Ahh, how great a girls weekend can be for the soul. Especially a girls weekend that’s been in the works for a year and a half with two of your best friends from college. Lo and Kelly are my two best gals from my freshman year at uni, and we get together annually. We had to skip a year in 2016, because Kelly gave birth to twins. She was busy doing double diaper duty, double feedings, double illnesses, and double keeping an eye on the kiddos. She knew it would be selfish for her to leave her husband with two newborns, so we planned for 2017.
When we found out that the Backstreet Boys were coming to Chicago in August, we didn’t hesitate. Our girls weekend would finally happen, and Kelly leave her twins for the first time for the sake of Backstreet Boys. Everyone knows that I’m a crazy Backstreet Boys fan, and so is Kelly.
So, when I was invited to try the new Atwood inside the new Alise Hotel, we decided this was the perfect opportunity for a little staycation.
I had brunched at Atwood years before, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t very memorable. When I attended a preview party for the new menu at Atwood a few months ago, I was awestruck by how much the restaurant had changed. Once a colorful, busy restaurant, it’s been transformed into a sleek, modern, comfortable dining setting. With grey walls, long curtains that hang from the tall floor-to-ceiling windows, and a gorgeous bar; this restaurant is stunning. Additionally, the food was amazing, so I was excited to have the chance to brunch there and see the breakfast offerings.
Formally The Hotel Burnham, The Alise is no longer owned by Kimpton, but instead by Staypineapple. I had never heard of Staypineapple, but now I will never forget it. Staypineapple hotels are known for the “naked experience” — everything you touch has been washed. Also, each bed had individual duvets folded in European style, so we didn’t have to wrestle for the covers. On top of the beds were plush and adorable “Sleep with me” pillows. Every detail of the room was comfortable, from the fluffy towels in the bathroom to the comfy slippers to take home with you.
Did I mention that The Alise is a pet-friendly hotel? Of course, the only man I would let crash my girls weekend is my beloved 11-year-old boxer, Buster. I called ahead to make sure that the hotel didn’t have size restrictions, and the hotel receptionist assured me that my canine companion was more than welcome. The Alise pampered my pooch even more than we do at home. Buster had his own corner in our room complete with a yellow pineapple dog bed, two bright yellow dog bowls, a complimentary doggie bag dispenser, and the signature Staypinepple stuffed animal. It was absolutely adorable.
The Alise is historic gem located on State Street right in the heart of Magnificent Mile and just steps from Millennium Park. The hotel is housed in a National Historic Landmark building and is the perfect jumping off point for exploring downtown Chicago. In the Loop and with the Theater District just steps away, surrounded by shops and all of the amazing sights downtown, you are poised to take full advantage of all the city has to offer. And when I say historic, I really mean just that. For a fun bit of Chicago history, I should share that Al Capone’s dentist had his office in this building, and it is allegedly the very site when Capone shot and killed the man.
Now on to brunch! After the girls and I had settled in our room, we headed downstairs to brunch on the offerings at Atwood. With elevated American cuisine and seasonal menu items using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, Atwood has something for everyone. Lo doesn’t eat eggs or meat, but still there was plenty for her to choose from.
We started with brunch libations, nothing too out of the ordinary; mimosas for Lo and I, and a Bloody Mary for Kelly with the works and extra spicy, per her request. All of the cocktails were good, but Kelly noted that her Bloody Mary was one of the best she has ever had. Eventually, I changed over to a Bloody mimosa, made with blood orange juice. Better than a standard mimosa if you ask me.
By Bitch rules, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, or monkey bread are a must. We decided to start with the cream cheese coffee cake or the CCCC, as I like to call it. Made with a brown sugar streusel, and covered in delicious icing, this was a sweet start to our meal. It was a large portion, so perfect for sharing with the table if you are having a group brunch. We also got the cheddar-thyme biscuits with a Fresno chili butter; they were amazing.
We decided to order a few entrees to share, among them the Atwood omelet, the lox and bagel, a fruit plate, and the loaded tater tots. The fruit plate was standard, but very necessary to have a well balanced meal, and make us feel okay about indulging with the loaded tater tots.
The Atwood omelet was made with bacon, caramelized onions, brie, and served with a side of hash browns. The brie in the omelet was next level, and it really made this omelet rich and flavorful. Kelly and I really enjoyed it. We also ordered bacon, because, well why not?
The bagel and lox plate was beautiful. The freshly smoked salmon was sliced perfectly and surrounded by tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled red onions, capers, toasted bagel slices, and dill cream cheese. Everything complemented the fish excellently. We all loved this dish.
Now for the crème de la crème of our meal: the loaded tater tots. Fancy tater tots deserve a fancy title! These tater tots were served with house-made chili, cheddar cheese, scallions, and drizzled sour cream were spread on top of the crispy tots. You have the options of adding two eggs any style, but we chose to leave those out so Lo could enjoy them as well.
This was a fabulous spot to brunch, not to mention the ideal hotel to stay in if you are visiting Chicago, or just looking for a staycation downtown. Atwood is an upscale but unpretentious restaurant. The staff are extremely friendly and accommodating, and deliver stellar service. Atwood is the perfect place to host a brunch for a special occasion, or the perfect place to fuel up before a day downtown. Also, they have an awesome patio!
Additionally, the hotel is top-notch when it comes to luxury hotel accommodations. After staying at the Alise and having a Staypineapple experience, I would be lying if I told you my standards for hotels has not gone up. The next time I am looking for a hotel, I will be sure to see if there is a Staypineapple hotel in the area. And if not, I will most likely be wishing there was. The hotel is chic, fun, and above all clean as can be. The hotel made for a memorable stay, and was the perfect spot to host a girls weekend!
The Bitches say: A+. Atwood and the Alise hotel are the perfect place to experience luxury accommodations or delicious dining downtown. We are so looking forward to another excuse to stay at the hotel, and will be grabbing mimosas at the restaurant again soon!
Atwood serves weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.