Tag: travel tips

Travel Swellness: The James Hotel in Chicago

James Hotel Chicago bedAdvertisement
Chicago is one of my favourite cities. It probably holds a special place in my heart because one of the first (if not the very first!)  press trips I went on when I was at Flare was to Chicago, but of course, there’s more to it. I find the people friendly, there’s so many fantastic restaurants, they host a helluva good marathon, which I’ve run twice (last weekend in the Chicago Marathon 2017, and my marathon PB in 2014), and, of course, the beautiful architecture. And now that list of what I love in Chicago is growing, as I’ve just discovered the James Hotel.

(And if you’re booking a trip to Chicago or elsewhere, don’t forget about the $40 you can save if you use this little link of mine, right HERE).


Through Booking.com, I stayed at the James just a little over a week ago for my marathon weekend, and it had a lot going for it as a place to stay for the race, however it’s a great boutique hotel to stay no matter what brings you to Chicago.

Major selling points: it’s pretty much a few minutes walk away from both Eataly and Shake Shack, plus Trader Joe’s is right across the street. I adore Shake Shack and even though it’s not from Chicago, I will make time to have a Shack Burger whenever I have access to one. Same goes for Eataly; it also hails from New York but the pizza, pasta, burrata and more is just too hard to resist that I’ll stop in for a bite whenever I can. And Trader Joe’s is great for snacks, and especially helpful when you’re fueling for a marathon and need access to the ingredients you’d normally have before a race. If you’re on a budget, you can also save loads of money if you opt to pick up something there for your breakfast, or even if you grab a bottle of wine to enjoy in your room rather than one out at dinner (both ways I cut back on spending when I”m watching my pennies when traveling).

James Hotel Chicago lobby level

The James Chicago is located in River North just steps from the Magnificent Mile. So shopaholics, this convenient location means you can drop off your shopping bags, or even pop in for a quick power nap before you shop some more. Although I don’t know if a quick nap is possible; the beds at the James were so comfortable and luxurious, I found myself spending more time lounging around in my suite than I typically do when I travel.

Cloud Gate

Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago are about a 25-minute walk from the hotel; 360 Chicago is about 15 minutes away (call me a tourist, but I love seeing cities from up high!). So you’re very close to some of the top attractions. The closest subway is the Grand station on the red line, and I easily navigated my way on the transit system to neighbourhoods I wanted to explore such as Logan Square and Bucktown.


(By the way, if you are visiting Chicago and planning to go to many of the top attractions, it’s worth considering getting the Citypass Chicago. I’ve used it on two trips to Chitown and besides being able to save some money on your entry fees if you were to pay at each sight separately, you also score quick entry; I’ve seen long lines snake out of Shedd Aquarium, for example, and I can tell you I was very grateful to not waste precious time in Chicago waiting in line.)

I didn’t have a chance to try out the restaurant in the hotel, but I did spend time in the hotel lobby, which is a beautiful space where there’s lots of seating if you’re waiting to meet someone or are waiting for your car (this is something I appreciate as I once waited during a snowstorm for about two hours in an NYC hotel lobby that had not a single chair). The lobby at the James is a sleek and modern space but not in a cold, modern way (there are warm touches and textures that make it comfortable). They host a wine hour here (which I refrained from since I was preparing for my race, le sigh).

James Hotel Chicago lobby level

The room I had was spacious and filled with light. The only downside to the room is the pocket door to the washroom, which is very heavy, making it a chore to slide open and closed. I’m a pretty fit person and I found it cumbersome but I can see it being a problem for some people. Word to the wise: I’m not sensitive to noise and city noises don’t bother me, but if you’re especially easy to wake up from slumber, you may want to request a room on a higher floor. In my room on the 7th floor, I was aware of the sirens and traffic noises from the street, however, it didn’t bother me as I’m used to din of the city.

James Chicago bathroom

Want to book the James Chicago? Well, if you use my exclusive Booking.com link to book your stay, you’ll get a refund of $40 once you complete your stay. That’s $40 you can use at Eataly, or at a Grant Achatz restaurant, or use towards your architectural cruise ticket. Man, I’m already missing this hotel and fantastic city…

Happy travels!


Leave a Comment October 18, 2017

Beauty Swellness: Flight-friendly beauty tips from the Emirates cabin crew

#RedHatSelfie with Christiana and Alexandra of the  Emirates cabin crew

Even though I travel a fair bit, I haven’t completely got a beauty routine for flying down pat; I find I still step off the plane looking bleary (even if it’s a short flight). I now try to stick to drinking water to combat dehydration; I typically wear a moisturizing sheer lip colour (less maintenance required), and if I’m flying out very early in the morning or it’s a flight longer than three hours, I’ll wear my glasses and put on my contact lenses before I land to prevent my lenses from drying out my eyes.

Several weeks ago, though, I had the chance to learn about the beauty regimen of the Emirates cabin crew. (And I got to snap a #RedHatSelfie with the lovely Emirates cabin crew members Christiana and Alexandra). The crew has to look polished and professional and the look must be consistent for the crew, and stay on for some 16 hours or more some days. Some of their top tips that we can all apply to our travel beauty routine:

  • Adjust your makeup depending on the flight (consider the time of day your flying, the flight duration).
  • Wear non-waterproof mascara for when you’re traveling; the dry air on flights can already zap you of hydration and waterproof mascara are drier than regular mascara.
  • Skip the bronzer when you fly. Bronzers (with the unforgiving lighting on a flight) can draw your face down and make you look tired.
  • Keep a small Evian atomizer to spritz your face with during the flight for some instant hydration for your skin.
  • Try an eye gel (which you can easily tap on over your makeup) to give your face a quick pick-me up.

Emirates #RedHatSelfie Event 116

(Beauty products photo credit: Ryan Emberley) 

1 Comment March 24, 2015

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