As they say across the pond, "The King is dead! Long live the King!"
Such is the case for the former Elysian Chicago, a five-diamond hotel recently ranked No. 1 in the country by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Hilton bought the Gold Coast hotel late last year and rebranded it Feb. 1 under the company's Waldorf Astoria line.
So what can out-of-towners and locals expect from the Waldorf Astoria Chicago? The same high-quality service and amenities that continue to give local luxury rivals Trump and Peninsula fits. The oversize comfort and luxury remain, with guest rooms starting at 614 square feet and offering top-of-the-line accouterments: 460-thread-count linens, gas fireplaces and expansive views of the city.
The marble-covered bathrooms are just as lovely, with deep soaking tubs, separate shower stalls and televisions set into the mirrors. Downstairs, the Waldorf's spa, affectionately retitled the Elysian, offers 10 treatment rooms that provide a bevy of manicures, pedicures, facials and massages (not to mention a barbershop in the men's locker room. Nice!).
Once you're groomed and relaxed, head to the second floor for a drink at Bernard's, a speak-easy-style lounge, or to the third floor for your choice of two winning eateries: the casual Balsan, with its small plates and comfort classics, or Ria, which features seasonally driven French fare.
FYI: Book a table at Ria a couple of weeks in advance. The two-star Michelin restaurant is considered one of the city's go-to hot spots.
Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Neighborhood: Gold Coast
11 E. Walton Place
Chicago, IL 60611
Cross streets: Walton and State
Public transportation: CTA bus: 36-Broadway; Red Line "L" stop: Chicago
Parking: Self and valet
Prices start at $485 a night, excluding taxes
Hotel amenities: ballrooms (one), meeting rooms (four), restaurant and bars/lounges (three), 24-hour business center, fitness center, pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, spa
Room amenities: Flat-screen television, work desk, minibar, coffee maker, in-room safe
24-hour room service, turndown service, pets allowed, complimentary Wi-Fi, shopping nearby