CHICAGO â€“ People say that money can't buy happiness. I always figure those folks have never stayed at The Peninsula in Chicago.
Now, every job has its ups and downs. For example, while I pretty much have to read every single talkback that comes in to OnMilwaukee.com (trust me, that'll suck the life out of you some days), I do also sometimes get to do some pleasurable research. Like when I get to stay at The Peninsula, 108 E. Superior St., to gather information for my occasional Chicago travel stories.
Because being at the place is a pleasure, I don't take a second of it for granted. And it's not just because the linens are soft and the rooms comfortable, although that helps. It's because The Peninsula understands what so many businesses of all kinds don't: it's about the people.
Sometimes when you go to a fine restaurant or visit a top-notch hotel, you get an accompanying attitude. Best I can tell that doesn't exist at The Peninsula, where everyone is always smiling and it never, ever looks forced.
"Our General Manager always says, 'If we are aloof or arrogant, we're missing our mark,'" Susan Ellefson, director of public relations at The Peninsula, told me a while back. "You can teach service, but you have to start by hiring people who enjoy helping others, who are hospitable people, smiling people."
You don't even have to stay at The Peninsula to experience it (though if you can, you ought to treat yourself): have a drink in the bar, splurge on the insanely sumptuous Sunday brunch, dine out at Shanghai Terrace on the rooftop terrace, with its views of the Chicago skyline. You'll see what I mean. The service is great, but it is comfortable. Folks will chat with you, they'll make sure you're contented without even the hint of embarrassing over-the-top deference.
One great way to dip a toe into The Peninsula experience is to book a visit to the top-floor spa, which also gets you access to a half-Olympic-size pool with a stellar view out over Michigan Avenue and its outdoor patio. The patio is so relaxing that when it started to drizzle during a recent visit, half the folks out there didn't surrender their seats to seek shelter.
But the real magic happens in the spa itself â€“ Chicago magazine just named one Peninsula massage therapist the best in town â€“ where I was recently treated to a facial treatment that not only undid the damage of my laissez-faire approach to exfoliation/moisturization, it was customized to what I needed at that moment.
So, when I explained that I had just returned from walking to and from the Willis Tower â€“ roughly five miles with the zigging and zagging â€“ with a 30-or-so-pound child sitting on my shoulders, a neck and upper back massage was folded into the 90-minute session.
The whole experience is like what you might see in a film. Check in, change into a robe and slippers and it begins. You're led to a relaxation bed, with an array of magazines, tea, fruit-infused water. A conical bamboo cup with nuts and dried fruit is placed in your hand. Soothing music lilts subtly in the background.
Then the treatment, which is 90 minutes of massage, masks, creams, lotions, oils. Ninety minutes of serenity. Ninety minutes of someone else doing the work of making you mellow; setting the stage for your relaxation.
Though there was a clock to prove the elapsing of time, I could barely come to grips with the idea that an hour and a half had just passed in what felt like the space of, perhaps, 15 minutes.
That's the ultimate gift of a place like The Peninsula. It gives you a little time to push out the toxic from your body and your mind and just spend a little time with the folks you love best. I hope I get the chance to watch time fly by again at The Peninsula.
Massages and facials aside, the real treasure of The Peninsula is one of their yoga instructors, Marilyn I have taken many forms of yoga with a multitude of instructors and there is no comparison. Her organic, easy approach is refreshing, never dull. While I love living in Milwaukee, she is one reason I miss Chicago. I highly recommend checking out one of her classes if you ever find yourself in Chicago!
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published May 5, 2016
It's Cinco de Mayo and now that I'm back on tequila - thanks to a switch to much higher quality tequilas than I used to taste - I've got a trio of Milagro Tequilas to sample and three recipes to make it happen.
Published May 5, 2016
Adventure Rock has begun offering hard hat tours of the new climbing gym it will open in June as part of Mandel Group's 46-unit Belay Apartments development on the corner of Commerce Street and North Avenue in Riverwest. This morning, we got a look inside.
Published May 4, 2016
Tenants have already started moving into the third phase of The North End complex along North Water Street, and the Fresh Thyme Market is shaping up to open next month. We got a peek inside.
Published May 3, 2016
Milwaukee Public Library has launched a new video series called "Stories from the Stacks," and the segments offer a mix of interesting stories about the library, including a powerful one about an author that wrote a book at the Central Library while she was homeless.
Published May 3, 2016
Rarely have I felt the pressure to write one of these spelunking stories so quickly. But, in this case, time might be of the essence. That's because last week I got a tour of the trio of buildings that were home to Laacke and Joys before it vacated a couple years ago and demolition was expected to start if not quite any minute, then certainly any day.
Published May 3, 2016
Last year, the city approved a plan by Maures Development Group to redevelop a set of buildings, including the Henry Koch-designed former Garfield Avenue School, into mixed-income housing, a new America's Black Holocaust Museum and more. What's up?
Published May 2, 2016
When I became a dad and my kids neared school age, I hoped they'd have a teacher like the one who made a lasting impression on me. A few years into their school careers, I can honestly say that my wish has already come true.
Published April 30, 2016
After a long hiatus from making music full-time, Carter Hunnicutt (of Those XCleavers and Flat Rabbits) is back in the game. He releases a six-track CD, "Dangerous World," at Circle A Cafe in Riverwest on Sunday, May 22. We got him talking...
Published April 28, 2016
We are deep into spring now, whether or not the weather is playing along, and being Milwaukeeans we can't wait to get outside and enjoy the fun months. Here are seven postcard images showing our forefathers letting loose in old Milwaukee...
Published April 26, 2016
Musician Gary Myers spent a number of years playing in many Milwaukee clubs with his bands The Night Beats, The Darnells and The Cashmeres (Mojo Men, later The Portraits). Fortunately, he also took photographs of the places where he performed.