Photo by Mark Segal
The Peninsula Chicago is beloved by many as a premier location to embrace the beauty, excitement, and cheer of the holiday season. For over a decade, Kehoe Designs has taken part by decking this world class hotel’s grand spaces from top-to-bottom with luxe adornment and chic holiday style. “Maria Zec, Peninsula’s Regional Vice President and General Manager, loves the holidays and shares that love with her guests,” says Tom Kehoe. “She is always looking for new ways to create that magical holiday experience. This is one more reason why The Peninsula consistently ranks at the top of the best hotels in the country,” adds Tom. In today’s feature, we invite you to get in the spirit with our festive feature highlighting five wonderful reasons to celebrate the holidays at The Peninsula Chicago!
1. Decked for the Season | Signature Holiday Decor
Every year, late Thanksgiving night, the magic of the season descends upon The Peninsula Chicago. While guests sleep soundly with bellies full, Kehoe Designs’ elves go to work magically transforming the hotel’s stately exterior and prominent interior spaces with a regal dose of holiday glamour. (See Video!) “Each time, Kehoe Designs crafts a new holiday theme, making it all the more special (and spectacular) for returning guests,” says Peninsula’s PR Director, Susan Ellefson. From fanciful red feather trees to all white winter wonderlands, there are no limits to Kehoe Designs’ imagination. Last year, classic holiday colors returned elevated by an abundance of gleaming silver and gold. Striking red poinsettias and fragrant evergreens lined the gallery. Trios of massive holiday wreaths dressed the floor-to-ceiling Lobby windows. “With our ‘Santa-sized’ workshop, there are truly no boundaries in the conception or the scale of our holiday installations,” Tom assures.
Image credits: (Top & Bottom) by Kehoe Designs, (Middle) by Mark Segal
2. Filled with Holiday Spirit | Festive Family Fun
With a full schedule of seasonal offerings for the little ones, The Peninsula Chicago is an ideal location for families dreaming up a “destination” holiday vacation. Activities include Children’s Festive Afternoon Tea where the hotel’s junior guests can enjoy the impressive 24-foot glittering christmas tree and feast on a delicious lunch followed by a number of chocolate desserts! Storytelling by Mrs. Claus, Christmas cookie decorating, and a visit from Santa can also be expected! During holidays and special events, Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, presents plush toys for children to take home a memory of their stay. Located in the heart of the big city, families can enjoy many nearby happenings such as Michigan Ave’s famed holiday window displays, sip on hot cider at the Christkindl German market or just spend a day relaxing in the hotel’s heated swimming pool.Image credits: (Top left) via ChicagoParent.com, (Top right, middle and bottom) via The Peninsula
3. Ultimate Romance | Tis’ the Season for Engagements
The holiday season always brings an added layer of romance to The Peninsula Chicago. “For couples looking for an intimate getaway or winter ‘staycation,’ their experience is all the more enchanting with the romance of holiday lights and decor!” says Associate Director of Weddings, Jennifer Clarke. “Couples will often tell us that with the hotel’s luxury amenities, they’d rather just stay-in than battle the cold and busy Chicago streets,” adds Susan. This includes The Peninsula’s 19th floor jacuzzi and pool with 20 ft floor-to-ceiling windows offering impressive city views. “Our spa treatments are another wonderful option as we offer specialized services normally exclusive to high-end resorts…body wraps, advanced facials, 4 hand massages,” Susan explains. Guests can enjoy the services in their room or book a private couples spa suite.
On Friday and Saturday nights, lovers are invited to indulge in a feast of decadent aphrodisiacs at the hotels “Chocolate Bar.” The menu includes a gorgeous array of elegant one and two bite desserts by world class pastry chefs. “The ambience is always quite magical with the gorgeous holiday decor, beautiful display of chocolates, live contemporary jazz music, and even a dedicated sommelier to help you customize the perfect hot chocolate,” Susan adds.Image credits: (Top left) by Kehoe Designs, (Top right) by Richard Nowitz, (Bottom) via The Peninsula
Speaking of romance, those of us in the wedding industry know that the holidays see quite the spike in wedding proposals. At The Peninsula, an entire team is dedicated to making the “big question” as personalized and special as possible. “We’ve done it all!” declares Klara Promlee, Guest Relations Manager. “From holding signs outside the window to covering a suite with thousands of red rose petals, we’re here to help make that special moment more than unforgettable,” says Klara. As one of Chicago’s most renowned wedding venues, Kehoe Designs and The Peninsula are often in cahoots in producing the dreamiest of weddings for Peninsula brides. (See images below.) “In addition to the gorgeous ballroom and rooftop terrace, what makes a Peninsula wedding so special is that we get to know each couple and personalize every detail of their experience. From customized menus, signature cocktails, to the many in-suite surprises, we’re there to bring their wildest wedding wishes to life,” Jennifer adds enthusiastically.Image credits: (Top) by Bob & Dawn Davis, (Middle) by Garbo Productions, (Bottom) by Kehoe Designs.
Location, Location, Location!!! | Holiday Shopping then R&R
Not only is the hotel conveniently located for overnight guests who wish to explore the city’s entertainment, restaurants and cultural sites, it’s also a fantastic spot for holiday shoppers to come in and take a break from their long treks perusing the Magnificent Mile. Day visitors are invited to get off their feet and enjoy the spirit of the season with Afternoon Tea at The Lobby amid strolling carolers and indulge in special delicacies including a selection of house-made scones, finger sandwiches and pastries. While weekend Afternoon Tea is sold-out for all remaining weekends of the holiday season, weekday reservations are still available! Another fun option for tired holiday shoppers and guests? Consider a foot reflexology massage with a refreshing glass of champagne!
5. The Peninsula Sky Rink on the Terrace | Holiday Rooftop Magic
On Saturday, November 22, 2014, the hotel will officially open The Peninsula Sky Rink for the 2014 to 2015 winter season! The Sky Rink’s kick-off date corresponds with the famed Lights Festival, the city’s most cherished and grand evening holiday celebration! To add to the Sky Rink’s upscale, winter resort feel, Kehoe Designs provides a mini forest of tall evergreens in twinkling white lights along with fresh garlands and decorative holiday wreaths! The outdoor menu features a selection of hot beverages and snacks including hot chocolate, hot cider, glühwein (a German, warm spiced wine), warm pretzels, warm spiced nuts and beignets! Open to hotel guests, restaurant guests and spa patrons, the cost to skate on the synthetic ice rink (a great surface for kids and beginners) is $10 for children and $15 for adults. All monies collected are donated to two Chicago children’s charities: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Hephzibah Children’s Association. “Last year we raised almost $25,000!” Susan adds. However, the entire Peninsula Sky Rink can also be reserved for special events, wedding celebrations or even a surprise proposal!Image credits: (Top & Bottom) via The Peninsula, (Middle) by Kehoe Designs
We hope our feature on The Peninsula Chicago has helped spark your holiday spirit! As you have read, The Peninsula has a wonderful array of seasonal offerings you won’t want to miss! And just maybe, while you’re there, you’ll catch a glimpse of our Kehoe Designs elves hard at work heralding in the glorious and glittering magic of the holidays!