When I embarked on my first pregnancy last March, I think I heard something about couples taking luxury "babymoon" vacations to celebrate their last days of child-free capriciousness, but I was probably too busy throwing up to pay much attention.
By late spring, however, I was a seasoned pregnant person, a good-time gal out to thoroughly enjoy her idyllic second trimester. Prenatal yoga classes and massages, baby-shower swag, maternity clothes that didn't drape like camping tents-they were all mine.
Ensconced in my consumerist rampage, I wasn't about to pass up a night's stay as the guest of the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago for its brand-new "Expecting You" babymoon package. Rates start at $480 and include a night's stay, a visit from the ice cream man, breakfast in bed, a complimentary manicure when you book a pregnancy massage and an array of discount offers. To keep dad-to-be from feeling left out, the package also includes a "toast to fatherhood" cocktail and cigar from the Seasons Bar.
So I packed up my husband, Richard, and took the bus downtown for a day and a half of shameless pampering.
Arriving fashionably late for my massage ($115 for 55 minutes) and manicure, I was immediately greeted by a gracious French woman who directed me to my waiting robe and slippers. After I'd spent a few precious minutes noshing on fruit in the plush waiting area, Tammy, my masseuse, whisked me away for our session.
Tammy, it turns out, is a pro at working out charley horses, swollen feet and shoulder knots that come from sitting at a desk all day with your belly unnaturally tilting forward. The massage was wonderful, neither too harsh nor too ginger, and I followed it up with the free manicure.
After the spa treatment, I met Richard in our 43rd-floor suite, which had a postcard-perfect view of Lake Michigan dotted with white sails.
We were greeted with a babymoon gift bag that included a Four Seasons teddy bear, a rubber ducky and a bunch of coupons I probably won't use for things such as a complimentary photo sitting for mom-and-dad-to-be or 20 percent off a customized delivery bag from Little Stork. A dish of fresh fruit included two frosted cookies shaped like ducks-a nice touch.
Eating for two
Famished, we ordered room service, which while nicely presented, was lackluster food-wise. The sirloin burger I ordered was greasy and tasted a bit old. Considering the prices ($50 for two for lunch), I recommend going out to one of the many fine restaurants on Michigan Avenue rather than staying in. Maybe the bad meal was just a fluke, though, because the full breakfast we were served on Sunday morning was just right.
The rest of our stay was spent lounging in a sea of pillows on the king bed-every pregnant women's dream-and swimming under the skylight in the hotel pool.
Around 9 p.m., there was a knock at the door. It was René Morocho, a cheery man dressed in peppermint stripes, pushing a stainless-steel cart full of ice cream and toppings-including pickles, which elicited this comment from Richard: "That's a good pickle. That's a really good pickle." I've never heard him get excited about a pickle before. But for $480 a night, I wouldn't expect anything less.
Babymooner Laura Putre is editor of Chicago Journal, a weekly newspaper covering the South Loop, and a publication of Chicago Parent's parent company, Wednesday Journal Inc.
This is an updated version of a story that originally ran in Chicago Parent.