So for Christmas, Jon & Tomo gave us a gift card to the Four Seasons Hotel, with the hope that we could get away to Chicago for a child-free vacation sometime.
I began hoping we could go for our anniversary in July, but the timing just wasn't right. We ended up scheduling the trip for about two weeks later, when we could go for a Monday-to-Tuesday, and my parents could come up and watch the kids. ("Watch." Heh heh. More like "chase." Or "feed and change and bathe and read books endlessly to.")
I felt free the minute we got on the road. Bob got a little annoyed when we hit some construction on the interstate (or the InterNates, as Caroline calls both the internet and the interstate), but I enjoyed it all. Vacation! No deadlines! Just rest, sightseeing, luxury.
I will admit I felt a bit like an impostor checking into the Four Seasons. My family has always stayed in places that are as cheap as possible, and this is really far on the other side of the spectrum. Everything about the place was beautiful and luxurious. Even the maintenance men wore bow ties.
When we got to our room, we discovered that they'd upgraded us ... as I'd suspected they might. When I booked the room, they asked me if we were celebrating any special occasion, and I told them we were celebrating our anniversary. Sure enough, when we opened the door, this is what we saw:
Yes, champagne chilling in ice, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a card addressed to us, from the Hotel Manager, wishing us many more years of happiness.
Our suite was gorgeous. A marble-floored foyer, two marble bathrooms, a living room, a long hallway with three closets, and a big beautiful bedroom. (With a mattress so comfortable that I now want to buy the Four Seasons Mattress. I'm pleased to learn that you can!) And our rooms looked out to Lake Michigan.
We walked to Millenium Park, past all the shopping on Michigan Avenue, caught a bus to Hyde Park, and walked around the [BEAUTIFUL] campus of the University of Chicago. We ate dinner in a popular little restaurant there, where the waiters wore t-shirts that said "OBAMA EATS HERE." The food was nothing to write home about, but we had a great time. We caught a bus back to the hotel and crashed for the night.
The next morning, we ate breakfast in the Seasons Restaurant. They seated us at a little table for two by the windows overlooking Michigan Avenue. Our food (and my hot chocolate) was excellent, and we lingered on and on. Our waiter was wonderful, exactly what you want in a waiter, and we had a great time. I don't know when I've had such a relaxing breakfast experience.
After breakfast, we headed to the Apple store, where Bob checked out the iPhone 4, and I looked at all sorts of things. We'd seen a young boy walking with his family on Michigan Avenue, cradling his new iMac in his arms, and Bob couldn't resist a trip there. He could have spent a lot more time there.
We headed back to the hotel, packed up, and checked out. It was sad to leave; there was so much more to explore, and we loved the hotel, and I could have stayed & stayed. (Well, no. I could not afford to stay and stay.) We also were missing our children.
It was such a great time, and now I get it. Before staying there, I did not understand why anyone would pay so much more to stay in a "fancy" hotel. I get it now. Everything about it was perfect and restful, and the service was fantastic. I loved it.