Imagine that you have a fantastic vacation planned in Chicago: tickets to a Cubs game, all the best deep-dish pizza joints marked down and a strategy planned for world-class shopping (what girl can resist?). Your flight is booked, so all you need is a hotel that can serve as the perfect locale to complement your plans.
Welcome to the Dana Hotel and Spa—an upscale boutique hotel in Windy City’s River North neighborhood. Dana is a real gem. It has all the luxuries of a swanky property, but also the approachability and comfort of visiting one of your best friends’ homes. This hotel will satisfy just about every type of traveler.
Steps away from fantastic shopping on the Magnificent Mile and surrounded by stunning art galleries, Dana’s location is perfect for those looking to soak up Chi-Town’s unique artistic culture. Furthermore, it’s only a 20-minute walk away (a good idea to burn those deep-dish pizza calories) from the top tourist hot-spot: Millennium Park. For business travelers, alternatively, Dana’s location is removed enough from heavy tourist traffic to offer a quiet and relaxing stay.
I was excited to be staying at Dana. The hotel website screamed fashion, art and had a sexy mystique. I’m not going to lie, I may have even been a bit intimidated—the website made the hotel seem that sexy. As soon as my friend and I walked up to the main entrance, my intimidation was quickly put to rest with a huge, warm, “Welcome to the Dana Hotel, congratulations!” from the doorman, TJ. What he was congratulating us on, we did not know—but he quickly became our favourite part of leaving and entering the hotel. From our first step into Dana, right through to checkout, our experience with the property’s entire team was nothing but warm, friendly, genuine and welcoming.
In addition, I was awestruck by the art pieces that accented the main lobby. They were bizarre, avant-garde and very provocative. They looked absolutely spectacular due to the light that entered the lobby through the massive ceiling-to-floor windows.
“Dana”, in Sanskrit, means “the pleasure of giving”. I had not even seen our room yet and I already loved the atmosphere of this hotel. After the stay, I did a bit more reading and learned that the vibe I was picking up on was exactly what they were going for—a juxtaposition between nature and technology.
On to the Tranquility Suite—our room was tucked away on the corner of the 18th floor. It definitely surpassed our expectations and was very spacious, sexy (with a more masculine aesthetic: furniture and accent colours were very dark and sleek), and incredibly comfortable. The room had a separate living space, complete with a pullout couch, the largest chair-meets-daybed I’ve ever seen, a small balcony and an incredible minibar (complete with a high-top table and chairs, if you’re entertaining guests).
The mini bar was so great that I was concerned about my wine-o friends ringing up my room tab. Just in case one balcony was not enough, there was a second one in the bedroom. And—this bedroom was incredible: the perfect balance between sleek aesthetic and cozy comfort.
Onto the bathroom … this bathroom, I could have lived in! Complete with two sinks, warm lighting, and a dual-headed rainforest shower that was large enough to throw a party in (with two benches on either side). I was thrilled this was going to be the “getting ready” setup for a few girls on a reunion trip—we never even had to fight over outlets or mirror space.
After we dropped off our bags, I was treated to a lovely “Natural Lift Facial” at the spa. Apparently, this facial is meant to be the perfect choice before a night out on the town, so it seemed fitting to select this treatment. After a bit of light paperwork and lovely conversation with the receptionists, I used their cozy change room to don an oversized robe. I was welcomed back into the spa’s waiting room where I could unwind in the dimly lit space with a glass of cucumber-strawberry water. I was then greeted by my aesthetician who took me into a treatment room and gave me the most educating and relaxing facial of my life. The Sothys product line used here had a delicious scent, so I felt compelled to revamp my skin care routine with a larger-than-anticipated spa purchase. My skin has been thanking me ever since.
The next morning, we were famished and happy to hear that breakfast was included for guests at the hotel. Located on the 26th floor with stunning views of the city, this spot was what our (slightly hungover) group needed to feel alive again. Generally, I find that complimentary hotel breakfasts are a bit disappointing, but this one was a pleasant surprise. The spread was somewhere between Continental and full-blown breakfast buffet, which was incredible for a complimentary meal. We snacked on delicious pastries, hot individual quiches, bacon and orange juice.
On our last day, we enjoyed a late checkout. This was the first time I noticed that the hotel appeared to be under considerable renovation (in the lobby, at least). I was even more impressed with Dana because there had been zero noise during our two-night stay. I had no idea that there was any construction happening at all. This is a rare occasion, as I’m a very light sleeper.
Whether you’re there for a girls’ trip, looking for a romantic getaway, or craving a bit of tranquility during off-hours on a business trip; this property is where you can embrace your true self and live in the moment. Until next time, Dana!