Urban Glamping? This Chicago Hotel Offers a Suite Adventure

The Gwen

flies under the radaramong thebigger, brandedtop luxury hotels in Chicago. It's conveniently located on Michigan Avenue and connected to Shops at North Bridge, but it used to be a Conrad Hotel and is often overlooked despite its massive renovations over the past couple years and sleek new art deco design.

The Luxury Collection hotel is named after Chicago sculptress Gwen Lux, who designed the mythological stone bas relief on the facade of the historic building. Replicas of her original work adorn the hotel entry and bronze metal screens and plush blue velvet couches accent the lobby.

This summer, The Gwen is taking luxury in a new direction with a glamping package that offers urban adventure in a way that's never before been seen in Chicago.

"In Chicago, so much of our summer is spent outdoors," director of sales and marketing Marcus Cornelious explains. For the past two seasons, since Starwood took over the hotel, The Gwen has put a greater emphasis on activating their fifth-floor terrace lounge with parties, specialty menus, ice cream pop-ups, champagne carts and a new mural by local artist

Jas Petersen

. This has helped draw in a local crowd in addition to hotel guests but this summer they're taking the outdoor experience a step further with an over-the-top glamping experience in the Gwen Lux presidential suite.

"How do you get guests excited about a room when visitors want to be outside?" Cornelious asks. "The glamping tent was a way to combine both the glamour and luxury of the hotel's suite with the vibrant energy of Chicago summers. There are surely some fantastic presidential suites in the city, but how many offer a stunning backdrop and private patio?" Not to mention a prettyspectacular set up to experience both.

It's the first time a Chicago hotel has offered urban glamping. Book the two-bedroom Gwen Lux Suite, and have a bohemian tent set up on the private 1,000 square foot terrace - the largest in the city. Braided rugs, macramé seat cushions, Frette linens and colorful throw pillows ensure a stylish and luxurious night under the stars enjoying the city's majestic architecture. Roundtrip airport transportation and a fanciful s'mores turndown amenity with a cayenne marshmallow and Taza chocolate are included with the option to add on a glamping tasting menu served by Chef Matt Jergens himself.

Hotel restaurants often get a bad rap, but Jergens is dressing up proteins like grilled steak and salmon with bright flavors on the fifth-floor terrace lounge, along with an array of delicious vegetarian options including charred tomato toast with kale basil chimichurri and smoked cauliflower with hazelnut tahini and curried sultanas. This is exactly the kind of food you'd want to share with friends while sitting outside sipping champagne or rosé.

Jergens says he grew up in Massachusetts camping a lot as a kid. For the special glamping menu, he wanted to create a playful, yet upscale version of camp favorites, beginning with a "hot dog on a stick" with foie gras sausage, saba and cracklings and ending with "camp fire pie"composed of milk bread, cherries, vanilla gelato and malted whipped cream.

With the addition of the tent, the suite has three bedrooms total. So feel free to invite friends over for a dance party and sabre a bottle of champagne. The world, or at least the city, feels like your oyster from this unique perch with views north up Michigan Avenue to the John Hancock skyscraper and Lake Michigan. You're so close you could almost touch the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower and you could even project a movie onto the wall of the InterContinental Chicago across the street.

"The glamping package appeals to someone who wants luxury furnishings and the best service, but is also looking for something outside the norm," Cornelious says. The tent takes several hours to set up, and there's an extension cord so guests can charge electronics while they sleep. Even during a citywide excessive heat warning it's possible to sleep outside as it cools down quite a bit once the sun goes down and they set up a Dyson bladeless fan in the tent to keep the air flowing. Expect to wake up at the crack of dawn to savor sunrise from your terrace campground.

The Gwen Lux Suite starts at $3,500 per night while the suite plus glamping experience begins at $5,500 per night.

Urban Glamping? This Chicago Hotel Offers a Suite Adventure 1

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