Tuesday, August 23, 2011

travel tuesday – hotel burnham in chicago

On my recent week­long stay in Chicago, I dis­cov­ered there is much to love at the Hotel Burn­ham. There are also a few areas in need of minor improve­ment – from my per­spec­tive as both inte­rior designer and trav­eler. I must say the loca­tion and the build­ing itself are terrific!

The hotel occu­pies a ren­o­vated office build­ing built in 1895 and many beau­ti­ful archi­tec­tural fea­tures remain. We stayed in suite 804 – below is the room’s old office door and the charm­ing 8th floor ele­va­tor lobby.

hotel burnham suite 804 door

hotel burn­ham suite 804 door

burnham hotel 8th floor elevator lobby

hotel burn­ham 8th floor ele­va­tor lobby

The com­mon areas on the first floor are equally beau­ti­ful. The small lobby hosts a wine recep­tion each evening, a Kimp­ton trade­mark. I adore the orange chairs! Note the con­trast welt and cutout back on the lobby sofa. Details make a difference!

burnham hotel lobby

hotel burn­ham lobby

burnham hotel lobby

hotel burn­ham lobby

details make a difference - burnham hotel lobby

details make a dif­fer­ence — hotel burn­ham lobby

The largest rooms/suites at the Burn­ham fea­ture a bed­room and liv­ing space, sep­a­rated by French doors. Unfor­tu­nately, the French doors only have sheer cur­tains, so any­one try­ing to sleep in the bed­room is sub­jected to light from the liv­ing area. The king bed is very com­fort­able. There is a canopy of sorts over the bed, which doesn’t appear to have any rela­tion­ship to the room, although it does cam­ou­flage the smoke detec­tor and sprin­kler head. The ceil­ings are quite high, adding vol­ume to a small floor space (the French doors scrape along the side of the bed as you try to close them). The left cor­ner quarter-round side table is styl­ishly delight­ful, but the lamps in both rooms appear under-scale.

bedroom at burnham hotel

bed­room at hotel burnham

funky little corner table at burnham hotel

funky lit­tle cor­ner table at hotel burnham

The seat­ing area fea­tures a fab­u­lous mir­ror and a tiny set­tee. Sadly, the set­tee is uncom­fort­able for one per­son, and impos­si­ble for two! The only other seat in the room is the desk chair. Also, that lit­tle set­tee does not turn into a pull-out, which seems a lost oppor­tu­nity for flex­i­bil­ity, espe­cially for a hotel as friendly to chil­dren as the Burnham.

cute but impractical settee at burnham hotel

cute but imprac­ti­cal set­tee at hotel burnham

The bath­room is very small but well appointed. Aveda toi­letries ele­vate the expe­ri­ence. Of course, the trade­mark Kimp­ton ani­mal print robes are at hand.Suite 804 had win­dows on two sides, both with excel­lent down­town views. The hotel is easy walk­ing dis­tance to many Chicago attrac­tions, includ­ing Mil­le­nium Park, the Cloud Gate (jelly­bean) and the Jay Pritzger Pavil­ion, seen in the back­ground below.

the view from one side of room 804 in hotel burnham

the view from one side of room 804 in hotel burnham

Ser­vice at the hotel is gen­er­ally quite good and always friendly. The restau­rant, Atwood Café, serves a won­der­ful break­fast. Ser­vice here was out­stand­ing in the morn­ing. In the evening, we did have din­ner here once, and ser­vice was not as good. Also, the menu is fairly eclec­tic, mak­ing it trick­ing to feed a picky young diner. There are bet­ter nearby options for din­ner if you are trav­el­ing with young chil­dren, but adults would thor­oughly enjoy the fare. Any place that serves up Red Vel­vet Cookie Dough for dessert is worth a try in my book!

One per­sonal dif­fi­culty at the Atwood: the ban­quette seat­ing at the tables clos­est to the win­dows. It's hard to see in the pic­ture below, but the ban­quettes look ter­rific with an asym­met­ri­cal back. Unfor­tu­nately, the lower side of that back pro­vides zero sup­port for din­ers and hit my back at a painfully low height.  Just a word of cau­tion for any­one above aver­age height.

atwood cafe at hotel burnham
atwood café at hotel burnham

Over­all, we enjoyed our stay at the Burn­ham. How­ever, after a week, the room issues I men­tioned were loom­ing large for our party of three. I do rec­om­mend the hotel, but would myself opt for a larger space in another hotel next time. The Burnham's rooms are ide­ally suited to a max­i­mum of two travelers.

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