Peninsula reveals Chicago hotel’s new high-tech rooms

The Peninsula Hotels group isn’t prone to sweeping statements and it’s renowned for doing things just right. So when it claims to have the “most technologically advanced guest rooms in the world available now” at a newly renovated property, you’d better believe it.

The Peninsula Chicago – on the 2Windy City’s Magnificent Mile at 108 East Superior Street on the corner of Michigan Avenue – opened in 2001 and a decade and a half later, is undergoing a transformation (on schedule to be completed by April 2016) that is as functional as it is gorgeous.

As the new rooms and suites unfurl, features include technology that can transform into using and responding to any one of 11 languages at the touch of a button, along with complimentary long-distance and international VOIP calls and wi-fi. Each room contains a wireless printer and next to the bed, a drawer full of ready-connected smart phone plugs as well as PressReader, providing complimentary access to more than 2000 international publications online.

In executing a new interior look, renowned designer Bill Rooney of Bill Rooney Studio, Inc., has drawn influence from the French deco style of the hotel’s public spaces and from luxury yachts, with fine wood finishes, sumptuous fabrics and leathers and in each room, a huge signature tapestry featuring Chicago’s official flower, the chrysanthemum. It’s a nod as well to Peninsula’s Hong Kong roots, as the same flower holds importance in Chinese culture.

There is one touch that might have Chicago’s frontier town forebears rolling in their graves, however: the minibar has given way to a “nutrition center” (though it still houses a tidy tipple or two).

But with the inclusion in-room of the online PenCities, an up-to-the-moment city guide, and the Peninsula’s complimentary Keys to the City program of insider access and exclusive tips, the best of Chicago’s famous homegrown junk food and legendary cocktail and bar scene isn’t far away. From $US530 a night.


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