Squeeze in a Summer Staycation at These Hotels with Amazing Kid Amenities

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It hardly seems possible, but summer break is quickly coming to a screeching halt. Before that happens, work in a quick staycation into your family agenda and get ready to discover your 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.

photo: Kimpton Gray Hotel

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. 

122 W. Monroe, Loop; Online: grayhotelchicago.com

photo: Hotel Monaco

Hotel Monaco

Why we love them: This recently renovated hotel is pet-friendly!

Explore your favorite city this summer with the Classic Chicago package. Located just a few steps away on Chicago's Riverwalk, you'll board the Wendella boat tour, or make your way to the Art Insitute, Shedd and Skydeck and close out the happily packed day with two of Chicago's best locally brewed beers. 

Hotel Monaco invites you to bring your pet along and even offers fun amenities for your furry friends, has complimentary bike rentals, and hosts a nightly wine hour from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. that you can opt to take to have served in your room. 

225 N. Wabash, Loop; Online: monaco-chicago.com

photo: The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood

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, washer/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

photo: Sheraton Grand Chicago

Sheraton Grand Chicago

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 all summer long!) 

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

photo: Chicago Children's Museum

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

Why we love them: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is located in the world's largest building designed by a woman, Chicagoan Jeanne Gang

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

photo: Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel

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. In addition, the littlest guests receive a choice of toy from the treasure chest, a welcome amenity, access to the Kids Clubroom with foosball, air hockey, Nintendo Wii, books and toys, and a kids’ shoeshine service where shoes are returned with new laces.

With all this and a 50-foot indoor pool that was in Home Alone 2 and a concierge team that will create a personalized itinerary, you won’t have time for anything but fun.

A popular package for those with kids is the Family Experience, which includes breakfast for 2 adults and complimentary meals for ages 5 & under, one visit from the ice cream man, a tent and glow sticks.

120 E. Delaware Pl., Gold Coast; Online: fourseasons.com

Hotel Zachary

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 new 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

InterContinental Chicago

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

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 little 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, cinema or board games and a glamping experience.

COVID Update: 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

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.

200 N. Columbus Dr., Millennium Park; Online: fairmont.com

photo: The Omni Chicago

The Omni

Why we love them: Backpacks full of fun activities & American Girl Doll package

The Omni knows how to make kids feel special. At check-in, kids are presented with a backpack overflowing an activity book with stickers, crayons, 2-in-1 card games, binoculars and a small tabletop game. They also receive milk and cookies on the first night of their stay and can make memories by booking the American Girl Place Package. The American Girl Place Package includes a set of doll pajamas and slippers, an American Girl doll bed so AG has her own place to rest in the hotel room, an American Girl book reading, a personal shopping experience at the American Girl Place Store, 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 Closet packed full of toys, 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, a “Kids Closet” full of toys, books, car seats, strollers, nightlights and self-contained DVD players with age-appropriate DVDs. Parents appreciate the healthy options on their kid-friendly menu, the cribs and roll-away beds that can be delivered to the room, child-proof kits for families with children under 4 and babysitting which can be arranged by the concierge.

455 N. Park Dr., Streeterville; Online: loewshotels.com & 5300 N. River Rd., Rosemont; Online: loewshotels.com

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

photo: Graduate Hotel

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

—Maria Chambers & Jo Aaron


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