Elysian Hotel combines classic architecture with home comfort

Arguably, Chicago is a destination whether visiting or treating oneself to a “staycation.” So it is nice to know about some of the city’s more interesting hotels.

First in a series on Chicago hotels

Settle in and make yourself at home appears to be the motto of the Elysian, a new but classic looking boutique hotel. Tucked onto Walton at the north edge of the Magnificent Mile and south edge of the Gold Coast neighborhood, the Elysian managed to find space on its property for a classic European courtyard that immediately sends the message the place is special.

The Elysian Hotel's courtyard makes guests feel as if they have arrived somewhere special

The Elysian Hotel's courtyard makes guests feel as if they have arrived somewhere special

Plop down on a comfortable chair in your room and its 632 square feet and fireplace make you think you have been upgraded to a junior suite.

A peek into a marble bathroom reveals a soaking tub and shower.

Before unpacking you want to be sure this is what you reserved. It turns out that your room really is designated as standard.

A standard room is called classic at the Elysian but its size makes it feel like a junior suite

A standard room is called classic at the Elysian but its size makes it feel like a junior suite

Although the Elysian term is “classic.” Needing to be convinced you ask to see a junior suite, known at the Elysian as an Executive Suite.

Indeed, if in town on business or for some shopping and pampering, you think the Executive Suite would go a long way to making you feel like an important executive. At 775 square feet, the room has a fireplace, and a sitting room separate from the master bedroom.

This is a junior suite? With a knowing look, the concierge takes you to the hotel’s full sized, 915 square foot suite which it calls the Gold Coast.

An advantage of staying in this room is its outdoor terrace where you can glimpse Lake Michigan or the Gold Coast neighborhood while taking breakfast or an afternoon cocktail.

If like this veteran traveler, you will want to explore the rest of the hotel. Head down to the Spa and Health Club to check out the facilities and make a spa treatment reservation.

Spa area is geared for relaxation before a treatment

Spa area is geared for relaxation before a treatment

On my recent visit I worked with a message therapist who truly understood muscle tenderness and joint problems.

As someone who includes spa treatments as part of a travel visit, I found the Elysian Spa therapist as among the best encountered.

Keeping to an exercise regime was not a problem. The Health Club available to guests has up-to-date cardio and strength building equipment and a room for Pilates and Gyrotonics. There is also a lap pool.

A person can work up an appetite exploring so time to consider dinner. With all the fine dining and ethnic restaurants available nearby in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, narrowing the choice down to one is a challenge.

Food at Elysian's two star Michelin Restaurant tastes as good as it looks

The easy and delicious way out is dine on site, at least for the first night.

Balsan is the hotel’s business casual restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

However, Ria, its two star, upscale, Michelin restaurant is known for exquisite seafood and game presentations that taste as good as they look.

Try sea scallop with Hakurei turnip and octopus to start, then  follow with stuffed quail or whole turbot (for two). Finish with Tainori chocolate and sherbet.

Room rates may vary by season and day of the week but typically range from $292 for a Classic King and $396 for a classic Executive Suite to $500 for a Classic Gold Coast Suite.

Elysian is at 11 E. Walton, Chicago, Ill. 60611, 312-646-1300.

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