Category Archives: Chicago

Discover Ambassador Chicago

Ideally located in Chicago’s historic Gold Coast district, the Ambassador Chicago has a history that can be traced to its opening in the mid-1920s. Despite undergoing remodeling in 2010 (and reopening the following year as Public Chicago before reverting to the Ambassador moniker earlier this year), this iconic hotel has managed to retain a timeless sense of luxury and elegance. It’s long been popular among a wide range of notable personalities from the worlds of politics, entertainment and more.

Continue reading Discover Ambassador Chicago

Last Minute Gifts: Magellan Luxury Hotels E-Gift Cards

Magellan Luxury Hotels E-Gift Cards

With just a few days until Christmas, you may have a few more gifts to buy for people on your list. And isn’t the gift of luxury travel one of the finest presents you can offer? Continue reading Last Minute Gifts: Magellan Luxury Hotels E-Gift Cards

Discovering Art in Airports

With earlier check-in times due to increased security measures, passengers have become a captive audience at airports worldwide. While the downside is longer waits, the upside is the push by many airport authorities to make the experience more pleasurable. The installation of public art in airports – architectural builds, sculptures, water features, moving walkways, murals, mosaics, lighting installations and performance art – are miracle workers in making any terminal pop. Continue reading Discovering Art in Airports

Chicago’s Urban Farming Boom

Urban farming is an interesting lens through which cities can be explored. It invites people into communities, to meet the locals and learn more about a place from an organic perspective. Continue reading Chicago’s Urban Farming Boom

Interview: Welcome to City Running Tours

CEO Michael Gazalah of Manhattan-based City Running Tours explains why exploring a city with the locals makes all the difference.

Magellan: City Running Tours is based in New York but offers personalized running tours in cities across the U.S. and in Toronto, Canada. Would you talk about where your big idea came from? About how you got started?

MG: Sure. I’m a chiropractor and I was working out of a Manhattan gym and I got a call from a friend about an Australian guy who was in town and looking for a running partner. My friend knew I was a runner who could match the guy’s pace and distance requirements. I thought it would be cool to run with him and show him around a bit, so I agreed to go. We clicked and a spark of an idea was born. That was 11 years ago.

Magellan: Do you have a “typical” client?

MG: Yes and no! We know that about a quarter of our clientele – and that number is growing – are returning business professionals, people who make regular visits to our cities. We have clients who run with us multiple times during extended stays. We also offer corporate and group events. We embrace a broad swath of competitive, recreational and social runners. We’re popular with families, whether the kids are running alongside or are tucked into strollers. And we attract slightly more women than men.

Magellan: What do you think your clients are looking for?

MG: That will vary depending on the client; people have different motivations. But we know a big driver for runners is the desire to keep on schedule, to maintain their training and mileage while they’re on the road. Running with a guide means committing to that schedule with ease – without the burden of planning – and being mentally free to simply enjoy the act of running. For many, running with a group or partner is a social experience with the added benefit of exploring unfamiliar parts of the city from a local perspective. For women wanting to run early in the mornings or after work, we offer not only ease, but security. The same for families. The commonality is that people are looking for a broader experience than running alone, which is our value-add. We stop, explore and chat according to the client’s wishes.

Magellan: What won’t you do?

MG: I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that we won’t do, but making smart choices is always the starting point. We tend to run off the beaten path and each run is tailored to the specific needs, wants and abilities of the client. So we’ll run in all kinds of weather but will be constantly assessing routes if temperature or conditions are extreme. For instance, running across the Brooklyn Bridge offers unique challenges due to its exposure to the elements, wind in particular. And running New York during a snowfall can be tricky, but, on the flip side, it possesses a charm because the city is so much quieter than normal. All of our guides are local runners so they know the ins and outs of each place; they know what’s possible and what’s not. Overall, exploring an urban environment means you’ll never know exactly what to expect, as each street and neighbourhood has quirks and tells a different story. That’s an intrinsic part of the journey.

Magellan: What do you like most about what you do?

MG: I like the whole adventure of it. I like showcasing our city to clients and sharing insider tips about New York. I especially like when they tell us that our tours have been the highlight of their trip – that is the highest compliment they can pay us.


City Running Tours services major cities including NYC, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC and Toronto. It makes it easy to stay with Magellan Luxury Hotels and run with the locals.

Photos provided courtesy of City Running Tours. All rights reserved.


T: 877.415.0058

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

Baccarat Hotel New York - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Modern Manhattan meets classic Paris under one roof at Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York. The 114 guest rooms and suites are outfitted with custom furniture designed by Gilles & Boissier, and exude the class and timeless appeal of both Manhattan and the City of Lights. Top-notch amenities and first-rate service complete this energetic romantic, elegant hotel experience.

Palace Hotel - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Fit for royalty, the Palace Hotel features opulent furnishings and a sophisticated ambiance with amenities and exceptional service to go along with. A favorite of celebrities and dignitaries, the Palace Hotel is situated in the heart of San Francisco. With three delicious dining options, a sky-lit indoor pool and historic Beaux-Arts beauty, this warm and inviting “palace” provides the perfect San Francisco luxury stay.

Trump Waikiki Beach Walk - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Set in the bustling Waikiki Beach Walk development, the luxurious Trump Hotel Waikiki is surrounded by numerous restaurants, shops and nightlife options. However, if you choose not to leave the hotel you won’t be short on choice. It has three distinct restaurants and lounges, one of which offers live entertainment and another with an idyllic outdoor setting. You’ll also find a sixth-floor infinity pool, deluxe beach service and a spa.

See all of our Luxury Hotels

A Taste of Chicago: Local Distilleries

The introduction of Prohibition in 1922 – and the active engagement of the local mafia – put Chicago at the center of the popular imagination around the highly-profitable illegal liquor trade. It also wiped out the local distilling industry. Finally, 75 years after the repeal of Prohibition, that began to change.

With growing consumer interest in localization, a number of craft distilleries have sprung up in the past 10 years to begin rebuilding the market for local, small-batch alcohol. Products from these select producers are available in the finest restaurants, bar and liquor outlets around Chicago as well as directly from their distilleries. Please check their websites for hours, directions, tours, tastings and other special events.


Established in 2008, KOVAL produces organic whiskey, liqueurs and specialty spirits in Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800s. Founders Robert and Sonat Birnecker, chose to leave their academic careers to bring the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian family to America. In making this decision, they vowed to make organic spirits from scratch and to change the way people understand whiskey by creating a new, signature style – using only the “heart” cut of the distillate – affording a brighter, cleaner take on whiskey.

Product offerings:

Whiskey: Bourbon, Four Grain, Millet, Oat, White Rye, Rye and Limited Editions

Liquers: Orange Blossom, Coffee, Ginger, Chrysanthemum & Honey, Jasmine, Rose Hip and Caraway

Spirits: Dry Gin, Vodka, Apple Brandy, Pear Brandy, Sunchoke Brandy and Bierbrand



North Shore is a partnership between husband and wife team Derek and Sonja Kassebaum. They launched the distillery in 2004 and began selling in 2005. They describe their tight-knit team as artisans who like working their hands and enjoy sharing their passion for great spirits with others. They are committed to working with the best ingredients, including midwestern grain, fresh citrus fruits and wild-harvested herbs.

Product offerings:

Vodka: North Shore, Sol Chamomile Citrus, Tahitian Vanilla Vodka

Gin:  Distiller’s Gin No. 6, Distiller’s Gin No. 11, Mighty Gin

Aquavit-Private Reserve:  Spicy and savory, our interpretation of the classic Scandinavian spirit with rich caraway, cumin and coriander.  Delicious both neat and straight from the freezer.

Sirene Absinthe Verte:  Rich, nuanced and complex – made in the classic French style with anise seed, fennel and grand wormwood.  Delicious simply with water, but also in a range of classic and new cocktails.


Explore the first distillery in the home of the Temperance movement, Evanston, Illinois.

Product offerings:

Whiskey:  Bourbon Whiskey, Rye Whiskey

Gin:  American Gin, Barrel Gin


Inspired by the French Caribbean and modeled after the great Amaros of Italy, celebrated mixologists Adam Seger of Chicago and Joe McCanta of London infuse pot still rum with fair-trade hibiscus, ginger root, green cardamom and kaffir lime to create the American Botanical Spirit called Hum.

Hum is a crimson red 70-proof spirit that “tastes like the boldest red wine you could ever imagine.” It is technically a liqueur, but with its high proof, it was created as a base spirit, like rum, tequila and scotch. It can be consumed alone or mixed with other spirits, wine, champagne and beer.

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

Godfrey Hotel Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

There’s no missing the stunning Godfrey Hotel Chicago from the street – the distinctive cubist design of the 16-story building is unlike any other in the city. The guest experience is also unparalleled – a stay in one of the Godfrey’s 194 guestrooms or 27 one-bedroom suites is a master class in luxury, style and attention to detail in every aspect.

The Peninsula Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

The Peninsula Chicago is an award-winning hotel that epitomizes the meaning of extravagance. In the heart of the Magnificent Mile, The Peninsula Chicago offers guests a calm retreat and the perfect starting point from which to discover the Windy City. Indulge in fine dining, a first-class spa and beautiful accommodations at this sensational luxury property.

Sofitel Chicago Water Tower - Magellan Luxury Hotels

An impressive 32-floor prism of glass, designed by famed French architect Jean-Paul Viguier, the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower is a chic and contemporary hotel with a premium location. An architectural marvel and the embodiment of the Sofitel brand’s French heritage, the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower caters to business and leisure travelers with a range of specialized amenities.

See all of our Chicago Luxury Hotels

Pets and the Chicago Hotels That Love Them

Why leave your dog at home when they can travel with you in luxury? Here are six Chicago hotels that treat your canine companion as a member of the family.

Thompson Chicago - Magellan Luxury HotelsThompson Chicago

Fees: No charge; charges only apply if there are damages
Restrictions: 50 lbs. or less
Waiver: Yes
Amenities: “Very Important Pups” amenity upgrade includes: Thompson Chicago branded ceramic food and water bowl, dog toys and pet bandana; customized dog bones provided by local pet boutique Tails in the City; waste disposal bags; Pet in Room door hanger; dog bed in room; VIP shopping passes for 15% off at Tails in the City; Pets in the City Guide to Chicago

Park Hyatt Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Park Hyatt Chicago

Fees: Up to six nights – $100 per stay; Seven to 30 nights – $100 additional deep cleaning fee; 30 or more nights a fee will be assessed at the hotel’s discretion
Restrictions: 50 lbs. or less
Waiver: Yes
Amenities: Housekeeping will deliver a pet bed, dog bowl with water and treats

The Peninsula Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

The Peninsula Chicago

Fees: $50 (per stay) for pets under 20 lbs. and $100 (per stay) for over 20 lbs. (after approval)
Restrictions: Dogs and cats accepted under 20 lbs.; over 20 lbs needs to be approved before check-in
Waiver: Yes
Amenities: The ninth floor is reserved for guests with pets. The hotel offers a variety of pet amenities including pet beds, bowls, special menus and dog-walking services

Virgin Hotels Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Virgin Hotels Chicago

Fees: No charge
Restrictions: No restriction to size or weight of pet
Waiver: No
Amenities: Added foot bed for Fido; eye-catching dog figurines placed outside those chambers that have been designated pet-friendly

Trump International Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Trump International Chicago

Fees: Refundable $250 per stay
Restrictions: All four-legged friends weighing 25 lbs. or less
Waiver: Yes
Amenities: In-room dining menu offering: plush dog beds; gourmet treats; water bowl and fresh bottled water; toys; map of he city highlighting fun outdoor dog-friendly parks; amenities boutique sells take-home gifts

Chicago Athletic Association - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Chicago Athletic Association

Fees: No charge; cleaning fee may apply if there are damages
Restrictions: Two pets per room
Waiver: Yes
Amenities: Three different sizes of dog beds, dog treats, and bowls, but they must be requested in advance; for special amenities, please make arrangements with the concierge

See all of our Chicago Luxury Hotels

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile

No visit to Chicago is complete without a visit to the incredible Magnificent Mile (or Mag Mile for short). One of the world’s great avenues, Mag Mile is a 13-block segment of North Michigan Ave. that runs from Oak Street to the Chicago River.

 And when you hit Mag Mile, there’s no shortage of things to see, do, buy or eat.

 Second-to-none shopping

Mag Mile is Chicago’s largest shopping district, with more than 460 stores throughout the 13 blocks and surrounding areas that cater to every shopper’s needs/wants. From boutique shops to big-name department stores, vintage/retro to lavish boutiques, you’ll find it all.

 Delicious dining options

There are over 275 restaurants packed into the 13-block stretch of the Magnificent Mile, meaning no matter what your palate’s craving, it’ll be satiated and then some. From corn dogs to caviar, pizza to pupusas and everything in between, you can enjoy the flavors of the world streetside, on a patio or in a white-tablecloth setting.

 The city skyline

The Magnificent Mile is home to some of Chicago’s tallest, most iconic buildings – in fact, many are among the loftiest buildings in the entire country. The Trump International Hotel, the John Hancock Center and many more can be found along the Mag Mile. Head into the latter building and up to the 94th floor to experience 360 Chicago, featuring an incredible view of the city from some 1,000 feet in the air.

 Keeping busy

If art or museums entice you, the Magnificent Mile will keep you occupied for long stretches. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago History Museum, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Newberry Library and much more line the area, with regular collections and changing exhibits that will wow you.

 Of course some of Chicago’s best four- and five-star hotels are located on or near the Magnificent Mile, and the best of them are partners with Magellan Luxury Hotels. Get in touch with Magellan and find out about the best rates and exclusive perks on killer Chicago accommodations.

See all of our Chicago Luxury Hotels

Chicago architecture front and center

Chicago is one of North America’s great architectural cities – it was in the Windy City that the skyscraper as we know it came to exist (think the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center, etc.). Cruise down the Chicago River and see the city’s incredible tall buildings up close – it’s breathtaking.

It’s no great surprise, then, that this year’s inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial will join shows in Sao Paulo, Venice and beyond in highlighting the new schools of thought and action as it pertains to built landscapes, both in Chicago and beyond.

Titled The State of the Art of Architecture, this year’s inaugural biennial runs from October 3, 2015 through to January 3, 2016, and will feature participants from across the globe showcasing their architectural projects. In particular, the goal of the biennial is to “take stock of the extraordinary ways in which architects, artists, designers, planners, activists and policy makers from around the world are tackling the most pressing issues of today.” In other words, the ways in which the creativity and drive behind projects can transform the spaces in which we live as the world changes.

And while there will be plenty of participants and exhibitions from Chicago proper, other installations from as far away as Belgium, Tokyo, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Johannesburg and Jakarta will feature the incredible work being done by architects worldwide. There will also be a host of talks and presentations from a wide range of professionals dealing with some of the most pressing issues surrounding global developments in the built environment.

Exhibits will be presented in some of Chicago’s landmark buildings and spaces: the Chicago Cultural Center, Stony Island Arts Bank, Water Tower Gallery, Millennium Park and more.

Of course, there are also plenty of options if you’re feeling like taking in Chicago’s rich built history at your own speed. Whether you prefer self-guided or group tours on land or by boat, Chicago’s skyscrapers and rich built history are impressive.

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

The Langham Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Park Hyatt Chicago - Magellan Luxury Hotels

See all of our Chicago Luxury Hotels