Chicago’s Radisson Blu Aqua designed with upscale yet family-friendly feel

The first thing that strikes you as you enter the Radisson Blu Aqua downtown is the sleek design and upscale feel with exposed brick, flickering lights and the opulent Filini restaurant. It’s so stylized that it won’t strike parents as family friendly, but-surprise!-it is.

If you go

Radisson Blu Aqua

  • 221 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago
  • Pets are welcomed
  • Facilities include outdoor and indoor pool areas, health club
    and room service
  • For more information, visit


Radisson Blu Aqua is the first Blu in North America and one of Chicago’s newest hotels. The hotel boasts “five-star amenities that kids go wild for at a three-star price point parents will appreciate.” Kid-friendly aspects of the property include three pools both inside and out, a small movie theater that screens children’s movies monthly, a half basketball court and a billiards room.

Another family-friendly perk: the location. There is a pirate-themed park right behind the hotel with swings, water features and a slide surrounded by a green field just right for starting a game of flag football. Millennium Park is practically next door.

The Italian restaurant on site, Filini’s, doesn’t scream kid-friendly, but as my 5-year-old twins and I found out, it is. We had an early dinner comfortably tucked into a booth donned with pillows where the girls munched on Tuscan-styled grilled cheese sandwiches and French fries they declared the “yummiest ever” followed by hefty scoops of vanilla gelato. Other options on the children’s menu include homemade penne or rigatoni pasta, spaghetti, chicken tenders or eggplant Parmesan.

Here’s a tip: book a room on one of the hotel’s business class floors-for a small up-charge that will actually save you money, families have access to a free hot breakfast and snacks and refreshments throughout the day, as well as a complimentary wine reception for adults in the evening.

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