Chicago’s perfect 24 Hour Fall Weekend Escape

There’s nothing better to do in fall than to admire and appreciate the turning leaves and the beautiful, warm and toasty colors of foliage changing. Almost everywhere you go in Chicago, you will most certainly find trees and greenery of some sort including downtown (Millennium Park!) Despite walking down tree lined streets and visiting urban parks with my family, I felt like my soul desired more.. the peace and space of suburban nature spots and ideally a spa service to complete the whole well being experience. So I started some research..

The Botanical Garden came to mind but I realized that a- it is more of a ‘botanical’ experience as supposed to immersing yourself within several shades of yellow and orange foliage. So I searched further until I came across the Morton Arboretum… brilliant! Within 20 minutes of the Arboretum, I was lucky enough to find a slick and stylish design hotel that offers excellent Spa services. So I booked our family in for a night’s escape and ever since, I’ve been thinking of repeating the experience.

We reached Le Méridien Chicago-Oakbrook Center by 11.45, just 15 minutes away from my treatment only to be warmly allowed to check in early. The lobby was buzzing with stylish people, equally as stylish as the minimalist furniture, local art and reception area in the lobby. The first thing you notice is the large-scale, one-of-a-kind mural depicting the architecture of the city by contemporary artist Justus Roe of the Chicago Artists Coalition. The artist has made his mark around the city… in Pilsen on a wall, at 1871 offices and many other areas around Chicago.

My husband checked in while my massage therapist ushered me to the spa suite with a massive warming smile 🙂 Upon arrival, I was surprised to see that the Spa Suite was purposely designed as a ‘hotel room’ that’s converted into a spa studio… fully fitted with a mirror that turns into a TV, magnetic energy, a hot stone shower/wet area, the essential massage table, herbal teas with fruit and a sofa just to chill out. I was surrounded by artful displays, aromas of Espa body oils (THE best, btw) and relaxing music that took me to a very peaceful place in my head. My therapist offered to invite my family once I was done with the therapy so we can enjoy the suite for an additional 40 mins while I continue to relax… (part of the service) which my family enjoyed.

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If you get a chance, find Tipsukhon Calfa- a phenomenal massage therapist from Thailand that’s an expert in her field. A famous Chicago celebrity (can’t disclose names) is one of her top clients… which I understood why right after what was supposed to be a swedish massage but included plenty of stretching elements from Thai massage. I stepped out of the spa room with my family, feeling lighter.

The room was equally design conscious just as you would find in most boutique hotels… everything right to the smallest item in the room was well thought of. The knoll tables and fabric, the super cosy California King bed as well as the fresh scented in house shower gels… our stay was perfect. Being one of those annoying design snobs, I felt design-fulfilled at this mini stay-cation and my eyes have had a break from the usual back home.

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While our baby slept quietly in his stroller, we managed to go upstairs to their Tapas restaurant that served wonderful spanish style food and tapas to share. My husband swears by their Old fashioned and thinks that it’s one of the best he’s had while living in Chicago. We laugh, eat, drink and manage to have a wonderful night’s rest with our baby in his crib.

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We wake up early, have fun in the room, some delicious European breakfast while listening to french Nouvelle Vague, take some glamour shots in front of the gorgeous art backdrop of colour (my baby went mental over it!) and made our way to the Morton Arboretum.

morton3As we arrived, we felt the beauty of nature and it’s massive hug around the car. The brochure said that it was 1,700 acres of plants and trees and they weren’t kidding! We found 16 miles of trails with birds and wild life, gorgeous trees, ponds and lakes. They also had a very fun Maze Garden and I instantly felt like I was Alice in Wonderland. Even though my little one was only a 4 month old, we checked out their Children’s garden which was a great way to introduce little ones to activities in the woods.

The colors of trees around us was stunning.. the warmth so dear and a perfect reminder to bundle up soon and prepare for the exciting holiday season. The air was crisp and the path full of happy, smiling folk when passing.

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It was time for lunch and all that walking and fresh air made our stomachs rumble, so we headed back to Chicago to grab a late lunch with our friends before calling it a weekend.

I’ve realized that going away and staying out even if it were for simply one single night reenergizes you,  breaks up your month nicely and gives you a feeling of being away on vacation without really being away 😉

2100 Spring Rd, 
Oak Brook IL 60523
(630) 368-9900
www.lemeridienoakbrook.com

4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, Ill. 60532
(630) 968-0074
www.mortonarb.org

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