What is better than an impromptu slumber party with one of your best gals at one of Chicago’s finest hotels? Well, not much if you ask me! My best blogger babe friend, Erika of Babeskills, recently moved back to her hometown of Columbus. Not only did she move and start building a house, but she got pregnant too! She has lots of exciting things going on, but thankfully she still comes to Chicago about once a month, at least until the baby is due.
We always schedule days to meet up over coffee and catch up on life. This time though, I thought it would be awesome if we did a little blogger slumber party and was delighted when the Renaissance hotel was kind enough to host us. It was a freezing cold day, so we were looking forward to not having to leave and go anywhere for the evening; we had everything right there.
I am a big fan of the Renaissance hotel; I have been there several times for various events. Additionally, we attended the grand opening of their rooftop restaurant, Raised, and brunched there as well! Raised is a super fun brunch spot, unlike a lot of older hotel restaurants that tend to be stiffer. Raised offers a relax environment, perfect for brunch, cocktails or dinner. Surprisingly, while the restaurant is located on the third floor, it offers amazing views of the city and the Chicago River. The views are spectacular, and I was reminded of how much I love this city.
I absolutely loved the decor in Raised. Mid-city modern furniture, unique metal light fixtures, and— my personal favorite— the “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” neon sign seen when you first enter the restaurant, are a few elements that make the space charming and inviting.
Located right in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Renaissance Hotel is a modern, sleek, and upscale hotel. If you are visiting Chicago and looking for high-end accommodations that won’t break the bank, I would highly recommend this hotel. First class service, delicious dining options, and spacious rooms with incredible views are just a few things that make this hotel an ideal spot to stay.
The lobby is full of instagram-worthy spots to take a cute pictures. As you enter the hotel, you approach Staytion Market and Bar. In the front is a large bar where you can order food at the counter, or enjoy one of the restaurants signature libations and order at the bar. Past the bar is a Staytion’s main restaurant, a dimly lit, enclosed dining space for a more formal dinner. Additionally, there is a VIP lounge, artist studio, coffee bar, and library.
Erika and I were escorted to our room, and let me tell you that of the few hotels I have stayed at in Chicago, this room was awesome. Spacious, it had two queen beds, a sitting area with a couch, a dining area, and a huge bathroom; perfect for getting our pamper on.
After getting settled in our room and catching up, we worked for a little. Soon, we got dressed as we were starving and were excited to head downstairs for dinner. Staytion wasn’t busy at that time, which was nice because our server had time to walk us through the menu and tell us more about the restaurant. He also suggested a great bottle of wine; Erika even had a bit of some and we both ended up writing the name down because we loved it so much.
We begin our meal with a few starters; the apple walnut salad and the Staytion house sliders. Both were awesome. The sliders were beef patties, topped with aged cheddar, a horseradish aoili, house-made pickles on top of roasted onion rolls. They were very good. The salad wasn’t over complicated, and it had a delicious apple vinaigrette dressing. House greens came topped with dried tart cherries, goat cheese and candied walnuts; it was a great winter salad.
For our entrees, Erika and I decided to be super indulgent, and get two of the larger entrees; the braised short rib and the roasted Gunthorp Farms chicken. After all, we were feeding for three, so it seemed appropriate. The short rib was so tender and delicious. It came with three sides, (amazing) truffled cauliflower mash, sauteed mushrooms and roasted carrots. Everything worked so nicely together and it was a perfect winter dish.
The roasted Gunthrop Farms chicken was equally delicious. It was difficult to pick our favorite out of the two because they were both so good. The chicken was accompanied with Sterling Farms fingerling potatoes, braised fennel, olives, and tomatoes. I am not a big fan of fennel and its licorice-like flavor, but this fennel was understated and complemented the dish well.
Despite being absolutely stuffed, we relented and had dessert at the insistence of our server. This is an appropriate #noregrets moment. The pastry chef hit the nail on the head with the dessert and pastry offerings. We had a chocolate cookie and a decadent chocolate cake, and a cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Somehow Erika and I managed to finish all three.
Staytion is another winner of the few great hotel restaurant offerings I have tried. Truly, from the stellar service to the delicious dishes and pastry offerings, it was a very memorable meal.
Erika and I were ready to head back to the room, change into our PJs and sink into our respective beds, which is exactly what we did. I had a comfortable night’s sleep in the bed, and woke up to a spectacular view of the city. The Renaissance is a great hotel to stay at. Steps away from the Theatre District, Millineum Park, museums and other must-visit Chicago spots, the Renaissance is an ideal hotel with thoughtful amenities and world-class service. I will definitely be back to Staytion again, and if I am lucky, for another staycation!