The busy pace of life in the city makes all of us wish for a vacation on some faraway exotic island. When that is impossible to achieve (at least for the moment), the next best bet is to focus on a local, exotic “staycation.” My suggestion? Head out west to Oak Brook and relax at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. Not only will you experience elegant surroundings, but also a stupendous restaurant, mind-blowing spa experience, and proximity to some of the best shopping in the Chicagoland area.
As the only Le Méridien in Chicagoland, Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center is located just steps from Oakbrook Shopping Center with access to over 25 restaurants and luxury boutiques. The hotel also offers all of the benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest Loyalty program and has been awarded a Four Diamond AAA Award.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a night at the hotel, dine at the restaurant, and experience the spa suites. Rarely have I felt so pampered. The elegant experience begins in the lobby with the trendy Longitude 87 lounge – a modern sophisticated setting featuring hand-selected artwork and uniquely crafted cocktails. Indulge in the signature breakfast menu or select one of the gourmet lunch items for dining-in or to-go. Grab an Illy coffee or specialty coffee drink available all day or sample an array of premium wines, craft beer and cocktails in the evening.
The hotels rooms are sleek and modern without feeling sterile. All guest floors are accessed from the elevator only if you have a room key, maintaining a sense of safety and exclusivity. Once you have checked in, be sure to make a reservation at El Tapeo, the hotel’s superb, authentic Spanish tapas restaurant.
I reviewed El Tapeo last year just after it opened, and it’s only become better over time. Oak Brook plays host to over 25 restaurants, many of which are “chains” or have that feeling. El Tapeo has none of that institutional energy, and it is the only Spanish-style tapas restaurant in the Oak Brook area. Every item on the menu is crafted with attention to detail and a sense of culinary flair that makes for a special dining experience. Check out the menu and you will see what I mean.
Culinary artist and Chicago native, Chef Franco Diaz serves as the Executive Chef at El Tapeo. A seasoned chef with years of experience at some of the nation’s most prestigious hotels, Chef Diaz inspires guests to taste the uncommon, creating his dishes from the exploration of new cultures and infusing what interests him into his art. This creativity allows him to develop innovative menus that transform the dining experience at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center into a culinary journey. One of Chef Diaz’s passions is to respect the quality of ingredients, understanding and using the best products available in his dishes.
The mixologists at the stunning bar create some tasty, boozy craft cocktails, and the wine list (though not overly long) is diverse enough to please even the most discerning oenophile. The lounge and restaurant offer floor-to-ceiling windows with a panoramic view. At sunset, the sun sets just behind the bar filtering through the colored bottles and creating a dazzling display.
The standout experience for me, however, was my visit to the Spa Suites. Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center offers a unique and luxurious spa experience in the privacy of a personal suite. Spa Suites by Le Méridien offer a variety of treatments in this custom spa environment with a private lounge and wet area within the suite itself. Each client is met and escorted by their personal therapist into the elevator, and taken up to their private suite.
For my service, I opted for a deep-tissue massage. Over the years, due to my prior career in the holistic health industry which required me to travel extensively, I have had quite literally hundreds of massages all across the country. This was one of the best, if not THE best, massage I have ever experienced. This is not hyperbole – I truly mean what I say here.
After the stupendous massage, I spend an indulgent 40 minutes alone in the suite, a bonus available to all guests who receive spa services. You can recline on heated tiles, shower, bathe, or simply relax on the couch with fresh fruit, water and tea. Here’s my personal suggestion – recline on the heated tiles. Oh, my! That was a decadent and supremely relaxing experience and one which I intend to repeat as often as possible. The spa is not just for guests of the hotel, so once you have experienced just how incredible the experience can be, you will want to come back just for the spa.
Whether you are a city-dweller looking for a suburban escape or a suburbanite looking for a pampering experience close to home, Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center provides the perfect getaway. The hotel is located at 2100 Spring Road in Oak Brook and is easily accessible from I-294 and I-88. They have complimentary parking, both in a covered ramp adjacent to the hotel and outdoor parking around the hotel. Valet parking is also available for a charge.
No car? No worries!
If you are not a driver but prefer to take the Metra, the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from both the Union Pacific West and the BNSF between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. They will also provide free shuttle service during your stay to points within the surrounding area. For more information, visit their website or contact the hotel at (630) 368-9900.