Nascar fans will know all about Chicagoland, a 1.5mi (2.4km) tri-oval racetrack, home to roaring cars and the whiff of burning rubber. But its hometown of Joliet is worth a look, too, self-styled as the Crossroads of Mid-America for its links to both Route 66 and the Illinois Waterway. Whether you’ve got a need for speed, or are here for a history lesson, these nearby hotels will make the perfect pit-stop – bookable via Culture Trip.
We don’t envy the interior design team of this quirky all-suites hotel, just off Route 66. With so many angles to handle, just finding your way to the bathroom requires a PhD in trigonometry. That said, it makes for a memorable and luxurious stay, with every suite featuring a whirlpool, fireplace and spacious walk-in shower. Natural materials across the stone cladding, leather bedheads and rich wood trims ramp up the luxe feel even further.
OK, so it’s a 45-minute drive south from this Naperville hotel to the Speedway, but we reckon that once you check into your room you’ll agree it’s worth it. Already spacious and elegant, with honey-colored wood headboards, flashes of chrome and teal-tiled bathrooms, there are cute design features that take it up a notch, such as window seats and mirrors with built-in TVs. You’ll also get a lip-smackingly good espresso at its Lavazza Cafe, downstairs.
This pet-friendly hotel near Tinley Park Convention Center is all about helping you stay in prime racing condition. Its on-site restaurant, Cork & Kale, does superfood smoothies and balanced meals made with locally sourced ingredients, while in-room fitness equipment and on-demand workout channels will keep you on your toes. Rooms themselves feel more suited to a spa than a hotel, with their bright white-and-grey decor, aromatherapy-inspired bathroom products and Keurig coffee maker.
Anyone who’s stayed at this hotel’s central Chicago sibling will know what to expect from the Drake brand. For those who haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Even standard rooms here are a masterclass in elegance, with paneled walls, a restrained color palette (creamy neutrals in standard rooms; warm greys in premiums and suites) and sumptuous fabrics – the burnt orange velvet bedheads and bed frames are to die for. As for extras, how about Peloton bikes in the fitness center and in-room spa services?
You want opulence? La Banque is a vault of it. Rooms with contemporary four-poster beds, grey flock wallpaper and marble-clad bathrooms are as suave as a James Bond dinner suit. There’s more downstairs, too, with the lobby lounge decked out with velvet sofas and armchairs, contemporary artwork and stylish light fixtures that nod to the building’s art deco heritage. There’s even a fitness center rigged up in what was once a bank vault, so you can get ripped or die trying.
Another Naperville number, this boutique hotel is just steps from the leafy Riverwalk Park where, when it snows, the whole town turns out to speed down its sledding hill. It’s beautiful in the summertime, too, when there’s no better way to enjoy it than with a cocktail from the hotel’s rooftop bar. In fact, you’ll feel a part of the community even if you don’t venture out, with artwork from local artists on the walls and antique touches nodding to Naperville history.
Be it the futuristically shaped chandeliers, the striking mirrors in the restaurant, or the paintings in the suites, artful design is a signature of this boutique hotel. The rooms and suites are super-spacious, fit with hardwood floors, quality carpets, premium bedding, and padded headboards. White and earth tones make for an effortlessly cozy atmosphere, while downstairs you’ll find a gym, lounge bar and business center.
With the star crowning Harrah’s name, this casino hotel between the riverfront and Rialto Square Theatre radiates glamor right off the bat. Comfy lobby couches and a fireplace invite you to linger, while patterned carpets and wood tones exude a retro vibe that continues through to the guest bathrooms, with wooden accents and gold-framed mirrors. On a winning streak? Step away from the table, and get your daily steps in at the hotel’s fitness center.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.