In Chicago, the Waldorf Astoria includes hotel rooms and suites, plus separate high-end residences. Earlier this year it was in the news when a 7,500 sq. ft. condo on the 39th floor went on the market for $11.5 million, which would make it second priciest residential sale in the Chicago so far this year. When the hotel itself was sold in 2015, the $113 million price tag equated to $600,000 per room, setting a record for hotels in the city, according to The Real Deal. Curbed reports Ken Griffin (Forbes Billionaires #172) paid $13.3 million for a full-floor condo in 2014. He also owned a second Waldorf unit occupying the entire 46th floor, which he sold in 2016 for a reported $16 million. In other words the Waldorf Astoria is prime real estate.
Of course, when it comes to hotel choice, the Windy City is finding its top hotels are competing at the top of rankings with Waldorf joining The Peninsula, Langham and Four Seasons among the top 20 hotels in the U.S. as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The Waldorf also made CNN’s list spotlighting “20 of America’s Most Beautiful Hotels” and has earned the AAA Five Diamond Award for the past four years. Over the same period Conde Nast Traveler ranked its spa as #1 hotel spa and #3 spa in the U.S. as well as the #1 city hotel in the U.S.
The hotel doesn’t only cater to humans. For $75 they will set up your best four legged buddy a personal water bowl, pet bed and doggy pack. There is also a VIP shopping service via Pets in the City which can outfit your dog to brave Chicago’s rugged winters and offers a variety of toys.
Of course, if you are going for business, the hotel has full facilities for meetings and events (see below). Its Gold Coast location is near shopping, restaurants, nightlife and less than four miles from McCormick Place if you are attending a trade show or convention.
Rob Merlin, a St. Louis-based travel advisor with SmartFlyer says, “People don’t always think of the Waldorf because The Peninsula has such a high profile,” but he says he books the Waldorf frequently because of its location which he says is ideal for shopping, dining and walking around. He notes Barneys is across the street and Neiman Marcus is a couple blocks away. He lauds the entry-level suites (see below), which he says are “huge” and are often priced at the same level as regular rooms at several other luxury hotels. Additionally he likes the hotel for girls getaway weekends and even low-key bachelorette parties.
“The service is really good. The restaurants are good, but it’s not a scene in the lobby, so if you are looking for a party, it’s not at the Waldorf. But if you want really good service, a traditional luxury hotel with large suites, a great location with really good value, it’s a very good choice,” he says.
Signature Flight Support at Midway Airport (16 miles) is slightly closer than O’Hare (18 miles) or Chicago Executive Airport (26 miles).
There are 93 suites in five different categories ranging from 660 sq. ft. to 2,130 sq. ft. Merlin says suite pricing provides better value than other luxury hotels in Chicago and he particularly likes the Two-Bedroom Pied-a-Terre Suites for families or even girlfriend groups.
Presidential Suite (1)
At 2,130 sq. ft. located on the 26th floor, the Presidential Suite features two private terraces with panoramic views of the Gold Coast neighborhood. This mobility accessible suite features a media room, fully equipped kitchen, and two bedrooms with king-sized beds.
Two-Bedroom Pied-a-Terre Suite (7)
Situated on the northeastern and northwestern corners of the hotel and located on floors 7, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26, the 1,515 sq. ft. Two-Bedroom Pied-À-Terre Suites provide two bedrooms with king-sized beds, two living rooms with queen sofa bed, and two full bathrooms. The suites do not join internally but share a common foyer and in fact a combination of a Gold Coast Corner Suite and a One-Bedroom Suites. From your furnished terrace, look out onto Chicago’s Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Corner Suite (10)
The 855-sq. ft. Gold Coast Corner Suite, with a stylish living room, showcases views from the northeastern and northwestern corners of the hotel, including a furnished terrace. This suite provides dining table and a queen sofa bed plus soft seating in front of the one-touch fireplace. There is a deep soaking tub. The type is located on floors 7, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 which is accessible.
Deluxe One Bedroom Suite (37)
The 760 sq. ft. Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite offers a separate living room and showcases views from the southeastern and southwestern corners of the hotel. There is furnished terrace, dining table and a queen sofa bed plus more seating in front of the one-touch fireplace. Location is floors 7 to 26 with accessible suites on floors 12 and 23.
One Bedroom Suite (38)
The 660-sq. ft. One-Bedroom Suite provides a living room with views of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood from the terrace and the bedroom. All suites include fireplaces and there is a sofa bed. Location is floors 7 to 26 with accessible suites on floors 7 and 17. When we look for weekends in August, we found rates under $600.
Merlin says the hotel is best used as a base to explore Chicago, however, he recommends at least one stop at its restaurant from award-winning chef Michael Mina.
James Beard winning chef Michael Mina’s Margeaux Brasserie is located on the third floor and has a Private Dining Room with seating 40 people or a good venue for receptions.. Inspired by Parisian culture, the restaurant combines French cuisine featuring regional, Midwestern ingredients.
As to the ambiance, the Chicago Tribune writes, “Decor-wise, Mina and Bishop Pass Design nail the details. Inspired by 1920s Paris, Brasserie Margeaux has heavy, marble-topped tables, a long, zinc-topped bar and black-and-white patterned tile floors. Walls are done in gold and black, framed by dark wood. Creature comforts abound, including high-back leather chairs, generous spacing and elegant table appointments. A champagne cart patrols the dining room; lighting is subdued and romantic.”
Eater says food is “delicious, indulgently rich” pointing to sweetbreads over pureed fennel, and steak tartare with quail egg, “done simply and flawlessly.” Duck breast with cognac jus is “unassailable” while the $52 lobster bouillabaisse is the “best thing on the menu” and worth the cost. Sweet treats include a show-stopping chocolate macaroon that’s “the sort of Instagram-worthy dessert one hesitates to eat, for fear that the first intrusion will wreck the visual effect.” Overall, the price of admission “may be Gold-Coast high, but superb quality and hefty portions ease the sting.”
Petit Margeaux is a French patisserie that melds Parisian café culture and Midwestern hospitality located on the hotel’s first floor. A savory menu offered all day highlights tartines, sandwiches, salads and a quiche of the day. Highlights include a Parisian ham Tartine with gruyère and black pepper béchamel, the French Dip Sandwich with slow-roasted prime rib, au jus and a horseradish aïoli and the Beet Salad with lolla rossa lettuce, toasted pistachio, and a lemon-lavender vinaigrette.
There are also sweet treats from including macaroons, palmiers and madelines, croissants and scones, muffins and other assorted pastries and cookies. For a java jump, there are coffee blends and espresso drinks – served hot or cold – plus a large selection of teas from black and green to herbal, white and milk teas, as well as Valrhona milks. There’s beer and wine by the glass as well.
Fitness and Wellness
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago Spa & Health Club is a fully equipped health club, featuring both a gym and Pilates and Gyrotonics studios. In addition to cardiovascular and weight training equipment, including free weights you will find Woodway Treadmills and Wattbikes. There is also an indoor lap pool open 530am-10pm, except 9pm Sundays. Classes include kick boxing, aqua aerobic and body blasts. Private training sessions are also available.
At the spa, you will find a variety of services, including dedicated menus for men and children. Many treatments can also be had in your suite. In addition to full body massages, facials and special treatments for hands and feet, there is a menu for waxing and tinting. The signature Waldorf Cleanse ($355) is 120 minutes inspired by hammam bathhouse practices, including a coffee, olive stone and fresh lemon scrub and a clay cocoon wrap. There’s also a Laval Shell Massage ($195 for 60 minutes), as well as couple’s and pre-natal options.
Meetings and Events
The hotel offers 8,500 sq. ft. of meeting space located on the third and fifth floors with the ability to have an entire floor of space dedicated to your group. All meeting rooms are appointed with custom Swarovski chandeliers, floor to ceiling windows, and modern business amenities. Meeting spaces range from 2,300 sq. ft. to 460 sq. ft.