Real Estate


How does a Mobil Five-Star inspector spend their day?
Here is an inside peek at the wining, dining, and hard work that goes into inspecting a luxury hotel.The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel, and The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, making it an ideal five-star getaway locale.

How does a Mobil Five-Star inspector spend their day?

Here is an inside peek at the wining, dining, and hard work that goes into inspecting a luxury hotel.


Chicago is home to not one, but three Mobil Five-Star hotels including The Peninsula Chicago, The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel, and The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, making it an ideal five-star getaway locale. On my most recent inspection, I visited the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Inside this stately skyscraper, the guest rooms of this Mobil Five-Star hotel come complete with stunning views of either Lake Michigan or the Chicago skyline. When making your reservation, inquire about the hotel’s holiday or weekend rates, as the money you save on your room rate will be useful for a Michigan Avenue shopping spree. During a recently completed renovation project, the guest rooms were redecorated, and are now the ultimate in urban luxury. The soothing color palette of blue, taupe, silver and chocolate brown creates a warm and elegant ambience while complementing the stylish architecture of the hotel. The guest rooms provide all the comforts of home, with the additional amenities one would expect from a Mobil Five-Star hotel.

As an inspector for Mobil Travel Guide, the creator of the country’s oldest and most respected star rating system, shopping is not part of the hotel inspection check list, but with a vast array of boutiques and shops, towering skyscrapers, stunning architecture and a gorgeous lakefront view, Chicago is the perfect destination for a five-stare shopping excursion..

Just off of Michigan Avenue, The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago is located within walking distance to some of Chicago’s most chic shopping and dining. As a guest of the Four Seasons, the 900 Shops at North Michigan are only an elevator ride away. Bloomingdales, Gucci and Williams-Sonoma are just a few of the stores inside this retail complex. Walk outside the doors and you will find yourself on one of the country’s most famous shopping streets, Michigan Avenue, or as it is also known, the Magnificent Mile. This street boasts such retail giants as Neiman Marcus and Nordstorms as well as the flagship store of Crate and Barrel. Just one block north of The Four Seasons you will find Oak Street which is home to such designer boutiques as Prada, Barneys New York, Hermes and Kate Spade.

With the help of The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago concierge, I was able to learn about another neighborhood where the wares are locally created and charmingly unique. Bucktown and Wicker Park are two adjoining neighborhoods that are home to numerous galleries, boutiques and restaurants. The neighborhood has a very bohemian feel and is home to one of the city’s largest artist populations.

Many store-front boutiques offer one-of-a-kind treasures from many local up and coming designers. Stop by Crust on Division Street to recharge with a bite to eat. This newcomer to the dining scene offers a delicious selection of wood-fired pizzas made with organic ingredients.

After a long day of shopping, enjoy a well deserved rest at The Conservatory at the Four Seasons. Offering guests afternoon tea and light snacks in an elegant setting. Make a reservation before you begin your outing and request a table by the fireplace. If further relaxation is on your agenda, plan to book an appointment at the Mobil Four-Star Spa at the Four Seasons. Select the Pèrle de Caviar facial and the Four Seasons Aromatherapy massage-they are the ultimate in decadence. Located within the spa is the hotel’s indoor pool, one of my favorite spots to relax and read a book. It is one of the most beautiful indoor pools I have seen in my recent travels.

When in Chicago, dining out is a favored pastime, as the city possesses an infinite number of restaurant choices, but when it comes to five-star dining, Alinea stands at the top of my list. This Mobil Five-Star restaurant is located in the heart of Lincoln Park and only a short taxi ride away from the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Chef owner Grant Achatz and his culinary staff will not disappoint.

Two menus are offered each evening, the 12-course tasting menu or the 24- course tour menu, and Chef Achatz’s brilliance is on display with each dish.

The staff is extremely knowledgeable and unfailingly passionate about every guest’s experience. The menu changes daily, but if you are lucky, the exquisite bacon wrapped in butterscotch will be one of the courses. The presentation of each course will not only impress and intrigue, but the intensity of the food flavors is simply astonishing. If you have difficulty getting a reservation, the concierge at the Four Seasons might be able to assist, but always call well in advance of your travels.

As I headed back to the hotel, I decided to make a stop at the Mobil Five-Star Peninsula Chicago for a night cap. The Bar at the Peninsula offers a stylish and elegant setting and also boasts a fireplace, perfect for that cool fall evening. The Peninsula Chicago also serves a wonderful afternoon tea and the Royal Tea served on the weekends can be a highlight to any upscale getaway.

After enjoying an amazing culinary experience, a whirlwind shopping spree and an elegant and luxurious stay, it is time to pack up all those new purchases and for this inspector to say goodbye to The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and the Windy City. To read more inspector reviews or to help plan your own trip to Chicago, visit for more information.

Endless nightlife, shimmering casinos and dazzling restaurants make Las Vegas one of the most exciting destinations for a five-star escape. Look for next month’s Mobil Five-Star inspector’s insider’s guide to Las Vegas luxury! sdp

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