave pool. Eye candy is in limited supply, it being a family oriented place, but there is some.
For my sister's wedding in Chicago, I wanted to get her and her husband the perfect room for their wedding night. I went to the 10 nicest hotels in Chicago, (Ritz, Four Seasons, Drake, etc) and asked their staff to show me a room with a great view. The Swisshotel north corner rooms ( the building is triangle shaped) on each floor has the most amazing floor to ceiling windows with view of the lake, the Chicago river and the Magnificent Mile. My sister and her hubby got the added surprise of seeing fireworks right outside their window at Navy Pier, they thought that was part of my wedding present to them!!
Fantastic views from any room, but especially from the north corner rooms
Because all the campsites around Carlyle Lake were booked, we settled on a state park's picnic area close to the marina at Dam West access.
Plus: Feast your eyes on the endless streams of boat coming in and going out.
Picnic tables each has a grill for your own personal use
The area is clean
Neg: Too crowded, too noisey...not ideal for those seeking solitude/privacy
The beach is conparably larger and clean
This Hampton Inn was only about a month old when we stayed there, so everything was new and we had no complaints. They have an extensive complimentary breakfast and coffee in the lobby available around the clock. The staff was extra pleasant and very helpful. Also, the beds were super comfortable and every room has a flat-screen TV (I think plasma).
There is a pool, but we didn't look for it. The hotel is located next to one of the malls (Shoppes at College Hills Mall) along Route 55 running through Normal and is very convenient for stores and restaurants, of which there are many, many!
The Westin on Michigan Avenue in Chicago is a shopper's oasis. Located smack dab in the middle of the Magnificent Mile in downtown, a shopaholic can easily get turned backwards from all the shopping. Luckily, the Westin is the home to the Heavenly Bed, and a nice relaxing bathtub to ease those tired feet.
This is not the most convienent hotel to reach by public transportation however, as when I arrived in Chicago's O'Hare, I took the Blue Line CTA train to the Red Line, and got off on the Chicago exit. I then had to schlep my bags about 5 blocks to the corner of Michigan and Delaware to get in the hotel.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay here in Chicago at the Westin Michigan Avenue and would absolutely recommend it.
When you are visiting the big city of Chicago in Illinois, you will be bombarded with expensive hotels to stay in. Most of my travel to Illinois has been for business, so I have the pleasure of staying in the Starwood Hotel chain when I come up here. The Westin River North is in a great vacation to be fairly centrally located in Chicago. It has easy access to the CTA train lines, a quick cab ride to Rush Street for dinner, or to the heart of the city. It also is within walking distance of the river (as evidenced by its name). Topping that off of course is the fact that you can sleep in the world famous Heavenly Bed, which really is a dream come true on the road!
Walking Distance from Harry Caray's famous Steakhouse.
The ark offers a limited number of accomodation sin the cabin style. Some are actually cabooses and some are modified storage bins. All are ar conditioned and comortable with plenty of BBQs and some within arms reach of the buffalo and elk enclosure.
The best part about this accomodation is that it is located inside the park! Entrance fees and parking fees are waived when you stay in the park, and they have a great brunch on Sundays. You have full access to all of the park facilities, though it does shut down at six. Different cabins are priced differently, but most are $85-90 for two.
Be sure to specify if you want a smoking or nonsmoking room! If your a nonsmoker, like me, the smoking rooms are torture! Our travel agent didn't specify smoking or non, so me and the girls I was rooming with got stuck in a smoking room! And let me tell you! I don't think the maids even try to mask the stench! We walked in, and it smelled like someone had just smoked a pack of cigarrettes and then doused the whole room with water! It was horrible.
Service is also very SLOW! We called down to the front desk to get room deoderizer and waited 1/2 an hour, then called our travel agent. She called the front desk, and we waited another 1/2 hour. Then we called down again, and the lady at the desk sounded irritated.
IT TOOK THEM AN HOUR AND 15 MINUTES FOR ONE MAID TO WALK UP TO OUR ROOM WITH ROOM DEODERIZER. I wasn't impressed.
My first experience with The Palmer House Hilton was in the late 1950s when I came to Chicago for the first time as part of a High School Newspaper Convention. Was I impressed? You bet! Am I still impressed today? You bet!
The hotel has been restored to its original splendor. It has the Beaux Arts Ceiling that was meticulously restored by a Florentine artisan; there's the original "1871" brass nameplate on the building's cornerstone. For 125 years, all sorts of people have stayed here from all over the world. I assume they, too, are awed by that beautiful mythological entrance room. The world-famous Empire Room is only open today for special private parties, but it is still just as magnificent.
It's a huge hotel with 1,600 rooms and 88 suites, but it still feels like an intimate European Hotel. The rooms are not huge, but they are comfortable, well appointed, and all the extras make you feel luxurious.
There are several places to eat, depending on your mood.
The French Quarter Restaurant, believe it or not, serves American cuisine and a luncheon buffet. Trader Vic's has South Pacific fare and exotic drinks. It's been a very popular restaurant for decades. Windsor's Lobby Bar & Cafe is great for cocktails and conversation. Then there is the new The Big Downtown which is a Bar/Restaurant.
Jacques' is a pit stop for caffeine lovers or someone who wants to get something "to go"!
There is a Fitness Club with Nautilus equipments, massage therapy, steam room, sauna, and whirlpool. In addition, there is an indoor pool and a tanning studio.
The Palmer House is located near Marshall Field, Carson Pirie Scott, and the Sharper Image. You can walk to the Art Institute, Symphony Center, Goodman, Shubert, Chicago, & Auditorium theatres. You will be near the Lakefront and Grant Park.
For our 40th Anniversary we stayed the second night of our celebration at the Main Street Inn in Galena, Illinois. It's located on main street in an 1850's building and takes up the entire second floor. There are six elegantly decorated rooms, and each room has its own private bath. Room rates range between $85.00 to $130.00 per night.This Inn was recently restored with personal touches and country charm.
Nancy is the woman who runs this Inn, and she is warm and friendly and makes a wonderful continental breakfast each morning.
Each room has cable Tv, air conditioning, and luxurious bedding. The entire Inn is non smoking, which was a real plus!
Check-Inn is 2:00 pm, and check out is 11:00 am.
While at the Main Street Inn, we stayed in the a Vista Room. This room was a sunlit corner room with a picturesque view of downtown historic Main Street. There was a wrought iron Queen-size bed and an intimate sitting area. An adjoining private bath had a pedestal sink and a shower/tub combination.
We were most pleased with our stay here...the location is outstanding, the breakfast was delicious, and Nancy was a wonderful hostess.
For our 40th Wedding Anniversary in August of 2003, Allan and I stayed one night at the famed DeSoto House Hotel in the heart of Galena, Illinois.
Once you walk in the door, you know that you have stepped back in time, and you'll understand why such famous guests as Abraham Lincoln (He spoke from the balcony of the hotel in 1856), Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, Teddy Roosevelt, and Susan B. Anthony have also stayed here.
When the Illinois Central Railroad came to Illinois, a group of local investors built a grand hotel in Galena to reflect the town's prosperity. The total building costs were reported at $85,000.00. Can you believe that at first, only men were allowed to enter the Hotel through the front door from Main Street! The "Ladies Entrance" was at the side of the Hotel. The tin ceiling, stained glass windows, and the curved staircase are all original. Despite economic famine, fire, and floods, the DeSoto House has survived and is doing well today. It's certainly a reminder of days gone by.
The rooms are oversized with high ceilings, beautiful decor, and antique furniture.
We ate breakfast at The Courtyard Restaurant which is a lovely four story atrium; we ate dinner at The Generals' Restaurant which is named in honor of Galena's 9 Civil War Generals.
Allan and I stayed under a deal called Memories are Forever which included the room (We stayed in the Ulysses S. Grant Room which was a corner room with windows all around), dinner for two in Generals' Restaurant, two DeSoto House Champagne Glasses, DeSoto House Champagne, a long-stemmed red rose with baby's breath, breakfast, and Galena Chocolates. Needless to say, it was a remarkable package deal. We loved every minute of it because the room was huge with a lovely up-to-date bathroom; service was fantastic, and the food was delicious. It made our 40th anniversary quite special.
The Best Western Robinson Inn is simply the Best Inn in Robinson, Illinois. Located across the road from the Hershey Chocolate Factory, this chain motel is relatively new, quite clean, friendly, and comfortable.
There is a Continental Breakfast included with the room which consists of toast, cereal, donuts, muffins, juice, and coffee. There is a very pleasant room for eating breakfast with a conveniently located television for watching the morning news. In addition, USA Today papers are there for reading.
The beds are firm yet comfortable and several rooms are designated for No Smoking. Two Double Beds, One King Bed, or One Queen Bed are the possible configurations to choose from in the room you wish to stay in.
Am/Fm alarm clock, Coffee Maker, Hairdryer, Modem Lines, Television with Cable are in the rooms. Free Parking, a Business Center, 24-Hour Front Desk, Safe deposit Box, Fitness Center or Spa, and Laundry/Valet Services are all available. Remarkably, Pets are allowed for a small fee!
If you like to golf, there are three golf courses within three miles!
So, when staying in Robinson, Illinois, be sure you stay at the Best Western Robinson Inn.
If you have a car...drive away from downtown for more affordable lodging...don't be afraid of driving up to 50 miles from the city...this is nothing for a distance, since the Metropolitean Area of Chicago is so big !!! We found good value in Aurora area, south western suburb.
Hard to recommend - you will find a place according to your taste and/or budget.
Prices vary but decent places start at around $ 40 bucks.
Very friendly - considering the size of the city...
Considered one of Chicago's best luxury hotels, The Drake Hotel is a Chicago institution which was even mentioned in the song Chicago. Since it opened, it has been the hotel of choice for visiting dignitaries and celebrities, and has hosted royalty as well as several American presidents.
The Drake Hotel was established by hotel magnates Tracy and John Drake. It opened in 1920 in an Italian Renaissance building that was designed by the architectural firm of Marshall and Fox.
I have never stayed in this hotel, but did have a drink in its bar.
The Drake Hotel offers 537 luxurious rooms, 74 suites, and a six-room Presidential Suite. All rooms and suites overlook either Lake Michigan or the Magnificent Mile. Room amenities include an executive desk with direct-dial international telephone service and data port, high speed internet, a hair dryer, an iron and ironing board, a coffee maker, and a well-stocked mini bar.
Guests can choose from among the hotel's five restaurants. All offer exceptional cuisine. The Coq d'Or features lunch and dinner; the Drake Bros.' Steakhouse serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner; the Cape Cod has some of the best seafood in Chicago; the Palm Court is known for its High Tea and evening cocktails; and the Club International is a private members-only restaurant.
The hotel also features two large ballrooms, a fitness center, an executive conference center, and several luxury shops.
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