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CHICAGO


REVIEW


THE KIMPTON GRAY HOTEL


Clients might be advised to speak loudly and clearly in earshot of staff if they have a favourite cocktail, say, or are celebrating a birthday – they may just return from a day out to find a mimosa bar, bouquet of flowers or the wherewithal to mix an old fashioned in their room. It’s lovely little touches like these


that make this hotel, which is housed in


former law offices and boasts an original marble lobby. The complimentary wine hour in the lobby helps too, while


rooftop bar Boleo mixes its pisco sours with hip-shaking Latin beats.


with rum. We opt for the chef’s choice, and the table groans under platters of crab legs, oysters and wood-fired filet mignon. The treats keep coming at Buddy Guy’s Legends, owned by the blues star. “Mr Guy’s on stage right now if you wanna catch him,” drawls the doorman. And there he is, 81 years old in a green plaid shirt and still working the crowd with gravelly, melodic riffs about whiskey and wimmin’. There’s more music the following


evening at Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, where the city hosts free summer concerts. The Grant Park Orchestra fills the stage, bows and vocal chords poised. Then the symphony soars from under the honeycombed roof, brimmed with steel ribbons. The notes hit my skin like shards of ice. Goosebumps. Visitors can pay for a seat in the stands or simply laze on the grass with a picnic – unwrapping another gift from this big-hearted city.


BOOK IT


Aer Lingus has twice-daily flights from London to Chicago, connecting via Dublin where passengers can pre-clear US immigration. Prices start at £249 each way and £1,099 in business class.


aerlingus.com


Hayes & Jarvis has a four-night package from £1,099 per person, with accommodation at the Kimpton Gray Hotel and return flights from London via Dublin with Aer Lingus, departing March 18. hayesandjarvis.co.uk


The room decor looks like it was inspired by a fine Savile Row suit. Muted greys and blues are broken with pops of colour, such as hothouse flowers painted inside the wardrobe doors and bright cushions on the beds. A ‘Keep Calm it’s Just Garlic’ sign in the bathroom refers to the city’s origins as a wild garlic patch.


Refreshingly, there’s no extra charge for bringing a furry pal. Dogs and cats (and rabbits) are given custom beds, treats and dapper bow-ties to take home.


aspire september 2017 — 73


PICTURES: CHOOSE CHICAGO/CLAYTON HAUCK; PATRICK L PYSZKA/CITY OF CHICAGO; ADAM ALEXANDER PHOTOGRAPHY


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