By Wilson

Over the years I’ve started to turn staying hotels into an adventure when I can and advise you to try it too.  It started with surprising my boy friend on his birthday with different things to do, such as a magic store hunt the of the Chicago area which evolved to overnight stays at places.  Neither of us drink very often so consequently if we both are even going to have even one drink, we prefer to stay where we are at. I drank a lot as a young person, and managed to stay sober then, but with age and lack of drinking have I become easily lit with alcohol, and a major advocate of not driving drunk.  Being suburbanites, sometimes doing things in the city is not as fun or impractical to do if you are looking at a long drive home when you are ready for bed.

I started to find places to stay that were not the standard hotel.  While the Hyatt Regency that we stay at for C2E2 is a nice hotel, they are just a nearby place to stay.  It’s nice and pretty but It feels impersonal and the rooms are decorated like your best friend’s grandma’s house. In other words, it’s like most hotels. The restaurant is good, not great.  The bar is the highlight of the hotel as it is not confined to a room, but flows into the lobby, hall and just about anywhere a person can stand or sit. Great people watching during C2E2 as well as very close to drop off swag in your room when you just can’t carry any more.

Over the years, we have stayed at the French Country Inn, using a Groupon that had a in room whirlpool with a view a beautiful view of a frozen lake in Lake Geneva.  A hotel in Indiana that was an old grand house with 5 rooms for travelers (more like a bed and breakfast without the breakfast) near a wolf reserve. Plus, another hotel with a in room whirlpool in the House On The Rock area. We stayed at a hotel in the city that I always wanted to go stay at in Chicago when we didn’t get reservations early enough to stay at the McCormick Hyatt decorated like the set of Mad Men.

The room we had through a Groupon at the Allerton was very small, but pretty with a view of the Watertower. Having seen the Allerton sign for years, like other hotels, I always wanted to check it out. I like old buildings. Another Groupon we’ve stayed at the Autograph 3 times now.  Every modern in style, it’s next to the Corn Cob’s (Marina Towers) and the House of Blues. It’s a great place to stay if you are going to a show there. It’s a very short walk there and back. You can even leave your coat behind, it’s that close. The 1st time there, they upgraded us to a suite for free and we loved the great living area attached to our bedroom.  We also stayed here once for C2E2 when we were too late for the Hyatt. Unfortunately, it is not a stop in the shuttle, they stop in areas of hotels C2E2 is packaged with. The walk was mainly uphill from the shuttle stop which is not great for a handicapped person.

A hotel that I was always curious about that I talked my boyfriend into staying at had iron bars on the windows looking over the alley and paramedics, lights going when we got there. My guy was a trooper but said we will never go back there.

The Drake was another hotel I always wanted to go to. We did this Christmas and will go back again. The dragon motif is so cool but not overdone.

Two really fun and quirky hotels that have been among the favorites were the Lincoln and the Acme Hotel.  Both are imaginatively decorated with fun details. The staffs are fun, upbeat, genially and happy to have you there.  The Lincoln has a roof top bar, enclosed against the Chicago winter. Great place, overlooking the city, lake and night sky. The Acme has three bars, one comfortable and cozy for groups or couples to cuddle.  They’re a place for great music in the main areas of the hotel and original art in corners around the place. It even delivers coffee to you in the morning. Plus, a great rainfall shower. Both these hotels have places to eat and restaurants in abundance in the area and will see more of our business in the future.

If you know Chicago, please tag us choice hotels for us to try, and don’t forget to check the flying ladies at the Acme hotel.