The busy holidays are here, so a “shop-cation” may be the perfect way to multitask and relax. “Chicago has shopping for all ages and styles. From the luxurious Magnificent Mile shops of Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Nordstrom and even a family visit to the American Girl, to the hip independent shops in Bucktown and Wicker Park,” suggests Caryn Granzow, director of sales and marketing at the DoubleTree by Hilton Magnificent Mile, a hotel she describes as a “winter holiday retreat.” True Religion Brand Jeans, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and Athleta (the Gap’s women’s athletic clothing brand) are the retail newcomers.
Chicago is expecting 6.5-million visitors during this holiday season according to Michael Samm, public relations manager for Choose Chicago. “These leisure travelers, who are primarily from the Midwest, will devote 20-percent of their daily expenditures to shopping,” he says.
The shopping setting is festive. More than a million lights on 200 trees bedazzle Michigan Avenue, and Lincoln Park Zoo is full of holiday lights, too. 50 internationally-themed trees adorn the Museum of Science and Industry. Macy’s holiday windows and 45-foot great tree are glittering, and there is Christmas caroling under Cloud Gate, the iconic, big chrome “bean” sculpture and free ice skating on a 16,000 square-foot rink in Millennium Park.
From Michigan, Chicago is easily accessible for spontaneous trips and even day trips, but it’s best to plan ahead for lodging. The city inventory of more than a million hotel rooms has experienced six consecutive months of record performance in supply, demand, occupancy, and average daily rate. The DoubleTree’s 500 sleek rooms, at the corner of Ohio and Fairbanks, is between Navy Pier (and it’s month-long “Winter Wonderfest,” including fireworks on New Year’s Eve) and the Magnificent Mile, giving guestrooms sweeping views of the Wrigley Building, Lake Michigan, and the landmark Hancock Building. “We’re the perfect spot to launch a Chicago vacation,” says Granzow, recognizing that serious shoppers, especially in the wintry Windy City, need a warm retreat in which to recharge while foraging for fashion.
“Every guest visit begins with a greeting, a smile, genuine Midwestern hospitality and a delicious DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie. Our front desk agent is even named ‘Cookie,’” Granzow insists. To save extra green, and to embrace a green culture, DoubleTree will even let you forego housekeeping services in return for an $8 credit in the food and beverage outlets.