This week, I've been enjoying my first Chicago break ensconced in the Palomar, a Kimpton Hotel. Led here by reviews at TripAdvisor, and having stayed in Kimpton properties before, I felt Palomar would be a solid choice and meet my design expectations. I'm happy to report, I was right on both counts. Who can resist a hotel with leopard and zebra bathrobes?
The hotel is in a great location, two blocks from Michigan Avenue. Being so new, several taxi drivers were unfamiliar with it, so be sure to keep the address on hand when you visit. The lobby is small but inviting. The reception area features a lovely tufted leather counter with lighted resin countertop, both in a warm gold, very fun and touchable. Gold and black marble floors add drama, along with white patent leather chairs. The color scheme carries into the wine reception room where the over-scale mod floral carpeting keeps the tone whimsical. I really enjoy the mix of materials in the public areas of the hotel.
At check-in, which was handled quickly and smoothly, the Kimpton word-of-the-month resulted in a lovely bottle of wine at no charge. The front desk staff also gifted my son with a bag of toys (the beach ball was a huge hit). Membership in the Kimpton InTouch Club also lands you free wi-fi and a $10 voucher for the minibar. We booked into 1127, described as a "luxury one bedroom suite". At 750 square feet, it is certainly a lot of real estate for the price.
The living room features seating for six, along with a desk area and plenty of accessible outlets. The bathroom is enormous, with a jetted tub that can easily accommodate four people, if you were so inclined (those same four people could also shower at once)! The king bedroom boasts Frette linens and an assortment of pillows. Palomar gets 5 stars for thinking of everything. Every amenity is available, from a magnifying makeup mirror to toiletries you might have forgotten. The trademark Kimpton bathrobes make me smile!
Hmmm, so why am I not singing the praises of the décor? Well, as I've said before, I think hotel designers have an opportunity to take chances with décor, to really create an interesting and original atmosphere. Don't get me wrong, my suite is very nice and quite pretty. But as Elle Décor's Margaret Russell has said: "pretty rooms are rarely memorable". The most exciting aspect of the room is actually the carpeting! The mod floral, downsized from the lobby, is rhythmic and unexpected in the guest room. Subdued in beige and chocolate brown, it leads the color scheme throughout the suite. The textured wallpaper is beige, the furniture mixed dark brown and pale, both with a limed look. The sofa and chairs are light blue and fairly generic. Perfectly nice, but it doesn't have a luxury vibe. The furniture looks like it could live in any average hotel. The bathroom is neutral and very well appointed. I love that the quartz countertop is extra high, and the 12x24 inch marble tiles suit the spacious serenity. Toiletries are L'Occitane — yummy.
Overall, I'm a fan of the Palomar, and would definitely recommend to others and stay here again myself. And the restaurant Sable — that story is still playing out — stay tuned for an update.
What do you think of the décor? Blue and brown yawn or fabulous tranquil retreat?