Historical Boutique Hotel Near Lake Michigan and Chicago's Museum Campus
The Wheeler Mansion has narrowly escaped destruction not once, but twice. One of the few remaining mansions to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the residence changed hands several times until the late 1990s, when it was slated to be turned into a parking lot. Thanks to a last-minute bid from a local contractor, the French-style home underwent a meticulous restoration (which won the Preservation Excellence Award from the city), and now serves the neighborhood as a stately boutique hotel. A short walk from the parks along Lake Michigan and the Museum Campus, the hotel is now a fixture in the city's South Loop.
Luxury rooms exude stylish charm with ornate wood-carved beds and high ceilings. In one room, a European oil painting hangs above an antique desk, and a large mirrored armoire and iridescent window drapes make a grand statement in another room. All rooms have private bathrooms with walk-in showers or bathtubs. The luxury suites up the ante with more space, silk draft floor-to-ceiling curtains, walk-in showers, and a private fireplace in some rooms.
Every morning, enjoy a full gourmet breakfast in the dining room or on the adjoining verandah. After a hearty meal of eggs, bacon, and toast, feel free to wander through the mansion, taking a moment to admire its original fixtures, such as the mosaic tile floor and dark-walnut woodwork. Guests can ice skate or play hockey in their commercial ice-skating rink right in their backyard. After ice skating, guests can sit around a massive fireplace and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate with homemade biscotti, cookies, or other treats.
Chicago's South Loop: Historic Downtown Neighborhood Near World-Class Museums and Lake Michigan
A cultural renaissance in recent years has seen Chicago's South Loop turn into one of the city's most vibrant residential centers. The downtown neighborhood is bordered on the north by Printer's Row, a two-block stretch along Dearborn Street once known as the printing capital of the Midwest. Here you'll find someof the buildings that made Chicago one of the world's leaders in architecture inthe 1880s and '90s—a title it's held ever since.
To the east lies Lake Michigan and the Museum Campus, a 57-acre lakefront park home to the city's trio of natural-sciences museums. The Field Museum houses more than 21 million artifacts, including its most famous resident, Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever unearthed. Bullfrogs, beluga whales, and moon jellies dwell at Shedd Aquarium, and stargazers will want to make a stop at Adler Planetarium, the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.