A July 2005 trip
to Chicago by MJB1103
Quote: My husband had a week long training course so I decided to go along to do a little sightseeing. While I managed to drink in a little history, i.e. Frank Lloyd Wright, Ernest Hemingway, and historical boat tour, I also managed to to drain my pocketbook in many a store.
They have a swimming pool, weather permitting, cable and Internet in each room. The rooms are fair, not huge. The bathroom was a good size, though, with ample counter space. One of our biggest complaints was the lack of space to put your clothes in the room. The closet was tiny--perfect if you were only staying a night or two, but what happened to the "Inn and Suites" for longer stays? We were there for 8 nights. The dresser was ridiculous. It is a faux six-drawer dresser that only has four drawers that are real and workable. This was beyond my comprehension since the dresser itself was using the same floor space for 4 drawers as it would for six.
There was a refrigerator with a microwave that sat right on top of it. Next to that was dead floor space for you to use for dry goods, since there was no counter, cupboard, or cabinet, or you could sit your luggage there, since there wasn't room in the closet or under the bed.
The "free" continental breakfast was okay. Nothing to write home about. Most days were fat- and carb-filled, with a couple days that offered yogurt or hard-bolied eggs. It wasn't consistent, which made it hard to plan whether to eat breakfast in or go elsewhere.
The cleaning service was good. The front desk was hit-or-miss, with some staff who were extremely helpful and some who couldn't give you directions to the nearest highway. They were all friendly, though.
Would I stay here again? Probably not on purpose, if given other choices. Was it horrible--no, not at all. It just lacked what I would expect for someplace that called itself "Inn and Suites". It's really just a moderate- to low-cost hotel.
By the way, from what I understand they allow pets, but I'm not sure of the full cost or policy.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 27, 2005
La Quinta Inn and Suites
1 S. 666 Midwest Rd.
I do highly recommend The Cheesecake Factory. It was yummy all the way, and I can't wait to go back again.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 17, 2005
The Cheesecake Factory
2020 Spring Rd.
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
Restaurant | "The Melting Pot"
Back to the meal. Starting with the cheese fondue appetizer, which is very yummy, you get a few different choices. Since I do not prefer Swiss, we usually go for a cheddar variety. You'll get bread and apples to dip into the steamy, hot gooey cheese, and it all tastes wonderful. They will then bring you a salad between your appetizer and main course. For the main course, we ordered a combo of fish, chicken, and beef and shared it between the two of us. We chose a broth-type base to boil in, as oil tends to be very heavy on the stomach and messy at the table. The wait staff is quite helpful and will explain all the sauces that come with your fondue and how to cook your meats. Cook times are very important so that you don't undercook anything. Once that filling course is complete, you get to decide on which kind of chocolate fondue you want for dessert. There are like eight different kinds, and they all look sooooo good. With the chocolate, they bring a plate of cut fruits, cakes, and marshmallows for dipping. Pure heaven. If you aren't that hungry and want fondue, you can skip the main course and go for a nice glass of wine, cheese, and chocolate only... it's just as much fun.
When planning a night out to the Melting Pot, give yourself a good amount of time. We usually allot at least 3 hours. This is a leisurely meal, not one to be rushed through. Besides, who wants to hurry when you are having so much fun?
17 W 633 Roosevelt Road
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
Entry tickets cost $12 per person and include a guided tour through the home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. Stories are told of how and when Frank bought the home, built the furniture, or modified the rooms to his liking. You learn about when he built the studio and how he used to travel to work from home to studio. There are pictures you can view of his family and children in an upstairs room, but you are not allowed to take photos inside the house or studio at all.
There is a large locker when you check in for your tour to put your belongings. They ask that you don’t carry bags and totes through the home as not to bump into anything or possibly damage any furniture.
The tour lasts about 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on the size of your group and how many questions are asked. Once your tour is complete, you are welcome to take pictures of the outside of the home and surroundings.
Make sure you stop in the gift shop. Even if you don't buy anything, it’s neat to look around. Be sure to ask for the map of the neighborhood, which shows you all of the addresses and houses that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. There are four or five on the same street and then others throughout Oak Park.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 29, 2005
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
951 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois 60302
We walked all the way to the lake. There are some plaques that give some history of the pier. We enjoyed the dancing they had going on in the Beer Garden. A band was playing and it didn't seem to matter what kind of music it was because everyone was dancing like crazy. There are lots of side vendors to buy treats and small souviners as well as an indoor type mall with many more vendors with specialty goods.
Parking was a bit obnoxious at a $20 flat rate per car, They certainly could use to lower that cost a hair or two. Or at least have a range of prices to accomidate if you are there only 2 hours compared to 8.
I know that there is a kids museum, maze, resteraunts and Imax theatre which we didn't get to see or do. I guess we'll have to plan that for the next trip. If you get the chance it's worth the trip. A little history and a lot of fun to be had by all.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 4, 2005
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
The Chicago River Architecture tour runs about 1 hour and costs $19 per person for adults, $17 for seniors, and $10 for children. There is a daily schedule on their website so you can plan your trip. See http://www.wendellaboats.com.
Whether you like the river, boats, or history of the buildings, this tour has something for everyone. You will find out about architects, their style, and the challenge they were faced with to build better, higher, faster, and grander. You will learn how they devised a structure and why. Did you know that the Boeing building actually is hanging in its frame and not mounted from the ground up? How about the story about the city of Chicago trying to reverse the flow of the river? My favorite was how the term "in the limelight" was coined. This tour was entertaining as well as informative, and our tour guide was happy to answer questions. If you are in the Windy City, make the time to add this tour to your schedule. You'll love it!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 14, 2005
Wendella Boat Tours
Michigan Avenue At The Chicago River
Chicago, Illinois 60611
The best way to get in the middle of it all is to broach one of the anchor stores. I chose Eddie Bauer. One reason was that their home store was closing and everything was 75% off - yippee, but the other is that once I left through its interior mall doors, I was right across from Burberry, next to JCrew and Brighton, some of my favorite stores. Once you get walking, you will find that this mall seems to be never-ending. It winds around past Lord & Taylor, Coach, and Marshall Fields. There is a build-a-bear shop for the kids and a Bose store for the men to play with while the women are in Victoria's Secret or Bath & Body Works. There are plenty of name brands, like Kenneth Cole, Nordstrom, and Chico's just to name a few. They do have a few kiosks in the middle with gourmet items, as well as one of the smallest Starbucks I have ever seen. I think it is only slightly bigger than the old Fotomat box, but the coffee is still just as tasty! The mall has a number of restaurants on its outer banks. If you need a nibble, you can stop in at the Cheesecake Factory, Maggianos, or Corner Bakery. I spent a couple days wondering around and enjoyed this mall completely.
Hint to the out-of-town shoppers: If you don’t need an item you bought immediately, ask about shipping, as sometimes that is cheaper than the sales tax in the state of Illinois. I had a few things shipped and saved about $10 because shipping was cheaper than the tax.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2005
100 Oakbrook Center
Chicago, Illinois 60523
Let me first tell you that calling their 800 number to book the appointments was completely easy. Their call center staff were wonderful, informative and helpful. They did everything humanly possible to try to work out a schedule that would work for both myself and my friend.
I chose the signature massage for 1 hour. The building is located in OakBrook Mall next to Nordstrom. There is a parking structure next to it but we chose to walk thru Eddie Bauer to get into the center of this outdoors mall. Once you get through the perimeter using any outside store you end up within the walking part of the mall.
When you walk into Mario Tricoci there is a large reception desk where you check in. Once the formalities are done they usher you upstairs to another small reception who then escorts you into a very dimly lit and relaxing waiting room. We were offered beverages and asked to wait for few minutes for our Massage therapist to come and get us. I think I waited a whole 3 minutes before she appeared.
I was led back to the therapy room wich was dimly lit, comfortably warm and had soft music playing in the background. I was asked a few questions regarding allergies, health in general and if I had ever had a massage before. After that, I was left to undress and hop up on the table under the warm blankets.
The full massage took the hour, and it was relaxing and wonderful to destress from a long day of walking and shopping on Michigan Ave.
One of my favorite parts was the foot massage and hot towels that they wrap your feet in. Personal preference--I know everybody may not like, but that was awesome to me.
The massage therapist was great. Didn't talk too much and tried to encourage you to do the same. She wanted me to be relaxed and comfortable at all times.
After the massage was over, I was offered water or juice to rehydrate me. After I dressed, I was shown to the ladies restroom and locker room-type area. Here I could freshen up, comb my hair, and/or reapply makeup if needed.
The experience was wonderful and I'd go again in a heartbeat. Part of me is quite sad that Mario doesnt have a spa in my hometown.
I chose the Olive Oil pedicure over the Peppermint foot treatment or the Pumpkin one. They have a MT signature that has the hand and foot massage included, and even a 2-in-1 where you have a mani and pedi at the same time. The list goes on.
In any case, I showed up for my appointment a few minutes behind. I apologized and they greeted me with all smiles. I was shown back to the pedi area where they have their spa chairs.
I was offered a beverage, which I declined, as I brought my iced coffee with me, but there were several women around drinking anything from water and juice to champagne.
My pedicure was great. The tech and I tried to find a pink, and when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, she asked me to describe it and made it from two other colors. It was fabulous.
The Olive Oil treatment was very soothing, and as an added bonus to me, there was a mini foot massage and the hot towel wrap that I love (and mentioned in the other Mario review). It took a full hour, and when I was finished, I was told to sit and relax, and she went on to her next client elsewhere.
As a side note: My tech was prepared and ready for me when I arrived, so I didn't get to see what she did before I got there. I did, however, see the tech next to me prepping for her next client. All of their tools have disposable pieces that get replaced for each new client. So the file that is used on your foot is for you only, as well as the white tissue they use between your toes. It isn't the foam ones the other salons reuse over and over again.
I was very impressed with the service and attitude of everyone I came in contact with at Mario Tricoci, the front desk/reception as well as all the techs. I was ready to try another service as soon as I was done. It is so much fun to be pampered!!
Madison Heights, Michigan