Chicago with the kids
By Rowena Carr-Allinson
Monaco Hotel Chicago (Courtesy Hotel Monaco Chicago)
For the ultimate family vacation, booking an affordable, family-friendly hotel with kid-friendly offerings is a must. And a city as family-friendly as Chicago has plenty of affordable options, boasting features like parents approved child care programs, amenities for infants and toddlers, and even grocery shopping.
Here are some terrific options that are big on amenities and small on price to help you feel right at home.
Monaco Hotel Chicago
This Kimpton boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown Chicago steps from the Cloud Gate and Millennium Park makes kid-friendly amenities a priority, and it shows. The KimptonKids Program provides babysitting services, child safety kits (outlet covers, night lights, toilet latches), cribs and playards, child safety seats for your rental car, child equipment rental (stroller, bouncy seat, scooter, etc.), and much more. The onsite South Water Kitchen restaurant offers a kid’s menu, and parents can enjoy a complimentary wine hour from 5-6pm. Can’t bring your pet on your Chicago vacation? The hotel will lend your family a complimentary goldfish, and the housekeeping staff will take care of it for you.
Homewood Suites Chicago-Downtown
Homewood Suites Chicago-Downtown (Courtesy Homewood Suites by Hilton)
Located just one block from the Magnificent Mile, Homewood Suites Chicago-Downtown feels more like an apartment complex than a hotel. Each 2-bedroom suite comes equipped with a common living area with a flat-screen TV, and a private kitchen complete with a full-size refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and microwave. High chairs and playards are on hand for little ones, free Wi-Fi is available for older kids, and the whole family can enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet from Monday through Thursday. No need to waste time grocery shopping – just make a list and the hotel staff will do it for you for free. Onsite coin operated laundry facilities allow you to pack lighter. After a long day of sightseeing, take the kids for a dip in the enclosed rooftop pool.
Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown
Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown (Courtesy Hampton Inn & Suites)
Kids stay free at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown! Steps from Michigan Avenue shopping, this hotel has something for everyone – traditional hotel rooms as well as spacious suite-style accommodations with kitchenettes. Families enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and a hot daily breakfast buffet, in addition to an indoor swimming pool, sauna, and hot tub. Soft down comforters and blackout drapes are ideal for afternoon naptime. Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown offers onsite laundry facilities and dry cleaning services as well as two onsite restaurants – Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Joe Fish. Book the V.I.K. (Very Important Kid) Package and your kids will receive a welcome goody bag and a special check-in experience. Just be aware that this hotel is located next to a busy fire station (although for many kids, that could be seen as a huge plus).
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/Magnificent Mile
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/Magnificent Mile (Courtesy Hilton)
You can’t beat the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/Magnificent Mile for location, with over 200 restaurants within an 8-block radius, a Starbucks across the street to keep parents caffeinated, and the Red Line just outside. Kids will love helping themselves to freshly baked cookies at check-in and watching their burgers sizzling over an open flame at the onsite Weber Grill Restaurant. This tech-savvy hotel allows guests to make valet requests via text, and the complimentary Bath & Body Works products in the bathroom are a nice extra. The indoor heated pool is a perfect spot to unwind at the end of the day. Check out the hotel’s reward program or book the AAA Family Package for special discounts and free hot breakfasts.
(MORE: Insider Guide: Chicago)
The James Chicago – Magnificent Mile
The James Chicago – Magnificent Mile (Courtesy The James)
This modern boutique hotel centrally located along the Magnificent Mile has an upscale feel and fantastic amenities for kids via the Lil’ James children’s program. The 24-hour complimentary concierge service can curate the perfect trip itinerary to help your family cross off every item on your Chicago vacation bucket list and then some. Kids receive milk and cookie turndown service, their own selection of kid-friendly DVDs, books, and board games, a Nintendo Wii and game selection, and a Paul Frank bike and helmet to use during your stay. Parents will appreciate The James’ baby bathtubs, cribs, and car seats. The onsite restaurant, David Burke’s Primehouse, features a kid-friendly menu, and there’s a Trader Joe’s across the street for added convenience. Even the family dog can stay in comfort, with an organic doggie bed, art-inspired plush pet toys, and a selection of leashes from Tails in the City, a local boutique pet store.
Rowena Carr-Allinson contributed this to MiniTime. Since the arrival of her son in 2011, she has taken him everywhere from Bangkok to NYC, writing family friendly articles en route.