The Best Hotels for a Chicagoland Staycation

The Best Hotels for a Chicagoland Staycation -

Sometimes you just need to get away, don’t you? To change up your routine and focus on play instead of responsibilities. But since many of us struggle with finding the time to take a break from life, I want to remind you of the most wonderful way to take a break: a staycation. And living in Chicagoland, there are so many fun things to do, delicious foods to eat, and relaxing places to stay. Don’t know where to start? Then check out this list of the best hotels for a Chicagoland staycation, whether with or without kids in tow.

Photographed by Thomas M. Kubik | © 2015 TK Photography |

Photographed by Thomas M. Kubik | © 2015 TK Photography |


I’m not sure about you, but I am always nervous going into a hotel with kids.  I mean, they may advertise being “kid friendly,” but what does that really mean? I promise you that these hotels really do follow through with their promise by having lodging that not just welcomes but actually encourages kids. Many have programs to keep kids creating and exploring so that you can enjoy a well earned respite and a cocktail or two.

Eaglewood Resort, Itasca

When we are looking for hotels, the pool is a deciding factor. That’s why we absolutely LOVE the four season indoor/outdoor pool at Eaglewood Resort. There are also billiard and bowling options to keep kids busy, as well as the Resort Rascal Children’s Program for the older kiddos. Oh, and moms, be sure to check out the spa…I mean…you’ve earned it!

Key Lime Cove, Gurnee

Looking for an awesome waterpark that is local?  There are quite a few to choose from, but nowhere in Chicagoland will you find a waterpark as family friendly as Key Lime Cove. Families love their clean and spacious room and how easy it is to get everywhere in the resort, from the waterpark to the vast arcade. There are also lots of food options in and near the resort.

Hotel Lincoln, Chicago

Looking for a hotel nestled in a beautiful neighborhood with tons going on?  Then the Hotel Lincoln is for you. Be sure to book a suite that has fun bunk beds for the kiddos…and bring along your pet, too! The Hotel Lincoln is a pet friendly hotel and you can go on some amazing walks around the Lincoln Park Zoo with Fido and not have to worry about booking a pet sitter.

Palmer House Hilton, Chicago

Although a bit pricey, this hotel is perfect for a family staycation because of its fun and unique Peacock Club. Upon arrival, kids receive a goody bag with bath toys and other fun treats and trinkets to make their stay as unique and memorable as possible. The hotel location couldn’t be more perfect for exploring the city either, just steps from Millennium and Maggie Daley Parks, where you can skate and splash to your heart’s content. There is also a pool for your kiddos to splash themselves silly, and a nearby Jacuzzi for you to relax in.

Swissotel, Chicago

Packing for a family friendly vacation is a breeze when you are staying at the Swissotel.  Why?  Because they provide a suite filled with toys, treats, and everything else imaginable to keep your kiddos happy and entertained throughout your stay. You literally only have to pack clothing, which sounds heavenly to me.  Another perk? When you book the kids package, you receive a family four pack to visit the beautiful Shedd Aquarium.


I have to admit, it has been a L O N G time since I have stayed in a hotel without kids. So long that I literally cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a staycation with either my husband or a few girlfriends. That’s why I’m so glad I contacted Kathy Pulkrabek, one of the talented writers and speakers behind the popular travel blog and podcast XX, Will Travel.

One of the reasons why I absolutely love following XX, Will Travel is because it is founded by creative and witty Chicagoans just like myself who are encouraging other women to independently travel the world. It can be a daunting challenge since society seems to look at women traveling alone as “taboo” but this smart and savvy duo are sharing their expertise and empowering women to enjoy solitary travel. My favorite pieces from Kathy and Ines are their Insider’s Guide to Chicago (which even this lifelong Chicagoan learned a thing or two from), as well as tips for what to do once your travel buddy becomes a Mom (spoiler alert: exploration and awesomeness is STILL possible).

xx will travel gals

So here are Kathy’s picks for awesome hotels to enjoy in Chicagoland when you are blissfully kid free:

The Chopping Block Bootcamp/Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, Chicago

Enjoy your days away while learning to cook from the experts at the Chopping Block. This culinary school offers multi-day bootcamps on everything from culinary basics to pies and tarts to vegetarian cooking. The location in the Merchandise Mart is located next to the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza and Chopping Block bootcamp attendees receive discounted rates! I’ve actually stayed in this Holiday Inn through a Priceline bid, and was pleasantly surprised – it was much more than I expected from a Holiday Inn. The skyline view from the bar is one of my faves in Chicago.

Freehand Hostel, Chicago

If you long for your days as a backpacker, check out the Freehand Hostel. Don’t be deterred by the fact that it’s a hostel – this is part of a new generation of upscale hostels for discriminating travelers who crave a convivial atmosphere. Clean, modern and beautifully designed by the firm of Roman and Williams, the Freehand is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It has a mixology bar, an emphasis on local food, and even an event coordinator. Private rooms are available.

King Spa, Niles

King Spa is a Korean spa that must be experienced to be believed. It offers soaking pools, spa treatments, dry saunas made of various minerals (Pink sea salt! Charcoal! Gold!), and even a full-service Korean food court and movie theatre – all experienced in a lovely uniform reminiscent of your middle school gym class. Despite the spa-like atmosphere, there are lots of families who make the most of King Spa – they even have uniforms for the kiddies! Most people spend a couple hours in King Spa but I decided to spend the night. Although not technically a hotel, for a small fee you can hunker down in a cushy lazy boy or snooze on a mat in a tatami room. I thought I’d be the only person there, but it’s actually a very popular thing – I had trouble finding a sleeping spot, so claim your space early! Pools and spas close at 2am.

Longman and Eagle, Chicago

Ever spent the evening in a bar and wished you could walk upstairs and go to bed instead of driving home? At Longman and Eagle you can! Besides an AirBnB, the small inn at Longman and Eagle is the only hotel is the hot Logan Square neighborhood. In addition to a great beer selection and a host of creative cocktails, the food at L&E is also pretty amazing – and brunch is served every day!


And if you really want to be out exploring the world but it just isn’t in the cards for you right now, be sure to sign up to receive free post cards from the ladies of XX, Will Travel as they explore the world!


Looking for other travel tips?  Then this page is for you!

Happy and Safe Travels!
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  1. Jeanette says

    Wow there is a lot of great choices out there! I have been to Chicago many many times but I usually stay with family. Now I live a little too far away for a girls weekend but if I ever get out there again I may have to try it one of these hotels.

  2. Elizabeth O. says

    I’ve never been to Chicago. I would definitely want to, there are so much to do and so much to see there. I especially would like to experience the lovely food that people have been talking about all the time.

  3. Kristina says

    My dad is from Chicago. I love visiting the city. So much to see and do. I’d love to go with girlfriends some day for a fun weekend since Omaha isn’t too far away. Thanks for the great tips! Would be fun to take the kids again too.

    • Amanda says

      Staycations in Chicago are fun, either with or without kids. But let’s just say that without kids they are even more relaxing.

    • Amanda says

      There are tons of different options. Be sure to bookmark some of my museum posts so you know how to make the most out of your visit to Chicago!

  4. Jules Ruud says

    I want to go to Chicago so bad! Definitely saving this list since seeing a baseball game at Wrigley is on our list of trips to take in the next couple of years. Love that you have With Kids and Without Kids options. But of course you do, you’re the Queen.

  5. Farrah says

    Chicago is on my travel bucket list! I love the suggestion of The Chopping Block bootcamp–that’s so awesome! *-* I’m all for those cooking classes! <3 (That hostel and Korean spa sound like fun too!)

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