Travel Spotlight

Kid-Friendly Chicago


is a fantastic place to stay with kids, and the Ritz-Carlton, Peninsula and Four Seasons compete to offer the most memorable children’s amenities and the most thoughtful service. Here are a few highlights:

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago Despite its formal ambiance, the hotel caters splendidly to families, right down to the basket of swimmy diapers by the pool. For those with infants, the hotel provides an attractive, sturdy crib equipped with diapers, wipes, lotion and baby shampoo. There’s also a wide range of helpful accoutrements available on request: diaper pails, Fisher Price and Graco high chairs, baby monitors, toys, bath seats, bottle warmers and the like. For the three-to-six crowd, the imaginative offerings kick off with the guest-room “welcome” tray: cookies, a glass of milk, a pitcher of chocolate syrup and a whimsical cow-patterned “moo mixer”. During Sunday brunch at the Seasons restaurant, kids serve themselves from a large toy train topped with a buffet featuring pb&j, chicken nuggets and pizza; then it’s off to color or do crafts in a replica of Hogwarts Castle in a corner of the dining room while their parents finish a nice, leisurely meal. Kids of all ages will relish the ice-cream cart; pushed by a man in a soda-jerk outfit, it comes to your room stocked with all the supplies necessary for design-your-own sundaes, including Oreos, gummy bears and marshmallows.

Ritz-Carlton Chicago Children are lavished with attention from the minute they arrive, when a red wagon full of toys is rolled out from behind the reception desk so they can take their pick. In the room, they’ll find sweet treats like animal crackers or Chicago’s famous Garrett Popcorn, and every afternoon at 3 p.m., tots can venture to the kitchen to bake cookies with the chef. If they don’t feel like venturing from the comfort of their room, a “Candy Man” brings a cart of sweets and chocolates door-to-door, and the staff will even pitch a tent in kids’ rooms so they can enjoy s’mores and a camping experience. Parents of may be most grateful for Saturday movie nights, providing a blissful few kid-free hours that can be spent at a romantic dinner. Like its sister property, the Four Seasons, the Ritz also has plenty of baby accoutrements available on request.

Peninsula Chicago Children checking in get a backpack containing a list of boutiques and kid-friendly restaurants and even their own set of personalized business cards. In the room, they’ll find a blue or pink car filled with cookies and a martini glass of gummy bears. Other highlights are adorable bath amenities, such as mini robes and slippers, and plenty of DVDs and games to borrow.

American Girl Packages For those in town with daughters and making a pilgrimage to American Girl Place, the Pen, the Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons and even the Park Hyatt all have packages. At the Four Seasons restaurant, the doll is given a high chair for meals. At the Park Hyatt and the Peninsula, a young guest will find a bed for her doll in the room. Also at the Peninsula, the doll gets mini cookies and a shot of milk at turn-down. Now, that’s service.

Published onSeptember 19, 2009

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