My friend is a workaholic so she decided to book a room at the Palmer House and bring me along for a girl’s weekend.
We spent Sunday night for Memorial Day weekend in a queen sized room.
This is my second staycation of my life. It’s a recent trend that I haven’t really explored because I love traveling.
But, there are so many parts of Chicago to explore that staying in a different part of town can seriously feel like you are in a different part of the world.
Transit to the Palmer House: Taxis v. Uber
My friend and I both live in the northside of Chicago. We could easily take the CTA redline downtown, but she said we should take an Uber. Uber’s were surge pricing, so we grabbed a taxi—big mistake.
This taxi driver was nice at first. He called us models and played Beyonce. But, then my friend got on the phone and the taxi driver asked me to take off my sunglasses so that he could see my eyes. I looked down and started playing Views.
Shortly after his wife called and he put their conversation (in another language) on Bluetooth.
We finally got to the Palmer House, and I jumped out of the taxi. And taxi drivers wonder why we take Uber’s.
Which way to the Steam Room?
The Palmer House is gorgeous. It’s located right off State Street on Monroe. It’s ornate and has so many passageways, stairways and oddly enough, not enough elevators. We check-in and immediately wanted to do what we came here to do – get a steam and go for a swim.
I recently joined LA Fitness and have become obsessed with their sauna, but it was nice to be in an actual steam room. It helps you calm down and breathe and not become overwhelmed by your environment.
Becuase the steam room literally makes you feels like you are suffocating. I had to leave the room twice – but once I started focusing and breathing, I calmed down. If you are feeling stressed – go to the steam room.
It’s Just You and Me (and the rest of the world):
After the dew collected on our skin, it was time for the Jacuzzi.
We realized everyone and all of their children were in the pool. I literally felt like I was at a daycare. So we climbed up the stairs to the more secluded Jacuzzi.
We got in and started chatting. My friend showed me that a Jacuzzi is supposed to be a massage.
We sat back and let the bubbles massage us. I’ve seriously been Jacuzing wrong my whole life.
After a little pampering, we decided to grab our third towel of the day and go back upstairs for some Kesha.
The best past of a girl’s weekend is getting ready. My friend loves hair and makeup, so she helped me contour my face. We used Fiona Stiles powder and purple mascara, and then a travel kit from Ulta with eyeshadow and blush. And yes, it does take 45 minutes to get all dressed up.
My friend grew up in the UK so I surprised her and took her to Nando’s Chicken. Yes, it’s got a casual vibe, but the chicken is so good.
We ate chicken and talked about our work life. As two single girls, it was nice that girl’s weekend didn’t turn into a diatribe about men but more about talking about our goals and dreams and our next career steps – you know, productive things.
Dancing on Hubbard Street:
The best part of staying downtown is walking across the bridge and seeing the Chicago River and all of the beautiful buildings surrounding it at night. It’s sights like this where I am still amazed that I live in such a beautiful city.
We went to Hubbard Street – a spot in Chicago known for its night life. We started the night at Rockit Bar, where I met a girl who is 6’2″ sans heels. We had to take a picture.
We got back to the dance floor and security came beside us.
“What’s he doing?” I asked my friend.
“He’s escorting us.”
After the bar got too techno, we went to Mercer. Mercer always has good music – but not a lot of people. We formed a girl group and started getting low to Jay-Z with more UK girls.
We were going to meet up with a guy, and ended up at the Bottled Blonde, which is on Wells and Illinois. I’ve never been there, but it is pretty amazing.
The drinks are good, the music is on point, and there are people – lots and lots of people. We danced with an Indian visiting from Atlanta.
A guy came up to our table and complimented us for being the most diverse group in the club.
After a few throwbacks (hey, R. Kelly), we walked the mile back to our hotel and like a true girl, spent the rest of the night trying to get feeling back in my toes after five hours in four-inch heels.
The Palmer Hotel is Hollywood themed. It has pictures of movie star classics on the wall, and yes, you do feel like a movie star just walking into their lobby.
My friend saw a picture on the wall and she was intrigued. She went online immediately and looked up her name from the picture. It was Dorothy Dandridge.
Dorothy Dandridge is like Kerry Washington. She is stunning.
Dorothy Dandridge was part of the Dandridge sisters, but like Beyonce, she went solo and then was cast in a movie that made her a sensation. She was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Carmen Jones (an adaption of the opera, Carmen). Gace Kelly won the award, but she was still an overnight sensation.
She became over $100,000 in debt from bad management (p.s. never date your manager). She was going to make a club appearance when they found her dead at 42 in September 1965. It was reported that she didn’t even have $2 in her bank account. A tragic life; a Hollywood life.
You can read more about her life here.
Amenities of Life:
We woke up the next morning and jumped on the bed. Yes, that’s what you should do. It makes you feel like a rockstar. My friend did a four-mile run and then we did a repeat of last night – steam, Jacuzzi, beautify. We met a .mother and daughter from Minneapolis. Pro tip – Minneapolis is one of the most healthiest cities in America. I asked her how that is. She said it’s because all of the lakes are free and open to the public.
“And what do you do during winter?” I asked.
“Oh, I go to the gym,” she laughed
All a girl needs is a good steam, some Jacuzzi time, music and makeup, a dance floor, and some Burberry Touch mixed with Victoria Secret’s Heavenly, and some next door chicken from Nando’s, and some Matcha GreenTea Lemonade from Goddess and the Baker. Those are the true amenities of life.
We grabbed breakfast at Goddess and the Baker along with the rest of Chicago – biscotti and hot chocolate ,please.
I came into this weekend feeling overwhelmed, and now I feel confident and refreshed and most importantly, relaxed.
It’s so nice to meet all of the beautiful and spirited people who live in Chicago and who visit. But, it’s also nice when you get the steam room to yourself and can walk home from the club.
Cheers to girl’s weekends.
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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.