In what turned out to be a nostalgic walk down Marriott memory lane for me, I visited the Marriott Lincolnshire Illinois resort and caught an excellent performance of South Pacific at their Marriott Theatre which has been cranking out excellent plays since 1980 (I saw Kiss Me Kate in '80, wunderbar) years before the first bucket of concrete was poured for the NYC Marriott Marquis Theatre.
Lincolnshire was built essentially out in no man's land back in the mid-seventies (Buffalo Grove was aptly named) and has now been developed with three properties (FS, CY, SH) on Marriott Drive, once again demonstrating Marriott knew what they were doing. The resort provided golf, tennis, pools, horseback riding, canoeing, and for a while even a ski slope, known affectionately back in HQ as Durbin's Mountain (along with other, non-affectionate names) after the early driving force executive who headed up hotels, Jim Durbin.
On my way to Milwaukee (why? having a good time there at my Chicago daughter's age, I wanted her to see her nearby cities. I have to say, I remember it as more lively, could it have been the seventies, my age, or all of the operating breweries ? who knows) we stopped and enjoyed the Marriott Theatre Thursday night special. Dinner in the King's Wharf restaurant (salad, entree - steak, cornish hen, tilapia, etc, with vegetables and soda/lemonade/tea/coffee) along with a top notch performance of South Pacific in the comfortable seats of the theatre in the round with every seat being within nine rows of the stage. You get the show and the dinner for $55, not only a deal, but a steal (w/equity actors). If the stars ever align (say you're going to Six Flags in Gurnee, which used to be Marriott's Great America Theme Park back when they were in the theme park business) and you find yourself in the area, a Marriott show is a must see, check it out, especially on Thursdays with the dinner deal (at the adjoining restaurant - not dinner/theatre).
Unwilling to cough up the $200 plus weeknight rate at the Marriott, I opted for the always reliable SpringHill down the street (still with 24 hour coffee and their breakfast included, but alas, absent the 'Bistro' mystique of the CY) which was an excellent value as a Cat. 2 costing only 10k points. Nestled among the corporate park, they have a Walker Brothers restaurant and a Sullivan's Steak House (like the one near the Chicago SpringHill/Res Inn property) adjoining their parking lot and plenty of casual restaurants up and down the road.
The other legs of my trip included the Residence Inn in Milwaukee on the Riverwalk - not to be confused with San Antonio's, Baltimore's Inner Harbor or even Chicago's, the Milwaukee River was more similar to Reno's little water section. Built in a renovated Gimbels (somewhat similar to the Cleveland Res Inn, but not as interesting). Grab a great price to avoid overpaying (like I did with the Heat/Bucks crowd) for essentially a routine room. A new Marriott opens this summer (a renovation also) a couple of blocks closer to the lake with limited, if any, lake views.
And then wrapping up nostalgia week, I stayed at the Renaissance Suites O'Hare during its last few days of being a terrific Cat.4 property. The hotel (recommended to me by skiadcock) is the suites concept with a club/concierge lounge and is right on the blue line for easy car-free access to downtown Chicago. Restaurant buffets (excellent) are provided, along with a free appetizer in lobby bar for elites on weekends and club lounge services during the week. Very competent service by each associate I met. They got things right the first time, refreshingly effective. With the impending category changes, I'm limited to using their excellent weekend rates (they are 'business priced' weeknights) and will fall back on the consistent SpringHill (a Cat. 3 going to a 4) on Higgins Rd.
The Fonz - coming before his time, tef, I could only find Laverne. Laverne and Shirley are a forgotten memory,
Kharada is wondering why there's a statue although the 30 something front desk associate (after an initial blank stare) did
of a guy who sells reverse mortgages say there was a clip of the show at a brewery tour showing Shotz Brewery.
Then adding to my experience, she said "I think I remember my grandfather
talking about them". Ouch, nostalgia sometimes comes with a price.
King's Wharf Restaurant at the Marriott Lincolnshire, Illinois South Pacific - stage before the show
Renaissance O'Hare skyline view, -even numbered rooms face the city.
16 floor building. On a clear day this is an inspiring view.
Closing out on an upbeat note. I took my mom to the Million Dollar Quartet at the Chicago Apollo Theater. I had seen the show with my wife in DC and both times had a blast, so if you haven't seen it and enjoy the concept, check it out. I was fascinated by the different reactions between the two generations. My wife and I were entertained, my mom and her contemporaries seemed to be charged up with a renewed pep in their step; so, Beatlemania, here I come.