Chicagonista is all about finding hidden neighborhood gems and so it was really interesting to hear that Renaissance Hotels launched its newest global hospitality program called “Navigator”.
“Navigator” is an on-site, online and mobile program built around a curated database providing guests with local indigenous recommendations about a variety of topics including food, spirits, retail, music, entertainment and culture. Renaissance properties have trained “Navigators” on site who create an “In The Know” document for guests when they check into the hotel outlining specific recommendations in the city updated for that week. They also work one-on-one with hotel guests to curate experiences based on their specific interests and requests”
I had an opportunity to check out the Navigator service with the Downtown Renaissance Chicago’s very own Concierge, Ikram Barakat. She took notes on things I love and enjoy when finding places to sip, shop, and see. I simply mentioned how I love fine wine, enjoy semi-formal dining experience, and has an affinity for old-time jazz. I was excited to see what she would come up with and sure enough, she delivered places I’ve never been to.
My first stop was dinner at Zealous. The restaurant is a contemporary American restaurant in the River North neighborhood. For appetizer I chose the Potato Roll of Braised Kurobota Pork Belly, Kimchee & Charred Octopus. For the Main Course I had the Korean Style Fried Miller Farm Chicken, Sticky Rice Cakes & Fuji Apple-Pickled Daikon Salad. Both were very unique and Chef Michael Taus certainly made a good impression on how innovative his restaurant menu selections are.
Ms. Barakat also suggested that I try Webster’s Wine Bar located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and The Backroom, Chicago’s oldest jazz club. For some fun shopping, she suggested to check out Zia 925 Inc. in the Little Italy neighborhood.
Overall I’m very impressed with the little neighborhood gems that Ms. Barakat has chosen for me. Renaissance guests in Downtown Chicago is lucky to have a true Chicago-loving person to navigate their guests through the windy city.
Disclosure: One night stay was provided by the Renaissance Hotel for a full experience of the Navigator service. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.