The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago

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River walk chicago

View of Chicago from the River Walk

The sun looked like a giant nectarine as it rose with soft orange and pink glows lighting up the sky and bouncing off of Lake Michigan creating a magical effect as if rainbow sherbet had melted in the sky. The clouds were hanging around the south side of the sun, creating a colorful gradient in color and texture. As I ran along the lakefront path with a number of other athletic Chicagoans – I thought what a shame it was that I didn’t have a camera. But sometimes these moments are better left to the memory rather than a memory card.

The glorious weather continued for me in Chicago, but in city # 3 of my Club CarlsonSM Global Travelers itinerary I decided to slow down a bit and focus on the idea that less is more. Yes, in Chicago there are millions of things to do and see, but I decided to focus on eating and photography in Chicago. In addition I threw in some therapeutic runs along the lakeshore (necessary after all of the eating), and was also able to see my friend Lisa who lives in Chicago as well as make a few new friends.

Aqua Lodging

One of the most distinct buildings in the Chicago skyline – people know it as the Aqua building. There are no stuffy right angles here – just flowing, undulating curves! Of course with all of these curves the building had to be designed by a woman – right? The 81 story Aqua building is the tallest building designed by a woman -owned architectural firm and the first skyscraper from Chicago’s Jeanne Gang, of Studio Gang Architects. Yeah for women!

Aqua Hotel chicago

Undulating and curvy – the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

The inside of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel was designed to feel welcoming and homey. Designer Jim Hamilton gave a nod to Chicago when he selected design elements that represented Chicago’s history and feel. The signage around the hotel was made of wood and represented Chicago’s printing history, and the Filini Restaurant and Bar was held up by steel beams paying homage to Chicago’s reputation as the birthplace of the skyscraper. The lobby had a warm welcome feel to it with a long modern fireplace and reclaimed Chicago brickwork.

But most of all, I loved the lighting in the hotel. I have a thing for modern and inventive lights – one could say I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame – at least my camera is. The in-room design was again very sleek and modern, but I loved the warm feel in the communal spaces that the lighting provided.

Cool Light fixtures chicago

My room had a gorgeous balcony view that wrapped around one of the corners of the building and looked down upon the pool and outdoor running track. I honestly spend a number of hours wrapped up in my robe and slippers simply enjoying the room and the view – a great environment to catch up on writing and photo editing.

Aqua balcony chicago

My view from the groovy balcony.

 Disclosure: I was hosted by the Radisson and it is a sponsored post but all my opinions are my own.


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