Chinese lions flank the entrance of this majestic hotel (and oddly on our visit, so did a life-sized mascot bear in a bell-man’s outfit) in an enviable location just off Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.
What we immediately noticed was how palatial it was, particularly as there are only 300 rooms; traditional in feel, but luxurious without the stuffiness. And the Peninsula trademark obsession with views followed through – guest rooms and communal areas featured big, glass windows overlooking the city. Needless to say, the service was impeccable, like its namesakes across the world.
We opted out of the infamous Chicago deep pan pizza one night to take dinner in The Lobby. Don’t be put off by the name, this is American contemporary dining at its best, in a space that was once overlooked, reappropriated by the hotel’s head chef and transformed into the conversation topic of Chicago’s chattering classes. Whilst the food is fine, the atmosphere is light-hearted and sociable – this fusion is best expressed by the string quartet that serenaded us whilst we ate, bowing an arrangement of Guns n’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine. Trust us, as corny as it sounds, it just works.