What do you think of when you hear the term “boutique hotel?” For me, I imagine stunning interior design, trendy food and drink, and impeccable, personalized service. Basically a more intimate hotel with a BIG personality. What don’t I think of? Family friendly. I mean, we typically reserve our luxury hotel stays for when we can ship our kids off for a sleepover with their doting grandparents. But after staying at the Hotel Palomar, a beautiful boutique hotel nestled among some of the best attractions in River North, I was proven completely wrong and learned first-hand how a contemporary and cozy boutique hotel welcomes and celebrates families as guests…even the furriest family members.
My family and I received a one night complimentary stay at the Hotel Palomar, in addition to a complimentary breakfast at Sable Kitchen + Bar. All opinions are my own.
A Warm Welcome
We could tell that our stay at the Hotel Palomar was going to be a relaxing and enjoyable one right from the start. We arrived about two hours before our official check in, which can be problematic at some larger hotels, but the Hotel Palomar staff was happy to get us settled in a room so that we could have some city wide adventures before hitting the hotel pool.
But what really blew us away about check in was the welcome bags that were waiting for my two sons. They were absolutely thrilled to receive bubbles and coloring supplies…and as a mom I loved that these treats were the perfect way to keep my kiddos (quietly) entertained while I unpacked our bags and we settled into our room.
I also can’t fail to mention that they had a beautiful red rose waiting for me and all of the other ladies who were checking into the hotel to stay for Valentine’s Day weekend. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture and one of those details that makes a hotel stay even more special.
The Hotel Room
The comfort level of your hotel room can truly make or break your stay. We chose a room with two queen beds and it was definitely large enough for the four of us to unpack, relax, and play. As most parents know, you have to schlep around a TON of stuff when you are traveling with kids (even if it is just one night in your hometown) and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of storage available (ample drawers, large closets, etc.) so that we weren’t tripping over our suitcases—or even my boys’ toys—during our stay.
We slept great due to the comfy beds (the pillows were definitely top notch) and we were able to maintain the same type of bedroom routine we have at home since our hotel room was outfitted with a large bath tub and lovely toiletries that truly created a “zen” vibe in the bathroom. The one downfall was that there wasn’t an accessible refrigerator in our room, but since we were only staying for one night we were able to keep our kids’ food and drinks cool simply by using the provided ice bucket.
In addition to the personalized touch of the welcome flower and bags for our kiddos, the Hotel Palomar also treats its registered guests to a nightly happy hour at 5 p.m. This was such a welcomed surprise and the perfect way to unwind after a long day exploring Navy Pier with our kiddos. The fact that we were able to sip bubbly and enjoy lite bites next to a roaring fire on a snowy day truly made us feel like we were on vacation…even though we were a few miles from home. And in the morning, there is also a complimentary tea and coffee bar set up in the lobby so you can start the day on the right foot.
The Pool/Fitness Center
If you ask my kids, they will tell you that the highlight of the Hotel Palomar is its pool, and I would have to agree. The heated pool is spacious, not too deep, and surrounded by tons of reclining chairs so that you can always see your children when they are in the pool. Or in my case—you can watch your husband play with your kids in the pool while you relax with a cocktail poolside.
There is also a relatively large fitness center so that you can work up a sweat during your stay. If you prefer a more solitary workout, you can find a yoga mat in your hotel room so that you can namastay the day away.
Sable Kitchen + Bar
After getting a taste of what Sable Kitchen + Bar had to offer during Hotel Palomar’s happy hour, we were eager to try out its menu for brunch on Sunday morning. As you can see here, the menu boasts a unique twist on traditional dishes such as biscuits and gravy. My husband described it as “the most different yet delicious” version of biscuits and gravy that he had ever had, and I was extremely happy with my breakfast BLT.
As for the kids, the menu initially seemed a bit challenging since there wasn’t a specific section geared towards kids. But with help from our server, who is also a parent, we were able to order the perfect breakfast selections for them—pancakes, bacon, fruit, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Sometimes the lack of a children’s menu sends a message to families that kids aren’t welcome, but that most definitely was NOT the case at Sable. There were other families enjoying brunch as well, and there are some low tables and booths to accommodate parties with children. My only wish for our meal was that we would have eaten later in the day so we could have sampled some of Sable’s handcrafted cocktails (Chicago law bars the serving of alcohol before 11 a.m. on Sundays) but I guess that just means we will have to plan a return trip. I mean, it will give me more opportunities to take Instagram snaps of the jaw droopingly BEAUTIFUL restaurant.
Our Overall Impression
I recommend the Hotel Palomar for a Spring break vacation or staycation with your family because it is a truly luxurious and fun retreat in Chicago for your entire family (pets are also welcome). Being nestled in River North, the Hotel Palomar has the perfect location for families looking to explore the city, especially with the free trolley to Navy Pier located just around the corner from the hotel entrance. The Chicago Riverwalk is within walking distance, as is the Magnificent Mile and the Lincoln Park Zoo, so your entertainment options are truly endless. Use promo code SPRING SOCIAL to receive $20 off parking when you book a March or April stay.