Skip the airport security lines and make your next family vacation a super suite staycation at hotels with everything from indoor pools to bikes for borrowing.
It hardly seems possible, but winter is fading behind us and spring is knocking at the door. Work a quick staycation into your family agenda and get ready to discover a new home away from home—luckily you won’t need to go far to find it. With amazing amenities, like requesting a gaming console delivered to your room or days spent lazing by the pool, you’ll be lucky if you can get your kids to check out of these hotels. Read through our picks for Chicago’s kid-centric hotel amenities that would make even Eloise go green with envy and be a tourist in your own city.
The Kimpton Gray Hotel
Why we love them: Family-focused complimentary amenities galore!
Kimpton Hotels is now offering complimentary children's kick scooters as an extension of the brand's popular bike loaning amenity. The Kimpton X Micro Kickboard scooters sport a custom design and color scheme and are available in two sizes for ages 2-5 and 5-12. Along with the kid-loved modes of transportation, the hotel also has a hand-picked selection of children's books, they're dog-friendly, yoga mats can be found in every room and they host a complimentary social hour every evening (5 p.m.-6 p.m.).
122 W. Monroe Ave., Loop; Online: grayhotelchicago.com
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
Why we love them: This hotel is pet-friendly!
Located just a few steps away on Chicago's Riverwalk, you're located minutes from all of Chicago's best family destinations, from boat tours to Museum Campus.
Hotel Monaco invites you to bring your pet along and even offers fun amenities for your furry friends like plush beds and complimentary bags to use on potty-break walks. In addition, they feature complimentary bike rentals and host a nightly wine hour from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. that you can opt to take to have served in your room. As a bonus, they sell everyone's favorite Jeni's Ice Cream by the pint.
225 N. Wabash Ave., Loop; Online: monaco-chicago.com
The Neighborhood Hotel
Why we love them: All the comforts and coziness of home in close proximity to Lincoln Park Zoo, Fullerton Beach & oodles of restaurants and shops.
Founded by travel enthusiasts, The Neighborhood in Lincoln Park offers a well-equipped, well-designed basecamp for staycationers. The apartment-style property features 14 stylish suites with stocked kitchens, washers/dryers, and a thoughtfully curated collection of art and accessories. Floorplans include 1-3 bedroom options, as well as a coach house.
2616 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park; Online: theneighborhoodhotel.com
Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk
Why we love them: Fabulous Riverwalk location and the indoor heated pool.
This pet-friendly hotel is a perfect home base for a family staycation, as it's steps away from Michigan Ave., the Riverwalk, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and the Mag Mile. (Keep your eyes to the skies for Navy Pier's Wednesday and Saturday evening fireworks, end of May to Labor Day weekend!)
Pack the swimsuits and goggles because kids will be making a bee-line for the indoor heated pool!
301 E. North Water St., Near North Side; Online: marriott.com
Why we love them: Because we love the Cubs! Also, the architecture is stunning and the activities and energy in the area are rather special.
This relative Chicago newcomer will quickly become a favorite for Cubs fans, as it sits directly across from the iconic Wrigley Field and Gallagher Way, Wrigleyville's exciting town square. Visit during baseball season to soak up the energy that radiates in and around the stadium or plan your staycation around Gallagher Way's packed social calendar that includes outdoor movie nights, ice skating and Santa's workshop during the holidays, seasonal parties and more. This whole area has undergone a transformation every Chicagoan, suburbanite or urbanite, should see.
3630 N. Clark St., Wrigleyville; Online: hotelzachary.com
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel
Why we love them: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is located in the world's second-largest building designed by a woman, Chicagoan Jeanne Gang—the first largest building is Gang's The St. Regis Chicago, opening this May.
It's easy to explore our city's rich culture from Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel as it's located within minutes from Mag Mile, Millennium Park, Grant Park and Navy Pier. Kids will love the indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor running track, fire pit, and full-size basketball court, while the parents can head to the steam and sauna rooms. The Lakeshore East Park is also located just behind the hotel.
221 N. Columbus Dr., Loop; Online: radissonhotels.com
Four Seasons Hotel Chciago
Why we love them: Ice cream man who makes in-room sundaes, dedicated play space & 50-foot indoor pool
The kid game is strong with this one. Once kids check in using a special step stool to fill out their registration (name, age, and a promise to have fun), they enter the Sammy the Skyscraper passport program. During their stay, kids complete an activity in each outlet (spa, restaurant, and bell desk) to receive a stamp, which earns them free ice cream. You can also schedule an in-room visit from the ice cream man to treat the family to sundaes, and have complimentary toys and games delivered to the room.
With all the above, a 50-foot indoor pool seen in Home Alone 2, and a concierge team ready to create a personalized itinerary, you won’t have time for anything but fun.
Note: Pool and spa facilities are temporarily closed until June 1, 2023.
120 E. Delaware Pl., Gold Coast; Online: fourseasons.com
InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
Why we love them: Indoor pool!
InterContinental puts you right in the middle of the action with walkable access to shopping, restaurants, cultural destinations and Lake Michigan. Keep an eye on their Offers page because they're always coming up with creative ideas to engage families like fort-building supplies, build-your-own cookie sets and packages that incorporate favorite cultural destinations. Even if they're not a fun package available, kids will be over-the-moon about the junior Olympic-sized swimming pool.
505 N. Michigan Ave., Mag Mile; Online: icchicagohotel.com
The Langham, Chicago
Why we love them: Kid's Suite, a playroom just for kids & a 12-seat cinema showing kid flicks
Warning: Your family is going to want to make this place your home away from home because the Langham gets kids. Kids receive a Langham Bear that comes in a cute backpack and can hang about in the Kid’s Suite, the hotel’s playroom just for kids. The play space has everything from video games to board games, Lincoln Logs to mini electric guitars, and if that’s not enough, there’s a 12-seat cinema suite that can be reserved for private screenings.
Check out the indoor swimming pool with family changing rooms and showers (be sure to ask for a pool noodle for little swimmers!). Of course, there are kid-friendly menus throughout the hotel so picky eaters are welcome. You can also request a personalized bathrobe and slippers, and each kid receives a free cookie upon check-in.
They have several family staycation packages available, including stays that give private access to the pool and games or the cinema.
Note: As of press time, the Kid's Suite was closed until further notice. Please check their website for updates on re-opening.
330 N. Wabash Ave., River North; Online: langhamhotels.com
The Robey Chicago
Why we love them: Beyond having a great neighborhood location at the intersections of Damen, Milwaukee, and North Avenues, The Robey Chicago has amazing rooftop views that stretch in every direction, plus a cozy outdoor swimming pool!
Families can book the Queen + Loft accommodations for a decent-sized room that has not only a queen-sized bed and twin bunk beds but also, a work desk and a fun schoolhouse vibe. Cafe Robey is perfect for brunch and dinner and when you're ready to explore Wicker Park and Bucktown, you'll be within easy walking distance to The 606, Building Blocks Toy Store, and plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, neighborhood parks, and more.
2018 W. North Ave., Wicker Park; Online: therobey.com
Great Wolf Lodge
Why we love them: The entire hotel is kid-focused, while still being fun for adults
Let’s be honest, the real thrill for kids when it comes to Great Wolf Lodge is the pools. And, the 80,000-square-foot indoor pool with slides and an interactive water fort treehouse and an outdoor pool with a cabana area has no chance of disappointing. In addition to the water play, you'll find a variety of activities including a ropes course, bowling, mini-golf, arcade and rock wall. For kids that like their fun to include a bit of thinking and intrigue, they’ll dig MaqiQuest, the brand’s exclusive live-action adventure game. Kids scour the resort using magic wands to uncover relics and runes needed to defeat dragons and goblins.
1700 Nations Dr., Gurnee; Online: greatwolf.com/illinois
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park
Why we love them: Location, location, location
The best part of this gem? It's just steps from Chicago's world-renowned museums, restaurants, and of course, Millennium Park, where your kids can take an obligatory Bean selfie. Enjoy numerous packages and hotel discounts when you book early, including the Weekend Escapes Offer, the Park and Stay Package, and the Embrace the Season offer.
200 N. Columbus Dr., Millennium Park; Online: fairmont.com
Why we love them: Beyond being one of the best hotels along the Chicago River, Swissotel Chicago is mere steps from the Magnificent Mile and many of Chicago's award-winning attractions.
Suites and adjoining accommodations are available for larger families. The Swissotel Kids Suite, a magical escape full of special amenities, is available year-round. You can expect the room, which is connected to a separate adult room, to be outfitted with age-appropriate games, toys, and books. Families can watch an in-room movie, inclusive of a movie theater welcome amenity, plus complimentary breakfast for two adults and two children at The Palm restaurant.
323 E. Wacker Dr., New East Side; Online: swissotel.com/hotels/chicago/
Omni Chicago Hotel
Why we love them: Backpacks full of fun activities & American Girl Doll package
Kids get an Omni Junior Chefs tote with a lunch bag, Annie's Organic Bunny Graham Friends Mix, Honest Kids organic juice box, to-go cup, crayons, activity book and a Say Goodnight to Hunger postcard. If kids color and return the postcard, a meal will be donated to Feeding America.
The American Girl Place Package includes a set of doll pajamas, robe and slippers, an American Girl doll bed so AG has her own place to rest, American Girl bedtime books, cookies and milk turndown service and much more.
676 N. Michigan Ave., Mag Mile; Online: omnihotels.com
Loews Chicago and Chicago O'Hare Hotels
Why we love them: Kids amenities galore, electronics to borrow & child-proofing kits
Loews loves kids, but they obviously love parents too. Their signature Loews Loves Families program is designed to make overnights fun with a complimentary activity book, board games and books, baby bath amenities, and childproofing kits. The Streeterville location has PS3 systems, iPads, and pool toys available for loan. For pets, they offer gourmet in-room food service, specialized bedding, leashes, collars, and bowls. You can also request kid and pet-watching services for a night out.
Hilton Chicago O’Hare
Why we love them: Location next to the airport, which means you can start your vacation early
Make getting to the airport for those early flights a whole lot easier—and majorly affordable. On top of being directly connected to Chicago O’Hare’s domestic terminals thru underground walkways, so you don’t have to deal with iffy Chicago weather, you also get spacious studio suites with a large sitting area, king bed and sofa bed, 42-inch HDTV, mini-bar, WiFi and on-demand movies, video games and access to the indoor pool. Worried about trying to catch some z’s so close to the runway? Sound-resistant windows and blackout drapes will help with all that, so you can arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at your final destination.
O'Hare International Airport, 10000 W. O'Hare Ave., Chicago; Online: hilton.com
Graduate Hotel Madison
Why we love them: Super cool vintage summer camp vibe
This is stretching the staycation notion a bit, but we promise the short drive to Madison, WI will be worth it when you see what Graduate Hotels has to offer. They teamed up with Camp Wandawega and Land of Nod to create their own Camp Wandawega inspired suite.
Never heard of Camp Wandawega? What began as a speakeasy in the 1920s in now . . . well, basically an adult summer camp. All the charm of this retreat that features a fleet of vintage bikes, fishing boats, archery, a swimming beach and so much more is all rolled up into the Camp Wandawega suite in Madison.
The suite features a large main room with entertainment and sleeping areas with a king bed and a workstation, as well as an adjoining semi-private kid's room with bunk beds and a library stocked with summer camp-themed movies. Original camp artifacts such as an antique troopmaster hat, custom Sanborn canoe paddles, and Faribault Woolen Mills blankets are found throughout the space.
601 Langdon St., Madison, WI; Online: graduatemadison.com
Additional reporting by Maria Chambers & Jo Aaron