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Get Away at the Gray

Kimpton Hotels, The Gray, Chicago. Photographed by Laure Joliet

Sojournlist does not recommend breaking local quarantine or stay at home orders. This piece was written by someone who lives in Chicago. 

Situated amongst the beautiful behemoths of Chicago’s Financial District sits an understated hotel. Once the home of a major insurance company, The Kimpton Gray Hotel is like stepping into a whole other world. Named for the Gregorian Gray Mable that makes up its fine arches, galleries, and pathways, The Gray embraces its architectural past. 

Unlike most years, like many others in the hospitality industry, The Gray’s dance card is far from full. They’ve hosted their fair share of micro weddings amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, kept rooms tidy for a limited number of guests, and pivoted in as many ways as possible to keep providing the service folks expect from them. 

One such pivot is introducing heavenly packages like the De-Stress package. 

Guests are brought into a suite with a soaking tub, decadent bath salts, lavender-scented bath bombs, and ready-made cocktails that will leave you asking, “what’s pandemic stress?” There is even a bathtub tray so you don’t have to interrupt your Bridgerton binge to indulge. 

Kimpton Hotels, The Gray, Chicago. Photographed by Laure Joliet

Although my husband is my very best friend and my pets are my whole heart, it felt so good to just be alone with my thoughts for a while. Those of us lucky enough to have partners to see us through this long-term isolation know how special being alone can be after nearly a year closed up with ourselves at home. The only question I had to ask myself was what to order for dinner ( I had to take advantage of being so close to Elephant & Castle, a British-style pub after my own heart.)

Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised in the least that my favorite part of the suite at The Gray was the large, moon-like hanging lamp beside the bed. In the dark, with the lamp on just the tiniest bit, it was like falling asleep beneath the luna herself. There is just so much whimsy in the suites that shouldn’t be overlooked. From the Morrocan inspired tile in the bathroom to the floral lining of the closet (which made for a great selfie background.) 

On top of being an aesthetic dream, The Gray created their very own ready-made cocktails that aren’t just delicious, they’re philanthropic! The Concierge Cocktails is a series of staff curated drinks that give back to various organizations. When I was there the two featured drinks were an Old Fashioned and a Side Car both of which are my favorite classic drinks. Each label features a sketch of a bartender from the hotel and proceeds went to No Kid Hungry. 

When we are all able to be out in public together again, The Gray will truly rebloom. You’ll be able to experience their Latin American inspired Boleo on the rooftop or Vol. 39 the law library-themed cocktail lounge. For now, you can pre-order food from Roanoke, a seasonally focused American restaurant. I highly recommend the Roanoke breakfast if you’re a boring person like me, however, the concierge also recommended the bananas foster french toast. You can pick it up safely from the front desk. 

All that being said, The Gray doesn’t need crowds or extra wow-factors to be a wow-factor. All on her own, The Gray is a place to center yourself in a world that often feels without a center.

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Written by Amanda Finn

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