If you know me at all, you know that I don’t hesitate when offered a chance to travel somewhere and spend a night in a hotel room, even if it’s close to my house. That’s why, when the Village of Rosemont in conjunction with the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, recently invited me to do just that, I responded within seconds of reading the email.
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary accommodations, food, and drink during our overnighter. I’m sharing my own experience here, and all opinions and photos are mine.
Rosemont, which is only 2.5 square miles in size, is located about twenty-five minutes away from my house (and thirty minutes from Chicago’s city center), right outside of O’Hare airport. Even though it’s tiny in size, Rosemont is jam-packed with all kinds of things to do, places to stay, and things to eat, geared towards locals and travelers alike. The village, which just celebrated its 60th anniversary, is home to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (which attracts more than 200 million guests to tradeshows, conventions, and public events each year), the Allstate Arena (which hosts concerts, sporting events, and family programming), and the Rosemont Theatre (which hosts more than 100 performances each year).
Our first stop was at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, where we checked in for the night. It was no surprise to me, having stayed at the downtown Loews twice before, that our room was beautiful and luxurious. Staying at a Loews hotel means you’re getting spoiled. Oops, I mean I’M getting spoiled.
The Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel has 556 guest rooms and its very own art gallery. It is also home to The Ashburn (named for Chicago’s first airport, the Ashburn Flying Field), a gastro-pub that features modern takes on classic dishes, micro brews, and signature cocktails like this Snowbelt, featuring Tito’s Vodka, Di Saronno, apple, and cinnamon. Okay, I admit it: I enjoyed two.
The Ashburn serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is open until 1:00 a.m.
After hanging out in The Ashburn for a while, we boarded the hotel shuttle to check out MB Financial Park, which is the 200,000 square foot entertainment district in Rosemont. MB Financial Park is home to eight awesome restaurants (soon to be nine with the addition of Lettuce Entertain You’s Bub City), iFLY Indoor Skydiving, and Zanies Comedy Club as well as Big 10 and the Muvico Theater complex. The restaurants surround a 30,000 square foot Great Lawn, on which you’ll find concerts and festivals during the summer and ice skating, hockey, and tubing during the winter (“Frozemont” is going on through February 28).
Jim and I hit up MB Financial Park now and then when one of us is picking up the other at O’Hare. Popping in there for dinner on the way home from the airport (and waiting for rush hour traffic to subside) is a rather delicious idea, don’t you think? Hofbräuhaus Chicago and Fogo de Chao have been our go-to restaurants but after the whirlwind restaurant crawl we experienced, we have plans to change it up with ALL THE RESTAURANTS.
When our group was told that we’d be doing this restaurant crawl and trying food and drink at every single place in MB Financial Park, I was pretty excited. I’m glad I arrived hungry. Should’ve worn comfier pants though.
Our first stop was at Sugar Factory American Brasserie. Sugar Factory has an “MTV meets Willy Wonka” feel to its restaurant, chocolate lounge, retail store, and goblet/daiquiri bar. Those smoking goblets. OMG.
On the way out we were given little candy buckets to fill. Best goody bag ever!
We enjoyed caipirhinas and mini sliders at Fogo de Chao, fish and chips (and some of us, beer) at Five Roses Pub, pretzels (and some of us, beer) at Hofbräuhaus Chicago, flatbreads, mac and cheese, and cocktails at King’s Bowl, Irish Soda and Peach Sangria at Park Tavern, guacamole made tableside and drinks at Adobe Gila’s, something else at Muvico Theater’s Bogart’s Bar and Grill…I mean, I can’t remember it all. I blame all the cocktail samples and my neglect in taking good notes.
Summary: EVERYTHING we ate and drank was delicious, no joke. I thought I’d never be hungry again…and then it was time for us to choose our evening entertainment. The choices? iFLY Indoor Parachuting, bowling at King’s, or a stand-up comedy show at Zanies. Jim and I choose stand-up comedy over just about anything, all the time, so Zanies was it!
Every seat in the house at Rosemont’s Zanies is great, and the room was jam-packed when we were there. The headliner that night was James Davis, and he was a riot: we’d love to see him again! There is a two-item minimum for all guests, so I checked out the drink menu. I love a drink menu whose items are all named after people. By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed the drink named for Kathy Griffin. Twice. Ahem.
After all of that fun, we waddled (funny visual but SERIOUSLY) back to the hotel shuttle so we could get a good night’s sleep. And sleep we did! Did I mention how cozy the beds are at Loews hotels?
In the morning we enjoyed a superb breakfast buffet back at The Ashburn before heading out to the shuttle again, for the short ride to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago.
The Fashion Outlets of Chicago is a two-level indoor shopping center that has more than 130 designer outlets. It’s anchored by Bloomingdales’s The Outlet Store, Forever 21, Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th. You can find world-class brands like Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Prada, Gucci, Swarovski, and so many others (Banana Republic, The Art of Shaving, J. Crew, Burberry…I could name names all day!).
Full disclosure: I’m not a clothing designer brand person, so Jim and I “skimmed” the clothing stores and mostly visited other categories while at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Lolli & Pops is a neat candy store that carries a good variety of international brands, and my day was made when we found REAL Caramello bars made by the REAL Cadbury company, in England.
Le Creuset is a top-notch kitchen brand and I could swoon over their products all day long. We watched a stir fry demo that caused me to put their wok on my wish list.
Something I found extremely unique about the Fashion Outlets of Chicago is their Concierge Services, which is like a regular mall’s Information Booth on steroids. Here, the Concierge Services will answer questions of course, but also make restaurant reservations, check coats (and LUGGAGE for travelers who are burning up a long layover by shopping; by the way, there’s a Go Airport express shuttle running between this shopping center and the terminals at O’Hare!), and assist with other assorted needs to enhance the shopping experience of their visitors. Other travel services include printing boarding passes, exchange of currency, and translation services. Shoppers can even text their questions to 847-957-4600.
After a full evening of eating and drinking, a night of great sleep, and a morning of shopping, we left Rosemont rested but energized and planning our next visit with intention. I definitely recommend that you check out the village for yourself: there’s something for everyone!
Many, many thanks to the Village of Rosemont, MB Financial Park (and all the venues there), and The Fashion Outlets of Chicago for an incredible experience and honestly, one of the most well-planned media tours I’ve ever enjoyed.