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The Ritz-Carlton Chicago unveils $25 Million Renovation

April 20th, 2010

The Ritz-Carlton Chicago steps into the limelight with the largest restyling in the hotel’s history since its 1977 opening. During the first week in May 2010, the $25 million project unveils a dramatic new lobby, restaurant and bar, promenade, ballroom and Presidential Suite. (The re-design of the hotel’s guestrooms and suites was completed in 2009.) The Ritz-Carlton Chicago renovation was designed by Brayton Hughes Design Studios. The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (a Four Seasons Hotel) offers a setting of unmistakable grandeur, ideal for business or leisure, centered in the prestigious shopping and cultural mecca of North Michigan Avenue. (See all of LastMinuteTravel.com’s 5 Star Hotels along the North River.)

“We are very fortunate to benefit from Ownership’s long-term commitment, which has allowed The Ritz-Carlton Chicago the luxury to move forward in the current economic climate as it is,” says The Ritz-Carlton Chicago’s Regional Vice-President and General Manager, Patrick Ghielmetti. “This renovation marks a new and exciting era for The Ritz-Carlton Chicago.”

Lobby
The vision for the Lobby was inspired by a highly-styled era with its deep woods and rich earth tones. A blend of contemporary and traditional is created with graceful upholstered wall coverings; large graphic-patterned carpeting in hues of gold, champagne, caramels and chocolate browns; and Breccia Oniciata marble flooring. Stepping off the 12th floor elevator, the Lobby’s captivating views of the city’s skyline come to life. A sky-lit fountain centrally anchors the room, surrounded by natural scenes of Art Nouveau plaster relief; stylish sofas; glass-topped, antique bronze hammered coffee tables; glass floor lamps; pedestal rosewood tables with marble insets and Paris influenced lounge chairs.

“This living room environment allows guests to feel the comfort of home, while also being able to congregate and socialize, and drink and dine in an easy setting,” explains Ghielmetti.

More gorgeous photos below the jump:

Read more…

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The James Chicago - Best Value

February 8th, 2010

I noticed this morning that one of those ‘Private Sale’ websites is having a flash sale for The James in Chicago. A beautiful luxury boutique with an apartment living feel right off the Magnificent Mile, The James provides the personalized feel that’s perfect for a getaway or a business trip. When I did a quick price comparison with our rates, I noticed that if you book with us you can still save 20% off the price offered to their invite only members. (Valid February 2010 and most nights in March 2010)

There are two ways to book, you can visit LastMinuteTravel.com and search our “Undercover Hotels” for 5 star Chicago Luxury hotels. We have a couple with very good rates. Or you can join the Last Minute Travel Club where we have private sale prices all the time and you see all the details up front before you book. If you spend two nights at The James, you’ll save more than the club membership, plus you’ll get 5,000 TripleDip loyalty points when you become a member and access to all the great discount travel prices on the club.

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Most Popular New Year’s Eve Destinations

December 18th, 2009

2010 is shaping up to be a New Year’s Eve like no other! It’s not too late to book a trip and get in on the fun. To help you decide, LastMinuteTravel.com presents North America’s most-popular destinations for ringing in the New Year!

Using our proprietary technology, we’ve collected destination data from our website to find out where North Americans are going to celebrate this New Year’s Eve. The top 5 are:

Orlando
Nobody parties like Mickey and Minnie – and recently Shamu and Spiderman have been getting in on the act too! The Orlando parks go all out for the important night with special fireworks spectaculars and great food and dancing. If crowding into the theme parks will thousands of your closest friends isn’t your thing, there are plenty of fabulous New Year’s parties all across central Florida. Right now flights to Orlando are very affordable, so why not experience some of Disney’s magic for yourself.

Las Vegas
One of the most exciting and colorful places to celebrate New Year’s, Las Vegas attracts the wildest people to their growing number of clubs. There are so many options for the New Year in Vegas; toast the “nouvelle année” from the top of the replica Eiffel Tower, party with thousands of others on the Strip as midnight approaches, or watch the festivities from a private suite in your favorite resort. Any are great locations to watch the massive fireworks show that will launch from the rooftops of seven hotels along the Strip.

New York City
The traditional place to ring in the New Year is Times Square. The Big Apple is the center of attention if you want to experience the festive throng and the famed “ball drop”. If being outside in NYC’s winter weather isn’t your thing, there are thousands of great parties to join after you take in a Broadway show or catch the Radio City Rockettes.

Chicago
New Year’s revelers flock to Chicago for the great food and the fun parties. Whether its luxury you want or a party in a penthouse club, you’ll find it in the windy city. Just bundle up as it can get a bit chilly out there. Other popular parties include a river cruise or a concert at Grant’s park. Both provide you with a front-row view of the fireworks.

Los Angeles
Westcoasters in the know flock to the city of fun and sun for one last fling before the New Year begins. Popular places to party include Disneyland in Anaheim, the Together As One festival to dance into the next decade, and any of the hundreds of trendy clubs in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills where you can see or be seen. My favorite LA parties let you ring in the New Year twice, once at 9pm when NYC drops the ball and again at Midnight west coast time.

Other hot party cities include Miami, San Diego, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, and San Francisco.

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Chicago - The windy city in a day

April 21st, 2008

Chicago - the windy city

Recently my girlfriend and I made a trip to Chicago. Basically it was a Chicago in a day trip starting downtown and culminating at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play (a can’t miss). So we started at Sears Tower, the tallest building in the US. Now a normal tourist would pay to go to the top of the tower, usually about $10 bucks a person, but I knew better. More on that later

Next we made our way over to Millennium Park, with great botanical gardens and the Buckingham Fountain as seen from such shows as “Married with Children” . I live to see things like the fountain from married with children!

Moving on from the Park there are a few directions to go. You can get back on the street, go to the museums or walk around on the coast of lake Michigan. Much of Chicago’s coast is park thanks in most part to Montgomery Ward who pushed a law prohibiting building on the lake.

I chose Michigan Avenue. Keep going down Michigan Avenue and you are in shopping heaven. The “Miracle Mile” boasts some of the greatest shopping anywhere. From Marshall Fields to Burberry, and Niketown, there is certainly something for everyone, but don’t miss out on the architecture. Along the way you will see the Wrigley Building. Look closer at the Wrigley building and you will see that they built in pieces form places all around the world into it. Pieces from the Taj Majal, London Bridges just to name a couple endear the outer part of the building. Chicago is full of hidden treasures like this. Right near the Wrigley building you can take an architecture tour and learn more about the buildings that line the street and just as interesting, th people who built and inhabited them.

This is a great time to take a little break and appreciate the city. Lucky us we are at the Hancock Building, a similar looking building to the sears Tower but right in the magnificent mile. Go to the top of the 95th floor of the Hancock and you can experience the best view of Chicago and the reason I didn’t go to the top of the Sears Tower. At the top of the Hancock you can pay about $8 for a beer and enjoy the views for free instead of the $10-$12 it costs to get to the top of the Sears.

By then I am a little tired so its time to head to Wrigley for some pregame food. There is no parking lot around Wrigley Field. It is literally built in the middle of the neighborhood. Restaurant and bars line the streets and on game day, so do the people that make Chicago special.

What a great trip and best of all - Cubs win!

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