Chicago Staycation at Historic Millennium Knickerbocker

I get it – I love to get away. But sometimes getting away is a martini, a nice bubble bath and a new comfy bed for the night. Staycations have become more popular over the years and I can see why – yes, its fun to explore a new city, but sometimes a nice night in at a nice hotel is the self-care and break girl bosses need. I recently had a nice Chicago staycation at the historic 1927 Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago.

And if a staycation at this historic hotel isn’t enough, it’s right by Michigan Avenue, 360 Chicago Observation Deck at John Hancock and the Museum of Contemporary Art for you to explore some of Chicago’s most iconic – and if you’re a native – overlooked spots.

The Knickerbocker History: Speakeasy and Playboy:

I think one of the coolest aspects of the hotel is its history. Anyone can build a new hotel, but you can’t make up this hotel’s sinister past. I had to see for myself the Penthouse floor where Al Capone’s brother once ran a casino and speakeasy. Today it’s used for conferences or events but you can still see the cutout to a secret stairway that guests used when the cops came. Al Capone’s brother was never caught because everyone would use that stairway to go down a few flights of stairs.

The Knickerbocker also had a few ownership changes throughout its nearly 90-year history. In the ’70s, the property had a stint as the Playboy Towers. The hotel has housed such luminaries as John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and the Rolling Stones.

The Rooms:

The hotel still has a historic feel. The over the top chandeliers are all noticeable about this four star hotel.

There’s definitely an older feel, but the rooms have been updated and transformed into spacious one bedroom suites with a mini bar, a whimsical bed, 40″ flat screen TVs, and yes a bathrobe and yes – a whirlpool tub (make sure you get the room with a whirlpool tub, you’ll thank me later).

I took a quick 5-minute walk to Water Tower Place on Michigan Ave to go to the new Millennial makeup store, Riley Rose. Since Lush is no longer at Macy’s, Riley Rose was perfect for picking up a bath bomb.

bathroom

I loved the hotel room which had its own living room and a private bedroom and expansive bathroom.

One of my favorite parts of a staycation is getting ready, and I appreciated the lighting and added mirrors. My friend met me for dinner so we got all dressed up to have martinis – something that we should do more often.

The Martini Bar:

One luxury of a Chicago Staycation is that you get to enjoy fine dining and drinks. One of the nice things about the Knickerbocker is that right in the lobby is the Martini Bar open till 10 pm for dinner and 12 am for drinks.

Its extensive martini list is to be explored and enjoyed, and despite being served at the bar, it’s fine dining cuisine is exceptional. Plus, they have a piano and some live entertainment on certain nights.

martini bar

I’ll start with the food. If there is one thing you should order, it’s the steak and arugula salad. Honesty, it’s the best salad I’ve ever tasted. The dressing was light, the steak was savory and the arugula was fresh and had some added toppings for a slight crunch.

And since we had a late night meal, my friend and I also tried some of the martinis. Hands down, the chocolate martini was my favorite. I usually love a dirty martini or a Cosmo. Those were strong and really great but there was something about the chocolate martini.

Sweet Dreams and Healthy Breakfast:

I took my martini up to my room and drew myself the most amazing bath. The bathroom at The Knickerbocker is over the top. They have a shower area and a separate bathtub in the room. I added the jets to the bath and it was better than a jacuzzi at most hotels.

In the morning, I woke up in my robe and comfortable king-sized bed. I connected my phone to the TV to get ready to my favorite music and then rushed downstairs for some much-needed coffee and a delicious omelet at Nix, the other restaurant in the Knickerbocker. The service was great and the omelet was actually delicious, especially the side of bread and jam.

Overall:

There are so many hotels in Chicago because it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. Honesty, I’ve been to quite a few hotels – The Trump Tower smells like vanilla because of the candles. Cambria in the loop is great for a Theatre District Hotel with the exquisite Italian restaurant, Petterino’s next door, The Palmer House has a beautiful and extensive lobby and a spa but the rooms are a bit stuffy.

But the Knickerbocker, this hotel has history and merit and I was surprised by the quality of the food, the rooms, and the location. The hotel rooms itself were some of the nicest I’ve been in. I would say one issue was that the WiFi went in and out sometimes, but other than that, my stay was perfect and memorable. It’s a good location, a good price and it’s a historic spot you should add to your Chicago Bucketlist.

This article is a sponsored post.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

Follow:

Meet Gabrielle Union at Ulta Beauty for Flawless Hair Launch Chicago September 28th

There are few people I look up to as much as Gabrielle Union. I love how real she is about working out, family time, and glam. I first became enthralled with her for her role as news anchor, Mary Jane Paul on BET’s Being Mary Jane.

This fall she’s continuing to add to her business line with her own book – We Need More Wine. She’s also furthering her partnerships in the beauty industry. Next week, on September 28, 2017, Gabrielle Union will be in Chicago to launch her own haircare line at Ulta Beauty. The line is called FLAWLESS by Gabrielle Union and is designed for women with textured hair to have more good hair days than bad. Flawless hair care products have a combination of 3 oils including Argan Oil, Avacado Oil, and Marula Oil all made responsibly with Fair Trade principles to promote the South African markets.

I wanted to share with you this special opportunity to meet my favorite savvy businesswoman and role model, Gabrielle Union. She has been through the journey of loving her hair – something that I have struggled with my whole life. It’s seriously been on my summer bucket list every summer.

“I’ve finally gotten to a place of self-acceptance and recognizing that my natural hair is beautiful — and so is whatever weave I may wear,” Gabrielle Union told Glamour. “I’m perfectly happy rocking an Afro puff, my French braids, Senegalese twists, a faux-hawk, or an ombré wig, or heat-styling my natural hair with extensions, like in the photo above. And that makes me a happy person in my life.”

Thursday, September 28th Gabrielle Union is going to be at Ulta Beauty (430 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611) for a meet & greet in honor of the launch of Flawless!

In order to qualify for the meet and greet with the star – starting Friday, September 22nd the first 200 customers to purchase 1 Flawless product at this Michigan Ave. Ulta Beauty will receive a pass to meet Gabrielle on September 28th. Once the first 200 are sold out, the offer is expired.

Let me know on Instagram or Twitter if you get to meet her by tagging #windycitycosmo! Best of luck!

Follow:

Summer is on it’s way and with a new season comes a new look. To celebrate the 5 year anniversary of Topshop Beauty, the shop on Michigan Ave. in Chicago (830 N Michigan Avenue) will be hosting a weekend pop-up event. Topshop’s top-selling beauty products will be specially repackaged in gold wrapping in honor of the anniversary.topshop

While you shop for beauty products, get beautified during the pop-up event on June 12-14, 2015 from 12 pm to 7 pm. Enjoy organic treats from West Town Bakery. Get beach curls or a blow out from Kelly Cardena’s Salon, and don’t forget about your nails. Spifster Suton Nails will be offering manicures with freestyle nail art.

No appointment necessary. A list of prices can be found below:

Kelly Cardenas Salon – Hair styling and services

$25 Smooth Criminal = 25 minutes

$25 Motion of the Ocean (curls and waves) = 25 minutes

$45 Boheme Braids = 30 minutes

$65 Uptown Girl = 45 minutes

Spifster Sutton Nail – Nail shape, paint & nail art

$30, Simple Spif – 1-2 designs per hand, freestyle

$45, Sorta Spif – 3-4 designs per hand, freestyle

$60, Supreme Spif – all nails designed, freestyle

West Town Bakery – serving small packaged sweets and cakes

Unicorn Blood Coffee Bag – $8.50

Pecan Toffee Bag – $8.50

Chocolate Bars – $5.00

Varieties include:

A 64% Dark Chocolate/Barrel Aged Coffee Bean Bar Black Splash candy bar

A 41% Semi- Sweet Chocolate/Barrel Aged Coffee Bean Bar Black Splash candy bar

A 35% Milk Chocolate/Barrel Aged Coffee Bean Bar Black Splash candy bar

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

Follow:

Ne-Yo ‘Non-Fiction’: The Private Concert at AT&T Michigan Avenue

The AT&T on Michigan Avenue did something remarkable and they did it well. One Friday night as my friends and I were waiting for a table at The Grand Lux Cafe, we wandered next door to AT&T to charge my phone. While we were there, they announced over the loud-speaker to come to the front to claim free Ne-Yo tickets. The solicitation was real and the journey to get them was not only achievable, but fun.

The AT&T employees handed us bright, orange ornaments and gave us 20 clues to solve for a scavenger hunt. We only had to solve four of them. Then,we had to take a picture with the ornament and the location and post it to Twitter with the hashtags: #spon, #magicalgifts and then, tag: @ATTMichiganAve. Our prize: two Ne-yo tickets per winner next Saturday night (December 6, 2014). We had to do this.

The AT&T Scavenger Hunt:

On a cold December day, my friend and I met at the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, the first clue, and then mapped out our journey to the other three locations to end up at AT&T on Michigan Avenue to claim our tickets. From the first clue to the last, it took us 40 minutes.

First Clue: Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Second Clue: Trump Tower

Third Clue: American Girl Place

Fourth Clue: Water Tower Place

If you missed the scavenger hunt, you could have still won tickets at the Magical Gifts event Friday morning before Saturday’s show. Of course, you could also win a Michigan Ave. shopping spree while you were there. Later, we saw the free tickets selling for $75 to $200 on Craigslist.

Ne-Yo ‘Non-Fiction’: The Private Concert:

Saturday was the big day for the private concert. We decided to bring friends to the show. We started the evening with dinner at Panera Bread, and then walked past the ice skating rink at Millennium Park and took pictures next to every Christmas tree on our way to the AT&T on Michigan Avenue, which is near the very end of the street.Ne-Yo 'Non-Fiction' Performance

There was a huge line and people were rocking dresses or keeping it cozy in jeans and jackets. The energy was amazing. About 150 fans showed their tickets and staked their table or gathered around the stage. I was at the table next to the VIP lounge and Ne-Yo walked right past me. This is when I discovered that Ne-Yo is short—stylish and talented, but short.

I was a few feet away from him as he waited to go on stage. He first did an interview with Leon Rogers from the radio station, WGC 107.5, as fans asked Ne-Yo questions via Google+. Then, he did a meet and greet in the VIP lounge. We sipped on our Cokes and danced to the DJ set. The momentum was building. It was nearly 9 pm and we had been there for about an hour.

IMAG8725[1]It was finally time for the performance. Wardrobe change. Ne-Yo walked past me again. As he waited to go on stage, he blew me a kiss and did a signature Ne-Yo dance move.

Ne-Yo can perform. He didn’t need any back up dancers. He had us all swaying our hands in the air to throwback songs like “Because of You”, and then dancing to songs from his upcoming album, Non-Fiction, which debuts this Tuesday, January 27, 2015. The set was about 45 minutes. It was a great way for Ne-Yo to resurface and it was an exciting Saturday night in the city.

AT&T Michigan Ave. hosted a lot of events in 2014, and they have done a great job with adding to festivities for Michigan Avenue shoppers and Chicagoans alike.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

Follow: