Note: Day 2 was pretty much summed up in this post.
We spent the first couple of days at the Inn of Chicago, which was nowhere near as nice as their web site would have you believe (our 'Queen' bed was a double and pretty much took up the entire room) and nowhere near as bad as some of the reviews I read after booking.
But on Thursday, July 26, we moved into the very hip W Lakeshore, which was within our reach, thanks to BlogHer's special rate.
The place was surreal and we were a little giddy.
The W does not have bellhops but 'Welcome Ambassadors." They don't have a lobby but they do have a 'living room' (which turns into a dark and noisy nightclub in the evenings).
I reclined on the day bed while, perusing the confusing array of in-room dining cards and other services (no housekeeping, but something called "styling"). There was even a pet food menu, from which you could order a filet for your pooch, a burger with Iams kibble or spend $7.00 on water (sparkling or still) for your dog. While this was cheaper than the $8.00 water for humans (would they not let me have the dog water if I did not have a dog?), I couldn't help wondering who would order this. The dogs I've known have always been happy to drink from the toilet, if you let them.
T. was fascinated with the fuzzy cube.
And we were both mystified at the shutters between the rooms and the bathroom.
Many BlogHers wrote here about frustrations with the W (and I added my voice to theirs) but I am so glad I chose to stay there. The W was something to be experienced, although, next time, I will likely choose the more sensible option (Sigh. Did my fingers just type that?)
After exploring our hotel room, it seemed time to escape the downtown core and go find a real Chicago neighbourhood.
But first we took a walk along the Navy Pier:
After checking out the building where the next day's conference would take place, we hopped on the free trolley to the El train and set out to explore a real Chicago neighbourhood. With food once again driving the agenda, we got off at Belmont Station and made our way to the Bittersweet Pastryshop for a delicious lunch and what was probably the best chocolate brownie I have ever had (yes, I know that I have stopped eating sugar but if ever there was a time for an exception, it was then).
We wandered down tree-lined streets, looked in people's windows and imagined what it would be like to live there. Honestly, I could see it.
We walked to Wrigleyville (how could we not?) and took pics in front of Wrigley Stadium. Since it wasn't a home game night, the local pubs were not too busy, so we got especially good service at the Raw Bar where we treated ourselves to a bunch of appetizers and I fell in love with Goose Island Honkers Ale.
This was my favourite day playing tourist. The next day, T. left and I got swept up in the BlogHer conference, but I really did love Chicago and am so glad we took the time for our little vacation.