We left home Sunday after church. The first thing we did upon checking in was to report for our previously scheduled massage at the Valeo spa in the basement of the hotel. When we arrived at the front desk the smiling hostess asked if we were there for an "experience." We nodded nervously, trying to pretend we knew what we were doing but secretly hoping we weren't getting in over our heads (the same ones, by the way, that have "Clueless Suburbanites" tattooed across the tops). Nevertheless, our names were quickly located on the schedule and we were taken to separate locker rooms to change and then shown to our gently lit "transition" room, where we were invited to enjoy some hot tea while listening to the relaxing music.
When the time came for our massage we were taken by our respective "providers" to a room set up with two massage tables next to one another. I wish I had snapped a picture but in my awe failed to do so. Our masseur and masseuse left the room so we could get situated on our tables and shortly returned for our 30-minute candle-lit treatment. After our massage we were invited to enjoy a soak in the hot tub, complete with aroma and light therapy, not to mention chocolate-covered strawberries (we passed on the wine, anticipating drinks later in the evening). I began to see the wisdom of calling the whole thing an "experience," for in its appeal to all the senses it was definitely not your garden variety massage! It is only the second time in my life I have had a massage; it was my husband's first. He followed up with visit to the steam room while I had another cup of tea. Then it was back to our room to get ready for supper.
Probably the most pleasant surprise of the weekend was our upgrade from a basic room to a luxury suite. My sister-in-law had informed the management that we were celebrating our 25th anniversary, and they said they would do what they could to make it a special getaway. I have to hand it to the JW Marriott--they went far beyond what we ever anticipated, upgrading us to a luxury suite:
Our "front" door--we stayed in the "Quincy" suite
View out one of our windows--we had a corner room, so we had two different views
Living room with welcome tray of bread, cheese, fruit spread and Evian
Wet bar with stocked refrigerator (we were told not to move things around in the refrigerator unless we wanted to purchase something--doing so would trip the sensor so that we would get charged for the moved item even if we didn't consume it)
Bedroom (note the mounted reading lights on each side of the headboard)
Sitting area in bedroom
Guest bathroom (not that we had any guests, but it was nice to have a second facility!)
Tub in main bathroom (I have a photo of my beloved soaking in this tub but I'm going to leave that one to your imagination)
The mirror had a built-in television screen for watching while soaking.
Shower (it was big enough for five people--seriously). It had two shower heads, one regular and one huge "rainshower" head (seen in the ceiling)
Vanity (I really need one of those lighted magnifying mirrors for home--then again, perhaps blindness is bliss)
Walk-in closet with complimentary his-and-her robes
The plan for our first evening was dinner at Fogo de Chao. This was not our first time to go to Fogo, but it is definitely not a place we get to visit that often. If you ever get the chance to eat there, grab it. It is a dining experience unlike any other--one price, all you can eat. You can see how thrilled I was as we headed out to dinner!
While we waited for our table, we enjoyed a couple of caipirinhas (Fogo's signature drink) at the bar.
Phillip is getting ready to "go green" (indicating to the meat-serving gauchos that he is ready for some protein)!
My plate after a trip to the salad bar
My plate after being visited by several gauchos. The side dishes--polenta, fried banana (further south it would have been plantain) and black beans--are seen at the top of the plate. The meats pictured are chicken, sausage, and some cut of beef (can't remember which).
Dessert was compliments of Fogo!
View of the Chicago River while walking back to the hotel after supper. It was a gorgeous evening.
Monday we slept in and then walked to the Art Institute, stopping for lunch on the way at The Berghoff (another one of our Chicago favorites).
I have been to the Art Institute several times with children, but this was Phillip's first time to go. We spent most of our time looking at the paintings (and we didn't make it to all the rooms--sorry, Medieval/Renaissance masters!).
One of my favorites: Renoir's Woman at the Piano. I often use it for my profile pic on Facebook.
The painting below was a new discovery for me this trip: Renganeschi's Saturday Night, 1912, by American painter John Sloan. I have now looked at a little more of his work and really like it. This painting depicts some young women eating out, enjoying female companionship without male escorts, reflecting the changing mores of the time regarding what was acceptable behavior for women. The description of the painting at the Art Institute noted the way the woman on the right is wrapping her legs around the chair legs, indicating her bourgeoisie background (she doesn't know how to sit properly). I can so relate to this painting. I don't know how to sit, either, and I love spending time with my girlfriends.
I have recently discovered a passion for sushi. Monday night we ate at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion.
This was the dessert we ordered (chocolate souffle with ice cream).
This was the dessert our waiter brought out for free upon discovering we were celebrating our anniversary! (Have I mentioned how much I love this town?)
On Tuesday it was time to check out (sigh). We wrapped up our time together with lunch at Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill.
I can't think of anything else to say except, "Honey, can we have another 25th anniversary next year?"
If you missed my 24th anniversary post, here it is, featuring some historic pictures, including a few from the day I cast my lot with a certain cantor, making the best decision I have ever made in my whole life. Here's to 25 more, my dearest husband. Thank you for giving me my best life now, every moment of every day, and for working as hard as you do in love for God's people and for us, your family. I love you with all my heart. :-)