The "Peninsula green" chauffer-driven Mini's stand ready for suite guests of The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago.

It seems like a miracle on Chicago’s “Miracle Mile” of glittering shops, restaurants and revelry: a world class, five-star, international luxury hotel…with sincere, Midwest friendliness. Upscale hotels are often uptight, but a stay at The Peninsula has the sophisticated yet fun feeling of playing horseshoes on the White House lawn or going to Buckingham Palace to sing karaoke.

Consider Sunday brunch in the hotel’s Lobby Restaurant, where dawn’s early light spills in through soaring, two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows. A string trio scoring the breakfast – The Peninsula is Chicago’s only hotel with daily live music – eschews the expected and clichéd Mozart or Bach in favor of classical versions of pop hits from Lady Gaga, Coldplay, and Taylor Swift. Teens perk up. And Chef Lee Wolen has prepared a two-foot high buffet table specifically for little children.

“For the kids who might not want sushi, beef tenderloin and crab legs, we present macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and cookies,” says Marc Anderson, The Peninsula’s director of marketing. Wolen, who left a three Michelin star restaurant in New York City because he prefers Midwest sensibilities, added, smong other culinary surprises, a gnocchi starter that hides the ricotta in a pillow of pasta with sweet potato, brown butter and black truffle.

Push a button to open the automatic drapes in the 1,000 square-foot Jade suite, for instance, on the corner of the building and you’ll get a panorama of the iconic Windy City skyscrapers above – including the Hancock Tower – and, 16 stories below, Water Tower Place. Two bedrooms with two bathrooms, a living room, dining room, office, kitchenette area, foyer, guest bathroom, walk in closets, and a Jacuzzi with an embedded flat screen television make the suite perfect for families or couples.

Room at The Peninsula Hotel, Chicago.

“The Peninsula in the heart of the action at Michigan Avenue and Superior,” says Anderson, who suggests a trip to the rooftop pool and spa after a day on your feet. “We have the best shopping in the world around the hotel – Zara, Burberry, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Saks 5th Avenue, Tiffany, and Stuart Weitzman, to name a few – and we’re steps away from the museums.” Should you not wish to pound the pavement, a chauffer-driven, “Peninsula green” Mini Cooper is available to suite holders for three hours at no charge.

Don’t be surprised when you’re thoughtfully handed a bottle of water as you head out of the hotel. It’s okay to be, though, initially startled when every employee in the hotel greets you by name – a Peninsula touch.

Chicago's The Peninsula Hotel stands proudly among the city's legendary shopping streets.

Special spring break packages and family retreats start at $350 per night including complimentary overnight parking and free meals for children. For more information visit

Michigan-based travel writer Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted or via

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