By Lisa Farver, Travel Correspondent
Opulent Spa in Historical Classical Revival Building
On Chicago's LaSalle Street, the iconic, art-deco Chicago Board of Trade building stands at the end of a row of historical skyscrapers that stand face-to-face. One such skyscraper is the former Continental & Commercial National Bank building, built in 1914 as one of architect Daniel Burnham’s final designs and featuring stone pilasters and columns that span nearly a block. This building now serves as the home of the JW Marriott Hotel, which underwent a careful 2010 restoration to preserve the structure’s original grandeur. From the gold-trimmed lobby that the New York Times called "a destination in itself," to its sleek, subterranean spa, the hotel pairs classical luxury with contemporary comfort.
This deal includes two 60-minute customized spa treatments at Valeo, valid for anything on its menu. At Valeo, couples unwind with a side-by-side massage or inside the spa's couples suite, which features a double rain shower and infinity tub. The spa puts a modernistic twist on a traditional Moroccan or Turkish hammam with its clarity chamber, where a wall-mounted fireplace heats the room and thick marble slabs serve as treatment tables for ancient treatments, such as acupuncture.
In many of the posh guest rooms, landmarks such as the Rookery Building can be seen through the hotel’s wide, original windows. An iPod docking station allows guests to create an in-room soundtrack with their personal playlists. Trimmed in imported Italian marble, the expansive bathroom features a soak-in tub, roomy enough for Paul Bunyan's rubber duckies. The luxury extends into the onsite restaurant, The Florentine, where chef Todd Stein charms palates with inventive Italian cuisine, such as squid-ink spaghetti and prosciutto pizza.
Chicago: Theater, Art, and Restaurants Amid Architectural Masterpieces
From the southern shore of Lake Michigan and along the Chicago River, downtown Chicago brims with well-known attractions—the iconic Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, "The Bean" in Millennium Park, and Willis Tower, the country's tallest building. A horse-drawn carriage or old-fashioned hovercraft ride reveals the glittering marquees of the Theater District, where one can catch music or comedy performances nightly. And though foodies flock to Chicago for its 21 Michelin-starred restaurants, many save room to try the city's famous italian beef, Chicago-style hot dogs, and deep-dish pizzas.
For an introduction to the city's diverse architecture, the Chicago Architecture Foundation takes tours that lead past several Chicago monuments, from the Magnificent Mile's French Renaissance–inspired Wrigley Building to the massive art-deco-era Merchandise Mart.