As Frank Sinatra sang, Chicago is my kind of town. Our trip started out on a great note, when the following email popped up on my phone just as we were boarding our plane in Nashville to depart for Chicago:

Good afternoon.

I came across your blog when a Google alert came to my inbox due to your mention of staying with us. We look forward to welcoming you to Chicago and as a gesture for mentioning us, I’d love to upgrade you to one of our suites and make sure your stay is comfortable and productive. I would also like to offer to have one of our concierge team reach out to you in advance of your arrival to assist with transportation, dinner reservations, directions to Jayson Home and Garden and that Warehouse sale (we can even help ship that sofa home for you!)
 

Safe travels and see you soon.
 

At first, I thought I was being punked, but when I realized it was real, I was beyond thrilled. The James Hotel upgraded us to a loft suite that looked like this:
And after a few email exchanges, they arranged dinner reservations for us that evening in the very busy David Burke's Primehouse in the hotel. Needless to say, our stay there was fabulous especially because of the exemplary customer service. That and the downtown location just two short blocks from Michigan Avenue shopping made it an ideal place to stay. The James definitely gets my recommendation if you're heading to the Windy City.

While Matt was in his course on Friday, I spent my day hitting the shops of the Magnificent Mile. I finally found a new handbag at Nordstrom Rack - it's like Nordstrom's version of TJ Maxx. Ah, heaven. On Saturday, we hit Jayson Home and Garden and some sights around Chicago. We didn't make the Warehouse Sale as the Jayson employees said it would take too long to get there without a car. While we could take a cab there, they weren't sure we could get one back to the hotel. The whole journey via public transportation could have taken an hour or more. It was just too daunting for us, so we decided it was not to be. We just satisfied ourselves with the shop itself. It was stunning . . . I could live there. Here are some shots from the shop and the rest of our day sightseeing.
 I was totally in my element.
 Awesome chinoiserie stool.
How cool is this serpentine sofa? Notice the chairs with the Kuba cloth.

Loved this navy blue velvet sofa from Lee Industries. Actually loved everything in the store. Matt made me pose. Can you see the "hurry up and take the photo so I don't look like an idiot" look on my face?

And here come the obligatory Chicago touristy shots . . .
 The other tourists are wondering, "Where did that girl get that fabulous purse?"
Seriously, I loved this "bean" sculpture, actually called "Cloud Gate" by British sculptor Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park. It was truly spectacular.

The long-armed photo. Always a keeper. 

The "El" train. We rode it once and felt very cool doing so. We're so hip. Okay, not so much.

And now a couple of Matt's arty photos . . . 
This was an art installment in our hotel lobby. Very cool. I'm thinking O'Hare's unclaimed luggage has to go somewhere.

We also had some fabulous meals at Sprout and Nightwood. We tried to be ultra hip and get a beverage at a modern-day speakeasy, but it turns out we're too old and lame to stand in line. We went back and got one at the hotel bar - The James cocktail is delicious. 


Hope you enjoyed your majorly abbreviated tour of Chicago. We had a blast and would love to go back when we have more time!

Sources: The James Hotel, YouTube, Sprout, Nightwood
 
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