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Birthday Celebration – Staycation at Conrad Chicago

How do you normally celebrate your birthday? A get together, a special outing, or a trip to somewhere exotic perhaps? This year for my birthday I wanted to take a day off to relax, unwind, and explore without venturing far from home. Catering to my wanderlust-induced spirit without compromising quality down time, I decided to take a staycation with my family at Conrad Chicago.

Having moved to a newly renovated location in summer 2016, the Conrad Chicago is a modern luxe hotel that offers unparalleled skyline views, fine dining, and close proximity to the Magnificent Mile (aka Chicago’s shopping mecca).

Upon arrival at the my room, I was greeted with a welcoming gift — a tray of strawberries and chocolate fondue accompanied by champagne. The pristine room had a chic, upscale décor with sweeping views of Michigan Avenue, and when it came to service, the hotel concierge made an appoint to go above and beyond in ensuring my comfort and convenience –provision of bath robes, a shoe polishing set, and a variety of tea and coffee to amp up my caffeine kick!



The food at Baptiste and Bottle on the 20th floor was the highlight of my night. Elevated New American cuisine meets “nostalgic” mid-century décor, Baptiste and Bottle boasts unique features such as aged wine cellar, a whiskey-centric cocktail cart (they make drinks by your table based on preferred spirit and flavor profile), and “bold flavors with an emphasis on technique and texture to showcase the versatility of seasonal ingredients”.

Renowned chef Richard Sandoval sure didn’t fail to deliver a delectable array of small plates and entrees! Major highlights? Delicate squash and burrata topped with pumpkin seed and smoked sherry vinaigrette. Bone marrow + oxtail marmalade on challah toast. And red snapper with flavors of bouillabaisse, rock shrimp, and fennel. After the main course we indulged in pineapple ambrosia with coconut, pina colada granite, and amaro cherry (with a sprinkle of tapioca = heavenly) and chocolate cake with cookie butter, ganache, and gianduja stracciatella – both are the crème de la crème of all culinary confections!

The night ended on an even sweeter note with a 3-layer mocha buttercream cake from Sweet Mandy B’s! This pastel-colored Lincoln Park bake shop offers old fashioned treats like peanut butter chiffon pies and fudge brownies that satiates my sweet tooth on any given day!


Red snapper with flavors of bouillabaisse, rock shrimp, and fennel

Pineapple ambrosia with coconut, pina colada granite, and amaro cherry + chocolate cake with cookie butter, ganache, and gianduja stracciatella

Front: Market fish, charred scallion, plum, and radish. Back: Bone marrow, oxtail marmalade, quince, shallot, and brioche

Eggplant, harissa, hazelnut, and feta

Sazerac + Old Fashioned

Whiskey concoction in the works

Buttercream and mocha cake from Sweet Mandy B’s


The next morning we continued our staycation momentum (tagline “stay, drink, and eat well locally) with breakfast at Il Tavolino, an intimate street-side Italian café offering locally roasted coffee and fresh Italian fare.

We delighted ourselves with delicious artisan pastries, pizzarottis, and whimsical coffee concoctions (Nutella lattes #heaven) while taking in the beautiful décor – white countertops, minimal open space, and pinterest-worthy topographies on the wall that quite conveniently spell out the proportion of espresso to milk for various coffee orders. Not to mention the ample space is ideal for travelers that want to catch up on work emails, read a book (or study a downtown map – when lost just go east), or plainly people watch.

To wrap up our final staycation hours, we went shopping along Michigan Avenue and enjoyed an evening well spent at Logan Arcade playing old school video games (thanks to Jenn, Joanna, and Nancy for cake #2!)


Left to right: Mushroom, cheese, arugula, and egg. Crisp Bacon, cheese, spinach, and egg. Potato and cheese

Nutella latte


Whether a staycation within the confines of Chicago, or a luxurious vacation away from home, I highly recommend the stylish and contemporary Conrad Chicago as I have immensely enjoyed my stay.

Right now the hotel is offering travelers a special Grand Opening Offer – book 2+ nights at Conrad Chicago and experience authentic dining with a $100 food and beverage per stay (offer available to book by February 28 for stays until March 31, 2017). To book your stay at Conrad Chicago click HERE.

A year older, a year wiser, or so they say. Moving on from pizza take-outs and PJ parties on my birthday is one right? :) Have you ever planned a staycation before, and if so, what was your favorite part about the experience?

Xo~ Lena

This post is in collaboration with Conrad Chicago. Thoughts and opinions are my own.



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