I’ll be the first to tell you that when I think of Chicago staycations, my mind doesn’t immediately consider the suburbs. But when Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center opened to the public, I became curious. What kind of person stays there, and what can the hotel offer them?
The first question is rather straightforward. Le Méridien’s newest creation sees a lot of business travelers walk through its doors. But it’s not just any business traveler: With a strong emphasis on outside partnerships, Le Méridien caters to the savvy types that look for experiences beyond their stay.
It’s perhaps why the second question, what does Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center offer, is so extensive.
After being given a weekend stay courtesy of the Le Méridien team (See disclosure statement here.), I was hooked. Here are seven reasons why you need to get yourself to this gem of a hotel before everyone else does:
1. The Beauty
The beautiful design of Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. Photos by Beth Santos.
Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center is an art history major’s dream. From its artistic mid-century modern décor to the music selection in the elevators to its trendy Unlock Art™ keycards, real artists contribute to every detail of this Le Méridien hotel’s design.
You can feel it when you walk into the lobby and as you explore the meticulous furnishings of your hotel room. Being in such a beautiful hotel makes you feel like no less than a beautiful guest.
2. The Spa Suites
Spa suite delights. Photos by Beth Santos.
Hubba hubba. If you haven’t tried out a spa suite, a new concept created by the Le Méridien team, you haven’t truly lived. Imagine being escorted into your own personal suite that embraces the epitome of luxury, from mirrors that transform into television screens, to walk-in showers that are larger than some New York bedrooms, to a bathtub that you could sit in for days.
Luxury in the spa suites. Photo courtesy of Le Meridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center.
I’d never heard of ESPA products before, but they were delightful. And for the level of regality with which you’re treated, you will be pleasantly surprised by the reasonable price tag. Make sure you ask for Tipsukhon, possibly the best massage therapist I’ve ever had.
3. The Tapas
El Tapeo. Photo by Beth Santos.
El Tapeo is a Spanish tapas restaurant located on Le Méridien’s 9th floor. Its dinner plates are to die for, and guests are served some of the best olive oil I’ve tasted in the States. (Rumor has it the bottle costs a whopping $120 wholesale.) Chicago native Chef Franco Diaz really knows his stuff. If you give the restaurant a try, you will see why.
But don’t settle for just dinner. The cozy lounge area is perfect for a Go Girl meetup (which we very happily held during my stay) or wine and dessert. Don’t you dare leave without trying the tarta de chocolate, which will make any chocolate lover melt with happiness.
4. The Breakfast
Longitude 87 Bar & Restaurant. Photo by Beth Santos
Longitude 87 Bar & Restaurant is Le Méridien’s in-house bar and breakfast spot located right on the lobby level. If you’re not charmed by the bright juices (For a real kick, don’t miss out on one of Longitude’s morning “eye openers.”), cheery décor, and piping hot coffee, then you’re just not a morning person.
Meet a friend for breakfast or just lounge and look at the art lining the restaurant’s walls while business travelers begin their work day in sharp power suits and heels.
5. The Workout
I’m a gym snob. I hate working out in places that aren’t pretty. After lifting weights in college in a room that wasn’t much different from a closet, I’ve had enough of windowless gym days. That’s why I was pleasantly pleased with Le Méridien’s fitness center. Not only is it not in the basement, but it’s on the top floor – with a beautiful view to boot!
Now if they could just have people meet me in my room to encourage me to put on my running shoes, we’d be in business.
6. The Art Museum Partnership
The Elmhurst Art Museum. Photo by Beth Santos.
This is possibly my favorite quality of Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. Not only do the Unlock Art™ keycards unlock your room, but they also unlock the destination by allowing complementary access to the nearby Elmhurst Art Museum (instead of a voucher). The gorgeous , petite modern art museum showcases contemporary design in one of the three mid-century homes that architect Mies van der Rohe created in his lifetime.
Call the front desk for a car to take you to the museum at no charge, and spend an hour or two visiting the exhibits. Le Méridien guests are offered free admission to the museum with a voucher they receive with their room. Don’t forget the walk-in camera obscura outside!
If you have time, stroll through the adorable downtown scenery of Elmhurst before being picked up again by Le Méridien’s car service.
7. The Shopping
There would probably be no better place to take a staycation during the holiday season than a hotel that is placed literally next door to the Oakbrook Center Mall. Imagine taking a long weekend to relax, being pampered by my girl Tipsukhon, and following it up by getting all of your holiday shopping done in one go.
With dozens of stores, from Abercrombie to ZARA, you literally could shop till you drop, and then have a car come pick you up to bring all your goodies right to your room without walking more than the distance to the elevators.