Sometimes you just need to get away. Even if it’s just for an evening, a break from the rapid pulse of the city is often a necessity for busy Bitches. And with so many options close by for a staycation in Chicago, often times it’s hard to decide which one to choose. Being a new Bitch in the city, I was invited to have an overnight staycation at Le Méridien in Oak Brook, IL, just 40 minutes outside Chicago.
Le Méridien is a beautiful, modern hotel and conference center just steps away from one of the largest outdoor shopping malls in Illinois, the Oakbrook Shopping Center. So, if shopping and eating is on your agenda for a staycation, then Le Méridien has some strong selling points.
Le Méridien is beautiful modern building inside and out. As you walk up to the hotel, the sun reflecting off the building’s glass exterior is simultaneously blinding and stunning. One of my good friends from college, Britt, accompanied me for the overnight stay to partake in all the food and pampering that there was to await us!
When we walked in the lobby, Britt and I immediately were struck by the beautiful decor and openness design of Le Méridien. What was also fun was the concierge and staff were expecting us—I’ve never felt more like a celebrity! After getting the keys to our hotel room, we took our suitcases upstairs and were immediately swept off to the spa, where we each received a 25 minute massage.
Le Méridien is laid out so that every floor has two spa suites, making it easy for guests to get to and from their rooms for their pampering. Being that both suites on our floor were booked for us, Brit and I each had our own spa suite, giving us each privacy and peace. My massage therapist was detailed in her presentation of the suite, demonstrating the Swedish shower, heated tile lounge in the steam shower, how to work the TV behind the mirror—yes, there was a lot going on in one room.
Now, I have a confession: this was my first massage, ever. And now I don’t know how I lived so long without them! It was 25 minutes of bliss and was easily the best part of the staycation. Once the massage was over, I was left alone in the spa suite to experience the various spa amenities.
Eventually, I returned to my room to meet up with Britt. We both agreed that the spa suites were incredible and were enthusiastic about the rest of our stay.
Before our dinner reservation at El Tapeo, we decided to explore the hotel and found the workout facilities, a conference room, and an outdoor patio just outside Longitude 87, where we were scheduled for brunch the next morning.
By the time we finished giving ourselves a tour of the hotel, we were famished! Thankfully, El Tapeo served us some amazing tapas and drinks to assuage our hunger.
El Tapeo is is a small-plates Spanish style restaurant with delicious food, through and through. To start, Britt and I saw the sangria and decided to try one of each kind: Blanco and Rioja. Of the two, I preferred the Blanco, but then again, I prefer white wine over red wine so I wasn’t surprised by my preference.
Our first tapas we decided on was the Albondigas, which are lamb and bacon meatballs with romesco and topped with toasted almonds and parsley. Of all the tapas we tried, these were by far my favorite! They were cooked perfectly and the combination of the bacon and lamb was delicious. Then again, anytime bacon is included in a dish somehow, I have to have it because bacon makes everything better!
Next up, the Croquetas de Tocineta ibérico, which again had bacon. Surprise, surprise! These pumpkin fritters with the sage aïoli were delightful! If I had had it my way, that would been a tapas just for me!
Our third tapas to share was the Selección de Quesos, which was a cheese board with honeycomb, fig jam, olives, and roasted grapes. Have you ever had a roasted grape? Neither of us had and it was insanely sweet, just in case you’re wondering! The board came with a side of crackers and toast and Britt not being an olive fan, left me all the olives. Score! Being that my New Year’s resolution of 2015 was to ‘eat more cheese’, you can be assured that I enjoyed this immensely!
Our final tapas was the Patatas Bravas, which were fingerling potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce, crème fraîche, and scallion on top. In hindsight, we could have done without this dish, as it seemed ill-prepared and cold by the time it arrived at the table, but Britt and I were also getting pretty stuffed, and we hadn’t gotten entrees yet!
Finally making our way down the menu, we each selected and entree. Britt chose the Ensalada de Tomate. The salad included Heirloom tomato, avocado, pickled red onion, basil, and sherry reduction dressing. While the presentation was beautiful, the dish was so so. The sweet tomatoes combined with the pickled red onion was too much of a contrast for this dish.
I went with my East Coast senses and ordered the Salpicón Cangrejo de Mar. The dish featured a jumbo lump crab salad with avocado, Blood Orange gelee, chervil, and toast points to get large bites of all the ingredients together in one swoop. Much like Britt, I wasn’t as pleased with my entree as I had hoped and we both wished we had ordered one or two more tapas instead.
Quite full after that feast, we both headed back to the room and quickly fell asleep. After a restful night, we gathered our things and headed downstairs for brunch at Longitude 87.
Longitude 87 is a restaurant off the main lobby of the hotel. It’s hard to miss in the morning, with the entire buffet set up with pancakes, waffles, bacon, breakfast potatoes, and sausage. On the stand alone marble slab table were charcuterie boards full of an assortment of cheeses and meats, cereal, pastries, and breads for the taking. With so many options, I didn’t know where to begin.
Britt and I were seated a beautifully made up table, with bowls of fruit and pastries already placed waiting for our arrival. We were also presented with mimosas made with fresh squeezed OJ—now that is service!
While Britt and I were looking at the buffet table trying to decide what to get, the kitchen had gone ahead and prepared had two dishes from the brunch menu for us to sample. The first that arrived was the classic Eggs Benedict with poached eggs, Canadian bacon, tomato jam, and Hollandaise sauce.
Wow! Not only was it a beautiful dish, it was delicious! The eggs were perfectly poached, the Hollandaise sauce was creamy and tangy, and the bacon was superb.
The second, and my absolute favorite was the banana bread French toast. It had caramelized banana and whipped cream on top—doesn’t that make your mouth water just reading that? Well, the toast was exquisite. It was perfectly cooked and the banana flavor of the bread wasn’t overpowering, which I absolutely preferred.
There were walnuts in the bread, giving it a crunch and the bananas on top were the crowning achievement of the dish. The ends of the bananas were dipped in sugar and then placed on the grill to caramelize the sugar. Who would have thought to do that? It was genius.
To sample the buffet, I made a plate of miniature poppy-seed waffles, bacon, and breakfast potatoes. All were very much so to my liking, but in comparison to the banana bread French toast—well, there was no comparison.
Again full from a large feast at Le Méridien, we finished our brunch with cappuccinos and a biscuit cookie. The cappuccinos were the perfect amount of caffeine to wake us up, and was the perfect way to end our stay.
As Britt and I were leaving Le Méridien, we were bid farewell by the amazing staff who made our stay memorable. The perfect getaway that wasn’t too far out of the city, but just enough to make us forget for a day the hectic lives we both live.
The Bitches say: B+. Le Méridien is absolutely worth the stay for the out of towners, locals, and staycationers alike. While we weren’t too fond of dinner, the brunch was a smash hit!
2100 Spring Rd,
Oak Brook, IL 60523