Girls Night Out

If someone had told me that I would spend the Saturday before Christmas at a shopping mall, I would have wondered what I did to deserve such a cruel fate. Yet I went, I shopped, and I actually had fun – a lot of fun. How did this miracle happen? Really great company, and a stay at a nearby hotel.

The Hyatt Regency Woodfield has just completed a $32 million renovation, and I’d been invited to check out their fancy new duds. They’ve got a Girl’s Night Out package, so I picked up my mom from Lisle early Saturday afternoon and we headed up to Woodfield, both of us shaking our heads that we were choosing to hit the mall on one of the busiest days of the year.

When we checked in we were each given a black canvas bag filled with discount coupons and a map of the mall. The package also includes $50 credit to Fresh 1800, the in-house restaurant, and passes to John Barleycorn. We grabbed our goodies and headed up to the room. Where we promptly dropped our bags and jumped up and down like a couple of school girls who just got front row tickets to the Jonas Brothers. They’d given us an enormous parlor complete with wet bar.

Even though we wanted to lounge in the room all day, we had work to do, so we caught the 2pm shuttle to Woodfield Mall. Later on we briefly wished we had a car to deposit our purchases & coats into, but lemme tell ya’, avoiding the parking lot madness was worth being a little encumbered.

 

Step 1: Plan

Mom & I are not shoppers, so we needed to make this as painless as possible. As soon as we got to the mall we grabbed something to eat at Red Robin. While we waited for our food we went through the mall directory map and circled the stores we needed to hit. Side note: Hector at Red Robin is fantastic!

Woodfield MallStep 2: Shop

Mall walkers got nothin’ on us. We threaded our way through the crowd like Nascar drivers. The only issue was carting our coats around, but after about an hour we were able to find a locker. That was a stroke of luck; Woodfield has very few lockers and we just happened to see someone leaving as we walked by.

Hint: if you need to use a bathroom, go to one of the department stores. The mall ones generally have long lines.

Step 3: Drink

After four hours of power shopping in one of the biggest malls of the country on one of the busiest days of the year, what we needed was a drink! After a relaxing ride in the shuttle we dropped our purchases in the room, changed for dinner, and headed down to the bar. Bartenders Dan & Dave took care of us. Dan’s been with the Hyatt Regency Woodfield for an incredible 21 years. Dave was new, but not to customer service. Mom & I had so much fun with them we ended up sitting at their bar 3 times that night.

Step 4: Eat

Tucked inside the Hyatt, Fresh 1800 will change your thinking about hotel restaurants. The decor is clean and Asian-influenced, down to the menus printed on rice paper (yes, you can eat it). We started off with a very generous portion of foie gras served with a blueberry compote and Braeburn apples, and then we had the roasted beet salad. For dinner we shared a flavorful Strip Loin Steak served with root vegetables and rosemary sauce, and the oriechiette pasta. The pasta was a simple but perfectly prepared dish with goat cheese, tomatoes, capers, and fresh basil. The wine list is limited and its selections are basic; you won’t discover a new vineyard, but you will find something to pair with your meal.

For “dessert” Mom asked for chilled white creme de menthe. I joined her in this favorite of hers and we took our enormous brandy snifters filled with the soothing liqueur back to the bar.

Step 5: Dance

At this point you might think we’d be ready to give out, but we still had work to do. Part of the package is transportation and cover for John Barleycorn, so we accepted the chauffered ride to the bar in the hotel’s Escalade.

The Wrigleyville location is big. The Schaumburg extension is enormous. Downstairs is a typical sports bar, but they’ve outfitted the upstairs like a club, down to the cover charge. We handed the cashier our passes, and while she hadn’t seen them before she accepted them with a shrug and stamped our hands.

Friday nights they have live music upstairs, and on Saturday nights they fly in a DJ from around the country. Our DJ was from San Francisco and he was fantastic, playing a mix of old school and new music. After getting two distinctly bad drinks from a snooty bartender, mom & I toured the dance floor until we came to a dance circle. I used to teach dance, so I can’t hear a beat and stand still. Before I knew it Mom & I were in the dance circle, then she had my drink and was pushing me to the center! I stayed on the edge, but I’ll forever remember the look on her face as she held our drinks and said “that’s my daughter”.

Step 6: Sigh With Contentment

By Midnight she was ready to go back to the hotel, so we called for a pickup. We felt so spoiled – dinner, dancing, and drinks and no driving! Dan & Dave were still at the bar so we stopped for a nightcap and basked in the glow of an absolutely wonderful day.

 

PLC & TLCThe next morning we ordered room service while we leisurely packed up. She was a little disappointed that her eggs didn’t come with toast, but it was brought promptly and I had enough salmon on my bagel to fill a platter. Neither one of us drinks Starbucks and that’s what they served with room service, but they were kind enough to bring us a few of the in-room coffee packets. Everyone associated with the Hyatt was gracious and pleasant and even the decor is soothing.

I’ve had a lot of great experiences, but that weekend was one of the best. Mom and I have always been close, but spending time together in a completely stress-free environment gave us the opportunity to truly enjoy our relationship.

If you want to experience the same thing, their Girls Night Out package is only $169 for the room. That includes the cover to John Barleycorn, $50 food & beverage, $50 at Fresh 1800, and transportation to and from both the mall and the bar. They also have several other packages, including Kids Night Out and Our Night Out.

 

Hyatt Regency Woodfield, 1800 E Golf Road, Schaumburg, IL, 847-605-1234


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