St. Patrick’s Day – Chicago Style
I really love St. Patrick’s Day, and always celebrate wherever I am (usually Ohio) by doning a green wig and heading to a local Irish bar. This year I decided to step up my St. Paddy’s celebration and head to the windy city that is famous in the Midwest for knowing how to celebrate the saint. Chicago is known for its hearty St. Patrick’s Day celebration, most notably dying the river that runs through downtown green and having a huge parade on the south side.
I drove to Chicago, well actually no; I kept the streets safe and had a friend drive the 5 hours. We plugged the address of the Radisson Blu Aqua into the GPS, like any normal road trip. The problem was once we ‘arrived’ to the underground parking garage that the GPS directed us to; there was no place to enter. It turns out the hotel and it’s parking garage are both located on Columbus, a street that happens to have two sides that do not connect. Once we called the hotel and the concierge directed us, our stay was smooth sailing. We arrived late on Friday night, greeted by no lines at check-in. The concierge overheard we were hungry, and quickly called the hotel restaurant and stored our luggage without being asked.
Too good to not take a bite before taking a picture!
Filini, the restaurant in the Radisson Blu Aqua is modern and distinctly Italian. Olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette was waiting for us in the table, along with giant olives and parmesan reggiano and still water. We ordered a bruschetta because we simply couldn’t wait after a long car ride, since there were only two pieces; I let my larger, hungrier, partner have them both. I splurged and ordered the butternut squash ravioli, minus the cheese. It was rich and decadent as it often is, with a sweet sauce with a hint of cinnamon. The restaurant has a wine list with was equally delicious, and well-priced.
When we were leaving I glanced at the table beside us to see the hilarious Jenny – from Flipping Out! I must admit that I love all things Bravo, so Jeff Lewis’s assistant may not be a great sighting for most people; I was thrilled to see her.
The room at the Radisson Blu Aqua far exceeded my expectations. Having stayed at W’s (Lakeshore and City Center), the Four Seasons, and the Knickerbocker in Chicago I was excepting a typical city hotel room – small. My room at the Radisson had a work area with free wifi, desk, mounted flat screen and mini bar with a big closet and a full length mirrors (a must!). It also featured a king bed and plenty of sitting room, also with a large flat screen.The bathroom was simply decadent. I took full advantage of the large soaking tub, and huge walk in rain shower. All of this in a standard room!
The room had floor to ceiling windows that wrapped around the entire room, with great views of Millennium Park and the city.Even better, the room had a wrap around balcony so we could fully enjoy the view and nice weather.
A great sight after a long road trip
After a long, long day of bar hopping, watching the river turn green, and visiting old friends we ordered room service late night. The food was good, and came fast – which is really the key to late night delivery. I will say I wish they had some more vegetarian options, or at least options that I could modify to fit my diet.
The crew beginning St. Patrick's day in Chicago
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend the Radisson Blu Aqua for anyone visiting Chicago, and this is coming from someone who is a Chicago regular. The swanky atmosphere, great service and large rooms can’t be beat in the windy city, especially for the value.
Where do you like to stay in the Windy City?